If you’re having financial difficulties, a good credit counselor may be able to help you plot a way out and learn how to make more savvy money decisions in the future. But the wrong counseling service may do more harm than good. Some services—including some of the non-profits—are more interested in making money than in helping you manage yours. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a trustworthy organization should not charge for information about their services; should offer true counseling services and money management education--not just re-payment plans, which may end up hurting your credit; and should charge reasonable fees for its services.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s Web site offers free financial tools and help finding a reputable credit counseling service in your area.
Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), Inc., promotes the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and builds capacity for its Members to deliver the highest quality financial education and counseling services. The NFCC is the nations largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling network, with more than 100 Member agencies and nearly 850 offices in communities throughout the country. Each year, NFCC Members assist more than 3.2 million consumers, helping many to drive down their debt and take control of their finances.
NFCC Members, often known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) or other names, can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies high standards for agency accreditation, counselor certification and policies that ensure free or low-cost confidential services. NFCC Member Agencies can be reached in person in communities nationwide, on the phone toll-free at (800) 388-2227, or online. The NFCC national office is located in Silver Spring, Maryland.