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Services Provided Through Credit Counseling

In addition to being in debt as a result of home mortgages, car loans, student loans, medical expenses, and personal loans, many individuals are also in financial trouble due to an excessive amount of credit card debt. Charging certain items here and there is one thing, but when consumers begin to live solely on credit, they can end up in serious financial trouble. As their interest rates climb higher and higher, it becomes increasingly difficult to juggle several payments each month. Fortunately, there are certain steps that can be taken to turn things around for the better. In fact, one of the ways in which consumers can manage their debt is through credit card counseling.

Candidates for Credit Counseling Services

The main objective of credit card counseling services is to help those in debt learn effective financial management in an effort to reduce debt. However, it’s also important to be aware that credit counseling may not be the best option for every debtor. This is because those who are in heavy debt often require more assistance than credit card counseling services may be able to provide. The best candidates for credit card counseling services are those who are in the following types of situations:

  • Inability to make minimum monthly payments on credit cards
  • Habitually late in bill payments
  • Being on the receiving end of harassing phones calls, letters and notices by collection agencies and creditors
  • Being rejected by creditors after attempting to work out a payment plan

Credit Card Counselors

When consumers sign up for credit counseling services, one of the first things the company does is assign them to a counselor. The counselor’s job is to thoroughly examine the individual’s finances, including his/her income and all the debts which are owed. Consumers typically need to provide the credit counselor with detailed information relating to their salary, monthly expenses and debt repayments. Based on this information, credit counseling services are able to recommend ways in which individuals can cut costs and allocate more money towards paying down their debt. Additionally, consumers also learn how to better manage their finances, which allows them to avoid creating further debt.

Negotiating with Creditors

Because every debtor is in a different type of financial bind, their situation may call for different types of debt relief solutions. For example, some debtors may require an entirely new payment plan. In this scenario, the counselor usually contacts the individual’s creditors and attempts to negotiate an affordable repayment plan. In most cases, negotiations can result in the following adjustments to the consumer’s debt:

  • Smaller monthly payment
  • Lower interest rates
  • Waived late fees

Credit Card Consolidation

A big part of the services that credit card counseling agencies provide consumers with is debt consolidation. Credit card debt consolidation specifically allows debtors to bundle all the payments owed to different creditors into one single bill. This significantly reduces the financial burden of making numerous payments to multiple creditors each month. Therefore, individuals end up making one low interest rate payment to the credit counseling agency, which in turn helps them distribute the funds to all their creditors. Credit consolidation also enables individuals to have access to some extra cash for other expenses they may need to finance.

Once individuals agree to the new terms and conditions set forth by their credit counselor and creditors, it’s important for them to follow the payment plan. It also helps to attend the various financial management courses that credit counseling agencies may be offering as part of their services. This is because education is usually the first step in prevention, and debt is no exception. These classes can also help consumers to stay on the right track and avoid making future financial mistakes.

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