Maybe living in debt has been keeping you down, and you’ve finally decided it’s time to contact a credit counselling agency for help with your finances. But how do you find the right one? It’s important to do your homework to avoid disappointment, additional costs, and even scams.
14 Questions You Need to Ask Before Choosing a Credit Counselling Agency
Doing a quick search online will give you hundreds of companies, agencies and organizations offering all kinds of credit counselling services. But not all agencies are created equal, and there's no shortage of companies looking to make a quick buck off of you giving you nothing in return. Many different agencies might claim to have your best interests at heart, but don't be fooled! They might talk the talk, but don't always walk the walk. Some might not even be a credit counselling agency at all. Here are 14 questions you need to ask before deciding which credit counselling agency to go to for debt help.
- Are they a not-for-profit? Not-for-profit credit counselling agencies aren’t out to make money, and will have your best interests at heart. So if you want an unbiased resolution to your financial issues, make sure the agency is a non-profit.
- Is the agency accredited by a national association, like Credit Counselling Canada (CCC)?
- Are the agency’s credit counsellors required to be certified as an Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada? Do they maintain their certification by attending workshops, seminars, and webinars to increase their knowledge in order to better meet the needs of their clients?
- Does the agency have good customer reviews on reputable sites, like Google Reviews?
- Does the agency have negative customer reviews or complaints made to the Better Business Bureau?
- Do they offer free counselling? And is everything covered during your counselling session 100% confidential and non-judgmental? Counselling sessions are about getting help, not playing the blame-game because that doesn't help anyone.
- Do they provide a detailed financial assessment of your income, expenses, assets and debts—and then provide you with objective advice regarding your options? (The final decision should be entirely yours to make.)
- Can they pull your credit report and check your credit score for free? This is a great perk to verify the debts you owe and to see if there are any major issues affecting your credit score and ability to obtain future credit. The end game should always be to build a great credit rating and score for yourself, so having access to the information on your credit report and credit score at the onset of getting your finances in order can put you ahead by giving you a clear path and strategy.
- Will they create a detailed budget for you, at no charge, so you’re able to meet your financial commitments? Do they provide free money management assistance as a stand-alone service and in conjunction with a Debt Consolidation Program, so that you’re able to achieve your financial goals?
- Do they offer free Credit Building, as part as part of their Debt Consolidation Program aftercare?
- Do they offer free tools like a Debt Calculator, Budget Planner, or Budget Calculator to help you along the way?
- Do their counsellors do regular check-ins with you after signing up for a Debt Consolidation Program, to see how you’re doing and if any changes need to be made to your budget? (At no extra cost to you, of course.)
- Do they provide community referrals for housing, consumer proposals, community support services, etc.?
- Can they help you obtain a secured credit card, if needed, while on a Debt Consolidation Program? And can they assist you with an unsecured credit card upon the successful completion of your Debt Consolidation Program?
Credit Canada passes the test!
We can proudly answer 'Yes!' to all fourteen questions above. As Canada's first not-for-profit credit counselling agency, we have been providing debt help and non-judgmental credit counselling services for over 50 years. We are proud to be an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada and our counsellors are Accredited Financial Counsellors of Canada.
Canada's top non-profit credit counselling agency
Our client reviews demonstrate that our Counsellors are knowledgeable, compassionate, and here to provide hope and relief during difficult times. We offer free one-on-one counselling, as well as free tools that will help you on your journey to becoming debt-free. And once you have successfully completed your Debt Consolidation Program with us, we can help you obtain an unsecured credit card and start rebuilding your credit. Give us call today at 1.800.267.2272 and schedule a time to speak with a certified Credit Counsellor—it’s free, so what have you got to lose?