Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debt, Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, Finance, Loans, Money Management, Mortgage, Student Loans

Protect Yourself Financially from the Impact of COVID-19

By: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Steps to take if you have trouble paying your bills or meeting other financial obligations

If you have trouble paying your bills/loans or paying on time, there may be a number of options to help, especially if you reach out early to your lenders or creditors.

Contact your lenders, loan servicers, and other creditors

If you’re not able to pay your bills on time check their websites, to see if they have information that can help you.

The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with their customers to meet their community needs.

If you can’t make a payment now, need more time, or want to discuss payment options, contact your lenders and servicers to let them know about your situation. Being behind on your payments can have a lasting impact on your credit.

Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like ATM, overdrafts, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.

When contacting your lenders, be prepared to explain:

  • Your financial and employment situation
  • How much you can afford to pay
  • When you’re likely to be able to restart regular payments
  • Be prepared to discuss your income, expenses, and assets

Work with housing and credit counselors to understand your options

These trained professionals provide advice for little or no cost, and they will work with you to discuss your situation, evaluate options, and even help you negotiate with your lenders and servicers.

Warning: If you’re considering working with a debt settlement company to address your debts, be skeptical of any company that promises to do it for an upfront fee.

Trouble paying your mortgage?

If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer.

It may take a while to get a loan servicer on the phone. Loan servicers are experiencing a high call volume and may also be impacted by the pandemic.

Visit our blog on mortgage relief options for in-depth content to help you understand your forbearance options and avoid foreclosure in light of the coronavirus and the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. Read more in our renter section of the mortgage relief blog.

Trouble paying your student loans?

If you have student loans, you have options.

If your loan is held by the federal government, your loan payments are postponed with no interest until September 30, 2020.

For other kinds of student loans (such as a federal student loan held by a commercial lender or the institution you attend, or a private student loan held by a bank, credit union, school, or other private entity) contact your student loan servicer to find out more about your options.

Read our FAQs to learn more about what you can do.

Trouble paying your credit cards?

If you’re unable to pay your credit cards, talk with your credit card company and let them know that you cannot make a payment. You may get relief.

You may also want to work with a credit counselor. Reputable credit counseling organizations are generally non-profit organizations that can advise you on your money and debts, and help you with a budget. Some may also help you negotiate with creditors. There are specific questions to ask to help you find a credit counseling organization to work with.

Trouble paying your auto loan?

Your lender may have options that will help. Our tips include changing the date of your payment, requesting a payment plan, and asking for a payment extension

How to work with your bank or credit union

With many of us staying home to help flatten the coronavirus curve, online banking allows you to handle your finances from the comfort of home. Here are some tips for people who are new to online or mobile banking.

Generally, all bank deposits up to $250,000 are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Deposits at all federal credit unions, and the vast majority of state-chartered credit unions, are also insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).

How to work with debt collectors

If you currently have a debt in collections, you can work with collectors to identify a realistic repayment plan.

The Bureau offers a number of resources for contacting and negotiating with debt collection companies, especially as we deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

What to do if you lose your income

State and local governments vary in the programs and offerings to help those financially impacted by the coronavirus.

You can look to your state’s unemployment policies to identify current options for benefits. The recently passed CARES Act allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers, and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Your state’s public health office may also have information.

Older adults may be impacted by the coronavirus and quarantine procedures in different ways than the general public. There may be government benefits available to older adults who need financial help. Visit for more information and to see if you qualify for any state or local assistance.

Be aware of potential scam attempts

Scammers look for opportunities to take advantage of the vulnerable, especially during times of emergencies or natural disasters. Be cautious of emails, texts, or social media posts that may be selling fake products or information about emerging coronavirus cases.

Click here for more information on scams specific to the coronavirus.

The Federal Trade Commission has tips to protect yourself from possible coronavirus-related scams. The FTC and the Food and Drug Administration have also cautioned consumers to be on the look-out for sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent coronavirus.

Learn more about how to prevent, recognize, and report fraud and scams.

