Credit Counseling - Pennsylvania
Pennsylvanians are struggling with credit card debt. For many consumers, out of control finances lead to the need to explore debt relief options. The type of debt relief provided by consumer credit counseling has surged in popularity due to problems that consumers have had in managing the "easy credit" of recent years, particularly prior to the credit meltdown of 2008 and beyond. Millions of consumers accepted easy-credit and now they're paying the price, facing balances and high interest rates that have become unmanageable and unbearable. For many, it's a nightmare scenario.
Credit Counseling - Debt Relief
If you're one of the many Pennsylvanians suffering with out-of-control finances, high interest rate credit cards, late fees and penalties, you could be a prime candidate for the kind of help provided by a credit counseling agency. Credit counseling, depending on your situation, could help you to enjoy the benefits of reduced interest rates, removal of late fees and penalties, lower payments, and more favorable payment terms overall.
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Types of Credit Counseling Services
Thanks in large part to the recent banking and credit crisis, the once easy-credit-offers have nearly disappeared. Unfortunately, the damage largely wrought by all these easy-credit offers has been done and consumers are reaching-out to credit counseling services including Christian counseling services and various other non-profit and for-profit credit counseling services. All have become an increasingly popular way to reduce, pay off or consolidate consumer debt that's become a burden to manage and a bear to control. The march to manage debt-better, is on.
Even though there's different types of credit counseling services, the basic "service" provided is typically the same. The most important things consumers need to understand are the specific debt reduction or debt consolidation benefits offered by each of the various Debt Management Plans or DMP's. As soon as you - the consumer - understand how much you're projected to save and the length of time each plan takes to succeed, you'll have important info you need to better choose the most appropriate credit counseling company for your needs. Part of the decision-criteria should question if the company has a strong Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and whether or not it has a strong track record of service to consumers.
Consolidating Debt with Credit Counseling
Let's examine the straight-forward approach credit counseling agencies use to assist consumers consolidate, pay off or reduce debts quickly and efficiently. The process gets underway with a free debt relief consultation. This no-cost consumer analysis can take place in-person or on the phone. The initial meeting consists of questions relating to the consumers specific unsecured debts, including a list of credit cards (retail store cards, gas cards, medical/health card bills, utilities, and cell phone bills), basically all debt not secured by real property - including homes, other types of real estate holdings and even motor vehicles. Upon a full and clear understanding of the debtor's credit situation and debt obligations, the credit counselor will determine the amount of income the consumer has available to apply over time in order to reduce or eliminate debt and do so in a way that is affordable to the consumer. The DMP proposed by the counselor must fit in with the consumer's ability to pay because consumers who enter into credit counseling programs need to adhere to the terms faithfully or creditors can rescind the benefits of credit counseling and the consumer will have to revert to the previous, less favorable, agreements.
Following all data-information capture and Q&A, the counselor will be able to take the debtor's profile and make a proposal to the specific credit card and unsecured debt- holders owed. The proposal generally includes request to lower interest rates, waive any and all penalties and late fees, and even a relaxing of payment terms. Creditors accepting the Debt Management Plan request and proposals allow the debtor to take advantage of a single, more manageable monthly payment paid to the credit counseling agency by the debtor, then distributed by the agency to each of the creditors who've agreed to participate. Creditors that don't will continue working with the consumer under existing terms, but, in time, they may elect to join part of the consolidated payment program if they feel it is in their best interest to get a timely monthly payment.
Getting Out of Debt Faster
Consumers looking for the benefits offered by a credit counseling Debt Management Plan are generally asked to stop using their credit cards and not to apply for any new ones as well. It's all part of the discipline required to help the debtor get out of debt, lessening the chance that additional or new debt occurs while the plan is underway. Along with the disciplined approach to debt reduction provided by the credit counseling agency, counselors aim to secure lower interest rates which, if agreed to by creditors, permit principle to be paid down faster - a true benefit typically realized by consumers who pay faithfully each month according to the terms of their DMP.
While consumers who pay the monthly minimums month after month can take years and years to get out of debt, all the while paying high interest rates, the decision to utilize a carefully constructed, well-prepared Debt Management Plan, can help a consumer reach freedom from debt in as little as 3 to 5 years. Debt Management, coordinated by a reliable, and experienced credit counseling agency, is a viable option for persons in need-of debt relief.
Freedom from Debt
If you're a person who wants to pay back what is owed and do so at lower interest rates in a manner that's comfortable and convenient for you, then the choice of a Debt Management Plan may be an ideal debt relief option. If, on the other hand, you are under so much duress that you have already fallen behind, you may want to consider the option of a debt settlement program whereby credit card companies may agree to "settle" your debts for substantially less than you actually owe.
Need to find out more about debt relief options? Get your free, no obligation, debt relief analysis and savings evaluation.