Not every credit counselor is the same, which is why you should shop around for the credit counselor who best fits your needs. Stay away from credit repair scams and review the following information on what to expect from a credit counselor.
Generally, in your first session, the credit counselor will talk with you about your current finances, helping to calculate what your budget looks like. By the end of the session, the counselor will help you develop a personal budget plan and offer recommendations for additional counseling and resources that may help. Credit counselors:
- Will explain the different types of programs and services that can assist you with your money problems. The counselor should tell you any fees involved and answer any questions you have.
- Are available from both private and nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofit organizations offer credit counseling services at little or no cost.
- Should have training and/or certification in areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting.
- Should inform you if they are not federally approved to provide bankruptcy counseling.
The New York State Banking Department provides a list of New York State licensed budget planners.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can provide more information on financial education and counseling services.