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Credit Score, Debt, Finance, Money Management

How Credit Score Can Affect Relationships


Personal finances are rarely discussed but often the biggest strain on a couple. Even in early courtships, a newly dating couple may fret over who will pay for dinner, or have different tastes in entertainment based on affordability. Topics such as careers, hobbies, and interests can easily spill into money talk. Money is just as important as other relationship issues such as family and personal interests.

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with a long-term partner or having a first date, a conversation about credit scores can provide valuable insight to be considered for relationship planning. Credit scores are always assigned to an individual, never a couple. But joint accounts can have an effect on those individual credit scores.

Credit Score Disparities Can Predict Future Relationship Problems

According to a report by the Federal Reserve, couples with similar credit scores are more likely to stay together, while those with a larger disparity are more likely to separate. Differing spending habits, opposing views on debt and other financial problems can cause stress on the relationship that those with similar credit scores are less likely to experience.

Examples of difficulties these couples may face could include:

  • Lingering debt from the past
  • Poor spending habits
  • Disparities in household financial contributions
  • Difficulty obtaining a mortgage or other important loan together
  • Hiding or avoiding spending, debt or other financial issues
  • Bills and expenses
  • General financial stress

Of course, we aren’t suggesting to dump your partner at the slightest score difference. But it’s important to communicate with each other about personal finance and plan appropriately. If a partner has a low credit score (or no credit), what steps can be taken to improve the score for the long-term? Relationships are about working together, and a partner with a higher score may be able to provide advice and suggestions to a partner with a lower score.

It Takes Trust, but a Low Score isn’t the End

If there is a large disparity in credit scores, both partners should evaluate whether they are prepared and willing to provide the support, communication, and shared responsibility required to fix the credit problem.

Committed couples can move forward with confidence by working together to build both of their credit scores. Two quick strategies for building credit include:

  • Having the partner with the higher credit score add the partner with the lower credit score as an authorized user on a credit card (this method requires a lot of trust!)
    • Remember, married couples do not share a credit score, but behavior in joint accounts can affect both partners’ scores.
  • Using a secured credit card to build credit

If one or both partners have debt, they should work together to develop a spending plan that leaves additional income to pay off the debt. For those in debt, paying off the debt is the best way to improve a credit score.

If one or both partners are struggling in their career, they can come up with a plan to support each other while working towards more prosperous career goals. Couples can turn a weak credit score into a strength by using it to incorporate accountability, good habits, and stronger trust in their relationship.

Conversation is Key

Overall, couples need to communicate about money to maintain a successful relationship. Just like with personal finance issues, avoiding the matter doesn’t solve problems or build wealth. Couples should discuss:

  • Existing debt
  • Joint accounts
  • Credit accounts
  • Spending habits (both good and bad)
  • Major purchases
  • Bills and household expenses

This leads couples towards better financial planning and spending habits as they move forward.

Couples can start with small discussions in the early stages, and then move on to larger discussions later. For example, a couple in the beginning stages of a relationship could discuss the cost of dinner, or compare the costs of phone, cable or utility bills. They may talk about debt or salary, but not go into the specifics or the numbers. Couples in more committed stages can begin more difficult conversations about existing debt, bank accounts, and long-term planning.

If a partner is unwilling to discuss finances or is quiet on the subject, the other partner can start small by mentioning their own personal finances and ask for thoughts and opinions.

At times, there will be misunderstandings and frustrations. Remember that no two people share the same financial education. Financial knowledge that may seem simple and obvious to one partner may be an entirely new concept to the other. Use money talk as a learning opportunity and a habit to build on stronger communication skills.

Everyone has different financial paths. When two paths join, they decide where to go next, together.

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Financial Planning – A Fresh Start for the New Year

Finances and the New Year

With the New Year approaching, it is the perfect time to evaluate your current financial situation, set new financial goals, and establish budgeting strategies. Whether your credit is in great shape or you are struggling to maintain or improve your credit, it is important to pull your credit reports at least annually and review them for errors.

Click below for instructions on how to pull your credit for free from

[button shape=”rounded” size=”regular” float=”none” circle=”true” href=”” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Free Credit Report Instructions[/button]
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In addition to reviewing your credit, review your assets and take the time to think about your short, mid, and long term financial goals. The only way to make those goals a reality is to setup a plan to save money every month.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Credit Counseling
    Credit Counseling

    How Credit Counseling Can Help You Prepare for the Holidays

    As the holidays are approaching, you could be panicking and wondering how you are going to buy gifts, handle traveling expenses and otherwise cover the costs of the season.

