Personal debt relief with the help of credit counselors is something that numerous consumers are seeking as they may have trouble dealing with repayments involving either a personal loan, credit cards, or even student loans. However, some consumers may also simply need budgeting advice as they are in a situation where their expenses have exceeded their income. Yet, consumers who may need a credit counselor to help them avoid defaulting on debt or other financial problems have often found that without looking for a reputable credit counseling agency, they could put themselves in a worse financial position if they do not find a credit counselor that offers specific one-on-one assistance and when consumers do not understand what credit counseling entails, this could open the door for scams.
In an article on the financial website Kiplinger.com it’s stated that, “A legitimate credit-counseling agency will educate you about budgeting and how to use credit, as well as help you set up a debt management plan if you need one.” Simply put, a credit counseling agency will help an individual look at their expenses, track their income, and find areas where wasteful spending may be present and savings could be made. Also, a reputable credit counseling agency will offer specific assistance to a consumer rather than offering a “generalized” credit counseling plan that may not address particular issues in the life of the consumer. Yet, this article goes on to state that some companies will advertise themselves as a credit counseling agency, but actually will attempt to sell a debt settlement program.
Debt settlement and credit counseling, although they are often seen as similar, are two entirely different methods that consumers use to find personal debt relief. A debt settlement program can hurt a consumer’s credit score and should only be used as a last resort, despite the fact that they will erase personal debts. Yet, when it comes to the consumer who has not found themselves to be in a dire position, simple credit counseling has been the best option in many cases as applying simple financial practices can be greatly beneficial for consumers who may be feeling pressure in areas of their life.
Yet, consumers who have turned to credit counseling must make sure they find a reputable organization that will be helpful for their particular financial problems. While there are national foundations that will offer accreditation, and consumers should look for accredited agencies, there are also issues like fees and past testimonies from consumers that may be helpful as well. Simply running a Google search should yield numerous results for credit counseling agencies in a consumer’s area, but there are ways to also use the Internet to look at any complaints or complements a business may have had.
Also, checking with the Better Business Bureau can help a consumer research the rating and history of a particular credit counseling agency, but more so, a reputable credit counselor is simply going to be up front about their prices and the services they offer, so simply looking at accreditation is not the only step. Yet, consumers who have been in need of credit counseling over the past months have been able to find helpful counseling services by simply applying these research methods and checks for businesses in their area, as again, looking into the past of a credit counseling agency can go a long way in helping a consumer avoid any scams.