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Information to Research When Finding a Credit Counselor

By Edited Aug 22, 2016 0 0

If you were going to buy a car or a house would you just go out and buy the first one you saw? Of course not, the same thing goes for when you are searching for a credit counseling agency.

 

There are thousands of credit counseling services out there which can make it difficult when it comes to choosing the one for you. There are services listed on the internet, in the phone book, and even on the radio and TV. How are you supposed to narrow down these lists upon lists of credit counseling services? It’s simple, do some research!

 

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What exactly should you be researching when it comes to finding a legitimate credit counseling? Following are some things you should definitely look for…

 

  • Do they make promises that sound too good to be true?
    • Look out for false promises like: “We can get you out of debt forever!” or “We’ll get you out of debt fast.”  
      • Promises like these aren’t actually going to happen. Getting out of debt takes time, so don’t be fooled by agencies that promise you things that sound too good to be true. Most of the time these promises are really just advertising ploys.
  • Where are they accredited from?
    • There are several places that agencies can get their accreditation from so make sure it is a legitimate place. Some great places to look for are:
      • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling
      • The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
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  • Do they have any complaints against them?
    • Contact the BBB to find out about any complaints filed and about the nature of these complaints.
  • What are their statistics?        
    • Success Rates
    • Client Numbers
  • Are they non-profit or for-profit?
    • There is no clear cut answer if one is better than the other, but many times (not all the time) non-profits have lower fees.
  • What services do they offer?
    • Different agencies offer different services, so make sure you know what they have to offer.
  • What fees do they charge?
    • Ask about all fees they charge and ask about any hidden fees that may occur.
    • Do you have to pay the fees up front?
    • Do they have payment plans?
  • Are their credit counselors all certified?
    • Where are they certified from?
    • Is all of their certifications up to date
  • How do they go about handling your debt?
    • Can they lower your payments?
    • Can they lower your interest rates?
    • Do they take over your payments?
  • Reviews/Testimonials
    • Look outside of the website for these reviews. Find websites that offer reviews that aren’t associated with the agency.
    •  Many times the organization will pay their clients to do testimonials for them, so you can’t take all the ones on the website for holding true

 

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It is important that you take the time to do the research on any credit counseling agencies you are considering. These agencies can be lifesavers for many people, but you want to make sure that you are signing up with a legitimate and reputable credit counseling service. There are many questions that you need to have answered before you can feel comfortable intrusting your finances with an agency/counselor. Being in debt isn’t easy and there isn’t as easy fix to get out of it. Getting out of debt is going to take time and patience, but the first step is hiring yourself a legitimate agency. Once you have taken the time to do the research you can begin your first step on to the road to financial freedom

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