We listen and effectively respond to your needs. This is why we say that "Getting out of debt is a long and difficult process, but once you decide to do it . . . it can be done"
Are your finances out of control? If making payments on your bills has become difficult, there are steps you can take to improve the situation.
What can you do once Debt becomes Unmanageable?
If your bills are piling up, you can't make all of your payments on time and you're thinking about paying one credit card balance with a cash advance from another its time to organize your credit payments and develop a plan for reducing your bills.
The first step in the process of saying "Get Me Out Of Debt" and make me "Debt Free" is to figure out your current debt situation and how much you pay monthly and bills you owe in total.
Start by making a list of all your credit payments recording the total amount you owe every creditor - that is, how much you have to pay on each debt. Then record each monthly payment and how many months it will take you to pay off the bill.
- Talk with family members about the debt situation. All family members must agree to reduce spending until your family is out of this crisis. This may mean closing charge accounts and not using credit cards.
- Contact creditor(s) and explain the situation. A GetOutOfDebt payment plan may be worked out so that obligations are repaid.
- Do not carry your credit cards with you; leave them at home. If you want to use them, you will have to go home and then return to the store. If the item you want to buy is a necessity then you will have access to the credit. If it is an impulse purchase you have the travel time back home to reconsider the purchase.
- Don’t ask for credit limit increases. This is a quick fix that may create disaster in the long haul.
- Don’t get payday loans. If you already have more than 1 pay-day loan a way to get-off the payday loan addiction it to get a "payday loan consolidation loan" to pay them off and never again get another extremely high interest rate short-term payday loan.
- Don’t use credit for consumable items such as food if you do not pay in full each month.
- Beware of many debt consolidation loans, especially those made by finance companies. Most consumer finance companies offering these loans charge very high interest rates.
- If you have more than 15 percent of your disposable income in debt payments, you should take steps to reduce your credit use. Disposable income is your net income after taxes and other payroll deductions.
- Do not continue to borrow if you can’t make monthly payments towards the debt. Reserve your credit cards for emergencies. Try not to add to your debt load by making additional or unnecessary purchases.
- Do not use your credit cards to borrow cash.
- Create a budget for income, and a debt payment plan. Do not spend more than you earn.
- Use your debit card, not your credit card, to make purchases.
- Pay more than the minimum amount due on your credit card(s) every month.
- as possible about lowering your interest rate and, if possible, arranging a payment schedule.
As soon as a credit-card account is completely paid-off destroy the credit card and close the account.
If all else fails in you getting out of debt you should consider using the services of a state licensed credit counseling company who might be able to help you pay off your debt so you successfully get out of debt.
What is a credit counseling service?
Credit counseling services, also known as debt management or budget planning services, help consumers "get out of debt" using credit vs income management methods. These get-out-of-debt credit firms can contact your creditors to help arrange lower fees and interest rates (sometimes with better results than a consumer could normally negotiate) and create a reasonable debt consolidation and/or repayment plan.
Who benefits from credit counseling?
Anyone who is behind on bill payments to creditors can consider using a New York State licensed credit counseling service.
Anyone who is considering bankruptcy may also benefit from credit counseling. Declaring bankruptcy is usually the last resort anyone should take to solve financial problems. A bankruptcy petition can stay on your credit report for up to 10-years.
What services do credit counselors provide and at what cost?
For a fee, credit counselors will analyze debt load and recommend a strict GetOutOfDebt budget, handle consolidated debt repayment or, in some cases, recommend bankruptcy;
They can help reduce monthly fees and lower interest rates, arrange to have late charges waived, over-limit charges dropped and have accounts returned from delinquent status to good standing in addition to stopping any harassing phone calls that a consumer might receive from creditors; and In the case of consolidated debt repayment, credit counselors will renegotiate interest rates with each creditor. Credit counseling is not free. Some credit counseling agencies charge fees that can range from 5-10% of a consumer’s debt. Others charge little or nothing for managing a plan and still others charge a fee equaling the equivalent of one month’s payment or a flat fee (usually under $50) and then a monthly fee (usually less than $25). Using automated payments can sometimes reduce your monthly fee.
Questions to ask a credit counseling service about the services it offers:
- Is your company licensed by your State Banking Dept?
- Are your company’s counselors accredited or certified? If not, how are they trained?
- Is client money put in a separate trust account from your company’s operating funds?
- Is there a minimum debt required to use your company’s services?
- Will I have a formal written agreement or contract with your company?
- Does your company ask for a voluntary contribution?
- What is your initial fee? How is the amount of the monthly payment determined?
- Will I work with one counselor or several?
- Does your company offer free educational materials? If so, will you send them to me?
- Does your company offer assistance with secured debts, such as car loans and mortgages?
- Is helping me plan for payment of these debts part of the services your company provides?
- What assurance is there that personal information about me will be kept confidential?
What questions to ask a credit counselor about your account:
- Is a debt repayment plan my only fix-the-debt's option?
- What are the consequences if I am not able to maintain the agreed-upon plan? Do you work with my particular creditors?
- Can you have my creditors lower or eliminate interest and finance charges or waive late fees?
- How will I know my creditors have received payments?
- What will my monthly fee be and can I reduce it by making automated payments?
- How often will I receive reports on my account?
- Am I able to access my accounts online or by phone?
- Will you help me develop a plan for avoiding debt-related problems in the future?
- Should I use my credit cards or apply for a new credit card while I am undergoing debt consolidation?
- How soon can you take my case?
- How long will it take to get out of debt?
- Will credit counseling show up on my credit report? If not, why not?
When choosing a credit counselor, consider the following:
- Legitimate debt consolidation plans should never involve taking out new loans and incurring even more debts and bills.
- Never give out personal information, like a Social Security number or bank account number, over the phone.
- If your secured debts are not included in your repayment plan you must continue to make payments to those creditors directly. If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact the lender immediately to avoid home foreclosure.
- Shop around. Compare the services and fees of at least three debt and credit counseling firms before you decide on the credit counselor or the get-out-of-debt plan best for your needs.
- Some universities, military bases, national or state credit unions and the federal housing authority may offer lower-cost loans. plus free or low-cost credit counseling.
- Consumers should only use credit counselors who are reputable, listed in the BBB and licensed by their State Banking Department.