Free Credit Counselling
A credit counselling session is an important first step in finding the right debt solution.
With the right help, you can learn exactly where you are with your money and how to get to a better place financially. While it can be intimidating to face financial problems, and it may make you feel uncomfortable, talking to a credit counsellor can help you find peace of mind knowing you are making the right decisions with your money to avoid problems in the future.
The information below will help you better understand what you should expect from your first credit counselling session. Once you have read through the provided information, call Consolidated Credit to get on your own path to financial recovery at 1-888-294-3130 to speak with a trained credit counsellor. You can also get started online by completing a request for a Free Debt Analysis.
Choose Your Contact Method
Choosing how you work with Consolidated Credit is a matter of personal preference. Although you can meet with a trained counsellor in person, many consumers choose to do their session over the phone or online because of convenience.
The following chart provides a list of benefits of calling to speak with or visiting a credit counsellor directly versus taking the first step online.
|CONTACT BY PHONE OR IN PERSON||CONTACT ONLINE|
|The credit counsellor will walk you through the evaluation process to avoid uncertainty.||You can provide the information required to complete your debt evaluation at your own pace.|
|There will be more transparency with what the credit counsellor is looking at in your finances and during the analysis process.||You will have plenty of time to gather the account information you need without someone waiting for you on the phone. Without feeling rushed, you may be able to use accurate numbers for budget analysis instead of estimates.|
|You speak with your credit counsellor early in the process so you can start to develop a relationship with the advisor who will be helping you get out of debt.||You don’t have to complete your debt analysis in one session. If you are busy, you can complete the analysis in a way that works for your schedule.|
|You can complete your analysis immediately so you can rest easier knowing that you have a clear answer about the right debt solution for your needs before you get off the phone or leave the office.|
Either way, your journey to financial recovery starts with a credit counselling session that analyzes your debt, the causes behind it and your budget to help you determine the easiest and most effective way out of debt.
What Do I Need for My First Session?
To complete your evaluation, the credit counsellor will need the following types of information:
- Your net (take home) income
- The current balance, APR and current payment for each credit card debt
- The monthly payment on other debts and obligations, such as your mortgage and utility bills
- Budget estimates of your spending on regular monthly expenses, such as food and gas
- The credit counsellor may also review your credit report to see where you are with your credit rating and profile
Your credit counsellor uses this information to determine the best way for you to get out of debt. Debt solutions can vary widely from one solution to the next, so a thorough analysis is always needed to determine ways to move forward.
What to Expect When You Enroll?
If a debt management program is decided to be the best debt solution for you, the credit counsellor will be able to tell you how much you will pay each month on your reduced debt payment and how long it should take to complete the program to help you get started.
The credit counsellor who speaks with you to complete your first credit counselling session will be the counsellor you work with all the way through your program. Each month, you pay the credit counselling agency a single monthly payment, and they will distribute the payment amongst your creditors. On your behalf. In addition, the credit counsellor will negotiate with creditors to lower your interest rates and remove any penalties or fees that have been applied to your account.
During your program, if you have further questions, your credit counsellor is available to help. Additionally, if your situation changes and you have trouble meeting your monthly payment, the counsellor can assist you with staying on track.
Nothing beats an expert opinion that you receive at no cost.
When you’re struggling to eliminate a high-interest credit card debt, the last thing you need is to incur another bill. So, paying for financial advice to hash out your debt problems isn’t practical for most people who face challenges with debt.
That makes free credit counselling such an invaluable service. You get an unbiased perspective from a trained expert whose job is to help get your finances back on track. It eliminates the guesswork and the stress of wondering if you made the right decision.
If you are unclear on what credit counselling is, you can learn all the ins and outs here. If you want to be debt free, learn about the benefits of a free counselling session.
Advantage No. 1: An expert identifies your best option
There are multiple options you may not know about. For instance, you can opt for debt consolidation, enroll in a debt management program, or explore settlement agreements. In extreme cases, bankruptcies or consumer proposals are a viable solution. The average person isn’t usually aware of the nuances of each of these options – when they work and when they don’t.
When consulting with a credit counsellor, you get someone helping you find the right option. Note that counsellors must review ALL options available to a consumer when they call for help. While an agency can enroll you in a debt management program, it should only recommend that option if it’s right for your financial situation. Otherwise, they’ll direct you toward better solutions for you.
Depending on the solution, your counsellor may negotiate with your creditors to get you a lower interest rate.
Advantage No. 2: You get a free credit review
Part of the free counselling session that credit counsellor offer is to review your credit report. The credit counsellor pulls your credit reports to identify any negative items impacting your score. You may even spot collection accounts you weren’t aware of.
The credit report pull is known as a “soft” inquiry, which does not negatively impact your credit score. In fact, nothing in the consumer credit counselling process is necessarily bad for your credit. Successful completion of a debt management program has been shown to improve many people’s credit scores.
Advantage No. 3: You get a free expert budget evaluation
At this stage, the counsellor evaluates your debt, credit usage habits, and money management in general. They can guide you in creating a budget and how to manage your money. This can point out areas where you’re overspending. You can then cut back on those expenses to repay your debt faster.
An impartial party can be essential because being objective with your finances can be tough. You may not even be aware you’re overspending. For instance, do you know how much of your budget should be spent on food costs or transportation? A trained credit counsellor does, so they can help you evaluate your expenses to identify areas that need improvement over the long term.
Balancing your budget can help to eliminate dependence on credit cards.
Free vs. Fee
Credit counselling services are almost always divided into two parts. The initial consultation through any nonprofit credit counselling agency is always free. That covers everything explained above, so you review you:
- Current budget
Then you identify the best debt relief options available to you. If the right solution is a debt management program, you move into the enrollment process. This is where fees are applied. There is a small setup fee and affordable monthly payments when you enroll in a debt management program.
Fees are based on your budget and may even be capped at a certain dollar amount, depending on where you live.
These fees are rolled into the monthly debt payment you make on your program, so the counsellor always ensures the payments work for your budget. In special cases, such as for military servicemembers, debt management program fees may even be reduced further.
You can ask for advice, then decide later
The nice thing about free credit counselling is that there’s no obligation to sign up to receive free credit advice. Even if a debt management program is your best option, you do not have to sign up at the end of your first credit counselling session.
That means you can see where you stand and take advantage of the free debt expertise, then choose to stop there and go back to consider what you want to do on your own time. Just keep in mind that if you take on new debt or there’s a change in your credit like another account going to collections, it may affect the debt management program plan that you outlined with the credit counsellor.
You can always get back into the process and the credit counsellor can help you adjust the plan to fit your new circumstances.
What do you have to lose?
Waiting around can make a bad situation worse. If you’re struggling with debt and need help, you have nothing to lose by speaking to a credit counsellor. The call is free, completely confidential, and you don’t have any obligation to sign up even if the counsellor recommends a debt management program.
If you’re ready to get started, call us at 1-888-294-3130 to request a free debt, credit and budget evaluation today.
Talk to a trained credit counsellor for a free evaluation to discuss your options.