If you are working towards getting out of debt you may be considering using a credit counseling service to help you reach your goal. You need to be wary of credit counseling services. They may seem an easy way to solve all of your debt problems, but often they are too good to be true. If you do choose to use a credit counseling service, you will need to carefully research them before you choose one.
1. What Will a Credit Counseling Service Do?
When you visit a credit counseling service, a counselor will sit down with you and help you set up a budget. This will require that you cut your expenses. Next they will determine a set amount that you will pay them every month. Often they will do this with an automatic payment. After you pay this amount they will then pay each of your debts individually. They may contact your credit card companies, and see if they can lower interest rates and payment. With their plan, you may be able to get out of much more quickly then you originally thought.
2. What Are the Downsides to Using a Credit Counseling Service?
There are several downsides to using this process. It will go on your credit report that you are using a credit counseling service. While this doesn't affect your credit score, banks may not consider lending to you again, because you needed help to get out of debt. Additionally for every decent credit counseling company there are several more that are not very reliable. If you go this route, you will need to check with your Better Business Bureau before you go for an appointment.
3. Can You Trust a Credit Counseling Service?
It is important to realize that the credit counseling services receive money from the banks and credit card companies. They may not have your best interest in mind. Additionally, everything that they do you can do yourself and save yourself money. You need to take control of your financial habits, and change your habits to succeed in the future.
4. Alternatives to a Credit Counseling Service
Instead of talking to a credit counseling service, you can set up your own budget. If you want another opinion on the budget, then share it with a trusted mentor or friend. You can even post it in the forum here to get feedback. Second you will need to set up a debt payment plan. Third, call your creditors to see if they can lower your interest rate. Then stick to your plan and you will be debt free before you know it.
5. Seeking Help Elsewhere
If you feel that you need help with your finances, you may want to turn to someone that you trust to ask for help. Ideally you should look for someone who is in control of his finances, and understands what it takes to succeed financially. There is nothing wrong with receiving help and advice with your finances. If you are considering bankruptcy, the law requires that you visit a credit counseling service in the six months prior to your filing bankruptcy. It is a better resort than bankruptcy, and if you need the help you should look for a reputable company.