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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in North Carolina

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In a Nutshell

Getting free credit counseling in North Carolina is simple. Just follow these five steps to start on the path of better money management.

Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice.  
Updated December 4, 2019


With debt and outstanding bills being such a common problem for most Americans, you might be looking for the best way to crawl out of the financial hole you have found yourself in. In this case, North Carolina credit counselors can help you. Credit counselingin North Carolina helps people get out of different types of consumer debt, like credit card debt, student loans or auto debt. The main goal of credit counseling in North Carolina is to develop a plan for handling and managing your debt and to get you the tools and financial education you need in order to follow through on that plan.

Your North Carolina credit counselors will work with you to devise a payment plan and also negotiate with all your creditors to get them to accept this plan. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, people who are having a difficult time paying their debts, such as credit card debt or student loans, can benefit considerably from North Carolina credit counseling. In most cases, you’ll probably have about five years to repay your debt, and often all of your unsecured debts, like credit card debt, will be consolidated into a single monthly payment. This payment program is commonly known as a debt management plan or DMP.

 Let’s see if you are an ideal candidate for North Carolina credit counseling. You are the right candidate if:

  • You are current on at least one credit card

  • You can afford your current monthly payments

  • And you can you pay a little more than the current minimum amount that is due on each of your debts

  • You have multiple accounts that each have a higher interest rate

Through credit counseling in North Carolina, you can also enroll in a DMP (debt management plan), which usually comes at an additional cost. Still, some people in North Carolina prefer this option since it lets them focus on a single payment each month. Credit counseling in North Carolina is usually done by a reliable non-profit agency with counselors trained and certified in money and debt management, budgeting, and consumer credit, among others. Speaking to a certified credit counselor during a credit counseling session in North Carolina can be a first good step, no matter which path you eventually pick. 

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in North Carolina

Getting free credit counseling in North Carolina is simple. Just follow these five steps to start on the path of better money management.


Find North Carolina Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

Credit counseling in North Carolina tends to be provided by nonprofit organizations. On the other hand, debt settlement is often offered by for-profit organizations. This is why North Carolina credit counseling is often the cheaper option of the two. Actually, many non-profit credit counselors in North Carolina do not charge any fees for their educational services. The nonprofit credit counselor in North Carolina will carefully review your overall financial picture, which includes your income, debt, bills, and other obligations like child support and alimony. Keeping this information in mind, your North Carolina credit counselor will help you choose a plan to manage your debt and deal with your financial problems in a way that works for you. The credit counselor can also help you with creating a realistic household budget that covers debt repayment.

Information to Research Before Talking to a North Carolina Credit Counseling Agency

All North Carolina credit counseling companies are not the same. Actually, many members of the consumer credit counseling industry often generate profits for their affiliates via their nonprofit counseling. You can take the following steps to find reputable and accredited credit counseling agencies in North Carolina:

  • Make sure the North Carolina credit counseling company is a member of a recognized national organization, like the Financial Counseling Association of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

  • Find out about any additional fees that are charged and where payments go. All payments that are sent to the North Carolina credit counseling firm as part of a DMP should be passed on to the creditors in a timely manner.

  • You should also look for a credit counseling company in North Carolina that is able to help you beyond your current crisis.

  • Select a North Carolina credit counseling company that offers a range of services, such as bankruptcy counseling, debt counseling and offers free educational materials on these topics

Questions to Ask the North Carolina Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

Contact multiple North Carolina credit counseling firms so that you can get a clear idea of the type of services they provide. Ask these questions to make the best decision.

What are your fees? Nonprofits credit counselors are barred from charging consumers high setup fees, and often monthly fees are limited to $40 or $50. However, if you can’t afford even this, the credit counseling agency in North Carolina should be willing to lower or even waive the fee.

How will your debt plan work? Ask for specific details on how their debt management plan will work to improve your situation. Which debts can be included in this plan?

Here are some other important questions:

  • Is a debt repayment program my only option?

  • How are your counselors compensated?

  • How will you secure my confidential information?

What to Expect During Credit Counseling

The first thing a North Carolina credit counselor should do is let you explain why you are seeking North Carolina credit counseling. There are several reasons counseling clients in North Carolina might give, from the most obvious, “get out of debt,” to “take back control of my finances,” or “sleep better at night,” and “start a business,” to name only a few.

A North Carolina credit counseling agency will conduct a 45 to 60-minute interview in order to gather information about your financial situation. Once your budget is in place, you and your North Carolina credit counselor will have a solid basis for discussing all your options. In many cases, people only need the budget in order to know how much extra they are able to pay on their debts. There is often no charge for this service.

What Happens After Credit Counseling in North Carolina

A North Carolina credit counselor might suggest a debt consolidation plan or a debt management plan to help you get out of debt faster. 

North Carolina Debt Consolidation

When you owe multiple debts to many creditors and have loans and bills to pay at varying interest rates, then debt consolidation in North Carolina is a suitable debt relief option as it allows you to combine them into a single loan at a comparatively lower interest rate.

Some options to consolidate your debt are:

  •  Home equity line of credit (HELOC) or home equity loan 

  •  Cash-out refinance on the mortgage

  •  Credit card balance transfer

Debt consolidation loans usually have longer payment schedules; hence, you can buy yourself more time to rebuild and work on your finances.

North Carolina Debt Management Plan

In a DMP, you will deposit money on a monthly basis with the North Carolina credit counseling organization. It will use your deposits for paying your unsecured debts, such as your credit card bills, medical bills, and student loans, according to a repayment schedule your counselor has developed with you and all your creditors

North Carolina Bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy in North Carolina has some consequences, such as lowering your credit score; however, credit counselors and experts agree that in many cases, it makes the most financial sense. By filing bankruptcy in North Carolina, you will have a chance to start anew and (for the most part) debt free. 



Written By:

Attorney Eva Bacevice

LinkedIn

Eva G. Bacevice graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2001. She practiced law for close to a decade in the area of consumer bankruptcy. She now works in higher education as an Academic Advisor for undergraduate students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business,... read more about Attorney Eva Bacevice

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