If you use an accredited credit counseling agency, your chances of finding a consumer friendly Vermont credit counselor to work with are usually good. Follow these five steps to help you with your search.
Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated November 30, 2019
Choosing a reputable debt management company can help you get out of debt and return your finances to a good standing. A good Vermont credit counseling session offers different paths for you to get out of debt. When you sign up for credit counseling services you will get guidance from a certified credit counselor that will come up with a budget to help you manage your finances. If you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, a Vermont credit counseling session is a free resource that can help you.
A credit counseling session is a lifeline to help you get out of debt. A credit counseling session typically consists of an online, over the phone, or in-person meeting with a certified credit counselor that lasts anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. The counselor will take a look at your current financial status by analyzing your income, budget, and consumer credit report and give you different solutions to solve your money problems. Debt management plans (a DMP), debt consolidation or bankruptcy are some of the most common debt management solutions.
If you are unsure whether credit counseling in Vermont is right for you, then you may want to consider some of these warning signs:
You can’t meet your monthly bills.
You are overspending
You have been denied credit
You are paying overdraft fees
You are spending over your credit limit
You have too many credit cards
Your credit score is below a 600
You have no savings for any emergency situations
You are using credit to pay for your other credit card bills
You are taking out balance transfers
You are skipping payments
You are asking friends and family to borrow money
You are taking out loans from your retirement
You are unsure how much debt you have
Lawsuits from creditors are appearing in the mail
Participating in a free Vermont credit counseling session is a great way to become educated about the tools you have available to become debt-free. Even if you are not behind on your bills, you may still benefit from taking a Vermont credit counseling session to help you become more financially savvy.
Choose a reputable credit counseling agency to work with. There are many companies out there, so take time to do some research about each company. Choosing a reputable credit counselor is essential to making sure you get out of debt. Look out for any signs indicating the company is a scam. Don’t let anyone talk you into a debt settlement program. Debt settlement programs come with high fees while credit counseling is free. There is a difference between credit counseling in Vermont and debt settlement. Vermont credit counselors help you manage your debt and money. A debt settlement company, on the other hand, tries to arrange settlements with your creditors for a fee. Take note that most people don’t end up completing debt settlement programs. Thus, people end up throwing money away and end up in the same financial rut.
How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Vermont
If you use an accredited credit counseling agency, your chances of finding a consumer friendly Vermont credit counselor to work with are usually good. Follow these five steps to help you with your search:
Find Vermont Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies
First, find a non-profit agency that does not charge high fees to help you. Why pay for something when you don’t need to? There are many for-profit credit counseling organizations that take your money when they shouldn’t. Since non-profit credit counselors in Vermont offer free advice use their tools to help you with debt relief. Second, know the difference between a reputable credit counseling agency and a bad one. A poorly organized credit counseling organization can make your financial situation much worse. Always ask how an organization is accredited. There are a surplus of credit counseling scams. Choose a Vermont credit counselor by doing some preliminary research. A reputable credit counseling agency will send you free information about their services if you simply ask. If a firm doesn’t want to send you free information, go somewhere else. Also, the initial counseling session should always be free. If any credit counseling company is charging you for your initial session find a different company to use. Make sure that the credit counseling company you choose is accredited by the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling). Counselors that are accredited by the NFCC must comply with strict consumer guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission also has a lot of good information to help you choose a qualified Vermont credit counselor.
Information to Research Before Talking to an Vermont Credit Counseling Agency
You can find a long list of accredited counseling services through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. You should go through this list carefully before choosing a Vermont credit counselor. If you know any bankruptcy attorneys, you can ask for a reference to a reputable course provider. Also, check with your state's attorney general’s office to determine whether there have been any complaints filed against the credit counseling organization you’re considering. Lastly, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to look up a Vermont credit counseling agency. The BBB makes sure that businesses adhere to a best practice standard so any businesses that falls below should not be considered. Search the company on the BBB website to find their letter grade. Make sure to work with a company that has a low number of complaints (if any) against them.
Questions to Ask the Vermont Credit Counselor Before Signing Up
Before you move ahead with a Vermont credit counselor to get debt relief, have a list of questions ready to ask to ensure that you are in good hands. Don’t forget to ask what you need to prepare for your meeting and choose a service that is convenient for you. Many counseling agencies do their sessions by phone or over the internet. If you work, make sure you can make an appointment after work hours. Some other questions to have ready to ask your credit counselor are:
How much will this cost?
How often can I get a status update if I enter into a DMP with your company?
What will happen if the counselor’s recommendation is more than I can afford?
How are your services funded?
Are you licensed?
How long have you been doing this?
Make sure not to sign any debt management agreement if you don’t understand the terms of the agreement. If you are unsure what you are signing call the counselor and have them explain the agreement to you.
What to Expect During Credit Counseling
Vermont credit counselors want to help you succeed financially. They will look through your specific financial situation and give you different options to get you out of debt. Some options that may be recommended to help you include debt management plans, budgeting, and bankruptcy. Be ready to learn about budgeting and different ways to save money. Give the Vermont credit counselor full access to your current financial situation. Provide them with your bills, taxes, debt, income, and expenses. Don’t leave anything out otherwise, you will only end up hurting yourself. If you are married, have your spouse join in on the session as well so they can work with you too.
What Happens after Credit Counseling in Vermont
You and your credit counselor will come up with a plan to help you eliminate your debts. There are various types of programs that may be recommended to you. You may have to try more than one plan before seeing any financial improvement. Below are some frequent solutions to help you get out of debt.
Vermont Debt Consolidation
If you have a low credit score and a lot of credit card debt, debt consolidation in Vermont can help you. Debt consolidation can simplify your monthly payments so you only have one monthly payment. Essentially, debt consolidation is taking out one loan to pay all of your loans. The advantage of debt consolidation is allowing you to pay your debts in one monthly payment which can help you pay off your debt by making your monthly payments easier to manage.
Vermont Debt Management Plan
Once a credit counselor has reviewed your financial situation, they may recommend a debt management plan in Vermont. Your credit counselor will negotiate with your creditors to reduce high interest rates or monthly payments, waive fees or reduce the amount you owe. The Vermont credit counseling agency will make monthly payments directly to your creditors so you no longer have to.
Filing a Vermont bankruptcy is a good way to start over debt-free. By filing bankruptcy in Vermont, you can get rid of all of your debt and move on with your life almost immediately. Speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer or learning about bankruptcy counseling can be a great way to help you get back on track.