Free Consumer Credit Counseling
A certified credit counselor can help you find an easier way to get out of debt.
[On-screen text] Is Getting Out of Debt Really THIS Easy?
So, you’re ready to get out of debt once and for all. You decided to start down the path to freedom from debt, and that can seem intimidating. But it’s really not.
In fact, it’s pretty easy.
[On-screen text] How it works…
Here’s how credit counseling works in three simple steps.
[On-screen text] 1. Make the call
When you’re ready, make the phone call
[On-screen text] Free Debt Analysis!
When you call Consolidated Credit, you’ll speak with a certified counselor who will give you a free debt analysis. These experts pass a test every two years to keep up-to-date on the latest, proven debt fighting tactics.
They’ll literally ask you, “What’s your debt story?”
[On-screen text] 2. They’ll assess your situation
Next, they’ll assess your situation. Once your counselor understands your problem, they’ll go over your debts and expenses, and they’ll ask for permission to look at your credit report. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything and it won’t hurt your credit score. This is what’s known as a soft pull. A hard pull is when a lender accesses your credit report because you’re seeking a loan.
Consolidated Credit is only seeking to get you out of debt.
[On-screen text] 3. A personalized debt plan
After going over everything with you, your counselor will come up with a customized strategy to help get you out of debt. And this assessment will cost you nothing but the time you spend on the phone.
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet, Consolidated Credit has helped 6.5 million people over the past 26 years. And, we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Call us now if you still have questions.
[On-screen text] Still have questions? 1-800-995-0737
Oh, wait. We forgot the fourth step – getting rid of that awful stress that comes with being in debt. That’s our favorite step of them all.
How do you know if you need credit counseling?
Nonprofit consumer credit counseling services exist to help consumers who are struggling to get out of credit card debt. They evaluate your debts, credit and budget to help you find the right best solution for your needs and goals. Since most people don’t know about the various debt solutions that they can use until they need them, certified credit counselors are there to help fill the gap.
If you have multiple credit card balances that you need to pay off and you aren’t sure about which debt relief option to use, then free credit counseling is for you.
What is credit counseling?
Consumer credit counseling services are not a debt solution in and of itself. It’s a service intended to help you identify the best possible debt solution for your needs. In that sense, credit counseling is essentially a consumer advocacy service. A credit counselor is there to help you make the best possible plan to get out of debt in a way that works for your budget.
Credit counseling doesn’t have to be so confusing. Here’s a super-easy 60-second explanation of how credit counseling works.
If you’re facing financial distress because of debt, you have a few options when it comes to finding relief. Credit counseling helps you zero in on the right option to use in your situation. That way, you can rest easy knowing your debt solution is actually going to work.
You start the process with a free debt evaluation to see where you stand. A certified credit counselor looks at your debts, budget and credit score to help you decide which solution will work for you.
If a debt management program ends up being your best option, then your credit counselor can also help you enroll in the program. They can tell you how much you’ll pay on the program and how long it should take versus what it would typically take on your own.
So if you’re struggling to get ahead of your debt, we can help! Call Consolidated Credit today for a free debt evaluation with a certified credit counselor. Together, we can find the best solution so you can finally beat your problems with debt.
How does credit counseling work?
Step 1: Make a free, no-obligation, toll-free phone call
When you finally get fed up with your debt, pick up the phone and call a nonprofit consumer credit counseling service. The call takes about 30 minutes to complete the evaluation. The counselor will ask for some basic information and then ask for you to explain your situation.
This step is crucial because it helps the counselor understand the root cause of challenges with debt. That way, they can help you make effective plans to get out of debt – and to stay that way.
Step 2: Get a free debt and budget evaluation
Next, you and your credit counselor will dive into your financial situation. They’ll get details about your debt – how much you owe, who you owe and what your interest rates are. They’ll also gather information about your income and budget.
They’ll also ask for the last four digits of your Social Security number, so they can do a soft credit pull. This means they’ll check your credit report to see where your credit stands. This soft pull doesn’t affect your credit score.
Step 3: Customize a plan to get out of debt
Finally, the counselor will help you understand your options for getting out of debt. Credit counseling services can help you set up a debt management plan. However, as long as you work with a nonprofit credit counseling agency, they won’t push you into that solution. By law, if there are other solutions that would work better in your situation, they must recommend it. They can advise if you’d be better with a debt consolidation loan or if you may be better off filing for bankruptcy.
If a debt management program is your best option for getting out of debt, the credit counselor will help you find monthly payment that works for your budget. Then they get to work negotiating with your creditors. They focus on reducing or eliminating the interest rates applied to your debt and stopping any penalties and fees. This makes it faster and easier to pay off your balances.
Ready to get started? Connect with a certified credit counselor now for your free debt evaluation.
FIND RELIEF TODAY
How much does credit counseling cost?
How much does credit counseling cost?
You won’t believe how much, because the counseling is free.
A certified credit counselor gives you a free debt analysis because it doesn’t make sense to pay money to find out if you can get out of debt.
You’ll learn about your debts, your credit, and your budget. You might be eligible for a debt management program. A DMP can cut your total credit card payments by up to 30 to 50 percent.
But there is a fee involved for most DMP clients, and that ranges from $0 to $79 a month. This depends on your debt amount, state regulations and your budget.
Even if you don’t want to sign up for a DMP or you find out it’s not really the best solution for you, you can always use the free debt analysis to save you money. The only cost? About 30 minutes of your time.
|First credit counseling session||Free|
|Debt management program||Fees vary by state, capped at $79 nationwide|
With nonprofit credit counseling services, the initial credit counseling sessions are always free. You are not obligated to sign up for anything. That means you can get an expert opinion on your debt and the best way to get out of it without incurring another bill.
