Free Credit Counselling
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.