How Credit Counseling Services Work
Racking up consumer debt is not difficult to do, especially during tough economic times. You may have racked up debt without even noticing. A few charges here and there and bam! You're hit with high interest rates that make it practically impossible to make a dent in that debt. Before you know it, you run late on a few credit car or installment loan payments and the negative marks start to accumulate on your credit report
Racking up consumer debt is not difficult to do, especially during tough economic times. You may have racked up debt without even noticing. A few charges here and there and bam! You're hit with high interest rates that make it practically impossible to make a dent in that debt. Before you know it, you run late on a few credit car or installment loan payments and the negative marks start to accumulate on your credit report.
You may have special circumstances that forced you into debt - illness, divorce, the unexpected death of a loved one, or even unexpected home or vehicle repair expenses. The problem is that while credit card debt is piled up, interest only grows and grows. If you pay only the minimum amount required each month on any given credit card or loan, you are very unlikely to ever pay it off fully. You may start to feel so deep in the hole and discouraged about ever paying off your debt that you may consider going bankrupt. Before giving up, you should know that there are ways to work around your debt and get your good credit back despite those soaring interest rates.
In these tough economic times, paying even just the minimum due on each of your credit card accounts can prove to be quite difficult. If you are looking for ways to reduce household costs or increase monthly income, consider how getting rid of your debt will affect your finances. One way to start plowing through your debt and restoring your credit rating is to undergo credit counseling.
What is Credit Counseling?
When debtors are overwhelmed by their debt to the point of confusion, credit counseling can help to get back on track. Credit counseling consists of simply taking inventory of all the debt the debtor is in and formulating a feasible plan for paying the debt off. Part of the process involves negotiating with creditors to cancel late payment and other fees as well as possibly reducing interest rates.
How Does it Work?
Before working with a credit counseling service, verify that it is a reputable organization with good consumer reviews. Ask friends or family for recommendations or contact the Better Business Bureau for referrals. Be wary of any person or organization that promises to eliminate your debt without your having to ever repay it. Also be careful of anyone who asks for large sums of money upfront in order to help you work through your debt.
After you have selected a credit counseling service, you will meet with your designated credit counselor. The counselor will ask you several questions about your income, expenses and all debt. This may be done by filling out a form or application instead. Once the credit counselor has an overall picture of your debt, income and expenses they will determine what percentage of your income can reasonably be used to pay your creditors. The credit counselor will then act as an intermediary between the debtor and his or her creditors. The counselor will negotiate with the financial lending institutions and ask them to accept a monthly payment amount that the debtor can actually afford. Once they go through this process with all of the creditors and lenders, the credit counselors will formulate a repayment plan and they will also typically close out your accounts so that more debt can't be added. Credit counseling organizations typically charge the debtor a monthly fee that they then distribute to the creditors according to the repayment plan. If a debtor stops paying the monthly fee and/or drops out of the program, the balances and interest rates tend to go back to what they were before enrolling in credit counseling.