Choosing a Credit (Debt) Repair Counselor

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How to Choose Your Credit (Debt) Repair Counselor

Have you reached the point where your credit card debt is no longer controllable? Do you sleep at night or do you spend the whole night tossing and turning wondering how you are going to pay off your debts and put food on the table for your family? Many families find themselves in similar situations either through ignorance of the credit system, or sickness and ill health, but more often because of loss of a job or income. A frequent cause is an inability to distinguish between needs and wants.

In many cases, debt management or consumer credit counseling may be required and counseling is available. Surprisingly, there are many free counseling services. You can find them through church, civic, and municipal groups. You can even find credit counselors on the Internet who offer services through local offices, and by telephone.

Look for a credit card counselor who offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service have nonprofit credit counseling programs. Nonprofit credit counseling programs can be found at your local bank, credit union, or local consumer protection agency. Additionally, many universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities operate free credit counseling services.

The many benefits of credit card counseling available include debt management classes, advice on managing your money, your rights as a consumer, and budget counseling,

Legitimate no-cost credit repair counseling organizations will give you free literature, educational materials, and workshops designed to help you solve your financial problems. They will work with you to help you develop a personal budget to solve your money problems, and in the worst cases, recommend therapy where appropriate.

Credit problems happen to the majority of people who need and use credit. Its the nature of the beast (no pun intended). Consumer credit card counseling is a great tool to have working for you and it should not be a cause for shame or embarrassment. Your goal is to get yourself debt free without borrowing any more money. Your job is to find a credit card counseling service and, as mentioned earlier, many are free.

But there is a caution here: youll find many "non profit" credit repair counseling services but the term non-profit does not necessarily guarantee free, or even affordable. You can find yourself paying some hefty fees or making sizeable "contributions" for their services.

Remember, you are looking for a free service. You should not be asked to pay for any of the information provided. Dont buy any credit management books or credit management courses. All of these things, if available, should be provided to you free of charge. If anyone asks you for a fee, it is not free and you should go elsewhere.

Look for counselors who are certified in consumer credit repair, budget counseling, and money and debt management. A legitimate organization should have credit counselors who will discuss your entire financial situation and not just present a credit management plan - kind of like a "treating the whole man" approach.

A legitimate credit counseling agency should provide you with their historical and organizational data without requiring you to provide any personal details. If there will be any charges, make sure you know what they will be going in.

One big problem you should know about that has been exacerbated by the Internet is identity theft. Identity thieves are not as interested in acquiring your persona as they are in acquiring your line of credit. Once they have your personal information they will probably open one or more new credit card accounts. First, notify your credit card companies of any irregularities in your accounts. Then, get in touch with your credit card counselor who can advise your best course of action, but you must act quickly.

This article was written by Jack Igan, a contributing editor and publisher at loans and credit for the credit and debt counseling services website at

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