then consider contacting a debt counseling service.
Your unsecured creditors may be willing to accept reduced payments if you enter a debt repayment plan with a reputable debt counseling organization. In these plans, you deposit money each month with the debt counseling service. Your deposits are used to pay your creditors according to a payment schedule developed by the credit counselor. As part of the repayment plan, you agree not to apply for, or use, any additional credit while you’re participating in the debt counseling program.
A successful debt counseling plan requires you to make regular, timely payments, and averages between 48 and 60 months to complete. Ask the debt counseling service for an estimate of the time it will take to complete the plan. Some debt counseling services charge little or nothing for managing the plan; others charge a monthly fee. Some debt counseling services are funded, in part, by contributions from creditors.
While a debt counseling debt repayment plan can eliminate much of the stress that comes from dealing with creditors and overdue bills, it does not mean you can forget about your debts. Nor can you soon expect clean credit
Debt Counseling Checklist
To feel comfortable and confident with your debt counseling agency, ask these questions before deciding:
A debt counseling debt repayment plan does not erase your credit history. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, accurate information about your accounts can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. In addition, your creditors will continue to report information about accounts that are handled through a debt repayment plan. For example, creditors may report that an account is in debt counseling, that payments may have been late or missed altogether, or there are write-offs or other concessions. A demonstrated pattern of timely payments will help you obtain credit in the future.
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