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Steps to Choosing a Credit Counseling Agency
Looking for ways to make sure a particular credit counseling agency is legitimate? With the country’s consumer debt at over $11.5 trillion, more and more credit counseling agencies are sprouting up to fill a growing need for debt management. Unfortunately, not all of them are reputable. That’s why it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions before making a decision.
CreditGuard: A Credit Counseling Agency You Can Trust
Our A+ Better Business Bureau rating and proven track record show us to be an industry leader. In fact, since 1991 we’ve helped Americans save over $1.7 billion in debt and interest charges. Because of our strong relationships with the credit card companies and long history in the business, our approach to debt management is unique and proven to help you get out of debt.
Checking the Legitimacy of Credit Counseling Agencies
A reputable credit counseling agency will offer free expert information about its services and potential solutions for your debt problems. As per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), here are a few basic questions you should ask:
- What types of services are offered? A reputable credit counseling agency will offer a variety of services, which include both credit counseling and debt management.
- Is the agency accredited? In order to make sure the agency is legitimate, be sure to check their accreditation. Are they recognized by the Better Business Bureau? If so, what is their rating?
- How are they funded? Is the agency nonprofit or for profit? This is a very important distinction to make, and while not all for-profit agencies behave in the same manner, most tend to charge higher fees and sometimes advise services that aren’t in the best interest of the consumer.
- How much do they charge? Make sure the counseling agency charges a percentage of the amount you save instead of offering flat rates, as agencies that charge a percentage will naturally work in your best interest by helping you find the best rates possible. Usually, anywhere between 1-2 percent is the standard.
- Is your information private? Never share your personal and financial information with an untrustworthy firm. Make sure your agency respects your concerns for privacy and recognizes your need for appropriate protection and management of any and all financial information you submit to them.
- Are their counselors qualified? One of the easiest ways to check an agency’s legitimacy is to check their counselors’ qualifications. You can contact local consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau offices to inquire about an agency’s legitimacy.
- Is there a written contract? Verbal promises are “made to be broken,” so make sure all the terms and conditions are succinctly written out before signing any deal.
Wondering where we stand? Our A+ Better Business Rating and 20-plus years of experience make us an industry leader. Our highly trained and certified credit counselors will work with you to help put you back on track to financial recovery, and our nonprofit credit counseling services will help make sure you have the financial know-how to never fall behind on your bills again. We not only help you get out of debt, we help you stay out.
Debt Help and Relief
Contact us online by filling out the form above, or call CreditGuard of America at 1-800-500-6489 for more information on our nonprofit credit counseling and debt counseling agency.
Certified Credit Counselors are available [cga_hours].