Debt Consolidation

A 5-Step Guide To Choose The Best Credit Counseling Service In Your Area

If you follow the following steps thoroughly, you will definitely be able to choose the best credit counseling service in your area. It does take some time to do a thorough research, but it is always worth spending that much time if you want to work with the best, not with an unscrupulous agency. This 5-step guide will help you get the best value for your money and time.

Contact The NFCCS

NFCSS stands for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Services, which is a non-profit organization. When it comes to choosing the best credit counseling service in your area, the first thing you have to do is to contact the NFCSS and find out the detailed list of all those certified credit counselors who are offering their services within fifty miles of your zip code. If an agency that is an approved member of the NFCSS, it is a guarantee in itself that the agency is a reputable one when it is about providing debt management assistance and advice.

Do A Thorough Background Check Of The Agency By Contacting The Better Business Bureau

A reputable agency must also be duly accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The BBB maintains the past records of the services offered by their member agencies and also regulates their businesses by providing standards and best practices for its member agencies. If there have been consumer complaints against any credit counselor who has membership of the BBB, you can find the details of those complaints here. An agency with clean and impressive record with the BBB is an indication that they treat their clients in a fair and honest manner.

Membership With The AICCCA

While you are searching for the best credit counseling service, you are very much likely to come across many agencies that claim to be non-profit organizations. It is very important for you to understand that non-profit agencies also charge fee for their services. Many people have the misconception that such agencies offer their services for free as charity, which is not the case. It is just that they do not claim to make profit out of their business, but they still need money for maintenance and management. In order to find out whether such agencies are genuine and reputable, you must check if they have membership to the AICCCA (The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies). The AICCCA provides compliance oversight for its members and sets industry standards.

Contact the U.S. Department of justice

The U.S. Department of Justice runs several programs to educate people who are either filing or considering filing for bankruptcy. As part of this process, they also maintain a detailed list of all those certified agencies that offer best credit counseling service. The best thing is that they update this list regularly. Please note that this list is accessible to everybody who wants it regardless of whether they are filing for bankruptcy or not.

Do A Thorough Comparison Shopping

The above four steps will help you find a detailed list of many credit counseling agencies that are reputable, but you are strongly recommended not to sign up withy just any one of them on a random basis. It is always better to first do a thorough comparison shopping. The best way to do this is to shortlist at least 3-4 top agencies and then to consult each of them. Interview each of them to find out the details of the services they are offering, how may they charge, and how exactly they can help you with your specific case. Ask for the list of their previous clients. It will be a nice idea to contact those clients either on phone or through personal visits to know more about their experiences while they were working with that specific counselor.

When you finally decide to go for the best credit counseling service, do not hurry to sign a contract. Take some time top read it thoroughly and sign it only after you are 100% sure that you understand the terms and conditions and that there are no hidden clauses or hidden charges associated with the same. Pay special attention to what specific services they are offering and how much and in what mode they charge their fee.


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