April 11, 2011 14:06 ET

Decided to Use a Debt Consolidation Firm? Has Some Tips

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - Apr 11, 2011) - If you are finding yourself underwater in credit card debt and you are thinking of reaching out to a debt consolidation company, Kristy Welsh of has put together some helpful hints you should follow when looking for a debt consolidation company.

1. Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, and whether or not they are a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), at or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies at
2. Try to select an agency whose counselors are certified by an outside organization, preferably NFCC.
3. Steer clear of organizations that pay employees a commission; that might well influence the number or nature of services they decide you need.
4. As of September 27, 2010, debt settlement firms are required to give you a good faith estimate:
a. Proposed fees must be disclosed along with refund policies.
b. Time to get through the program
c. Savings required -- firms must accurately estimate how much money prospective clients will have to save up in order to settle. The figures must be based on actual settlements they have made for other clients.
d. The negative effect on credit -- consumers must be given warnings that include the likely damage to their credit reports, the potential risk of lawsuits, and possible tax consequences.
5. How are payments distributed to your creditors? Your creditors should always be credited with one hundred percent (100%) of the amount you pay through a debt consolidation agency.
6. Do they offer budget and credit education? Reputable organizations are willing to help you manage your finances through counseling and education.

For more help, has a free online guide for choosing a debt consolidation company.

About is a free one-stop destination for consumers looking for advice and tips on how to repair credit and rebuild bad credit and maintain good credit. Editor Kristy Welsh is also the author of Good Credit Is Sexy, a tongue-in-cheek guide to managing your credit. The book and website advocate the do-it-yourself method of maintaining and repairing credit. Many positive corrections can be made for the cost of a postage stamp.

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Good Credit Is Sexy:

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