Where to find small business credit counseling
Where to find small business credit counseling can be a daunting task. If you have considered credit counseling as an option for your financial problems, then you probably aren't able to: create a budget you can stick to, you can't work out repayment plans with your creditors, or can't keep track of your endless bills. Luckily there are companies out there that can help you repair those problems. The big question is what credit counseling company is right for you? There really isn't an easy answer to this question, but here are some things to consider that might make this decision easier.
Things to look for in credit counseling companies:
Do they charge?
If you are struggling financially, you probably don't have a lot of money to use on counseling. Don't worry a lot of companies are reputable non-profit organizations who help you solve your financial problems for free. Some non-profit companies charge extremely high fees that may be hidden, so research them carefully.
Do they custom fit your situation?
Every financial situation is unique. Look for a company who can create an individual custom fit plan for you. Companies that just provide one particular plan may not fit your needs and could cause you to be in worse shape after you receive their help.
Do they do face-to-face counseling?
A lot of programs will help you over the internet, telephone or even through their various offices. Make sure to get help in person so you can ask any questions that you have and that you communicate clearly with what you need.
Do they offer free information?
They should send you free information about them and the services they provide without requiring you to give any details about your situation. If a company doesn't offer that, then consider going somewhere else for help.
Avoid companies that:
Guarantee that they can get rid of your debt.
No company can guarantee to get rid of your debt altogether. They don't know your financial situation or the extent of your debt problems. Most companies can greatly help your situation, but should never guarantee to get rid of it.
Promise that using their system will have no negative impact on your credit report.
Depending on your situation, you could already have negatively impacted your credit. Some companies you use can reflect that you are in financial trouble and it can affect your credit report.
Demand payment of a percentage of savings.
A company that is trying to help your financial situation should not require you to pay them for every percentage they save you. This is their job and the services they provide, so expecting more from you is not fair.
Require you to make monthly payments to them, rather than with your creditors.
If you just pay the counseling company, and not your creditors then you will be even worse off then when you started. You still have obligations to your creditors and you should still uphold them even after your counseling session.
Push a debt management plan (DMP) as your only option.
A DMP alone is not the debt counseling you may be looking for. Only after you have sat down with a credit counselor should you even consider a debt management plan. A DMP requires that you deposit money each month with the credit counseling company. The company then uses your deposits to pay your debts, according to a payment schedule the counselor develops with you and your creditors. Your creditors may agree to lower your interest rates and waive certain fees, but check with your creditors to make sure they offer what your credit counseling company tells you.
Where to find small business credit counseling programs:
- Credit unions
- Housing authorities
- Branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service
It is also good to use your financial establishment, local consumer agency, and friends and family for sources of information and referrals.
Credit counseling can come in many different forms and services. There are so many choices and it can be difficult to find credit counseling that you can trust. No matter where you go for your credit information, always look to see if they: assess your situation so you know where you stand financially, have properly certified credit counselors, discuss and develop an action plan that helps you save money and get out of debt, and set financial goals that are very achievable and realistic.
Small business credit counseling programs can teach you how to get out of debt, manage your money properly, help you budget and can even provide classes and materials to help educate you on your finances. The counselors are trained in budgeting, consumer credit and managing money and debt. They will help you come up with a personalized plan to solve your money woes.
If you decide to work with a credit counseling company, make sure to check it with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if any complaints have been presented about the company you may be doing business with. Also make sure they are licensed to do business in your area.
Where to find small business credit counseling is very important. Make sure that the company you use is going to give you the educational services you need. It isn't going to do you any bit of good to get out of debt, but be right back where you were in a short period of time.