If you are seeking help with creating a budget or working out a repayment plan with your creditors, then consider contacting a credit counseling organization. Through education, budgeting, and the use of a variety of tools, credit counseling organizations can help you reach your goal of ultimately eliminating your debt.
Many credit counseling organizations are nonprofit and work with you to solve your financial difficulties; however, be aware that just because an organization says it's a “nonprofit” organization, there's no guarantee that its services are free, affordable, or even legitimate. In fact, some credit counseling organizations charge high fees, which may be hidden, or urge consumers to make "voluntary" contributions that can cause more debt. For these reasons, it is important to choose a company that is licensed. Adjustment service companies that are licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions are required to follow laws that limit the fees that can be charged. For a list of licensed credit counselors, view this List of Adjustment Service Companies.
Most credit counselors offer services through local offices, the internet, or over the telephone. If possible, find an organization that is licensed and offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family may also be good sources of information and referrals.
Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation with you, and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money concerns. An initial counseling session typically lasts an hour, with an offer of follow-up sessions.
For more info see Dealing with Credit Problems (PDF: 192 KB / 8 pages).
For a list of credit counselors see the List of Adjustment Service Companies.
COVID-19 Information & Resources
- DFI Issues Guidance on Adjustment Service Companies (Issued April 29, 2020).