Credit Counseling

The Department does not regulate consumer credit counseling companies. 

 

Credit counseling services can provide practical and legal financial advice regarding the use of credit.  In some instances, they may be able to assist in renegotiating the terms of your credit agreements and/or negotiate debt payments on your behalf. 

Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and will work with you to solve financial issues.  However, just because an organization is nonprofit does not mean that its services are provided free of charge or that it is providing services at a reasonable and affordable rate.  Nonprofit status is also not a guarantee that the services provided are legitimate or helpful for consumers struggling with their finances. 

Some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, some of which many be hidden, or urge consumers to make “voluntary” contributions that cause the consumers to fall deeper into debt.  A reputable credit counseling organization should send you free information about the organization and the services it provides without first requiring you to send them information about your financial situation.

You should get information from multiple credit counselors before choosing the one that is best for you.  A brief summary of credit counseling options is available at www.usa.gov/debt.  Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has published a resource to assist consumers in choosing a credit counselor, which is available at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor.  

Some credit counselors may be accredited by a national organization, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (“NFCC”) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (“FCAA”).  You can learn more about accreditation by visiting www.nfcc.org or www.fcaa.org