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Seek credit counseling

En Español

Maybe you've tried everything, but still can't pay your bills on time. It might be time to speak to a professional credit counselor to help you put together a plan to pay off your debt and make positive financial decisions.

Consumer credit counseling calls and sessions are confidential. A credit counselor can help you deal with various concerns:

You might want to seek credit counseling if you:

By using credit counseling services, you show a commitment to repaying your debts, which many creditors considered a positive when reviewing your credit report. They will negotiate with your creditors to agree on a repayment plan, and they might be able to reduce the interest rate on your outstanding balances for accounts in the plan. Generally, they will request you not take on new revolving credit while in a plan. Most plans last three to five years.

Things to consider

About agencies

Credit and debt counseling agencies are independent, nonprofit, community-service agencies whose services are available to all members of the community. They don't work for a collection agency, bank, creditor, or US Marshall's office. Those that are members of national organizations, such as the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) have strict standards to protect your interests. Many states license these agencies for your protection.

To contact a credit and debt counseling agency, look in the yellow pages under "Credit and Debt Counseling" or contact the AICCCA or NFCC. Be sure you choose a nonprofit organization, and be aware that there might be a client fee for these services.