If you have really bad credit chances are that it’s mostly your fault and that you’re going to need to get over it and move on if you want to clean up your debt problems and get back on financial track. (Sorry, that’s just us being honest and frank.) Many people with bad credit try and fix it themselves and this can sometimes make their problems even worse. Even if you’re quite adept at figuring out the numbers, it’s possible that you may wish to get some credit counseling in order to pay down your debt as quickly as possible and get your financial problems cleared up sooner rather than later.
Of course, like any other type of business there are excellent credit counseling companies and some that are not so excellent. The worst thing that could happen is that you go to a credit counseling agency with credit problems, spend what’s left of your hard earned money, and don’t get any real help. With that in mind we put together a number of tips and tricks for picking an excellent credit counselor. Enjoy.
- There are a number of federal agencies and programs that the best credit counseling service companies should be a member of, including the National Federation for Credit Counseling. Ask any credit counselor to provide their affiliations before working with them. An agency that’s not affiliated with any should probably be avoided.
- Checking with your local Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general as well as any local consumer protection groups and find out if your credit counselor has any history of complaints. If they do, keep looking.
- You need to ask where your payments will be going and also about any additional fees. What you’re looking for here is that all of your payments are passed on in a timely manner to your creditors and don’t languish at the credit counseling agency’s office. If your agency can’t provide an exact and specific answer, keep looking.
- If the credit counseling agencies and fees hinder your ability to pay down your debt, find another agency. The last thing that you want to do is go into more debt trying to pay off your debt.
- Any agreement that you make with the counseling agency should be in writing, no exceptions. ‘Gentlemanly agreements’ are a thing of the past.
- Beware of overblown statements and huge promises. The more they promise, the more likely they won’t keep their promise.
- Is your credit Counselor certified by an outside organization? This can be helpful in finding someone that will put together a specific plan based on your individual needs rather than using a blanket recommendation.
- Can your credit counseling agency work with all creditors? This is an important question as there are some agencies that are unwilling to work with creditors who don’t supply them with financial support. (It’s complicated.) No matter who your agency works with, they should at least be contacting all of your creditors.
- Ask your credit agency to provide information on how your money and your information are protected. Is your counseling agency bonded, or do they have sufficient insurance to protect your money should they themselves have financial problems? If you don’t find these things out ahead of time you might be in for a rude awakening later, so check ahead of time.
- Your credit counseling agency should offer a wide range of different services that are not just limited to counseling but also include education in different financial topics. A good idea would be to ask what services they offer, what the cost is and how they can be made available to you.
At the end of the day what you need to do is find a credit counseling agency that understands your situation specifically, can put together a plan that fits your current budget and has all of the failsafe’s available to protect you like being bonded and having insurance. A good credit counseling agency will be able to help you put your finances back in order more quickly, pay down your debt in a more timely manner and get back up on your financial feet more rapidly.
If you do your homework, a little bit of research and an honest amount of due diligence, you should be able to find a credit counseling agency that works great with you and helps you get through your financial struggles. Best of luck.