If you are reading this article then you have already made a step in the right direction. Admitting you need help takes a lot and having financial problems can create a strain on you and your relationships. Credit counseling can help get you out of debt and back on track. Many people struggle to find the right credit counseling service.
Profit versus Non-Profit
When looking for a credit counseling service, a person needs to find a non profit service. These organizations are in the business to help people, not to profit off of their misfortunes. They don't normally have fees and if they do, they are small, and there is more one on one attention.
Getting the Credit
If a service is reputable it will be a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). In order to be in these two groups services must have there ISO 9001 certification or Council on Accreditation. These are accreditations that mean that they are complying with all rules of their industry. If a service does not have these or is not a member of these groups, they are probably not the right service for you.
The counselors at these services should be certified by groups such as the Associations for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. It is also important that your counselor did not receive a bonus for signing you up for the service. If you wanted a salesperson you would go to a car dealership!
Most services do not charge, but for those that do, never pay more than fifty dollars for their service. Also make sure that your first month's payment actually goes towards your bills and not the service. This has been the problem with some companies in the past.
Finally, a good credit service will have you debt free in five years (in most circumstances). Make sure you are aware of how they plan on doing that, and request monthly statements showing your progress.