When Do You Use A Credit Counseling Service

By: Alvin Toh

If you are consistently paying your bills late, credit counseling services may be able to help you negotiate lower interests and payment plans with your creditors. A credit counselor determines your eligibility for a debt consolidation program or debt management plan. The main advantage is that you only need to make one payment per month to a credit counseling service, which then sends the payment to your creditors. You save by paying lower interest rates and avoiding late payments charges. It is also easier to manage a single debt as all your debt repayments are consolidated into a single monthly payment.

Credit counseling services' fees are usually paid by creditors to whom debt payments are distributed. This raises doubts on the objectivity of credit counseling services. Many believed that they are used by creditors to collect debts.

There are so many credit counseling services, so it is imperative to research them carefully before signing up for one.

There are message boards and websites where you can ask people for their opinions and feedback on credit counseling services. A money based message board can be a good place to learn about people's experiences. You can check with a credit counseling service's local Better Business Bureau to see if there had been any complaint against it and with its local courthouse to see if it had been sued. Reviews of various credit counseling services and their debt consolidation programs can be found by searching on the internet. Beware of bogus credit counseling services that ask for high upfront fees and promise that you can pay off your debts for less than what you actually owe. Avoid credit counseling services with no accreditation.

Credit counseling is definitely not for you if you are able to pay your bills on time. Don't be fooled by credit counseling services that offer to negotiate lower interest rates for you. They may only end up hurting your credit score.

When do you need a credit counseling service? You may consider seeking the help of a credit counselor if you are constantly paying your bills late, chased by your creditors, unable to make minimum payments on your credit cards or fail to negotiate repayment plans with your creditors.

If you are heavily in debt, credit counseling services may not be able to help you negotiate payment plans. In this case, you may need to get a bank loan and consolidate existing debts by yourself. Your last option is to file for bankruptcy.

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