Where to Get Quality Free Credit Repair Advice
“We can repair your credit for free.”
“Credit repair results are guaranteed.”
“Bad credit, we can help.”
These types of promises are in ads everywhere. Bold claims that are unsubstantiated.
Numerous agencies telling you that they can fix your credit problems over night, luring you in with promises to help get you a mortgage, credit card, loan, etc.
Advice is all around us making it extremely difficult to know who to listen to. Where to start.
Should I do this myself? Should I get help from a credit counselor? How do I find legitimate help…for free?
Let’s begin with the facts.
Improving your credit score and building your credit takes time. There is no quick fix, but there are number of things that you can do right now.
The more you know, the better you are able to make decisions.
Start by gathering information from reputable sites online that provide quality advice. Use free tools. Get a copy of your credit report.
Know that you have options.
There are a number of things that you can do on your own. Create a plan. Pay your bills on time. Keep your credit card balances low. Negotiate a repayment plan.
In fact, it is possible to resolve your credit issues on your own. However, at times this may not be the best option. Seeking outside advice may be the better alternative.
DIY or Get Help
How do you know whether to do-it-yourself or get outside help?
Depending on the scope of the problem it may be in your best interest to elicit the advice of a professional to ensure that you are on the right track.
You may not understand what you are dealing with, know how to create a repayment plan, the best way to negotiate with creditors, etc. In these cases what you are looking for is education and guidance. You need the help of a reputable credit counselor.
As well, a credit counselor can help lay out your options.
Even if you decide to do-it-yourself, it’s not a bad idea to have a meeting with a credit counselor just to see what they have to say.
The key however is to make sure that you know exactly who you are dealing with. You do not want to fall prey to one of these organizations that make bold claims. But instead want to find a legitimate agency that can help.
If you are not sure where to start, you can always download our free credit repair guide.
Contact a Credit Counseling Organization
Consider contacting a credit counseling organization in your local community. Many of these are non-profit and offer free services. However, this is not true for all of them. So make sure to check them out before working with them.
Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, online, or on the phone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals. via: Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself
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According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and can help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.”
How Do You Know if a Credit Counseling Agency is Legitimate?
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (or NFCC) is a non-profit organization that represents member agencies that provide free to low-cost individualized, confidential credit counseling in-person, by phone, or online. The NFCC Member Agency Network includes more than 700 community-based offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
With the overwhelming growth of consumer debt, two more organizations were formed to control the credit counseling industry – the “Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies” and the “American Association of Debt Management Organizations”. via: Free Credit Card Help
Credit counseling agencies are not required to belong to one of these organizations. Allowing them to freely do business. This however does not mean that every single non-member agency is a scam, but be weary. Make sure to do your homework.
However, when we refer to “legitimate” agencies, we are referring to those that are association members. So make sure you ensure that the agency you are dealing with is. Currently there are over 1,000 legitimate credit counseling agencies helping people.
Where Can I Get Quality Advice Online?
The best place to start online is with Government pages, both Federal and State. They offer reputable information, but as well often links to agencies or organizations. And don’t just look at your own local government pages. Some States provide great information that can also be helpful.
Here are some places where you can start:
Federal Trade Commissions Consumer Division – click here.
Their website is loaded with information. Anything from helpful tips to how to get your free credit report. Plus they has a Scam Alerts section that keeps you informed.
Federal Reserve – click here.
Here you can find information about credit reports and credit scores.
USA.gov – click here.
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