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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Credit Counseling Session?
A Credit Counseling Session is an overview of your total financial situation.  It can be done on the telephone or in person.  During this session, a certified counselor will review all of your income, expenses and debts.  At the conclusion of this comprehensive session, the credit counselor will make recommendations to help you get back on track financially (one of which may be a debt management program). 

How long does the credit counseling session take?
The average credit counseling session will last about one hour.  This may vary depending on your specific situation.  Beware of agencies that claim they can help you get rid of your debt in 15 minutes or less.  These types of agencies are not providing a full credit counseling session, which should look at your entire financial situation, not just your debt obligations.
What is a Debt Management Program?
In Debt Management, your creditors agree to offer special concessions to help you get out of debt.  These concessions may include reducing your interest rates and stopping late and over-limit fees.  This plan can reduce the months or years of repayment. 

What are the benefits of a debt management program?
Benefits of the debt management program may include: 
  • Lower interest rates
  • Elimination of late and over limit fees
  • End to collection calls
  • One simple monthly payment
  • Debt free in 3 to 5 years
  • An alternative to Bankruptcy
I'm only a little behind on my bills, can you still help me?
Yes, creditors will respect the fact that you've taken responsibility early and are attempting to resolve the problem before it becomes a major concern.  In fact, catching the problem early can prevent further harm to your credit rating.

How long will it take to pay off my debts?
On your own it may take ten or more years to pay off average debt amounts when making only minimum payments. CCCS will formulate a debt management plan to significantly reduce or eliminate most unsecured debt within three to five years.

How do I repair my credit?
The best ways to repair your credit is to make agreed upon payment amounts, on time, to your creditors, and pay down your debt balances to below half of your credit line.  Other actions that may improve your credit standing: pay off charged-off accounts; don’t open new lines of credit; pay down but keep open your oldest lines of credit.
How will entering debt management affect my credit?
Debt management can both help and hurt your credit, depending on your debt situation.  If you have not been paying your creditors, then making regular payments through debt management will improve your credit score; however, some of your creditors will report that your payments are being paid through a debt management or credit counseling arrangement—future creditors may see this as a negative in that you were unable to handle your debt payments for whatever reason.  Keep in mind that a credit report is a tool that creditors use to report past activity and evaluate your future payment performance.  CCCS does not report to any credit bureau.  Debt management is not factored into credit scoring models.
Why are my payments higher through you?
Sometimes monthly debt management payments are higher than what you are currently paying.  By bank regulation, these payment plans must be paid off within 60 months, or five years; your payment through debt management will make that happen.   The trade off is the lower interest that banks charge debt management users: the finance charges will be much lower over the five years than if you paid your accounts directly for over five years.
How can you help me if I owe $_____? 
Through debt management, creditors want you to pay a certain percentage of the unpaid balance of an account, to be paid on a monthly basis.  A reduced amount of interest is included.  These payments are usually 50%-100% of the current monthly payment.  All creditors are different; all creditors stipulate their own rules for accepting these hardship payments.  Another advantage to debt management is that most creditors will re-age the account, or bring it current.  This impacts your credit favorably.  
How much do I have to owe for you to be able to help me?
It isn’t the amount of the debt but the type of debt that impacts whether this type of program will help:  secured debt terms are best negotiated directly with the lender (cars, homes, furniture).  We advise on debt owed to the government or guaranteed by the government, such as taxes, warrants, and student loans, but these will need direct approval by the government agency before the terms can be modified. Debt management works well in repaying credit card debt, signature and other unsecured loans, payday loans, and charged-off debt.
I am being sued, what can I do and how can you help me?
We can review your situation and refer you to legal help; after this has been resolved, you may be able to repay the debt through debt management.
Is this like Bankruptcy?
It is not.  Debt management is an informal agreement among the creditor, the agency, and the customer (you); bankruptcy is a legal action that must be filed in court.  Debt management and credit counseling are kept confidential among this agency, the creditor, and the customer; bankruptcy is a matter of public record.  Debt management fees are low and paid on a monthly basis as long as you remain in a debt management program; bankruptcy usually includes court costs, filling fees, and attorney fees, and can often total thousands of dollars. 
When will creditors stop calling me?  
Creditors usually stop calling as soon as they receive notice of the proposed payment plan and the first payment under debt management.  As long as they receive payments on time, the creditor will usually limit communication to a monthly statement.
What are the benefits of being on your program?
People who repay through debt management enjoy reduced stress as creditors stop calling; they retire debt in a relatively short period of time; most people who pay through debt management improve their credit scores; they receive financial education and realize the benefits of saving money for goals and paying cash for expenditures.