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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Georgia

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In a Nutshell

If you’re interested in learning more about scheduling a free credit counseling session with a Georgia nonprofit organization, there are a few tips you’ll want to consider. Once you have chosen the credit counseling program you hope to work with, you’ll want to do a little research, ask a few questions, and understand what you should expect from this financial education process.

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated December 4, 2019

If it has become difficult to pay your debts while meeting your basic household expenses, you may benefit from exploring a debt counseling process commonly referred to as credit counseling. Scheduling a free, 30-60 minute consumer credit counseling session with a certified credit counselor can help you gain access to money management tools and recommendations that uniquely fit your personal financial circumstances. Your introductory Georgia credit counseling session should be scheduled with a certified Georgia credit counselor and should be free. If a credit counseling organization is charging you for a one-time credit counseling session, it’s not an agency you want to work with. If you work with a non-profit member agency of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, you’ll receive free credit counseling services from an accredited organization. These organizations may offer additional debt relief services at a charge, but your initial consumer credit counseling session will be free. When you arrive for your Georgia credit counseling session (or meet with your Georgia credit counselor online), you’ll be asked a number of questions about your income, expenses, and debt. Your Georgia credit counselor will use the information you provide to create personalized recommendations for you. These recommendations will help you make an informed decision about the next “best” steps to take regarding your debt. Depending on your unique circumstances, your recommendations may include a debt management program, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy counseling. It’s important to understand that you have the power to follow all, some, or none of the recommendations you receive at the conclusion of your Georgia credit counseling session. This is a no-risk process, designed to help anyone interested in receiving informed recommendations for managing expenses and/or debt. Whether you’re struggling with medical bills, credit card debt, student loans, or simply making your household budget stretch to cover your expenses, Georgia credit counseling from an accredited nonprofit credit counseling organization can help you to meet your financial goals.

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Georgia

If you’re interested in learning more about scheduling a free credit counseling session with a Georgia nonprofit organization, there are a few tips you’ll want to consider. Once you have chosen the credit counseling program you hope to work with, you’ll want to do a little research, ask a few questions, and understand what you should expect from this financial education process.

Find Georgia Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

When searching for the Georgia credit counseling organization that will best fit your needs, make sure that you choose a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Georgia. For-profit companies are more likely to charge for credit counseling and less likely to provide recommendations that are squarely in your best interests. They may be preoccupied with “selling you” on debt settlement options that serve their bottom line. If you choose to work with a nonprofit financial counseling program accredited by the NFCC that is staffed by certified credit counselors, you’ll be given informed, trustworthy recommendations concerning your financial problems and potential next steps.

Information to Research Before Talking to a Georgia Credit Counseling Agency

Before you schedule your Georgia credit counseling session with a nonprofit agency, take time to make sure the organization you’ve chosen is not only accredited by the NFCC, but is also well-reviewed by the Better Business Bureau and Georgia’s state attorney general. You may also want to see if Georgia’s consumer protection agency has expressed any concerns about this agency. Taking a few minutes to research your chosen Georgia credit counseling agency now can significantly impact the quality of the recommendations you receive. Once you have achieved the peace of mind that accompanies working with a qualified, reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency, you can feel confident in taking the recommendations you receive from that agency seriously.  

Questions to Ask the Georgia Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

After you’ve done your research and chosen a reputable, nonprofit credit counseling agency to work with, you’ll want to ask the agency’s scheduler a few questions before you commit to a session. The answers you receive will help to ensure that you’re choosing to work with an agency that fits your unique needs. First, you’ll want to confirm that your initial credit counseling session is not going to cost you anything. Second, you’ll want to ask if the agency recommends that you prepare for your session in any specific way. If you’re not asked to bring in financial information for the credit counselor to evaluate, that’s a red flag. Finally, you’ll want to ask that the agency sends you educational materials in advance of your session. If the agency doesn’t have any educational materials to send you to help you prepare for working with them, that is a red flag that this agency doesn’t have its act together.

What to Expect During Credit Counseling

When preparing for your credit counseling session, take some time to track down documents that will give your credit counselor a strong sense of your financial situation. You may benefit from requesting a free copy of your current credit report so that the credit counselor can assess your credit score and evaluate your debts. You’ll also want to dig out a copy of your most recent tax return, several recent pay stubs, copies of your latest bank statements, and any other forms that help to shed light on your finances. The more information you provide your credit counselor with, the more personalized and informed their recommendations will be. Once your credit counselor looks over the information you’ve provided and asks you questions about your financial goals and challenges, you’ll receive an action plan comprised of potentially beneficial steps you can take to better your financial situation. 

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Georgia

Depending on your unique financial circumstances, your credit counselor may recommend that you explore debt consolidation, a debt management program, or bankruptcy. All recommendations should be carefully considered before you make an informed decision on how best to proceed.

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Georgia Debt Consolidation

If you choose to consolidate your debt, you’ll secure a low interest loan that covers the balance of your eligible debts. You’ll then use this loan as a bank transfer to pay existing balances, which will free you from future overdue balance fees on those accounts. Debt consolidation will allow you to pay one monthly debt payment instead of paying multiple bills. This single monthly payment will likely be lower than the sum of balances you would be paying if you continued to pay your debts separately.

Georgia Debt Management Plan

Unlike a debt consolidation process, a debt management plan doesn’t involve securing a loan. Instead, you’ll work with an agency that will work with your creditors to set up payment plans and to possibly lower your fees and/or interest rates. You’ll then make a single monthly payment to the agency, which will pay your creditors per the terms of the payment plans they have negotiated.

Georgia Bankruptcy

Sometimes, the best possible step forward involves filing for bankruptcy. Especially if your income is insufficient to cover your debt and expenses, even if you were to pursue debt consolidation or debt management, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an excellent way for you to achieve a fresh start. 

Written By:

Attorney Kassandra Kuehl


Kassandra is a writer and attorney with a passion for consumer financial education. Outside of consumer law, she is focused on pro bono work in the fields of International Human Rights Law, Constitutional and Human Rights Law, Gender and the Law. Kassandra graduated from Universi... read more about Attorney Kassandra Kuehl

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