Credit.org and Our Services

Why Choose credit.org?
Can you repair my credit?
Do you offer debt settlements?
Who owns credit.org?

Credit Counseling Services

How is counseling available?
Will credit counseling stop legal action and creditor phone calls?
What does a Certified Consumer Credit Counselor do during my counseling session?
If I need legal advice, can a Certified Consumer Credit Counselor help?
How do I obtain a copy of my credit report?

Debt Management Plans

What is a Debt Management Plan (DMP)?
Will a DMP affect my credit?
In my DMP, can I just include the bills I’m having problems with?
Can I keep some of my credit cards while I am on the DMP?
Will being enrolled in a DMP stop interest from being charged on all accounts?
Does credit.org really work for the creditors?
If DMPs help you get funding, don’t you try to put all of your clients into a Debt Management Plan?
If a creditor doesn’t contribute to the agency, will you still handle their debts?
Will my creditors still send me credit card statements?
How does a DMP program differ from Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Credit.org and Our Services

Why Choose credit.org?
Credit.org was formed over 38 years ago to help consumers resolve their credit and debt and achieve financial freedom. Our primary function is to offer education on the wise use of credit.

That’s why every credit counseling service we offer includes personal finance education. Whether you need housing counseling, credit card debt counseling, or are considering bankruptcy and want to fulfill your mandatory counseling requirement, we’ll help you achieve debt relief and become more financially literate on the way.

So why choose us? Here are some of the ways in which credit.org stands out:

  • Comprehensive personal finance education
  • Clients have online access to their accounts 24/7
  • Bankruptcy clients get convenient and efficient service
  • Our counselors are available to help you on your journey
  • We’re fully certified and accredited: Accredited by COA (Council on Accreditation), Member of the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Member of the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling), HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency (Housing and Urban Development), Approved by the EOUST* to provide bankruptcy counseling & education (approval does not endorse or assure the quality of an agency’s services).

Even if you don’t need our counseling services, we have a wealth of free resources available on this site. We invite you to spend some time with the materials and tools we offer and feel free to send us feedback at help@credit.org.

Can you repair my credit?

We don’t offer credit repair services, but we can teach you how to repair your own credit, legally and legitimately. Start by downloading our Consumer Guide to Good Credit and Understanding Your Credit Reports and Scores.

In addition to these educational offerings, we’ll also help you create a budget you can live with and teach you about managing your debts. Going forward with consistent, on-time debt payments is the best thing you can do for your credit rating.

We offer all of these downloads and educational services free of charge.

Do you offer debt settlements?

No. We do not negotiate with creditors to settle your debts for an amount less than you owe. We can educate you about settlements, and help you understand what negotiating a settlement would entail and what it would mean to your credit.

Who owns credit.org?

No one. We are a non-profit community organization. There are no owners or shareholders who benefit financially from the work we do. Our governing board is purely voluntary. We exist to serve the community and educate consumers.

Any extra funds we take in are used to keep our systems and facilities up to date so we can better serve our clients. We also maintain an emergency fund to help us survive financial difficulties. Creating and maintaining an emergency savings fund is a lesson we stress with everyone we educate.

Credit Counseling

How is counseling available?
Traditionally, we offered counseling and education services face-to-face in our local offices. This in-person counseling is still available in all of our branch offices. However, we’ve found that many clients are more comfortable seeking counseling by phone, so we offer a national toll-free hotline (1-800-431-8157) to serve any client who needs help anywhere in the U.S.A. We also offer online counseling through this web site; using our online worksheet to enter your personal financial information speeds up the counseling process and helps us ensure that your information is accurate.

Will credit counseling stop legal action and creditor phone calls?
We can usually work with creditors to stop collection efforts and minimize legal actions, but the best way to stop creditor calls is to make full, on-time payments. Our debt management plan can help you do that.

What does a credit counselor do during my counseling session?
Our counseling sessions are entirely confidential; a counselor will go over your personal finances and offer expert advice that is tailored to your unique situation. We will help you create a spending plan to cover all of your payments to your creditors, as well as your regular living expenses.

If I need legal advice, can a credit counselor help?
No. We do not offer legal advice of any kind. We recommend seeing a qualified attorney for help with legal issues.

