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Ohio State University surveyed participants in the program and found 67% say it helped them manage their money better and 73% said they are paying their debt more consistently.

The counselors are trained experts at evaluating the data, educating clients on available options and designing money management programs that help eliminate debt and stress.Every solution is customized to suit the consumer’s resources and needs.The Federal Trade Commission and the NFCC suggest you work with legitimate non-profit credit counseling organizations.The non-profit agencies offer counseling for free or at a minimal charge.The purpose of credit counseling is to put consumers in control of their finances and avoid bankruptcy.

If the consumer chooses to participate in debt management programs, debt settlement or debt consolidation, it is wise to allow a 3- to 5-year window to complete the program and eliminate debt.

However, participating in one of the programs offered by credit counseling agencies to pay off your debt will have an effect — and it’s not always negative.

Lenders can make a note in your credit history that their account is being paid through a DMP, which won’t affect your score as long as the account is up to date and it gets paid in full.

The NFCC, which certifies Financial Counselors and companies, has approved 83 non-profit agencies in the United States.

On the other hand, there are no for-profit companies that are accredited by the NFCC.

Counselors conduct 30–40 minute interviews to gather information about a person’s financial situation.