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Consumer Credit Counselling Agencies

Consumer credit counselling agencies provide advice and support to individuals who are reeling under a staggering debt burden and are unable to service their existing debts. Agencies which provide this service can be free non-profit arms of charitable trusts or agencies which provide their services for a certain fee. There are regulations and laws which monitor, control and regulate the workings of such consumer credit counselling agencies.

In addition to providing debt counselling, consumer credit counselling agencies also provide general money & budgeting advice among other things. Services can be provided on-line or through personal face-to-face consultations or through telephone consultations on toll-free numbers.

The modus operandi of a consumer credit counselling agency will follow a certain sequence - conduct a full review of your financial situation - income, repayments, loan commitments and other obligations - and provide recommendations on how better to manage your financial commitments.

Most consumer credit counselling plans involve identifying basic and essential expenses for living and priority debts such as housing and vehicle loans where assets are involved. For the remaining debts, the consumer credit counselling agency will approach the remaining creditors on your behalf and negotiate. Terms offered can include freezing interest on outstanding debts, removing penal charges, increase repayment periods or reduce the principal outstanding.

How to pick the right consumer credit counselling agency
It is not necessary to sign on with a consumer credit counselling agency that works for a fee. There are several other ways you can find the right agency to match your needs. Some of the easier and simpler methods to pick a consumer credit counselling agency that is right for you are listed below:

  • Anyone in your circle of family or friends may have used a consumer credit counselling agency in the past and can offer the best references and feedback on the services they've utilized.
  • Many employers have employee counselling programmes at the workplace. If you work in any such company you can approach the counsellors in the programme for free financial and debt management advice.
  • Citizens Advice bureaus are spread all over the UK and have toll-free help-lines where you can get free advice on debt management.
  • Search the internet and business directories for a consumer credit counselling agency that is a non-profit organisation and which has a proven track-record in offering credit advice and counselling services.
  • Make sure that the consumer credit counselling agency you pick is licensed to operate as per guidelines and regulations set out by the Office of Fair Trade (OFT).
  • Check on the experience and training of counsellors at the consumer credit counselling agency you enrol at. Pick an organisation where the counsellors have certified and proven training and expertise and have a good reputation in the market, and are favoured by credit providing institutions with which they have a good standing.
  • A good consumer credit counselling agency will not focus solely on providing debt management solutions; they are also capable of providing general budgeting and financial advice even to those who have no debt problems, but are only looking for some good advice on proper management of finances.
  • Above all, beware of consumer credit counselling agencies who solicit fees, even before providing any basic advice or even just meeting up with you to note down your requirements.

 

Credit in Minutes Tip #1

Stay on top of your credit report. Most credit reports contain errors. Make sure you check your credit report every year (you get one free credit report every twelve months) and if there are errors make sure to challenge them with the reporting credit agency. Credit agencies are required to investigate each and every challenge that gets reported.

Credit in Minutes Tip #2

Just because you qualify for all of those credit cards does not mean you should get them. A person with too many credit cards looks sketchy in the eyes of a potential creditor. Think of it this way: if a person is financially stable does he or she need ten different credit cards? Wouldn’t just one or two suffice?

Credit in Minutes Tip #3

The best way to raise your credit score is to make all of your payments on time. It sounds too simple to be true, but that’s all there really is to it. Staying out of debt and/or making all of your debt payments on time will keep your score up where it should be.

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