Credit Counseling Services

So you just signed up for credit counseling services and spent time working with your counselor on a debt management plan to help bring your financial obligations under control. As long as you make regular, on-time payments to take care of your debt, is that all you need to do?

The answer is no. Even though you hired a credit counseling agency to help navigate your way out of money trouble, you still have the ultimate responsibility of managing your own finances.

Therefore, to ensure everything goes smoothly with your debt management plan, here are some important things to track and manage on a regular basis.

Confirming Payment Terms:

Once your debt management plan is complete, check with all your creditors to ensure they accepted and approved the terms of your payment plan. Do this before you start sending money to your credit counseling firm to make payments on your behalf.

Check Credit Card Statements:

You still need to review all of your credit card statements each and every month. Confirm that the payment you are sending to the consumer credit counseling company is being forwarded to your creditors in a timely fashion – before the due dates. Then, check to ensure the amount is being properly credited to your account.

  • Important Note: At the end of the day, you are responsible for your credit, not your credit counseling services company. Any discrepancies that may happen along the money trail are reflected in your credit report data – not the company's data.

You need to check the statements from your creditors for one more reason. If your consumer counseling company has negotiated a lower interest rate or fee reduction on a specific card, make sure that "discount" is applied properly and reflected in the corresponding statement.

Review Other Payment Obligations:

Remember that your debt management plan may not include all of your loans. Typically, secured loans like mortgages and car payments are separate.

You may also have other obligations that are not included in your repayment plan, like your monthly utility bills, maintenance costs and similar.

Ensure that you fulfill all payment requirements on time every month. This includes your debt payments and ongoing financial obligations.

If done properly, your debt management plan should take into account your ability to afford and make all your monthly payments. By following your plan and benefiting from the expertise of your credit counselor, you will be well on your way to rebuilding your credit and freeing yourself from debt.

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