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Debt Counseling

 “When you need to borrow money the Mob seems like a better deal I think. 'You don't pay me back I break both yer legs.' Is that all? You won't take my house or wreck my credit rating? Fine where do I sign. Legs? Fine. You don't even have to sign anything. ”
Craig Ferguson

Payday Lending


Initial consultations for debt counseling are usually free and confidential. Credit counseling services make their money by arranging and administering debt management plans. Agencies create these plans by negotiating with creditors for reduced interest rates. Some agencies charge clients a monthly fee or a percentage of what is owed. Stay away from debt settlement agencies that promise to wipe away 40 to 90 percent of the credit card debt. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Two warning signs to look for are if the company will not review your information until you pay a fee or if they ask for your name and credit card number but they don’t ask any questions about your debt.

For a list of nonprofit credit counseling services in your area go to: The National Foundation for Credit Counseling www.nfcc.org  or The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies at www.aiccca.org
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.

What they Do

NFCC member agencies provide financial reviews and education to millions of consumers each year in person, over the phone, or online. Every NFCC member agency client receives comprehensive money management services based on their individual needs. NFCC member agencies provide a variety of free and affordable services including:

Credit.org offers free credit counseling and debt counseling and helps you pay off credit card debt by exploring your debt options. They also work with your creditors to come up with a more suitable monthly payment for your situation

There are several online communities that focus on consumer debt and support:

www.CreditBoards.com offers tips and advice on improving bad credit score.

www.Bankruptcyforum.com which focus on legal issues like hiring a lawyer.

www.Makelovenotdebt.com a blog which features a couple trying to get out of severe financial trouble

www.Solvency.org is for people with serious debt addictions, an online resource under the umbrella of group-therapy organization Debtors Anonymous. It has weekly online chats and information about local meetings.

Go to www.debtadvice.org which is the main site for consumer credit counseling

1) Never give a collection agency your money until you have a statement in writing that the payment of whatever amount you have agree to settle the debt will represent payment in full and that they will forward a zero balance report to the credit bureaus.
2) Never give a collection agent access to your checking account or credit/debit card. Send them a money order instead.

Dealing with Debt Collectors

How Debt Collection Works