Here's what you need to know about consolidating accounts through an agency. Instead, they have preset arrangements with most financial institutions, many of which lower interest rates and fees, so more of your payment goes toward the balance rather than finance charges. With something as precious as your finances, be exceedingly careful about who you work with.
Their debt consolidation programs, called debt management plans, can help you get back on track -- but they can also be unnecessary and even detrimental when done through a poorly run organization or for the wrong reasons. These agencies do not make loans, nor do they settle debts.
If you have enough cash left over after subtracting expenses from income, consolidation will be presented along with other options. How do you know if debt consolidation would work in your favor?When a counselor is knowledgeable and compassionate, these sessions can be enlightening and motivating. If he or she acts bored, judgmental or pushy, request a different counselor. First, the bulk of your balances should be in unsecured debts, such as credit and charge cards, personal loans and, sometimes, collection accounts.Combining your existing debt into a single payment has many advantages including: Paying less every month: By using a personal loan to payoff other higher-interest rate loans, you spend less on interest payments every month.That way, you reduce how much you spend over the lifetime of a loan.By consolidating, you're paying 100 percent of your obligations, which is quite different from discharging them in a bankruptcy or settling the debt.
Still, your credit report can take a hit if your monthly payments are less than what you would normally pay.
On the other hand, most people who consolidate do so because they're already stumbling and missing payments, so making timely and consistent payments through the service can help their reports.
Clearly, consolidating debts through a credit counseling agency can be helpful, but you may also be able to achieve the same results on your own. Suspend charging and request rate reductions from each of your creditors.
But if you're interested in learning more about how the debt relief process works, Debt has many highly rated interactive tools and resources to let you hit the ground running.
NDR is a BBB-accredited, New York-based business with a host of awards and accolades.
They ensure member agencies pass rigorous standards set forth by the Council on Accreditation or another approved third party, and that their counselors pass a comprehensive certification program. Financial institutions don't give preferential treatment to any one organization, nonprofit or otherwise.