    In the past, you might have always reached for your credit cards to handle such costs, but if you’re in over your head, it’s a good idea to do something about it now. These are a few ways that credit counseling can help you prepare for the holiday season.

    Lower Your Monthly Bills

    If you are feeling crippled by all of your credit card bills and loan payments, you could wonder how you can afford to eat, much less purchase holiday gifts. Working with a credit card counseling company can help you get your bills under control, such as through debt consolidation. Then, you can reduce your monthly bills drastically, which can help you breathe and help you prepare for the costly holidays.

    Learn About Proper Credit Management

    Talking to a credit counselor can help you understand a little more about what you can afford and how using credit can affect you during the holiday season. Learning how to handle your finances now can help prevent you from making costly mistakes this winter.

    Save Your Credit Score

    If you’re behind on your bills, your credit score could be suffering. Working with a credit counseling company can help you preserve your good credit score. Although it’s not recommended that you go into additional debt for the holiday season, it can be a relief to know that your credit score is preserved.

    Believe it or not, a good credit counseling service can help you prepare for a less stressful holiday season. If you contact us at Christian Credit Counselors today, we can help you get your finances under control for the holiday season and into the future.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Financial Responsibilities of Fathers

      What role do you play in your household? What are your responsibilities? For more than seventy million fathers in the United States countless responsibilities are assumed, especially when it comes to the well-being of their family. Even though many households today consist of two-income families, a lot of the financial, physical, and spiritual stress can fall on the man of the house. After all, who taught you how to ride your first bike? Who was there to make it all better when you fell and scraped your knee? Who took you to the daddy-daughter dance at your school or church? Who taught you how to throw a baseball? Who tucks the kids in bed and kisses you good night? Not only can fathers and husbands be looked to for being strong role models that provide the significant mental and emotional pillars of love, guidance, security, support, and wisdom but they also take on vast financial responsibilities as well.

      Today, it’s estimated that Americans spend over one billion dollars each year on gifts for Father’s day to show their appreciation for taking on these responsibilities and providing for their family… but what does a FATHER spend on HIS family for the other 364.5 days of the year? According to the newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost a middle-income couple $245,340 to raise one child born in 2013 to the age of eighteen and this doesn’t even include the cost of college! Of course, this amount can vary widely depending on location, income, and number of children in the household. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at JUST A FEW things that a father may be financially responsible for providing to his family:

      • Basic Needs- food, water, clothing, housing
      • Health care- insurance for family/dependents
      • Child care and Education- day care, tuition, educational materials, transportation
      • Future Security- college tuition, retirement, will or testament to family, life insurance
      • Miscellaneous- transportation, lessons, leagues/teams, concerts, vacations, trips, toys, candy, ice cream, gifts, video games, technology, etc.

      You must admit, these are FAIRLY important aspects in life (food, housing, AND CANDY) and this list only scratches the surface of responsibilities that a father may undertake as an important contributor or head of the household! Father’s Day is a time to say thank you to fathers who accept all of these duties and more. So how can we repay them? Remember, saying “thank you” is free of charge but is a simple phrase that can be worth more than you know! How will you celebrate Father’s Day?

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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        Debt Consolidation
        Debt Consolidation

        Debt Consolidation – Understanding how it Works

        A number of people have been able to get their lives back on track thanks to debt consolidation. You may have seen commercials or have read articles about the amazing benefits of debt consolidation, but you do not know exactly how it is possible to provide that much relief. It is possible, and if you are struggling with a large burden of debt, you should look into debt consolidation for yourself. It really does work! Let’s take a look at what exactly occurs during the debt consolidation process.

        A Debt Analysis Meeting

        Meet with a skilled credit counselor. But beware! You should not have to pay for a consultation or offer any personal information before you go in for a consultation. If you come across something like this, go elsewhere you are about to walk into a scam.

        A real, considerate credit counselor will meet with you for free with no obligations for future services or payments, and they will discuss with you in-depth your specific debt situation and the viable solutions that are available to you.

