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The Benefits of Credit Counseling

NFCC-certified consumer credit counselors are experts that can tailor confidential programs to meet the specific financial needs that you may be facing. They are equipped to help you with an array of financial issues,whether you need help paying off debt, managing your student loans or help understanding your specific financial situation. They are here to help so you can get on the road to financial freedom.

Services available at our member agencies include the following:

  • General budgeting help: An initial session to assess your financial health, and get a general picture of your overall finances. This session helps your counselor understand whether you could benefit from additional counseling and provide guidance on next steps.
  • Debt Management Plan (DMP): This is a program offered to eligible consumers to help pay off debt. The average client has about $15,000 in credit card debt and completes the program is 36-60 months. The agency helps lower interest rates and collects one payment from the client a month to distribute to all their creditors.
  • Housing Counseling: This can be to prepare the client for purchasing a home, pre-purchase counseling or just to help you manage the cost of housing.
  • Bankruptcy counseling: This counseling is often required in order to file for bankruptcy and also to see if you can avoid going bankrupt. There are usually two sessions, one before you file and one before your debts are discharged.

Benefits of Credit Counseling

  • You leave the session with a plan to pay off your debt and budget your finances
  • If you take advantage of a DMP, the agency will work with creditors to help lower interest rates and sometimes eliminate fees that have been charged to your account.
  • DMPs also offer the ability to make one monthly payment instead of having to pay each creditor separately. It works similarly to consolidation without taking on another loan.
  • You gain a wholistic view of what is going on with your finances by taking a step back and walking through your finances with a credit counselor. It helps to pinpoint the cause of the problems you are having financially.
  • All NFCC member agencies are certified, nonprofit and all sessions are confidential.

Findings from our Sharpen Study Revealed the Positive Affects of Credit Counseling

Client Impact After Three Months Of Counseling

Based on the responses from an NFCC survey, Sharpen clients reported that the program is making a positive impact in their financial lives just three months after counseling.

  • 73% now pay their debt more consistently.
  • 70% have improved their overall financial confidence.
  • 68% felt Sharpen helped them in setting financial goals.
  • 67% are now better at managing their money.
  • 23% reported having an increased sense of trust in their financial institution.

Financial Improvement Six Quarters After Counseling

In addition to tracking survey outcomes, the evaluation tracks credit report outcomes for a subsample of nearly 9,000 Sharpen clients. This analysis demonstrates that Sharpen is making a positive financial impact on participants’ financial lives.

18 months after counseling, Sharpen clients achieved:

  • $17,000 average decrease in total debt.
  • $8,000 average decrease in total revolving debt.
  • 50-point average* increase in their credit score from baseline.

 If you are facing financial trouble and would like to improve your situation, schedule an appointment with an NFCC-certified counselor, who can help determine the best option for your future.