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There are many scenarios where the credit counselor will be able to consolidate your credit cards and get a lower monthly payment than you could on your own without the consolidation.

The more accounts you have to enroll, the more likely the bill consolidation plan pays for itself.

Using a counseling service to budget, consolidate, and repay bills can get you out of debt faster than making your current minimum payments on your own.

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Before you contact a service, consider the following information below.

In Massachusetts, credit counselors must be nonprofit organizations. Shop around and avoid credit counselors who charge large up-front fees or large monthly fees.

If you want to be proactive you can close the accounts yourself before you enroll with a credit counseling company.

The accounts that you enroll in the credit counseling plan may appear on your credit report as being enrolled in a managed repayment plan.

And, there are qualifications to meet in order to be enrolled in their Debt Management Plan (DMP).

There are also situations where you would simply be able to financially commit to this type of program for debt relief. You will need to speak with a license counselor to get a direct lower payment quote. Here are some immediate questions you can ask yourself that will help you get a feel for the affordability of a consolidated payment plan: Answering the questions above should help you readily identify whether a credit counseling service will work for you.

If you are having trouble paying bills, keep careful track of your actual expenses for a month or so, and compare your expenditures to your income.

After you have identified where your money is actually going, and how much actual income you have, identify your spending priorities, and cut out all unnecessary purchases.

A repayment plan using credit counseling to consolidate your debt will typically last 4 to 5 years. Your fixed payment is due on the same day each month for the duration of the plan.

You cannot miss a payment while paying your debts through this form of consolidation.

Most of this can be handled in one call to the counseling agency if you are prepared with an outline of your income, and your monthly bills.

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