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Credit Counseling Questions

Many times people who are in debt do not know what to do if they are unable to repay it. They feel completely lost and frustrated. Credit counseling can prove to be helpful in such situations. This is a process by which an individual is educated on how he/she may avoid debts that cannot be repaid. The agency will help the individual come up with a debt management plan and will also try and negotiate with the creditors to reduce the amount owed. People may have several questions about credit counseling and may not know where to look for the answers. Given below are some of the most commonly asked questions about credit counseling that have been answered by Experts.

How can credit counseling have a negative impact on an individual’s credit score?

In some cases, credit counseling may have a negative impact on an individual’s credit scores. The debts may be reported as a part of credit counseling, some payments will be considered as late payments and some other creditors may report other items on the individual’s credit. As a result, many people consider credit counseling to be just one step behind of filing for bankruptcy. There are credit counseling agencies that may use the first few months’ payment from an individual as their own fees and not pay the creditors. This will affect the individual’s credit score. There are many others that may only help the individual pay off his/her debt within a specific period of time and not try to negotiate with the creditors to reduce the amount owed. Hence, it is very important to choose a legitimate credit counseling agency and work with them only after understanding all of their procedures.

What are the things that one must look into before choosing a credit counseling agency?

One must do a little bit of research on credit counseling agencies before choosing to work with them. If the agency sounds too good to be true, then it would be better to avoid it as most of the times, it may not be very good. Some of the things that one must look into while researching a counseling agency are given below:

As far as possible do not contact agencies from advertisements, telephone and television offers. Most states in the US have made it a requirement for credit counseling agencies to be licensed. Hence, check with the state before contacting any agency.

Check with the state attorney general, state consumer affairs department and the better business bureau regarding any complaints about the agency that you choose to work with.

Verify the agency’s status and make sure it is registered under the federal trustee program.

Find out about the fee structure of the agency before working with it. Inform the agency beforehand if you cannot pay them so that they can waive their fees. There are many nonprofit agencies that can help you without a fee.

Is it compulsory to take credit counseling if a person is filing for bankruptcy?

It may be compulsory to take credit counseling if an individual is filing bankruptcy in most situations. One may take the counseling online or over the telephone as well.

Why is one required to take credit counseling before filing a bankruptcy?

One is required to take credit counseling before filing bankruptcy in order to evaluate the financial situation, think of an alternative to repay the debt and to create a personal budget plan.

What recourse would an individual have if a credit counseling agency took his/her money but did not pay the creditors?

If a credit counseling company takes money from an individual but does not pay creditors with it, he/she may file a complaint against the company with the police, the Attorney General’s office, the better business bureau and the department of consumer affairs.

Credit counseling services, though known to have an impact on an individual’s credit score need not always make a negative impact. If one does proper research on the agency and chooses the agency only after checking with the state and other offices like the better business bureau, counseling can actually turn out to be helpful to someone who wants to clear off debt. However, your search for the right agency can give rise to many questions about the service itself. You may ask an Expert if you have any questions or need further information about these services.

Ask a Financial Professional

Rakhi Vasavada
Rakhi Vasavada, Financial and Legal Consultant
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 2164
Experience:  Graduated in law with Emphasis on Finance and have have been working in financial sector for over 12 Years
43581946
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Rakhi Vasavada
Financial and Legal Consultant
Satisfied Customers: 2073
Graduated in law with Emphasis on Finance and have have been working in financial sector for over 12 Years
Manal Elkhoshkhany
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Satisfied Customers: 1890
More than 5000 online tutoring sessions.
Megan C
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Satisfied Customers: 1755
Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level

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