Consolidated Credit’s Comprehensive Certified Credit Counseling Guide

See if certified debt counseling services are the right choice to help you get out of debt.

So, you have high credit card balances with even higher interest rates. You make minimum payments on time every month, but your balances never seem to go down. Maybe you’ve even tried negotiating with your creditors one-on-one to work out a repayment plan at a lower rate. Still, you can’t seem to get ahead. It may be time to get help from a certified credit counseling service.

What is credit counseling?

Certified credit counselors offer free financial advice to people who want to to pay off high-interest credit card debt. They help you evaluate your debts, budget and credit to find the best path for you to get out of debt. This can be invaluable, since most people don’t know about the various options for debt relief until they need to use them.

Learn how counseling can give you an edge »

How credit counseling works

There are two key parts to the counseling process:

  1. Free debt evaluation and budget counseling
  2. Debt management program enrollment
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The first step of the process is simply speaking with a credit counselor for a free, confidential debt evaluation. They assess your budget, debt, cash flow and credit situation. This helps determine which debt solutions from the range available will work for you.

Learn more about what to expect from your first counseling session »

In some cases, they help you identify and find solutions that you can use on your own. For instance, if you have good credit, you may be able to take out a debt consolidation loan. In other cases, if you don’t have a good score or you have too much debt, you may need other help.

If the counselor determines that a Debt Management Plan will be beneficial, they can help you enroll. This means the agency assists you in creating a repayment plan that will help you get out of debt faster.

Know what to expect from a debt management program »

Meet Consolidated Credit’s Certified Credit Counselors

Each month, we ask our counselors and customer service representatives about their work helping people get out of debt.

Q: What’s your most memorable counseling experience?

Sheila West“I got a call from an executive with a major company. He was a big earner with high income, but he also had close to $200,000 in credit card debt. It moved me because it shows no matter how much money you earn, it doesn’t mean you don’t have problems. This man and his family had an autistic child who was severely brain damaged at birth. They used credit cards to cover schooling and medical procedures. Financial challenges don’t discriminate, even if you have money.” Sheila, Certified Credit Counselor

Lilisbeth F.“One day a client started telling me about her situation: She was facing problems with the IRS and about to lose her car. She only had 4 months left on the program, but she wanted to give up. I said, “You still have a home, you have a place to live, so stick with it and you will be OK.” Once she completed the program to eliminate almost $100,000 in debt, things did get better.” Lilisbeth, Customer Service Representative

Hope G.“There was a lady who walked into our office requesting to speak to someone. She had a shopping addition so bad she rented a little warehouse to store all the stuff that she was buying. She said, “Sometimes I don’t even wear the stuff. There are shoes in there that I bought and just stuck in there.””
Hope, Customer Service Representative

Read more credit counseling and customer service stories »

Is credit counseling the right choice?

Asking for financial help isn’t always easy. Fear, feelings of intimidation or humiliation, and pride can all get in the way. However, any delay in asking for help can limit the number of options you have for debt relief.

Here are a few stories from clients we helped who had similar feelings:

Uncovering the benefits certified financial counseling offers

There are five main benefits provided when you work with a credit counselor:

  1. A credit counselor provides an impartial professional perspective.
  2. They’re expert negotiators
  3. They have a variety of free financial resources to offer
  4. They’re flexible when it comes to help you repay your debt
  5. The advice they offer is free

In addition, they can help you answer any questions you have about your debt or debt management programs. Here is an example of a question we answered recently:

Additional resources to help you decide

At Consolidated Credit, we understand the decision to reach out for help can be tough. We’ve developed a selection of articles that can help you decide if it’s time to get counseling yourself.