11 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Credit Counselling Agency for You
Choosing an organization that you can trust to get you out of debt, and put your needs first, is not always easy. These 11 questions are designed to help you choose wisely.
Are they local?
Is the Credit Counselling Agency licensed in the province they operate in? If you live in Canada, choose a Canadian organization with an office near where you live. Ideally one that offers in-person counselling.
How long have they been in business?
An established company that has been in business for more than 10 years ensures that they have the experience required for any situation. Plus, you are less likely to fall prey to a get-rich-quick scam.
Are they a registered charity?
Even if a company is a not-for-profit, verify that they are a registered charity. To verify if a company is a registered charity, check the Charities Listings section of the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Do they offer a variety of financial services?
You want to choose a company that is going to find the best solution for your unique, individual financial situation. If an agency only offers debt management programs, then you will almost certainly get pushed down that path. Look for a company that offers more well-rounded solutions, including budgeting and money management services.
Do they provide free information and education opportunities?
Choose a reputable organization that promotes financial literacy throughout communities on behalf of the provincial government.
Do they have a successful track record?
It’s important to choose a Credit Counselling Agency that has has been proven to help people pay off their debt and become debt-free. Find out what their success rate is.
Do they offer guaranteed protection from your creditors?
One of the benefits of consolidating debt through an agency is that you won’t have to deal with nasty calls from creditors. When you are trying your best to pay your bills, it can be stressful to receive collection calls. Look for a company that will advocate for you and protect you.
Are they upfront about fees?
A legitimate debt consolidation company will be truthful about what fees they will charge you, if any. Their goal is to help you get out of debt, not put you deeper in it. If there is a fee, ask for it in writing to minimize misunderstandings.
What are others saying about them?
Although it’s nice to get recommendations from friends and family, many feel uncomfortable talking about personal finances with those that are closest to them. In this case, turn to organizations like the Better Business Bureau, and check if there are any unresolved complaints.
Will they keep your financial information private and confidential?
Your money matters are your personal business. You need to feel confident that the agency you choose will respect your privacy. Be sure to find out what their policies are around privacy and confidentiality.
Are credit and debt counsellors qualified?
Choose a qualified money coach or accredited financial counsellor that you trust will provide unbiased advice. Having experienced financial professionals on your team will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals and improve your finances.
If you ask the right questions, it will be easy to choose a Credit Counselling Agency that will help you get out of debt. Be prepared when you meet with them, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Just remember that, as with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts, and choose an organization that is invested in helping you pay back the money you owe, so you can get your life back on track financially.