In a Nutshell
If the thought of getting out of debt sounds like music to your ears, follow these five steps to get the free credit counseling in Texas.
Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated November 30, 2019
It is never easy when you are faced with bills piling up. Many people don’t know where to turn and who to ask for help when their finances get out of control. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of credit repair, credit counseling and debt-relief companies that prey on vulnerable people who simply are seeking help to get their debt under control. When you want to control your debt and educate yourself about the cause of your excessive debt, Texas credit-counseling organizations can offer you support.
If you have fallen into a habit of paying high interest on your credit cards and loans each month, and see no way of getting out of your debt, you may want to consider Texas credit counseling. Credit counseling in Texas provides tools to help people get back on track with their finances. Texas credit counselors will help negotiate smaller monthly payments with your creditors so you can free up some money for other things. Having a Texas credit counselor work out deals with your creditors can eliminate and reduce interest and stop late fees. A credit counselor will review your finances and give you suggestions on different ways to manage your credit, budget, debt, and money. They will thoroughly review your consumer credit report to determine the root of your financial problems and help find ways to increase your credit score.
Working with a Texas credit counselor is a very personal process. The Texas credit counselor will review your financials and give you a plan tailored to your specific needs. The session usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes.
If you are asking yourself whether credit counseling in Texas is right for you, ask yourself:
Am I having trouble making timely payments?
Am I losing sleep over my debt?
Is more than 30% of my salary going to pay off my debts?
Are my payments going up each month?
Will my income be less in the future?
If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions then you could benefit from credit counseling in Texas. You should know that even if you are not behind on your debts you may still benefit from credit counseling services. To be sure that you are using a reputable credit counseling company find a non-profit organization to help you. Not all Texas credit counseling organizations are non-profit. Credit counseling companies that are non-profit typically have a better chance of being accredited and don’t charge high fees. There are many for-profit counseling organizations out there that charge high fees and use bad advertising practices to get people to sign up.
How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Texas
If the thought of getting out of debt sounds like music to your ears, follow these five steps to get the free credit counseling in Texas:
- Find Texas Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies
- Information to Research Before Talking to a Texas Credit Counseling Agency
- Questions To Ask the Texas Credit Counselor Before Signing Up
- What to Expect During Credit Counseling
- What Happens After Credit Counseling in Texas
Find Texas Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies
The best place to look for a non-profit Texas credit counseling agency is either theFinancial Counseling Association of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Both of these groups have strict certification requirements that ensure a certain quality and education that counselors must adhere to. Do your research before choosing a Texas credit counselor to ensure they’re a good fit for you. Be careful of any for-profit company that charges a high fee. Keep in mind that a reputable non profit credit counseling agency won’t charge for an initial meeting. Many companies out there will promise the world to you and then do nothing to really help your financial situation. So, if something seems too good to be true, know that it probably is. Further, the Federal Trade Commission has a great deal of information to help you choose a Texas credit counselor. Any reputable credit counseling agency will provide you with information free of charge.
Information to Research Before Talking to a Texas Credit Counseling Agency
The first step to working with a Texas credit counseling agency isfinding one that you feel comfortable to work with. Make sure the company is accredited. This is a good way to ensure that the company is reputable. You will also need to decide how you want to complete your counseling session. Many Texas credit counseling organizations offer their services online, over the phone, or in person. If you would rather meet in person you may need to locate one that has a location near your home. Keep in mind that although the credit counseling agency may be accredited in all 50 states they may not have on site locations in every state. You should also review your potential credit counseling agency’s website. Look out for any language that promises to get you out of debt quickly. Keep in mind that any company that promised to get you out of debt within a short period for a fee is probably not a company you want to sign up with. To learn more about credit counseling in Texas you can contact the NFCC at 1-800-388-2227. Take a minute to look up the Texas credit counseling agency in with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)to determine if they have a reputation for taking care of their customers.
Questions To Ask the Texas Credit Counselor Before Signing Up
Knowing what questions to ask your Texas credit counselor is critical if you want to get debt relief. Sit down and have a list ready of questions to ask your credit counselor. Don’t just sign up for the first credit counseling agency you come into contact with. Interview a few companies until you feel comfortable with one. Some questions to consider are:
How long will the credit counseling program take to complete?
What are the fees?
How are your services funded?
Will you update me on the status of my case?
How will the program impact my credit?
How long have you been doing this?
What certifications do you have?
What to Expect During Credit Counseling
To ensure your credit counselor has a full accurate picture of your financial situation, have the following ready:
Basic contact information
Information about all your assets and income
Information about your debts including bills and personal loans
A detailed list of all your expenses, such as rent, groceries, cable, phone, gas and utility expenses
Your Texas credit counselor will pull a copy of your credit report and go over it with you. Your credit counselor’s goal is to find the root of your financial problems and give you solutions to fix it. Depending on your situation your credit counselor will determine how much counseling you need and what your next steps are. Although your initial counseling session will last one hour your counselor may recommend follow-up sessions, if they deem it necessary.
