Consolidating debt is a viable way to improve your financial standing and more easily pay off what you owe. If you decide that you need assistance with this financial solution, it can be overwhelming knowing where to turn. But it's a lot easier to choose a professional debt consolidation company if you know what to look for. Here are six attributes of professional debt consolidation companies that can help you make the best choice for your financial situation.
- Accredited. Legitimate companies are affiliated with organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and they are verified and accredited by consumer watchdogs like Dun & Bradstreet and the Better Business Bureau.
- Positive reviews. Check online for reviews of the company you're considering using. Also ask family and friends if they're familiar with the business, and consult your accountant or financial advisor for feedback. Steer clear of companies with many negative reviews. Positive feedback and satisfied customers are signs you've made the right choice.
- Professional and responsive. Personnel at the company should respond promptly to your requests for information. Expect informative and knowledgeable answers to your questions, and be wary if they try to force a one-size-fits-all financial solution on you.
- Ask for no up-front fees. A reputable company will not request any money up front. The first time you should pay fees is when your debt is settled or reduced and the loan closes.
- Offer a written contract. Before agreeing to a loan, you should receive a thorough contract that clearly spells out the terms. Carefully review and understand the entire document and its significance before signing. If you don't understand something, a company representative should be able to give you a clear explanation.
Debt consolidation has helped many people organize their finances. Knowing how to spot a viable company offering this valuable service is your first step to getting out of debt.
About the Author:
Julie Bawden-Davis is a Southern-California-based writer specializing in personal finance and insurance. Since 1983, her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Parenting, Entrepreneur and The Los Angeles Times.