“There are plenty of companies that will charge you a lot to do very little, or nothing at all,” Weston says. “But some can provide a legitimate serviceby helping people through a process that they could do themselves, but may not want to.” Doing it yourself It’s possible to repair your own credit, over time, by squaring your debts and keeping your financial nose clean. But a credit counseling agency can ease the process — especially if you’re deeply indebted — by negotiating those lower interest rates and fees. With that kind of help, repayment should be less stressful and faster. “Faster,” however, is a relative term. It will take time. Depending on how much you owe, it could take up to several years to satisfy your financial obligations. It works only if you work it. One of the things you’ll have to do if you go through an agency is cut up your credit cards — and sometimes that really hurts. Cunningham says that clients sometimes shed actual tears as they wield the scissors. No pain, no gain. Readers: Have you ever gone to credit counseling? More on MSN Money: DATA PROVIDERS Copyright 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved. Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc . Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc . Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc . Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics . IPO data provided by Hoover’s Inc . Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc . Feedback ABOUT SMART SPENDING Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter . Editor Bev O’Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians.A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007.She’s a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things. Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can’t help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She’s written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others.
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Credit Counseling Programs And Services Offering Powerful Help With Debt In 2013
More >> Credit cards arent all bad Paying with credit sometimes is a smarter move than using debit. Take a look at how credit cards can benefit you. More >> Paying with credit sometimes is a smarter move than using debit. Take a look at how credit cards can benefit you. More >> Financial advice for newlyweds If you are saying “I do” (or recently did), it’s time to get serious not only about your relationship, but about your future financial outlook as a couple. More >> If you are saying “I do” (or recently did), it’s time to get serious not only about your relationship, but about your future financial outlook as a couple. More >> Here are six ways to make and save a little extra cash each month. More >> Here aresix ways to make and save a little extra cash each month. More >> By Andrew Housser The demand for credit counseling has risen over the last decade. After Congress changed credit card rules with the Credit CARD (Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure) Act in 2009, credit card companies started recommending counseling for consumers who are having problems making minimum payments. As well, counseling is now a required step before filing for bankruptcy. As with all things involving money, there are pros and cons to seeking the assistance of a credit counselor. The basics, though, start with understanding the “credit counseling” term. Some credit counseling agencies are non-profit, while some are for-profit. In most cases, credit counseling agencies set consumers up with a debt management plan (DMP) that often reduces the consumer’s monthly payment obligation. The agencies can do this because they maintain pre-arranged agreements with credit card companies that debt settlement allow them to lower interest rates on existing debt to a creditor-issued “concession rate.” Benefits of Credit Counseling Counselors teach smart money skills. A true credit counseling agency will spend at least an hour reviewing your entire debt situation and overall financial position. This initial interview should be free of charge.
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Determine if credit counseling is right for you
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT Buried in debt? Living paycheck to paycheck? Worried about debt collectors? Can’t seem to develop a workable budget, let alone save money for retirement? If this sounds familiar, considering the services of a credit counselor can be a smart decision. Choosing a Credit Counselor Many reputable consumer credit counseling providers are non-profit and offer services at local offices, online, or on the phone. If possible, it is recommended to find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate non-profit credit counseling programs. A persons financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals. Questions to Ask Here are some questions to ask to help a person find the best credit counselor: What services do they offer? Many organizations may offer a range of services, including budget counseling, savings 101, and debt settlement or debt negotiation services the process of settling ones debt for a significantly reduced amount. In addition to helping solve ones immediate problem, will they help them develop a plan for avoiding problems in the future? What are their fees? Are there set-up and/or monthly fees? Getting a specific price quote in writing is recommended.
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