Frequently Asked Questions From Our Clients
We’ve compiled the most asked questions from our clients to help you understand how we customize credit counseling programs for you.
No. With a debt management program, you pay off everything owed in a way that’s more manageable on a limited budget – at lower interest rates so you save money and still pay off debt fast. A debt settlement program settles debt for less than the full amount owed which closes that account and causes an automatic 7-year credit report penalty for every debt settled.
No, although the program provides similar results to what you get with debt consolidation. The credit counseling team negotiates with your creditors to agree to an adjusted payment schedule at reduced interest rates. The monthly payments you make are disbursed between your creditors according to that schedule.
This is different from personal debt consolidation loans that you can take out on your own and use the money to pay off your credit cards. It also may be more difficult to qualify for a personal loan. So while both options consolidate debt into one low-interest payment, they do so in slightly different ways.
This depends on which option you use to consolidate debt and how successful you are at executing the plan. In most cases, the debt consolidation will have a neutral or positive affect on your credit, even if you use consumer credit counseling services to enroll in a debt management program. Since the program eliminates debt while helping you to build a positive payment history, many users see their credit scores increase upon successful completion of the program.
In most cases as debt management program will provide the lowest payments you can achieve when you consolidate debt. During your confidential consultation, the certified credit counselor will evaluate your budget and debt to determine the total monthly payment you can reasonably afford to make. Then the payment schedule would be negotiated and accepted by all of your creditors. All credit counseling service nationwide follow the same guidelines for the consolidation of debt, so the payment will be the same no matter which credit counseling services you end up using.
The credit counseling team negotiates with your individual creditors to reduce or eliminate the interest rate applied to your customized debt management program. On average, interest rates on debts included in the program will range between 0-11%, although it may vary by client and creditor. As a result you get both short- and long-term debt relief. With less interest you eat up your monthly payments, you gain the advantage of paying off debt fast even though you pay less each month.
Your credit cards will be paid off in-full upon program completion, but the credit counseling service itself does not pay off the debt for you. As you make the monthly payments to Consolidated Credit, the money received is disbursed amongst your creditors according to the schedule the credit counseling team negotiates with your creditors. As a result, you should see the balances on your accounts decrease gradually over time.
Note that this is a slightly different form of debt consolidation than other options like personal debt consolidation loans. With debt consolidation loans, you take out a loan and use the money to pay off your creditors in one lump sum, leaving only the loan to pay back. By contrast, this program simply adjusts your payment schedule.
There is a small fee for setting you up on a debt management program, as well as a small monthly maintenance fee. These fees are calculated according to a formula that assesses your budget and what you can afford to pay. All fees are then rolled into your monthly payment amount so they are effectively included in your program payments. Note that fees for 501(c)3 nonprofit credit counseling services are regulated, so there’s typically no difference in the fees you’d pay using one service versus another.
Debts that have already passed to a third-party collection agency may be consolidated through a debt management program if the collector agrees. Part of the credit counseling services involves contacting each of your individual creditors to negotiate your enrollment in the program. Debt collectors are included in that process, so as long as the collector agrees then the consolidation of debt already in collections is absolutely permitted.
Spouses are only required to use credit counseling services and enroll together in a debt management program if the debts you wish to include in the program are held jointly. That means if you are cosigners on the accounts, then you must enroll together to get the maximum debt relief benefit. However, if one spouse is merely an authorized account user, then they would not be required to enroll.
Absolutely. We encourage it whenever possible. Simply call to speak with a client services representative who can assist in applying the extra payment.
Secured debt refers to a situation where the money borrowed or credit line extended requires some type of collateral. Secured debts like a mortgage or auto loan cannot be consolidated on a debt management program or using any other type of debt consolidation. However, secured credit cards – where you put a cash deposit down to open the credit line – can be included on the program.
Wichita Falls, TX
“Consolidated Credit was the best thing I could have ever done. They were honest, caring and understanding with me. I have recommended them over and over to others.”
New York, NY
“Consolidated Credit helped me get out of debt fast. Their customer service reps are very friendly and understanding. Their debt management program is the best.”
“I consolidated my credit cards so fast and efficiently with this program. Consolidated Credit made it all so easy!”
*All testimonials are from our clients. We respect the privacy of our clients. At their request, some of the pictures depicted may not be the actual client giving the recommendation.