Salvaging bad credit is a challenging task. Obviously, it is much easier to take care of your credit as you go along and avoid having problems, but too many people don’t really realize that until it is too late. Once you get into a tight financial spot, you have to really take some aggressive measures if you do not want to stay there. A tight financial spot can turn into bankruptcy or financial ruin, if you are not careful.
Luckily, there are many professional credit counselors out there who are ready and willing to help, and who have some great ideas that are easy to implement if you are ready to become disciplined. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you think you might be in the market for some credit counseling services.
- What services do you really need? Are you looking to reduce your debt? Have you been turned down for a loan because of bad credit? Are you worried that you are headed for bad credit, but you haven’t run into true trouble yet? Credit counselors are available to educate you on the many options that you might have, which can help you make the decisions you need to turn your situation around and make your credit score grow. Debt management services should be considered very carefully, as having this type of help on your credit report can sometimes hurt your credit—even though you are taking steps to make it better. Credit counseling can often be a great first step, because you can learn more about what you need to do—without having this show up on your credit report unnecessarily.
- Verify the credentials and any claimed accreditation of credit counselors before you sign on. Certainly you do not want advice from someone who does not really have the knowledge to help you improve your credit. Plus, when you are talking about your financial health, it is important that you work with professionals who are trustworthy and reputable. There are many, many examples of bad apples in this field, so just be wary. Contact the Better Business Bureau if you are wondering about their credibility. Not every credit counselor has to be formally trained, so choose a company that focuses on this and does not use too many unskilled staff members to help out.
- Find out how much the services are going to cost you before you sign up with any service. A company that is going to offer you free help is more often than not too good to be true. However, the fees should be reasonable for the services provided. After all, you are trying to improve your financial situation, not put yourself further behind.
- Get an idea of how much improvement you can expect for your credit score, based on different options that you might have available. You should have goals before you start working on improving your credit, whether you are going to hire a credit counselor for help or just try to learn how to make your situation better.
Improving your credit is an important step to take for your financial health and long term well being. Be responsible now, even if you were perhaps less responsible than you would have liked before (which got you into a bit of a financial mess in the first place!). There is hope for improving your credit, start taking the positive steps now!