Sign up for your free account    Sign Up Now
From the Experts at

How to Choose a Credit Counselor

Advertiser Disclosure

How To Choose a Credit Counselor

Stressed about your debts?

Seeking help from a credit counselor may be just what you need to get your credit and your financial life back on track.

A credit counselor can help you review your budget and develop a plan for paying down your debts.

Seek Free & Low-Fee Help

It’s important to limit the costs of a credit counselor. You can opt for a nonprofit credit counselor with a local office or someone who is accessible online or by phone who offers free or low-fee services. Avoid debt counseling companies that charge huge fees for their services.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has certified credit counselors available all over the country and is a great place to start your search for a reputable and affordable credit counselor. Another highly reputable organization is the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.

Credit unions, universities, military bases and local housing authorities also offer nonprofit credit and debt counseling services.

Questions to Ask a Credit Counselor

Here are some questions to ask a credit counselor before agreeing to pay for their services.

What are your qualifications?

Are the credit counselors certified? Ask for an explanation of their training and background. And you may want to check to see if a credit counselor has any complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau.

What kind of services do you provide?

It’s best to ask for this information in advance and before giving a counselor the details about your financial situation. You’re checking them out, not the other way around.

How much do you charge?

Is the first budgeting session with a credit counselor free? How much do they charge for their additional services? Do they offer debt management plans? If so, how is this program structured and how much will you pay for them to talk to your creditors? (When you agree to enroll in a debt management plan, your credit card companies may agree to reduce your interest rates and let you make one monthly payment to the credit counseling agency. The agency, in turn, pays each of your creditors.)

Once you research a few nonprofit credit counselors in your area, choose a counselor you feel comfortable sharing your personal financial information. A good counselor will ask you tons of questions about your bills and budgeting. So choose a credit counselor who puts customer service at a premium and puts your financial interests and not their fees first.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Amanda

    Hello, I have about $3,000 in credit card debt, and $32,000 in school loans. My gross salary is only about $14,500 a year. I have been applying for better paying full time jobs and am also re-enrolling back into school. I just want to feel like I have a little more control over my debt, because right now I feel like I’m in way too deep.
    Thank you.

    • Jennifer Gottfried

      Note that your prior loans only have ONE six month grace period after graduation, so when you finish your second degree, those loans are immediately due, with no additional grace period, but any new loans will carry a six month grace period after graduation.

Sign up for your free account. Learn More

Check Your Credit For FREE

Free Credit ScoreGet a FREE personalized credit check-up today.

Get Started – It’s Free!  

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on News & Advice may also be offered through product pages, and will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.