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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Oregon

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In a Nutshell

Below we will discuss how to find free credit counseling in Oregon, going over how to choose the right organization for you, including what online research you can do and what questions to ask before scheduling an appointment. We will then walk you through what to expect during your credit counseling session and go over the different recommendations that you are likely to receive.

Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice
Updated May 10, 2023

Whether you are facing a mountain of debt or simply struggling to keep up with your regular monthly payments it can feel overwhelming to know where to start to get your finances back on track. If you are facing these issues in Oregon you are not alone, as Oregon’s current poverty rate is higher than the average across the United States. This is where credit counseling may be able to help.

Credit counseling in Oregon gives you a chance to meet with a credit counselor (ideally certified) one-on-one to talk about your financial problems, possible solutions, and financial goals. A certified credit counselor in Oregon will be trained in the areas of consumer credit, debt and money management, and budgeting. After reviewing your financial information, the counselor from a reputable nonprofit credit counseling organization in Oregon will recommend your best next steps.

The key here, however, is to make sure you are getting the right kind of help. Just as there are a lot of options where you can find reputable credit counseling in Oregon there are also too many companies that are looking to take advantage of people in tough financial circumstances. These for-profit companies will likely offer quick solutions for getting debt free and more often than not will try to steer you into a debt settlement program, which can be costly and is rarely effective. Falling into this trap could end up getting you into worse troubles than you started with.

A reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency, however, can offer a great solution to get your personal finances back on track. In this article, we will help you learn more about credit counseling and who it can help, in addition to showing you red flags to avoid when you are reaching out for help. 

How To Get Free Credit Counseling in Oregon

Below we will discuss how to find free credit counseling in Oregon, going over how to choose the right organization for you, including what online research you can do and what questions to ask before scheduling an appointment. We will then walk you through what to expect during your credit counseling session and go over the different recommendations that you are likely to receive.

Find Oregon Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

Your first step in finding a reputable credit counseling agency in Oregon is to limit your search to nonprofit providers. This is not sufficient on its own to ensure you have made the right choice but it is an excellent first step. Next, as you’re browsing company websites, make sure that you are finding Oregon credit counseling providers who offer a wide range of services, including consumer credit counseling as well as debt relief and financial education opportunities.

One easy test is to request informational or educational materials in advance. A reputable credit counseling organization will provide these materials at no cost. If a company asks for money in exchange or for you to disclose any personal information in advance that is a red flag to avoid. You should also verify that the initial session is free; here again, any charge should throw up a red flag. You may also want to see what options the Oregon credit counseling service offers for the meeting.

Information to Research Before Talking to an Oregon Credit Counseling Agency

After you have created your initial list of prospective Oregon credit counseling agencies you can conduct some online research before reaching out. You begin by determining if the agency is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (or “NFCC”) which upholds very rigorous standards. You can also check with the Oregon attorney general to see if there have been any complaints filed against the organizations you are considering. The Oregon consumer protection division of the Oregon Department of Justice is your state consumer protection agency which may alert you to any scams that are happening in the area. Additionally, you can also check with the Better Business Bureau, both to see if there are complaints, and to see how the business is rated. 

Questions to Ask the Oregon Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

Next, you can contact the Oregon credit counseling agency to ask questions before you decide which one to choose. You can confirm that the initial session is free. You can also inquire about the cost structure, if applicable. One of the possible recommendations offered at your credit counseling session could involve setup fees, monthly fees or both. You may well want to know how much this would be before you consider that option. You can also ask if the organization has any assistance or another remedy if people are unable to afford these fees. While you’re at it, it is completely fair to ask how the Oregon credit counselors are compensated. If they receive incentives or a bonus for signing people up that is another red flag. If you haven’t done so already you can ask for free materials, keeping in mind that if they can’t or won’t provide these, that can be a bad sign. Finally, you may want to ask questions about the meeting itself, including how long it runs, what topics you will cover and what materials you should bring to make it as effective as possible. 

What to Expect During Credit Counseling?

During your free credit counseling session at an Oregon nonprofit organization, you can expect to meet one-on-one for a half-hour to an hour with a certified credit counselor. You can expect that the Oregon credit counselor will be trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management and budgeting. Your counselor will conduct an in-depth review of your finances to come up with a personalized plan for you moving forward. They will review any documentation that you bring in regarding your income and expenses. With your permission, they will show you how to obtain a free credit report and how to get your current credit score so you can properly account for the total amount owed for your debt repayment. Typically consumer credit counseling can include a range of topics based on your circumstances, including debt counseling, money management, and overall financial education. Your Oregon credit counselor might recommend additional sessions or workshops. Generally, the meeting will conclude with a recommendation for your next steps, which most often will be either a debt consolidation, a debt management plan, or bankruptcy. 

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Oregon?

When you receive the personalized recommendation at the end of your Oregon credit counseling session you may very well have more questions about what that remedy will entail. Below we will explore the three most likely recommendations in greater detail. 

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Oregon Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is a method of streamlining all of your existing debt into one monthly payment at a lower interest rate to save on overall costs. Debt consolidation is most effective for people who are struggling with credit card debts, which tend to have very high-interest rates, who are otherwise fairly responsible with money. Most often this is done by taking on new debt to pay off the existing debts. This is dependent, however, on having a good enough credit score to qualify for that lower interest rate, and does not offer a solution to avoid financial issues in the future.

Oregon Debt Management Plan

A debt management plan is another method to address your monthly bills but here you would be paying the money to the credit counseling service to make all payments on your behalf. This can be very effective in several ways, because your credit counselor can negotiate on your behalf with your creditors to lower your interest rates and potentially relax late fees, thus lowering your payments. They can also work with you to create a reasonable budget so you can afford the payment. This can also include monthly bills beyond credit cards, like student loan payments and medical bills. If, however, you miss a payment or your circumstances change and you can no longer afford the payment, the agreement can be voided. 

Oregon Bankruptcy

If it turns out that you are not in a position to afford any monthly payment or are having trouble just keeping up with your regular monthly expenses then it may make sense to seek bankruptcy counseling. Bankruptcy exists as a legal remedy to help people and companies who are in over their heads financially walk away from some, or all, of their debts and get a fresh start. You can learn more about bankruptcy in Oregon through Upsolve, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people through the bankruptcy process at no cost. You can try the Upsolve screening tool to see if you qualify for assistance. 

Written By:

Attorney Eva Bacevice


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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