Once you decide to enroll in a debt management program, there is are setup and monthly administration fees. Nationwide, those fees are capped at $79, but most people end up paying about $40. These fees are relatively low compared to other solutions, like debt settlement.
How consumer credit counseling impacts your credit
As long as it’s done correctly, credit counseling and enrolling in a debt management program should have no negative impact on your credit score. The credit check done during your free credit counseling session is a soft pull, so the credit inquiry will not have any negative effect.
Even if you decide to enroll in a debt management plan, it should still have a positive or neutral effect on your credit. Since your creditors agree to accept reduced payments through the credit counseling agency, you build a positive payment history on your credit report with each monthly payment you make. Paying down your balances also improves your credit utilization ratio, which is the second biggest factor in calculating your credit score.
What to look for to find the best credit counseling service
- Make sure the agency is rated highly by the Better Business Bureau.
- Check consumer reports and independent third-party reviews online.
- Make sure the organization is a member of an accredited trade association. Consolidated Credit is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), formerly the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros).
- Find an agency that has a proven track record of working with the creditors that you have accounts with.
- Ask what financial education materials they offer. A good agency will help you learn better money management skills, so you can avoid challenges with debt in the future.
- Then get a feel for the company in your free credit counseling session. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident in the service, remember that you’re under no obligation to sign up for anything
Credit counseling FAQ
Can I complete credit counseling online?
You can start the credit counseling process online by completing a free debt analysis form. This will provide all the basic information that a credit counselor needs to complete your free credit counseling session. However, after that, you will need to talk directly to the credit counselor. That’s easiest over the phone.
After you enroll in the program, you’ll be able to track your progress and communicate with the client services team through Consolidated Credit’s online members portal.
Does credit counseling work for debt collections?
Yes. Although it’s primarily intended for debts that are still with the original creditors, credit counseling can help with collections. It may also be able to help with unpaid medical bills, unsecured loans including debt consolidation loans, and even some payday loans. Credit counseling does not work for debts that have collateral, such as your mortgage or auto loan, or for student loan debt.
Can credit counseling help with collections?
Credit counseling can help with credit card debts that are already in debt collections. Consolidated Credit President Gary Herman explains how credit counseling works when a debt is already with a third-party collector and why a debt management program may be less beneficial when debts are already charged off.
Debts in collections absolutely can be included on a debt management program. If it’s with the original creditor, even if it’s not with the original creditor, in a lot of cases we’re able to get the original creditor to accept the payments back again. Any card that’s closed and you’re still carrying a balance – any payments that you make directly to the creditor will be applied 100% to the balance. The only thing that may vary by account is whether there’s still late fees or interest being applied.
Most of the benefits from a debt management program come before accounts get charged off – basically before an account gets closed is when we can have the biggest effect on saving you money and helping you get out of debt sooner. Once an account’s closed, it’s charged off – the bank has already written it off, but you still owe them the money, it still shows up on your credit report, and you’re still obligated to make payments.
If it’s sold to a collection agency and now someone else owns it, we can still attempt to help you with them, although it’s not a credit card company and it may be a collection agency that we don’t have a relationship with, it’s included in our service for us to reach out to them and try to work out a payment plan for our clients. The major benefits of the program really come when you’re working with the credit card companies because they have an interest in seeing you rehabilitated, educated, and they want you back as a customer.
BONUS QUESTION: Credit counseling agencies, in general, do not help with removing things that are accurate from a credit report. And, in fact, if you did owe the money and you were behind on it, and even if you make an agreement to pay it, the credit card companies are obligated to report – not why – but if something happened.
Do my spouse and I have to go through credit counseling together?
That depends on your accounts. If you hold accounts jointly, then you would need to go through credit counseling and debt management program enrollment together. If you maintain separate accounts and only wish to enroll your debts, then you can do credit counseling without your partner.
Are Spouses Required to Enroll Together?
President Gary Herman explains when a husband and wife would be required to enroll in a debt management program together and when they can enroll individually if one person wants to enroll without the other.
Ok, you’re asking a very good question about do a husband and wife need to be on a credit counseling account together, and the answer is it really depends on your situations. There are reasons why you would want both people on the program and reasons why you may not want both people on the program, and it would really involve me getting to know more about what your individual situation is outside of the debt management program. The only people who are obligated to participate in the debt management program are the people who are the actual signers on the accounts. These are the people who have signed the loan application, promising the credit card companies that they’re responsible for making the payments. This is different from an authorized user. You may have a credit card and you could ask the credit card company to give you another card in your husband’s name, and then he’s just an authorized user – he never signed a piece of paper saying that, “If neither of us pay, I’m still responsible for paying.” If that card is with a bank that you’re also including another card from that bank on the program that’s just in your name, you would have an issue that would affect that card. The simple answer is, if want to just put your cards on the program you can, we can do the budgeting work just on you, we can do it on you and your household, or we can do both. But in the end, if your name’s on the card you’re the only one who has to join the program.
Is credit counseling the same as bankruptcy counseling?
No. When filing for bankruptcy, you are now required to go through a specialized credit counseling program known as pre-bankruptcy counseling. Pre-bankruptcy counseling is a required 60 to 90-minute session that has a fee of around $50. Fees vary by state and may be waived if you can’t afford to pay. But this is different from the free credit counseling session that you receive from a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency.