How Does Online Credit Counseling Work? - InCharge Debt Solutions

Online Credit Counseling

Computer displaying an online credit counseling courseNowadays, we do everything online. We pay the bills, shop for groceries, and order Chinese food without leaving the comfort of our couch.

Doing things online is just plain easier than in-person, or over the phone. So much so, if a service isn’t accessible online, we struggle to justify it as worth our time, a lesson Blockbuster Video Rentals learned the hard way.

So, if you do most anything online, why should credit counseling be any different?

A lot of people know they need professional help to untangle or make sense of their finances, but they can’t seem to justify braving the commute into town where all the so-called professionals hang out.

The truth is, you can receive online credit counseling without taking a step outside your home.

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Who Can Benefit from Online Credit Counseling?

Credit counseling is for anybody who has dug themselves into a financial hole with credit card debt and is unsure of the next best step.

Your situation might be the result of gross financial mismanagement, or just plain bad luck.

What those who could benefit from online credit counseling all have in common is this: After many hours of thinking and brooding over what to do next, a clear way out fails to present itself.

That is when you’d be wise to reach out for professional help.

Here are some scenarios where online credit counseling might be a good idea:

  • You’re barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck
  • Your debt continues to inflate month after month
  • You’re constantly falling short on cash, and because of that, relying too much on credit cards.

The Process of Online Credit Counseling

Here’s how credit counseling works. After filling out basic information like name and email address, you go into specific detail about your financial situation. You jot down how much you make and how much you spend. After listing your income and expenses, you’ll be given recommendations on where you could cut back.

Credit counselors will highlight your strong areas: spending no more than 30% of your income on housing? Good job!

And they’ll tackle your weak points: 50% of your income is too much to be spending on entertainment.

They’ll even do a soft pull of your credit report to better gauge where you may have gone amiss. This will have no negative effects on your credit score.

After plugging in all your information and peaking at your credit report, you’ll have a better idea of the circumstances dragging you into the hole.

It may be your car payments are too high for your budget. Or, perhaps, it is a utilities collection that slipped past you months ago and has bludgeoned your credit score. Whatever it is, credit counseling can provide a plan of action.

So, what’s next? A credit counselor will give you a list of reasonable options to pursue. This could range from a debt management program to a consolidation loan to debt settlement.

This is where the online part has run its course. Online credit counseling is a valuable tool for the busy consumer. However, if you want all the benefits of credit card consolidation, or a debt management program, you’ll have to speak with a counselor.

If you do online credit counseling with InCharge, a credit counselor will be in touch shortly after receiving your contact info. They can guide you through the online process or you can opt to do it yourself.

Even if you choose to go it alone, they’ll provide you with their contact information, should you run into any snags along the way.

Online Credit Counseling for Bankruptcy

If you’re considering bankruptcy, you may have heard about the credit counseling requirement.

Anyone who files bankruptcy must first complete a credit counseling course from an accredited nonprofit credit counseling agency. Courts do not want people filing for bankruptcy lightly, or before exploring every possible alternative.

Credit counseling for bankruptcy comes with a fee, usually around $50. It should take around 60 to 90 minutes, which is a little longer than typical credit counseling. This is a good thing, as you should never be in a rush to file bankruptcy. Upon completion, your counselor may deem your situation not so dire. You may be a better fit for a debt management program, debt settlement or debt consolidation.

Why Choose InCharge?

Credit counseling is a serious investment in your financial future. You don’t want to go with the first name that falls into your lap.

Credit counselors are financial educators, so think of credit counseling as an invaluable – FREE! — education.

A degree from a university without accreditation is no good. The same goes for credit counseling. You should look for an accredited organization with a history of excellent customer service.

All of InCharge’s counselors are NFCC certified and accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

InCharge has over 20 years’ experience steering consumers out of financial hardships. As a nonprofit organization, you can rest assured knowing they are more interested in helping you, than helping themselves to your wallet.

Sources

NA.ND. LIST OF CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCIES APPROVED PURSUANT TO 11 U.S.C. § 111. Retrieved from: https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111

Roll, S, Moulton, S. ND. The Impact of Credit Counseling on Consumer Outcomes: Evidence from a National Demonstration Program. Retrieved from: https://www.fdic.gov/news/conferences/consumersymposium/2016/documents/roll_paper.pdf