University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR9019

How to Find and Use a Credit Counselor1

Josephine Turner2

Many people today struggle with debt. In seeking solutions, one alternative may be soliciting the help of a consumer credit counseling service. A credit counseling service helps people work out a plan for getting out of debt. Their counselors will help you look at your money problems and suggest ways to improve your money management. Nonprofit consumer credit counseling services can be found through churches and volunteer organizations, as well as banks, credit unions, county Extension offices, or through the National Foundation For Consumer Credit.

Some counselors will help you work out a repayment plan and contact your creditors. In some cases, you will pay the counselor a monthly payment, and the counselor will use that money to make your credit payments, often allowing you to pay the loan in smaller payments.

Once you've worked out a plan with a consumer credit counseling service, you must agree not to take on any more debts, and you must stick to the plan that you and the credit counselor draft. This is important because if you fail to follow through, the program will be stopped and creditors may begin to take legal action.

Before using the credit counseling service, be sure you know who is backing the program, what if any charges you must pay, how the program operates, and what exactly the counselor will be doing.

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This document is FAR9019, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 125 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Josephine Turner, professor emeritus, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.