Questions To Ask A Credit Counselor

April 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Bankruptcy 

Whether you have been ordered to attend a credit counseling course as part of your bankruptcy filing or you are simply looking for some help managing your finances, a credit counselor can be extremely valuable in gaining financial literacy skills. Credit counselors are extremely underutilized by consumers and many who do seek their services have little knowledge of what they are looking for. Knowing the right questions to ask can ensure you get the most out of your credit counseling experience.

What are your credentials or accreditations?

Not all credit counseling companies are the same. In fact, the bankruptcy laws require that you attend an accredited course from a very specific list of providers in order to qualify for your case. The United States Department of Trustees website has a list of approved credit counseling agencies that anyone can reference. Also, it is important to ensure the credit counselor you choose operates as a nonprofit organization. In order to meet these standards, they must be able to prove they hold a Section 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Service Code. This status ensures that their fees for service are regulated and kept at a minimum.

How are your employees trained?

In addition to being an approved provider, it is also important to ensure that the staff employed by the credit counseling agency are licensed and well trained. A reputable company will hold an accreditation from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, whose employees are trained in the field of finance. Companies that train their staff in-house should be avoided because there is no guarantee that these employees will have expertise in the areas of financial management. In general, you want a company who houses Certified Public Accountants, Financial Planners, debt negotiation attorneys or other experts in the field of finance.

What services do you offer?

A high quality credit counseling agency will offer a wide array of services. Companies that attempts to advocate only one of a few services should be viewed as suspicious. The goal of a credit counselor isn’t to sell you a service, but to educate and inform consumers. They are a resource for information, not a company that profits off of selling services. Look for a company that offers information on budgeting, saving and money management, as well as ways to get out of debt and repay creditors. A credit counselor can also educate you on common debt traps and ways to avoid them, along with basic tools and techniques for smart investing.

As a Texas bankruptcy attorney, Chris M has had the opportunity to help thousands of people avoid foreclosure, stop wage garnishment, resolve their debts and gain financial stability. The attorneys at the Lee Law Firm understand the toll that financial hardships can take, which is why they offer compassionate services to walk people through the process when filing bankruptcy.

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