Americans are in debt of about $1.98 trillion, which makes over $18,000 per household. If you debt is swelling and becoming uncontrollable, you should take help from a credit counselor. But how should you do that? You may have some concerns.
I have tried to answer some most frequently asked questions about credit counseling services. These facts should help you to move towards a stable financial future.
- When to approach – There is no minimum amount specified anywhere for approaching a credit counseling service. You may be in debt for $5000 or $50,000, if you feel frustrated while dealing with your debt, it means you need help from this service.
- How to find – You need to shop around and compare fees before you decide on a particular service. Remember, nonprofit organization has a specific meaning that day will get tax concession on their income. It does not mean such organizations will offer their services free of charge!
- What to expect – You should be careful about the promises such agencies give you. They can negotiate with your creditors to get the best deal, but they may not be able to give any promise upfront. They will try to reduce your debt but they cannot eliminate it altogether.
- Time taken – You should get from them an estimate about total time to clear your debts, based on the estimates of earning you provide them. Here, the arithmetic is simple. If you can arrange more money, you will clear your debt soon.
- Concerns about credit – Approaching to a credit counseling service will not hurt your credit score but you may not be able to get any new credit. You may not be able to use your credit card also during the period.
- Federal recognition – These agencies are registered but they do not carry any federal or state recognition. Some of them are nonprofit organizations but that means they get tax concessions. They are not federally sanctioned or endorsed.
- Confidentiality – These agencies will keep your details confidential. They will not disclose anything to the public. If the debts are in your name only, your spouse will not be contacted.
- Harassment from creditors – Once you engage a credit counseling service, they will contact your creditors and most of the creditors will stop making collection calls to you. Some of them may require three continuous monthly payments before stopping the collection attempts.
Remember, after all your debt is your debt. You need to sort it out with the help of a credit counselor. There is no magic to ‘rescue’ you from the debt problems. All these companies will negotiate with your creditors, but much will depend upon your determination to make timely payments and arrange more and more funds to get relief soon.