Debt Help Companies
For many people who carry onerous levels of high interest rate debt (usually in the form of unsecured credit card debt), making ends meet at the end of the month while attempting to get out from under the pile of debt represents an ongoing challenge.
Fortunately, there are numerous non-profit debt help companies that can aid in the process of restoring one’s financial health and getting on the road to a debt-free lifestyle. Is a debt management plan offered by a non-profit debt relief company something that you should consider as part of your personal financial future? Let’s take a closer look.
Debt Management Plans
For individuals burdened with high levels of unsecured debt, enrolling in a Debt Management Plan (DMP) can potentially make a lot of sense. A DMP is a structured program designed and managed by a non-profit debt help company that works on your behalf to negotiate lower interest rates and lower monthly payments with your creditors.
Instead of needing to keep track of and make multiple monthly payments to a variety of different creditors, a DMP arranged by a debt help company allows you to make one streamlined payment to the debt help company, who then submits appropriate disbursements to creditors according to the terms of the debt management plan.
Choose an NFCC Certified Debt Help Company
If you think you may benefit from a debt management plan, begin by choosing a reputable debt help company that is staffed with certified counselors who are trained in debt management.
The non-profit debt help company should be certified by the National Foundation for Credit Couseling (NFCC), which is the largest non-profit financial counseling agency in the United States, certifying credit counselors at over fifty debt help companies.
Every NFCC certified credit counselor completes a comprehensive training program that ensures the counselor is fully qualified to assist consumers who may require guidance with their debt situation and a debt management plan.
What Does an NFCC Certified Debt Counselor Do?
In an initial 30-45 minute interview, the NFCC Certified debt counselor will ask specific questions related to your income and expenses. You should have a clear idea of exactly how much money you have left over at the end of the month after accounting for basic necessities such as rent, food, transportation, utility bills, etc.
You should also be able to clearly discuss all of your unsecured debts – meaning you should know exactly how much you owe on all of your individual credit cards, their respective interest rates and minimum monthly payments, as well as any outstanding medical bills and other personal financial obligations.
Your credit counselor will refer to your credit report to verify that all of the information you provide is accurate. A reputable, NFCC-certified credit counselor will make recommendations related to controlling your expenses and enhancing your income while also offering free educational materials that can further get you on the right track financially.
After evaluating your situation, the counselor can offer you a debt management plan that includes a reduction of interest rates and monthly payments on your unsecured debts – subject to the acceptance of your creditors.
If you agree to enroll, the duration of the payment schedule will generally be between three and five years. Most debt help companies charge a one-time enrollment fee and regular monthly fees of approximately $50 per month for services related to a DMP.
Debt Help Companies
Not only will the best debt help companies be NFCC certified non-profit credit counseling agencies, but they will also stand out on criteria such as customer service, cost and quality of educational resources. You should also receive monthly statements that allow for easy access to your account information and allow you to track your debt repayment progress.
Let’s take a look at several debt management programs that could be worthy of your attention. Cambridge Credit Counseling offers professional counselors who average over thirteen years of experience and is the top rated debt counseling agency in the United States as ranked by Consumer Affairs. Cambridge boasts a wide variety of educational resources and financial literacy articles on its website, is ranked five stars on Trustpilot with over three hundred customer reviews, and is a Better Business Bureau Marketplace Award Winner as Non-Profit of the Year for 2019.
InCharge Debt Solutions also shows five stars on Trustpilot (793 reviews) and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Their skilled, compassionate and knowledgeable counselors have a reputation for securing low monthly payments on unsecured credit card debt within a debt management plan while also referring clients to partner agencies for related debt relief services that include student loan counseling and bankruptcy counseling. InCharge’s educational resources include many free financial literacy books and community workshops.
More Debt Help Companies
Money Management International (MMI), founded in 1958, is the largest debt help company and offers round the clock customer service, seven days a week. MMI also shows five stars on Trustpilot (1108 reviews) and offers free online financial literacy classes and webinars. MMI’s wide range of services includes credit counseling, debt management plans, foreclosure counseling, home buying counseling, reverse mortgage counseling, credit report reviews, student loan counseling and bankruptcy counseling.
Finally, GreenPath Financial Wellness differentiates itself by offering in-person counseling, as it has sixty branch offices in sixteen states. GreenPath’s website offers an abundance of educational materials that includes free webinars, online chats and budgeting tips. The company’s GreenPath University section offers articles in categories that includes debt, credit, loans, auto financing, paying for college, housing, budgeting and saving for retirement, among others.
About The Author: Steven Brachman
Steven Brachman is the lead content provider for UnitedSettlement.com. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Economics, Steven spent several years as a registered representative in the securities industry before moving on to equity research and trading. He is also an experienced test-prep professional and admissions consultant to aspiring graduate business school students. In his spare time, Steven enjoys writing, reading, travel, music and fantasy sports.
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