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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Protecting Yourself with Credit Counseling Agencies

By Paul J. Easton

Protect yourself with credit counseling agencies! That's the main concern right now with the financial meltdown. With your hard earned cash, it is time to only trust with a legitimate and the sincerest credit counseling service you can find. Always be careful with credit counseling organizations that charge high monthly fees, or even excessive upfront money, just for enrolling in their credit counseling services or a debt management plan.

Most so called non-profit organizations will likely pressure you to give voluntary contributions. Be wary as these are just another name for their fees. Others will not send you free information regarding their services without you to providing personal financial information such as credit card account numbers. These companies have high motive at the very beginning and these are signals for red flags.

With the haste of making you commit with their service, some companies will just simple recommend to enroll you in a debt management plan without spending a good amount of time reviewing your personal financial situation. This can have certain consequences on your credit report and you have to protect it yourself. The companies don't mind about your financial situation, but you should.

As one of the requirements before enrolling in a debt management plan, ask a counselor to teach you budgeting and money management skills. If the company or the counselor refuses, you refuse their service right away too. In addition to a free information that are valuable, companies should never demand immediate payments from you into a debt management plan. Much more if they demand payments even before your creditors have accepted you into the program. Run as fast as you can if they do, they are only after your money.

Personal bankruptcy can be long-lasting and far reaching. Thus, it is generally the last option in your management of your debt. As a last resort, do not let your credit counseling agency make your route to bankruptcy a little faster than you thought. At this time when you are seeking their help, you only should trust companies that truly care for you and those that will help you with your troubles.

Play your cards well; let them build first a relationship with you. It is their responsibility to do so as it is their business. Talk to them in person. Ask for free information and let them present to you their service. From their words and actions without you paying first, you will know if they can be trusted.

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