How do I obtain a copy of my credit report?
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com, where you can get free copies of your credit reports. We do not recommend paying extra for your credit score at this site. If you need a copy of your score, make sure you are getting your genuine FICO score; you will incur a fee.

Debt Management Plans

What is a Debt Management Plan?
A DMP is a payment plan that helps you repay your debts. Under the plan, you deposit funds with us each month, which we disburse to your creditors. We also handle calls from your creditors to ensure everything is going smoothly. The vast majority of our payment processing is electronic, so funds are transferred directly to the creditors without delay.

Creditors may also offer to reduce or waive fees, finances charges, or interest rates to help lower your DMP payments and ensure your success on the plan.

Will a DMP affect my credit?
Participation in a DMP has no direct impact on your credit score, but being enrolled in a DMP may change some aspects of your credit report that may have a negative impact. A particular creditor may look at a DMP as a minus when reviewing your credit.

Also, some creditors may indicate that you are “not paying as agreed” while you are on the DMP, even though they are accepting the reduced payments. A certified counselor can talk to you about the effect on your credit based on your unique mix of creditors.

Ultimately, a DMP helps to improve your personal financial situation by helping you to repay your debts in full. This can only have a positive impact on your credit in the long run.

In my DMP, can I just include the bills I’m having problems with?
No. We must include all of your debts in the plan, and we treat them all equally, even if some are more manageable than others.

Can I keep some of my credit cards while I am on the DMP?
No. All of your lines of credit must be closed while you are on the DMP. Only very rarely are exceptions made; in these cases, some clients may be able to keep one credit card account open for business purposes.

Typically, creditors are ready to open new accounts for our clients as soon as they complete the DMP, especially if their payment history was solid while they were on the plan.

Will being enrolled in a DMP stop interest from being charged on all accounts?
Most creditors do not stop charging interest, but many will lower the interest rate. A Certified Consumer Credit Counselor can tell you what concessions your creditors will be likely to make.

Does credit.org really work for the creditors?

No. We do accept voluntary contributions from creditors to fund our operations, and we prefer this to charging high fees of our clients. When it comes to the education we offer to consumers, our focus is on them, not the creditors they are indebted to.

The creditors with whom we negotiate are willing to contribute to us because the Debt Management Plans we offer help them recover funds owed to them. However, this is not the primary objective of the DMP. The DMP’s purpose is to help our clients get out of debt. The fact that the creditors benefit from the DMP is a bonus that helps us get funding to continue our educational efforts.

If DMPs help you get funding, don’t you try to put all of your clients into a Debt Management Plan?

No. We’re a non-profit organization; our primary function is to educate consumers on the wise use of credit. Debt Management Plans are a small part of what we do: fewer than one-quarter of the clients we counsel enroll in a DMP.

When we counsel consumers, we present a lot of options for resolving their debts, and try to help them find the solution that works best for them. For most of our clients, that involves budget counseling and education alone. For some clients, it is bankruptcy. Some of our clients are a good fit for a DMP.

When we do enroll clients in a Debt Management Plan, it is very important to us that they succeed. We do not want to see a large percentage of our DMP clients to fail to overcome their debts. One way we try to achieve this success is to identify only the few clients who can truly benefit from a DMP. It does us no good to enroll a lot of clients in a Plan if they are destined for failure.

If a creditor doesn’t contribute to the agency, will you still handle their debts?
Yes, we will work with any creditor to reduce your payments, regardless of whether they contribute to our nonprofit organization.

Will my creditors still send me credit card statements?

Yes, and it is vitally important that you read every monthly statement you get from your creditors and make sure the payments you make through us are being properly credited to your account. You also want to ensure that the concessions your creditors offer to DMP clients are in effect. Compare your creditor statements to the monthly progress report you receive from us and if anything doesn’t match, call us right away.

How does a DMP program differ from Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A Debt Management Plan is voluntary, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy is court-ordered. That means all of your creditors may not offer concessions in a DMP. In a bankruptcy filing, your creditors have to accept the court’s ruling. However, bankruptcy has serious lasting consequences for your credit record, while a DMP allows you to rebuild your credit much faster when you complete the plan. The Bankruptcy filing is a matter of public record that can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, while a DMP is removed from your credit file when you complete the plan.