Debt Counseling Agency - How Do They Work?

By: Michael Williams

Debt is running neck-to-neck with the increased cost of living. If you are experiencing the pains of debt, consider the advantages and disadvantages of a debt counseling service. Primarily there are two types of debt counseling services available, for profit and non-profit programs. In addition, consider what the creditors have to gain with you using debt counseling. Of course, they want their money and they stand a much higher chance of receiving it if you use debt counseling services than they do if you choose to file for bankruptcy.

Consumer debt agencies that are for profit, charge a fee in a couple of ways:

  • Charging a flat fee based on your ability to pay, they usually have a sliding scale to determine their fee for services
  • Charging a percentage based on how much debt you owe or if you decide to have them act on your behalf a percentage of the amount they pay your creditors

If you are considering a debt counseling service that is non-profit, look carefully at what they have to offer. Many "for profit" agencies disguise themselves as "non-profit" and consumers are surprised when they are suddenly required to pay hidden fees.

Whichever debt counseling service you choose they are there to assist you in becoming free of debt. They can show you the warning signs that you need help, which are good to know so that you can watch for them in your financial future. Some signs to look for include:

  • What percentage of your take home income is going to your creditors? If it is more than 20 percent, you should begin to eliminate some of your debt.
  • Are you dipping into your savings account to pay for daily expenses?
  • How many times have your frequented the cash advance businesses to get you through until next pay period?

These are definite red flags going up in your financial life and you should heed them. If you seek assistance from a debt counseling service early, it will take you less time to get out of debt. When you call an agency, they will go over your financial information with you. Show you the size of your debt and offer ways to eliminate your debt. They can show how to reduce your monthly payments, or consolidate so that you are making only one payment per month and stop or lower your interest and/or fees.

Heed the warning signs in your financial life and take action to stop the debt from growing by contacting one of several debt counseling services today.

Debt, Loans & Business Cashflow
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