Seeking Credit Counseling
As the recent financial crisis slowly abates, many families are left in desperate need of the assistance of credit counseling. Many families today have discovered themselves upside down in their mortgages, owing huge amounts to creditors, and with barely enough budget left over to finish out the month let alone enough to save for the cliched rainy day.
Fortunately, credit counselors can offer many solutions to those currently drowning in debt. Choosing the right credit counselor is imperative, but the task becomes quite easy with the help of a few simple guidelines.
Researching Credit Counseling Services
First, research credit counseling services with organizations that you already trust. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities offer low-cost debt counseling. Your family and friends might also be able to offer up names of credit counselors that have been helpful to them. Regardless of the source you use, finding a trustworthy, honest credit counselor can be the most important step that you take.
Also, it is important to understand that fixing your credit is neither easy or quick. Credit agencies and businesses want assurance that your financial behavior is a lifestyle. This means that the pattern is built up over extended periods of time, not simply months.
Credit Counseling Accreditation
Whatever credit counseling program you choose, you should ascertain that they are accredited and in good standing with their business practices. Trade associations, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), monitor the dealings of credit counselors. Credit agencies should also be accredited by either the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the International Organization for Standardization (IOS). A Better Business Bureau reliability report of good standing is also an effective measure of a company’s business practices. It should be free from unresolved complaints.
Gathering information from the firm itself is equally essential in making an informed choice. Seek out an agency that provides a wide range of services, such as budget advice and savings/credit classes. Uncover the qualifications of their counselors, how their employees are compensated, as well as the security of your information. All of these factors will have influence on the service that you receive from the agency.
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