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Paying Off Your Debts Through Credit Card Debt Assistance

Overspending on credit cards is one of the biggest financial problems in today's society. Many people spend more than they earn, and finance this habit with consumer credit (credit cards). Eventually this will catch up with you, however, and you'll be faced with a pile of debt and no easy way out of it. Credit counseling can provide debt assistance for people in this situation.

While credit counselors can help arrange your financial affairs, and get you back on the right track, they can't do the work for you. It will take financial discipline to stop spending money poorly and follow the advice offered by the counseling service. Most of all, it's up to you to decide you need to seek help.

Some of the indications that credit counseling is necessary include:

  • You can't pay the monthly minimum payments on your Visa, Mastercard or other credit cards
  • You're late paying monthly bills such as utilities or a bank loan on a regular basis
  • Creditors are not willing to make any further accommodations or to negotiate with you
  • You are being harassed by collection agencies

These are signs of a serious situation, and a credit counseling service can help to improve it. You need to be careful, however, when choosing one of these services. There are many reliable services out there, but there are also many sharks waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting people.

When researching counseling services, look for firms that are affiliated with the National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA).

Both of these groups have websites where you can research companies that meet their requirements:

NFCC - www.nfcc.org
AICCCA - www.aiccca.org

Some of the things you need to watch out for include the following:

  1. Firms that charge high setup fees. Many of these services are non-profit so if they are charging you large fees, they may not be the best choice. Particularly since the fact that you need their services probably means you aren't in a position to pay a lot for them.
  2. Be careful of false promises. If a credit counseling company promises things that sound too good to be true, they very likely are. Reliable services won't promise the world - they will explain how they can help but they will also make it clear that it's up to you to change your financial habits and that your credit rating could be affected by the plan they offer.
  3. Once you have signed up for a service, follow up and make sure they are doing what they say they will. There have been cases where disreputable services have taken payment from people and never passed it along to the creditors.

Read the next article about how to cancel a credit card account.



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