Credit Counseling Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Does Credit Counseling Cost?
InCharge offers credit counseling with a certified credit counselor, free of charge. During your counseling session, you’ll be provided with the following at no charge:
- A portion of your credit report listing your current credit card accounts, balances, and minimum monthly payments for each.
- A counseled budget including personalized recommendations on how to save money in each major budget category
- An action plan providing you with a recommended debt solution, as well as alternate debt solutions available to you
During your credit counseling session and after, you can choose the debt solution recommended by InCharge, or not. The choice is yours.
If you qualify for and decide to enroll in the InCharge debt management program, there is an average set-up fee of $40, and an average $25 monthly fee, not to exceed $75 and $55, respectively. Learn more about debt management program fees.
Who Is Eligible For Credit Counseling?
There are no eligibility requirements for credit counseling. Anyone in need of debt relief is eligible.
Can I Do Credit Counseling Online?
Absolutely. InCharge is proud to offer an online credit counseling option where you enter your information and receive a personalized debt relief solution without ever having to speak to a person. If a debt management program is recommended, you can add or delete credit accounts, choose a payment due date and set-up automated payments, all without having to call in to a counselor.
How Much Debt Do I Need For the Debt Management Program?
We do not have a minimum debt requirement for the debt management program. Our goal is to create a payment plan that is affordable and enables you to pay off your debt within a three to five year period. Our clients have, on average, credit card debt of $15,000. Though we have enrolled clients with as little as $1000 in debt, and more than $100,000 in debt. Our clients have an average annual income of $36,000.
Will Credit Counseling Ruin My Credit Score?
Participating in a credit counseling session will not be reflected on your credit report and it will not impact your credit score. However, changes in your financial behavior, especially after choosing a debt solution, may have a positive or negative impact on your score. For example, joining a debt management program and having your credit cards closed may initially lower your score. But making on-time payments you can afford over time, could raise your score. A study published by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that participants saw a 50 point average increase in their credit scores, 18 months after receiving credit counseling. This gain applied to those in the bottom quartile of credit score.
Read Will Credit Counseling Ruin My Credit Score for a better understanding of how credit scores are calculated.
What Does A Credit Counselor Do?
If you choose credit counseling over the telephone, we’ll connect you with a certified credit counselor who will do the following: collect information about your income, assets and expenses. They will then pull a copy of your credit report and review your debts with you. Based on your income, assets and debts, your credit counselor will make a debt relief recommendation to you which may include bankruptcy, a debt management program and/or recommendations for how to reduce items in your budget to help you pay off your debt faster.
Read more about what happens during a credit counseling session.
How Long Does Credit Counseling Take?
NFCC-certified financial counselors conduct 20-40 minute interviews to gather information about a person’s financial situation and provide a personalized debt relief solution.
How Can You Offer Free Credit Counseling?
In 2015, InCharge Debt Solutions delivered over 90,000 free credit counseling sessions. That’s a lot of free financial guidance. How do we pay for it? We receive funding from a number of our other nonprofit programs that help pay for the certified credit counseling we’re able to offer, absolutely free, to anyone who calls, nationwide.
Are Debt Counselors Certified?
Our debt counselors must complete intensive financial counseling and become certified by the NFCC. Besides being certified, many of InCharge’s credit counselors have over 10 years of experience as a financial counselor. They’ve helped people through every kind of financial downturn, from losing a loved one to catastrophic illness, to job loss. They can help you too.
Is There An App for Credit Counseling?
InCharge created an app for credit counseling called the Debt Solution Finder App. This credit counseling app is available for both Android and iPhones.
Download the Credit Counseling App: Debt Solution Finder
Five Advantages To Working With A Consumer Credit Counseling Company
- Impartial financial advice from a nonprofit organization not trying to sell you anything
- Financial counselors are trained and experienced
- Nonprofit credit counseling is offered 100% free of charge
- You may qualify for a debt management program that could lower your interest rates and reduce fees.
- Budget counseling gives you tips and advice you can use today to reduce your expenses