Credit counseling can help you to get out of debt if it has overwhelmed you. Credit counselors will use your financial information to give you options that will enable you to pay off your debt. You should therefore give honest facts about your finances to enable the credit counselor to provide you with the best option. Before you choose a credit counselor, there are certain qualities you need to look for. Here are tips on how to choose a credit counseling agency.
Check With Your Employer
Most of the large corporations offer free credit counseling to their employees. They may also refer you to a credit counselor that they know can help you get out of debt. These counselors usually offer other programs such as budget planning.
Ask Friends And Family
Many people including your loved ones have been in debt or they could still be in debt. If you have a family member that has used credit counseling services, you may inquire if the company helped to solve their debt problems.
Look For A Nonprofit Agency With A Long History
Check that the credit counseling company is a non-profit organization. It will help you to save money because their fees are not high. However, not all non-profit companies are the best, so be careful when making your decision. In most cases, those companies that have been in operation for a longer period of time are good.
Find An Accredited Agency
Check if the company is BBB (Better Business Bureau) accredited. Companies that have shown good performance are BBB accredited. You can also look at reviews posted by customers who used the company’s services.
Ensure That The Agency Is Licensed
Check if the credit-counseling agency is licensed before you enroll in its program. It is not mandatory that an agency should be registered though there are some states that require all credit counseling agencies be registered. A credit-counseling agency may be registered by your state’s Department of Commerce. You can also call different banks or institutions to get referrals for registered agencies. Depending on your financial situation, you may receive credit counseling from recommended agencies. For example, if you want to file for bankruptcy, the Department of Commerce may be able to recommend an agency. If you have problems with your mortgage, you might be required to seek help from an agency that has been accredited by your state’s Department of Housing and Development.
Look For Complaints
List all the agencies whose offices are nearest to you. Do a thorough research to check if there have been complaints filed against the company. Compare the length of time that the agency has been in operation and the number of complaints it has received. It is normal that it has received complaints but what counts is whether those complaints have been resolved. Contact your local Attorney General to check whether there have been complaints made by customers against the company. You can get recommendations from the consumer protection agencies because they keep records and follow up on complaints.
Ask For Information About The Company
A good agency will give you all the information you need to know about them. They should also provide you with a clear picture of their fee structure and policies. The agency should also provide you with other services such as creating a budget and lessons on how to overcome financial obstacles. Enquire about the qualification of their credit counselors as they should be professionals with a good experience.
Don’t Pay Unreasonable Fees
Credit counseling is normally cheap so if you are suspicious of the fees that an agency is charging, then look for another one. It may be a profit making agency and all they want is to benefit from you.