Credit Counseling Agencies help people through debt consolidation, financial education, and by teaching good credit practices. They will contact creditors to reduce interest rates, extend loans, eliminate finance charges, and educate consumers on ways to prevent future problems. If you are facing bankruptcy or foreclosure, contacting a Credit Counseling Agency is a way to find information and see what options are open to you.
Where to Look for Credit Counseling Agencies
Go online or call the Department of Justice to find information on approved Credit Counseling Agencies. The information is provided through the U.S. Trustee Program. State specific agencies are listed on the website. You can find the information through the link provided in the resources section.
Look in your local phone book for listings of Credit Counseling Agencies in your area. Check any counseling agencies you are considering using out with the Better Business Bureau and States Attorney’s Office to see if complaints have been issued against them.
Do a search for agencies in your area online. Enter your state or county into the search bar along with the words, Credit Counseling Agency, to find the one’s closest to you. You are sure to find numerous results with this method. Call the agency and speak with a representative. This will give you an idea of their professionalism and let you get a feel for the company. Trust your instincts. Do not do business with any agency that gives you a bad vibe when speaking with them on the phone.
Check with the Consumer Protection Agency to see which Credit Counseling Agencies have good reputations. The Consumer Protection Agency provides valuable information that helps consumers chose wisely and avoid scams.
Ask friends and family members for recommendations. If you know anyone who has used a Credit Counseling Agency, ask his or her opinion of the experience. Word of mouth is a great way to get information about places. People you know are more likely to give unbiased testimonies. You’ll learn the good, bad and ugly of dealing with a particular agency.
Call 411-operator information to find Credit Counseling Agencies in your area. You give your city and state, and they will provide phone numbers for the agencies. You can then check them out to see which you prefer.
Tips for Dealing with Credit Counseling Agencies
Only use agencies that are members of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. This ensures the agency you use is following quality standards and protocols.
Find out about any fees before agreeing to do business with a particular agency.
Read all forms carefully before signing.