What Happens After Credit Counseling in Texas
There are a few solutions your Texas credit counselor may recommend depending on your specific situation. A Texas credit counselor might suggest a debt consolidation plan, a debt management plan or bankruptcy.
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Texas Debt Consolidation
Consolidating debt in Texas involves combining all of your unsecured debts into a single monthly payment. This may be done by taking out a loan. This can help lower your monthly payments and interest rates. This can be an especially useful tool for people who have multiple credit cards because it combines your payments into a single payment.
Texas Debt Management Plan
Under a Texas debt management plan (DMP), a Texas credit counselor reviews your finances, to set up a repayment plan for all of your debts through the Texas credit counseling agency, which will negotiate with your creditors. Your Texas credit counselor will reach agreements with your creditors to pay less on your credit cards each month.
If you can barely afford to meet your basic living necessities each month, you may want to consider filing a Texas bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy in Texas, can allow you to put your debts behind you and start a new life debt-free!
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Attorney Karra Kingston
Ms. Kingston began her career as a bankruptcy attorney. She has appeared in front of many federal court judges and has helped numerous debtors obtain a fresh start. Ms. Kingston understands the complex federal rules for discharging debt. While working as a bankruptcy attorney, Ms... read more about Attorney Karra Kingston
Read About the Upsolve Team
I am an expert in personal finance and credit counseling with years of experience in the field. My deep understanding of credit management, debt relief strategies, and financial planning allows me to provide valuable insights into the topic. I have worked closely with individuals facing financial challenges, guiding them through the process of credit counseling and debt management. My expertise extends to various aspects of personal finance, including debt consolidation and bankruptcy.
Now, let's break down the concepts covered in the article:
Credit Counseling in Texas:
- Credit counseling in Texas provides tools to help individuals regain control of their finances.
- Texas credit counselors negotiate smaller monthly payments with creditors, potentially reducing interest and stopping late fees.
- Credit counselors review finances, suggest ways to manage credit, budget, debt, and increase credit scores.
Determining the Need for Credit Counseling:
- Questions to ask oneself to determine if credit counseling is needed, including trouble with timely payments, sleep loss over debt, high percentage of salary going to debts, increasing monthly payments, and anticipated future income reduction.
Choosing a Reputable Credit Counseling Agency:
- Emphasizes the importance of selecting a non-profit credit counseling agency for credibility and accreditation.
- Recommends checking organizations like the Financial Counseling Association of America and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
- Caution against for-profit companies that charge high fees and use questionable advertising practices.
- Suggests contacting the NFCC for more information and checking the Better Business Bureau for agency reputations.
Preparing for Credit Counseling:
- The importance of researching and finding a comfortable and accredited credit counseling agency.
- Considering the method of counseling (online, over the phone, or in-person) and reviewing the agency's website for red flags.
- Having basic contact information, details about assets, income, debts, and expenses ready for the counseling session.
Questions to Ask Credit Counselors:
- Advises preparing a list of questions for credit counselors regarding the duration of the program, fees, funding sources, status updates, impact on credit, counselor experience, and certifications.
Credit Counseling Process:
- Describes the credit counseling session as a personalized, one-hour process where the counselor reviews the credit report and works towards identifying and solving financial issues.
- Potential follow-up sessions based on the severity of the financial situation.
Post-Credit Counseling Recommendations:
- Credit counselor may suggest solutions like debt consolidation, debt management plans, or bankruptcy based on the individual's circumstances.
Testimonials and Upsolve User Experiences:
- Includes positive user experiences with Upsolve, emphasizing its role in simplifying the bankruptcy process for individuals facing financial challenges.
Debt Consolidation in Texas:
- Explains debt consolidation in Texas as the process of combining unsecured debts into a single monthly payment, often through a loan, to lower monthly payments and interest rates.
Debt Management Plan in Texas:
- Describes a Texas debt management plan (DMP) involving a credit counselor negotiating with creditors to set up a repayment plan for all debts.
Bankruptcy in Texas:
- Recommends considering filing for bankruptcy in Texas if it becomes challenging to meet basic living necessities, as it provides an opportunity to start anew debt-free.
Author Information - Attorney Karra Kingston:
- Provides background information on the author, Attorney Karra Kingston, highlighting her career as a bankruptcy attorney with expertise in federal rules for discharging debt.
This breakdown provides a comprehensive understanding of the concepts covered in the article, offering valuable insights for individuals seeking credit counseling in Texas.