        Debt and Budget Planning

        Poor planning is what got you into a heap of debt to begin with. A credit counselor will work with you to hash out an acceptable financial plan moving forward. You’ll be able to determine exactly what benefits you will be getting out of a debt consolidation program and be able to ask all of the questions you want before you join the program.

        Time to Get Out of Debt!

        Once in the program, skilled credit counselors will work tirelessly to lower your interest rates and consolidate your payments into one monthly payment. You’ll no longer have to deal with those pesky creditors again!

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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          Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

          Making Money Matters Manageable in Your Marriage

          Mutual Money Management moneymarriage

          Is it love or money that makes the world go round? It’s both…Make money work for your marriage, not against it.  You need tips on strengthening your marriage through mutual management of your money.  This can be done and can even be fun!  Keep reading to find out how.

          Financial Honesty

          Have open, honest and non-confrontational discussions about your finances.  Set aside a regular time to talk about where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there…together.

          Budgeting and Strategic Spending

          Make budgeting a positive and fun project, rather than a chore.  Don’t view a budget as a way to plan spending out of your life.  News Flash: While you are alive, you will never stop spending money.  And, the ultimate goal is not to spend less, but to spend strategically and find ways to increase your income to continue to meet your financial goals.  Plan in the things you want and enjoy and work together to achieve them.

          Money Habits

          Be aware of your spouses habits and tendencies when it comes to finances.  Don’t eye one another to find fault, but look for opportunities to step in and offer encouragement or a listening ear.  Fear can lead people to hold onto finances tightly, or spend impulsively.  Find ways to help build faith and trust into each other, and encouraging one another daily.

          Reward Sacrifice

          Regardless of the roles you’ve decided upon in the area of finance, you are both working towards your mutual goals.  Look for opportunities to reward your spouse for their hard work.  Have they been making personal sacrifices to stay within the budget?  Acknowledge that in a way that will tell him or her: Thank you. I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m glad we are on the same team.

          Learn from Financial Freedom

          Get around other couples who are walking in financial freedom and learn from them.  Look for couples who are seasoned and successful in the area of mutual finance, and allow them to mentor you as a couple. They have been where you are and have insight into your success.

          The Three L’s

          Love much. Live well. Laugh often.  Always remember the love you have for your spouse.  Keep that as a forethought, prizing it more highly than anything money can buy.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

            Money, Love, and Marriage


            Marriage and Money

            Roses are red; violets are blue. No matter the cost, I’ll stand by you…

            Have you had the talk yet?…You know, the one about money, spending habits, future goals, budgeting…?

            If you haven’t, it should be a top priority for your relationship.  If you have, have it again.  Discussing finances should be a regular and healthy part of your lifestyle together.  Being on the same page in this area will protect your marriage (or future marriage) against the most common relational enemy.  You’ve heard the statistics.  Money and finances are the number one reason couples argue and ultimately divorce. Don’t let your marriage become a number.

            Make Finances a Joint Venture

            Regardless of you or your spouses accounting or investment skill set, planning out your financial future and implementing those strategies should be a mutual effort.  Coming together to decide matters in the area of finance will allow you both to be on the same page number…of the same book.  Couples drift away from each other day by day when they are not planning their future together.

            Relationships and matters of finance should not be left to one person alone, even if he or she is “better at it.”  This disconnects one partner from a key area and anytime one of the partners is left out of a major area of the relationship, it will lead to the two of them planning and living, by default, two separate lives.  We, as humans, are meant to be in relationship with each other, and drifters will eventually wash up on someone else’s shore.  So, make it a priority to come together and stay together in the area of financial planning.

            Tip for Financial Success

            Use this time of planning as an opportunity to build closeness into your relationship.

            Respect and Love

            The two greatest relational needs. Anytime you are communicating with your spouse, you are communicating either respect and love or their opposites.  Since the topic of finance can stir one or both of you up, be especially careful to communicate this respect, love and trust through words, tone and body language.

            Listen and Speak Lovingly

            Listen for his or her dreams, desires, goals, reasons.  Your partner has spending habits, as we all do.  Find out the why behind the what.  This will help you to understand your partner better and offer support when needed.

