How To Get Free Credit Counseling in Virginia

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In a Nutshell

Do you need help with your debts? If so, You have come to the right place. Follow the five steps below to get begin your debt relief  journey.

Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.  
Updated November 30, 2019


If you just can’t handle your bills anymore, Virginia credit counseling can help you get out of debt. Credit counseling in Virginia  helps people come up with a plan designed to give them financial relief. The plan is designed to help you find a unique solution to get out of debt. When you sign up for credit counseling, a certified Virginia credit counselor will evaluate you financial situation and determine a plan of action. Credit counselors work with you to come up with an agreeable plan that fits your specific situation. Credit counselors will work with you by looking at your consumer credit, budget, debt and money management habits. They will give you advice on what changes you should make so that you can be in a better financial position. Credit counseling in Virginia is  a good way to become economically stable. Credit counseling agencies in Virginia can educate you about your finances so that you can get a better grip on your debts and become more organized. Many people who end up in debt don’t know how they ended up there in the first place. A credit counseling agency will review your financial history with you so that you understand the root of the problem. This is important because it allows you to make any necessary changes. Working with a nonprofit Virginia credit counseling agency, gives you access to several free financial resources and tools to help you become debt-free. 

To start the process you will need to have a meeting with a Virginia credit counselor. A Virginia credit counseling session usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes. During your initial session your credit counselor will review financial documents, such as credit reports, household budget, and consumer debts. It is important to understand that credit counseling in Virginia is not the same as debt settlement. Debt settlement companies negotiate debts with your creditors for often very large fees, while credit counselors work with you to come up with a plan to tackle your debt. Many debt settlement companies falsely promise things to consumers that are simply not true. Many people who sign up for debt settlement programs are not able to complete them and end up paying large fees only to end up in a worse position than where they started. Are you wondering whether credit counseling in Virginia is right for you? If you need help paying your debts, you can probably use some guidance from a Virginia credit counseling organization. You may be surprised to learn that Virginia credit counseling can help you even if you are not behind on your credit card bills.

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Virginia

Do you need help with your debts? If so, You have come to the right place. Follow the five steps below to get begin your debt relief  journey.


Find Virginia Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

To ensure you are starting off on the right foot, it’s important to find a reputable credit counseling agency. Different organizations have different ways they structure their companies. Some companies pay their counselors by offering bonuses to get people to sign up with them. Stay far away from these for-profit companies! Non-profit companies, on the other hand, will not charge you for you initial session and will give you free materials to help you. The two largest non-profit Virginia credit counselor organizations that can help you are the National Federation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). Both these agencies have strict accreditation standards that counselors must comply with. This ensures you are getting a certain quality of care. 

Information to Research Before Talking to a Virginia Credit Counseling Agency

Making sure that you feel comfortable with the agency you choose is essential. Remember, you will be dishing out a lot of personal information to this company. Take some time to do some preliminary research before choosing a Virginia credit counseling agency to work with. Make a list of all the companies you are considering and go through each of their websites to learn more about them. Make sure to look at your state’s Attorney General and consumer protection agency to see if there have been any formal complaints filed against the. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see how they rank compared to other companies. Be sure to ask the company about their privacy policy because you will be divulging your financial information. Ask them if they will share it with anyone else and how your information will stay private. 

Questions to Ask the Virginia Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

Don’t fall into any credit counseling scams. Having a preliminary list of questions to ask your Virginia credit counselor before signing up can be a good way to play it safe. Below are some red flags to look out for. Don’t sign up for any debt relief company that:

  • Promises they will get rid of your debt in a short amount of time. 

  • Requires large fees up front 

  • Is not accredited 

  • Does not provide a free initial session

  • Won’t send you any free information 

  • Harrasses you to sign up with them without really listening to your concerns

Some of the questions that you should ask the Virginia credit counselor are:

  • How much will this cost?

  • How is the amount of my payment determined if I go through your company?

  • How often can I get a status update?

  • What will happen if the counselor’s recommendation is more than I can afford?

  • How are your services funded?

  • How long have you been doing this?

  • What qualifications do you have?

  • Are you accredited? If so, by whom?

  • How long does the process take?

  • Where are you located? 

  • What times are available to have my counseling session?

  • How will you help me?

Make sure to never sign any agreement without understanding the terms. If you are unsure of what the terms in the agreement mean, ask the credit counselor to explain it to you.

What to Expect During Credit Counseling

After choosing your Virginia credit counselor, you will be expected to provide them with all of your financials. Your credit counselor will want a complete and accurate picture of your current financial situation. You will review your income, debt, budget, property, and expenses with your credit counselor. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Credit counselors have seen people from all different walks of life that have fallen on hard times. Keep in mind, that whatever the reason is that caused you to fall behind, is probably not something they haven’t heard before. Your credit counselor will also want to pull a credit report so they can see your current financial status. You will go through your credit report together so that you both have a clear understanding about your financial patterns. Your credit counselor will then recommend a debt relief plan that is unique to your situation. They may offer solutions such as a debt management plan (DMP), bankruptcy, or debt consolidation. 

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Virginia

You and your Virginia credit counselor will work out a plan of action that’s suitable for your situation after reviewing your financial situation. Below are some of the most common paths people take to get out of debt:

Virginia Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation allows you to manage your monthly payments by essentially refinancing all of your smaller debts into one loan. It combines your monthly payments into a single payment to make your monthly payments more manageable. 

Virginia Debt Management Plan

A debt management plan helps you pay your unsecured debt. Your Virginia credit counseling agency will work directly with your creditors to come up with a more affordable monthly payment. Keep in mind that debt management plans will not work if you have mostly secured debts because most creditors won’t negotiate these types of loans. Moreover, if you lose your job in the future or have a reduction in income you may end up not being able to afford your debt management plan. 

Virginia Bankruptcy

Filing a Virginia bankruptcy can provide you with debt relief by eliminating your debts all together. Speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to see if bankruptcy counseling is right for you. There is a lot of misinformation online about bankruptcy, so don’t cross it off your list without speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer or a nonprofit bankruptcy legal aid organization  first. 



About the author
Attorney Karra Kingston

Ms. Kingston began her career as a bankruptcy attorney. She has appeared in front of many federal court judges and has helped numerous debtors obtain a fresh start. Ms. Kingston understands the complex federal rules for discharging debt. While working as a bankruptcy attorney, Ms... read more

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