There are a lot of things credit counseling organizations can help you with. Their specialists will teach you how to manage your debts; they will also mend your budget and let you overcome the financial problems created by the unbearable credit. While being really attentive to your situation, they will have a close look on your case from all the sides for finding out the best solution. Be ready for your first consultation to be the whole hour long.
The very first feature of the reliable credit counseling company in USA is the opportunity to get all the information about it in the web. Companies in big states like Florida or Texas ought to have their page in the internet. If you experience troubles while trying to get the needed data, especially if the company denies any requests for the information, consider looking for the financial help elsewhere.
Still sooner or later you get the list of companies you might consider working with. Now it’s the right time to check out each of them with the local consumer protection agency or with you state Attorney General. This will help you to define if the named companies are legal. Also you will get a chance to check out complains of previous customers. If someone appeared to be not quite satisfied by their work, you might appear in the same situation. The credit counseling companies approved to provide the procedure of pre-bankruptcy counseling in New York, Georgia or other states are listed in United States Trustee Program.
What shall I ask during the first meeting with my future counselor?
- Shall I pay for the information?
All the offered education concerning the financial procedures shall be free.
- Do you accept all forms of payment?
- What services will I get?
The more services are offered, the better your situation will be, since the chosen organization will give you the full range of attention. On the other hand watch out for the unneeded services you might spend your money on without any actual profit.
- Will you care for my current situation only?
The good company shall offer you the list of advices for the future occasions so you get a chance to avoid any further debt trouble.
- What happens if I can’t pay off your fees?
If in this case the company is going to stop all the procedures on your behalf, try to find the other organization.
- What are your fees?
Get the price list with all fees stated clearly. This will keep you from unexpected payments.
- Are you a licensed credit counseling company?
The organization shall have the specific license to perform offered services in the current state like Florida or California.
- Are your counselors qualified?
Try to get the clear idea of what kind of qualification local managers obtain. Perhaps they are not certified anywhere outside the organization, which means they are not actually training. All this makes their skills questionable.
- Are we going to sign the written agreement?
Do not agree to make any payments and give off any important information without previously signed contract. Take your time to read carefully every statement before signing papers.
- Any assurances of confidentiality and security?
Make sure the information you reveal about your financial state and other private matters will not be revealed anywhere else.
- How do you pay your employees?
Some USA organizations praise their employees for every additional service their client pays for. In this case you may easily end up with the handful of truly unneeded bonuses.
- Shall I pay anything in advance?
Do not pay any significant money before the company has done anything on your behalf. You can only pay a small enrollment fee.
- What is your fund’s source?
Most companies are financed by government or by creditors who are interested in the agency’s activity. If the chosen company doesn’t obtain this kind of support, this means you will be the one financing it.
- How many counselors will be working with me?
The best option is to work with one single counselor, since this grants you total understanding of what’s going on. Several counselors might start using different strategies and at the end no one will agree your financial failure is his fault.
- Can you show me the certificate proving you’re non-profit organization?
Remember, dealing with profitable organization will cost you higher fees.
- How soon will you start working on my case?
Some companies might need several weeks or even months to start. Perhaps you’re not ready to wait for so long.
- Will you deal with my collectors?
If you’re already receiving the calls from debt collectors, the credit counselor agency might deal with this trouble. This is regular practice in Massachusetts and other states.
- Will I be able to access my account online?
This way you will get a chance to control your finances. On the other hand the online account is technically accessible by thieves.
- Is your agency new?
We advise you to choose the organization with several years of history on the market. The new company has no proof of good work.
If you want to be sure in your future repayment plan, do not forget to get all the needed information about the procedure before actually signing the contract.
The company shall evaluate the amount of money for you to pay monthly. It’s important for the amount to be affordable you, other way the whole program will be in vain. In order to lower the monthly payments your counselor might either recalculate the DMP for the longer period or negotiate you’re your creditors to lower the total sum of the debt.
Be sure to check if creditors have received your money. This usually can be done through the internet. In case the sum is not received, feel free to contact your credit counseling agency.
Sometimes after enrolling the program you will be prohibited to use defined credit cards to prevent the debt on them from growing. Still this is not the obligatory part of credit counseling. Also some accounts do not take part in the program, so feel free to use these cards for payments. Ask your agency about the accounts which are out of the program and ask if you can include some account there just in case.
The last but not the least is the detailed information about the report given to credit bureaus. There will be the mark about credit counseling procedure. Ask which exactly mark will be there and for how long it will stay in the report.