It’s getting harder to pay for everyday expenses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, credit cards are the only source of money for some. That’s not a surprise, many Americans have been relying on them for years. Affordable assistance may feel out of reach right now. But there are still many credit card counseling options available. And not all of them cost an arm and a leg.
In fact, many of your options are free.
An Introduction To Credit Counseling
Credit card counseling is a specific form of debt counseling.
There are many ways that people find themselves struggling with debt. But credit card debt can be especially serious and unforgiving. That’s because credit card interest rates tend to be high, while credit limits are often low. That leads many Americans to go into debt on multiple credit cards. The combination of high interest rates and multiple individual payments makes credit card debt a hard thing to track.
Credit card counseling is simply meant to help you handle your credit card debts. There is no one universal solution to credit card debts. Everyone’s financial situation is different. Your income, credit score, expenses, and other factors will determine what your best debt relief options are.
When you get credit card counseling, a counselor will go over your financial situation. Based on the information you provide them, they will suggest a course of action.
Credit Card Relief Options
Debt Consolidation Loans
A credit card relief specialist may recommend a personal consolidation loan. These loans will see you take one large loan to immediately pay off all your credit card debts.
If your credit score is good, you can get a better interest rate than your credit cards offer you. Also, you can get a longer repayment term. These factors can make your repayment process much easier in every way.
Financial Action Plans
Credit card counseling will often lead to a personal financial plan for you to follow. After your counselor looks over your finances, they will offer you a course of action to follow. They will likely also give you some educational resources that can help you control and reign in your credit card debt.
When you’re too deep in debt for any plans or loans to help, credit card counselors will suggest bankruptcy. Credit card counseling services can usually offer you bankruptcy support and walk you through the process.
On the good side, declaring bankruptcy will clear all your current credit card debts. You just won’t be creditworthy for a long time after. But you’ll be given a clean slate once you’re able to start borrowing again.
Credit card counseling may also lead to attempts to repair your credit if it’s dipped too low. There are both credit report and credit repair services that you can use to track and improve your credit.
CreditKarma offers its users free credit scores and reports. They also offer active monitoring, sending you alerts when there are changes to your score.
CreditKarma’s free services are a great way to stay on top of your credit score with a bureau of your choice. But if you want comprehensive monitoring, you’ll need to subscribe to a more comprehensive paid plan elsewhere.
If you want the best free service you can get, CreditKarma is the way to go. They offer free credit monitoring with both TransUnion and Equifax. Your report is updated every time you log in to your account. They also offer you a report that is updated weekly.
The main drawback to CreditKarma is they don’t work with Experian. That means if you want to see the full picture of your credit, you need a paid service that offers the full package.
CreditFirm is a law firm dedicated to helping you fix your credit. They are an old firm that specializes in helping you reach your financial goals.
Fixing your credit is always a hard and complex process. That’s why CreditFirm will always start by asking you what your exact goal is. A new house? A new car? Access to better refinancing? They will take your goals and try to carve a path that makes them a reality.
Like the best credit service providers, CreditFirm will start with a free consultation. If your credit is in the mid 500s, don’t worry! They specialize in helping people like you reach the 700s and access the good rates they deserve.
When To Consider It
If your credit cards are keeping you in debt and destroying your ability to get loans, it’s time to reach out. Credit card counseling is just a few steps away. It might be able to help you regain your financial freedom if you’re willing to work hard. And if you’re unemployed and in debt, credit card counseling is still an option for controlling a dire financial situation.