            Be a voice of encouragement. Speak highly of and to your spouse.  Build him or her up with your words. Remind your better-half how capable, intelligent and valued he or she is.  You have the power to build up or to tear down, and it starts with a simple comment.

            Give Financial Grace

            If this is a new process for your relationship, a new way of doing things financially.  Give yourselves grace to get through the transition. Old habits may die hard, but building new and healthy patterns into your relationship is definitely worth the initial investment!

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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              Christian Credit Counselors, Credit Counseling, Finance

              Christian Credit Counselors – Your Partner in Financial Advising

              Kingdom Financial Advisors

              As a Kingdom Advisor, you know the value of the individual and the financial potential each person has to live prosperous and free. You see the impact each client can have, not only on their own life and family, but widespread, from community to culture. Casting vision and capturing hearts, financial advising plays a unique role in one’s life. The relationship between you and your client is one built upon and secured by the foundation of trust.

              Clients seek financial advice at varied stages of life. There are those with a strong financial footing, those just beginning to build and those struggling to keep the lights on. Each stage of the financial journey requires advice tailored to suit the individualized needs of the client. As a financial advisor by trade, your skill set and expertise allow you to quickly recognize the needs of your clients and offer them the best personal guidance, designed to position them to prosper and achieve their financial dreams, and beyond.

              “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20

              Financial Biblical Principals

              Christian Credit Counselors (CCC), an accredited nonprofit agency, exists to serve individuals and families from Biblical principles of finance with the purpose of restoring financial peace, prosperity and freedom. Credit counseling and debt management are one aspect of financial advising, and Christian Credit Counselors serves as your powerful partner in releasing people from the burden and bondage of debt.

              “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” – Isaiah 61:1

              Financial Counseling and Encouragement

              At Christian Credit Counselors, clients receive counsel and encouragement to steward their finances well, pay back what is owed and use wisdom and good judgement in future borrowing. CCC offers a Debt Management Program designed to help clients systematically pay off unsecured debts in only three to five years and build a future of financial stewardship and generosity. Throughout the program, clients are provided free counsel and advice in the areas of credit and credit reports, budgeting, housing, collections and general financial education. Charitable giving and generosity is also an important aspect represented and modeled by Christian Credit Counseling through donations to local organizations like Catherine’s Children Home and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and through the CCC Food Pantry.

              Christian Credit Counselors is here to help and looks forward to partnering with you so that your clients can reach their God-given potential, experiencing life and finance as He intended!

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Credit Counseling, Debt, Finance, Goals, Money Management, Personal Goals

                Your Financial Future

                Your Financial Future

                Are you worried about where you stand financially or wonder about your financial future? Credit counseling can give you peace of mind.

                We all know that debt is a slippery slope for consumers. Knowing where you stand is the first step to walking forward in financial success. While internet research can provide a wealth of information about finances, credit counseling services take an individualized approach and paint a picture of where you are and where you’re headed. More than that, they will lay out the steps to get you there!

                Credit Counseling Service Benefits

                Credit counseling services offer experienced credit counselors who work with you to evaluate where you stand, where you’re going, and what to expect along the way. By carefully examining your monthly money trail, you’ll be able to put together a practical budget catered to your lifestyle. Not only will consumer credit counseling benefit you now, you’ll learn tips to help you succeed financially throughout your life!

                Your Debt Problems

                If you’ve already slipped into debt, you may feel absolutely helpless. Not knowing where to turn only adds to the problem. Well, now you have a solution! Credit counselors are an excellent source of advice and will guide you to available resources for situations just like yours.

                Debt management services help you get out of debt. And, being debt free will change your life! Watch your credit score increase and the collection calls cease. Save money on credit card interest and avoid the credit damaging option of bankruptcy.

                Step One to Financial Freedom

                This small first step leads to BIG changes – so start by enrolling in a debt management program! You’ll be learning and growing in a safe, accepting and helpful environment. Debt management counselors work hard to see you get back on the right financial track!

                So whether you’re interested in better financial management or you’d like to end the collection calls once and for all, take the first step to a more secure financial future – contact a credit counseling service today!

                Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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