A Look Inside Debt Consolidation Credit Counseling

One of the biggest questions is, how does debt consolidation credit counseling work?

A nonprofit credit counseling agency that abides by state regulations and creditor guidelines will begin with a free counseling session reviewing your financial addendum.

A financial addendum is an outline of your debt to income ratio on a monthly basis, assets and liabilities. This is also known as a household budget. A certified credit counselor reviews your monthly expenses versus your income to properly assess a monthly payment for your credit counseling plan that is affordable and falls on a due date that comfortably fits within your other bills and pay schedule.

This is done first to help consumers identify where they are currently with their finances and help establish where they want to go long term with their goals. A financial addendum also helps your credit counselor qualify you for a monthly payment that you can easily manage and ensures a successful completion of your program. Some creditors utilize the financial addendum to determine how much interest will be reduced.

From there, a credit counselor will then ask for the accounts you want to enroll, names and current balances. This data is used to find out what your monthly payment will be on the debt consolidation plan. The monthly payment is based on pre-established creditor guidelines nonprofits must abide by for their clients to receive program benefits such as interest reductions and the stopping of fees.

Eventually a credit counselor will want to review your statements for current fees, finance charges, and due dates in an effort to compare to the rates on the program and show the potential savings with enrollment.

At this point, a certified counselor should have provided you a budget analysis of your financial addendum, a breakdown of the total monthly payment in the program, and the potential difference in the savings between your current terms and the proposed modified terms under a nonprofit credit counseling plan. You now have a solid accounting of where you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there with a debt consolidation program.

If the payment is affordable and the savings are there and proven it is then time to select a payment date to begin your plan. Once you select a date and have committed to a plan a credit counselor should then send you any paperwork to finalize an agreement and working relationship between you and the agency to manage your debts.

After you have submitted your paperwork it is then recommended to make one last call to your creditors and close the accounts as – closed by account holder- rather than the creditor closing the account in the enrollment process. Whoever closes the account should not affect your actual credit score however some lenders may use such verbiage on your credit report to justify charging you a higher interest rate on a loan.

Keep in mind: There are some things that do hurt your credit and some things that do not that a lender will try and use to justify higher rates and fees from the affiliated banks and agencies.

Once you are enrolled in the program the credit counseling agency should be handling any communiqu├ęs with your creditors on your behalf and providing you updates as needed with regard to the status of your accounts enrolled in the program.

35 percent of your credit score is factored by timely payments every billing cycle. Another 30 percent is accounted by the amount of debt you owe. A debt consolidation credit counseling plan helps improve your credit in these two areas each billing cycle, building your credit score while lowering your debt amounts.

You see, as long as you make your payment each month a true nonprofit credit counseling agency will in turn then disburse funds to your creditors each and every month, satisfying the demand for 35 percent of your credit score, timely payments.

As your interest rates are reduced from their original rates your regular monthly payment through the credit counseling agency then applies more to the principle than the finance charges each month, bringing your balances down much faster than paying it on your own at high interest rates. This reduces the amount of debt you owe faster and further assists that 30 percent factor of your credit score in a positive direction.

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