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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Massachusetts

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In a Nutshell

Here is how you can get debt relief by getting free credit counseling in Massachusetts. 

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated November 30, 2019

If you are struggling with debt, like student loans, it may seem as though there is no one you can turn to. In fact, there are many agencies that are willing to talk and work with you to alleviate your debt concerns. And Massachusetts credit counseling organizations can offer you proper guidance. For people who are finding it hard to pay their various debts and make ends meet, credit counseling in Massachusetts can provide guidance, information, and solutions. Massachusetts credit counseling agency services often include:

  • Education on money management 

  • Budget counseling and preparation

  • Debt counseling

  • Housing counseling and referrals.

Massachusetts credit counselors are helpful as they will negotiate concessions from your creditors to eliminate or reduce interest charges and stop both late and over-limit fees. The cost of Massachusetts credit counseling services varies from one agency to another and according to state law. Fortunately, many counseling organizations provide credit counseling at no or low cost. Massachusetts credit counselors discuss your whole financial situation with you and then help you create a personalized plan in order to solve your financial problems. You will receive guidance on several matters, such as consumer credit, budgeting, and debt and money management. An initial credit counseling session often lasts one hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions. Massachusetts credit counseling services will often offer you a debt management plan. And as part of this debt management plan, the Massachusetts credit counseling company will negotiate lower monthly payments and interest rates with your creditors.

Debt settlement and credit counseling are two different services. Debt settlement involves negotiating with creditors in order to settle a debt for a lower amount than what is owed. Note that this method is typically used for settling a substantial debt with one creditor, but it can also be used to deal with several creditors.

If you want to know whether credit counseling in Massachusetts is right for you, you have come to the right place. You are probably an ideal candidate for Massachusetts credit counseling services if:

  • You’re having trouble making timely payments on your debts

  • You are struggling with student loans and steep medical bills

  • Creditors are harassing you

  • You’re paying out 20 percent of your monthly salary toward unsecured debt payments

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Massachusetts

Here is how you can get debt relief by getting free credit counseling in Massachusetts. 

Find Massachusetts Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

Consumer debt in the US is a widespread problem; therefore, you may want to start your search by speaking with people you know who have already used a Massachusetts credit counseling service. Reliable Massachusetts credit counseling agencies are often nonprofit organizations that give you valuable insight into how you can manage your debts and money. 

Note that beginning with a resource that you already trust is an excellent way to avoid many of the blatant scams as well as less than ethical credit counseling agencies. Accreditation is another good sign, but it is not a guarantee of a credit counseling agency's quality and reliability. For the best results, you should look for a credit counseling agency that is a member in excellent standing with a national association of credit counselors, approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and accredited by a trustworthy third party, such as the NFCC.

Information to Research Before Talking to a Massachusetts Credit Counseling Agency

Not all US states require credit counseling firms to be licensed and Massachusetts is one of these states. There are currently no licensing requirements for credit counselors in Massachusetts. If you need help with mortgage debt, you will be better off finding a Massachusetts credit counseling agency that’s certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Student loan debt is one of the growing concerns in the U.S., and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is an excellent starting point to find credit counselors certified and well versed in providing counseling on student loans.

Other valuable resources you can use if you want to learn more about credit counseling in Massachusetts are: 

  • Visit the NFCC website

  • Call the NFCC at 1-800-388-2227.

  • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to look up any Massachusetts credit counseling agency you are considering to determine if they are reputable

You might also want to look into positive reviews or complaints from the National Association of Attorney General’s office for consumer feedback on specific counseling agencies. 

Questions To Ask the Massachusetts Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

To make sure that you get quality counseling services from a Massachusetts credit counseling agency, you have to choose wisely. Start by asking some of these questions.

Do you provide financial educational materials to consumers? Financial education and advice is the backbone of any credit counseling experience. So, financial education from a Massachusetts credit counseling agency should ideally include an in-depth guide or workbook to educate you on the basics of financial management. Also, some counseling agencies will produce videos in order to help you on your path toward a debt-free life.

For how long has your Massachusetts credit counseling agency been providing these services? Keep in mind that the experience that a Massachusetts credit counselor has with managing various consumer debts, like student loans, is very important as this often translates to the experience and expertise of their credit counselors. You should check their website in order to find out how long the counseling agency has been providing consumer credit counseling services.

Here are some other questions you should ask:

  • How are your services funded?

  • How often will I hear from you?

  • Will your program affect my credit?

What to Expect During Credit Counseling

To make the most of your credit counseling session in Massachusetts, you should collect the following information:

  • A list of all your expenses, like food, gas, utilities, clothing, and other miscellaneous expenses

  • A list of all your income sources

  • Any correspondence you have had with the I.R.S. or other collection agencies

  • Your latest credit card statements

  • Any questions you may have for your credit counselor

Besides discussing any questions or other documents you have brought to your credit counseling session, you and your credit counselor may talk about your financial goals. Some common goals include the following:

  • Getting out of debt

  • Improving your credit

  • Buying a car or home

  • Saving for emergencies 

  • Planning for a vacation

To get the complete picture of your finances, your Massachusetts credit counselor will ask to run a credit check. 

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Massachusetts

Your Massachusetts credit counselor will only recommend the best solutions for your financial situation. Nonprofit counseling agencies generally don’t try to “sell” their programs. Depending on your specific situation, a Massachusetts credit counselor might suggest a debt consolidation plan or a debt management plan to help you get out of debt faster. 

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Massachusetts Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation in Massachusetts combines all unsecured debt into a single loan with one monthly payment. Some of the positive outcomes of debt consolidation include a reduction in your interest rate and monthly payments. 

Massachusetts Debt Management Plan

Debt management plans are an important service provided by for-profit as well as non-profit counseling organizations. They help you better manage the repayment of your unsecured debts. Under this plan, the Massachusetts credit counseling agency will negotiate with your creditors while you make a single monthly payment to them.

Massachusetts Bankruptcy

In addition to these two options, you can also file for Massachusetts bankruptcy. By filing bankruptcy in Massachusetts, you can get debt relief and receive a fresh start. 

Written By:

The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

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