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Understanding Debt Management Services

When some people become overwhelmed with debt and find it hard to pay their bills, they often turn to a debt management service. These services can often be found through credit counselors, and you should only use a service that you’re comfortable with. This service should be more concerned with helping you than with making a profit.

What Do Debt Management Services Do?

The debt management service transfers payments from their clients to the creditors. In return, they may take out a commission from the transfer or will receive fees from the lenders. While debt management services may work with a wide variety of different loans, they usually focus on debt that is unsecured. They are different from credit counseling services. Those with auto loans or mortgages are usually not referred to debt management companies.

Consolidation of Your Debts

Many debt management services offer debt consolidation loans. All of your bills and outstanding debts are combined into one bill. Once this has been done, it is up to the debtor to make the monthly payments on the loan. If the debt management service reduces the interest or balances on your loans, this can effect your credit. Many lenders will view you as being a high risk client when looking at extending future credit. Despite this, the effect on your credit is less than things such as continuous late payments. A debt management service is also an excellent alternative to filing for bankruptcy.

What’s In It For Them?

It is common for debt management companies to earn up to 10% of the money transferred from their clients to the creditors. This along with the fees paid to the debt management companies from the creditor can lead to very large profits. As can be expected, some companies will try to abuse their power by persuading clients to sign up for a service which is driven by profits instead of helping them manage their debts.

Save Some Pennies For Those Rainy Days

Because many people find it hard to adapt to a debt management service, emergencies may come up where money is needed. It is important to find out what will happen if you miss payments before you commit to using the service. Each company is different, and some companies may have large penalty fees for customers who don’t make their payments on time. With the rise of debt management services, people have often been advised to look for institutions that are non-profit. The idea was that organizations for profit would focus more on profits than with helping clients manage their debts.

Profit or Non Profit?

Despite this, many debt management services that are for profit will advertise themselves as being non-profit. Using a non-profit organization doesn’t guarantee you will get better service than you would from a for profit organization. It is best to use services that are accredited with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Accredited services are not likely to charge outrageous fees or attempt to take advantage of their clients. Before you look at a debt management service, you should call your creditors to see if they can lower your interest rate.

Getting a Cheaper Rate

Many credit card companies will lower your interest if you call them and inquire about it. It may also be possible to use a standard lender as opposed to a debt management service. Under some circumstances it may be necessary to file for bankruptcy. You could also get an unsecured loan to pay off all your debts if your credit is good.

You should also be wary of debt management services which are late making your payments. If this occurs you should immediately call them and get an explanation. Your credit can be damaged if they make your payments late, and if they are charging you high fees you should cancel their service and look at other options.

Joseph Kenny writes for the Personal Loans Store and offer more information on debt consolidation loans and other loan topics available on site.
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How to Help yourself Reduce Your Debt

Debt reduction help begins at home. Depending on your specific situation, it is possible to tackle your debt on your own without the need of debt help services. Here are the steps to handling your debt on your own.

Step 1. Sort Your Spending

Before you can start to attack your debt, you need to first look at your spending habits. You want to separate those payments you need to make (like mortgage, car, and insurance payments) and see what other expenses you have throughout the month. You’ll find that a lot of those “other” expenses are frivolous, such as going to the movies, dining out, and purchasing unnecessary luxury items (e.g. expensive shoes, watches, televisions, etc.). If you want to pay off your debt, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices (e.g. stop eating out, reduce your cable TV to just the basic package, etc.). Once you have an idea of how you’re spending your money each month, you then need to see what you’re buying using your credit cards.

Step 2. Tackle the Credit Card

Credit cards are what get a lot of people in trouble. They simply charge items without regard to how they expect to pay for the charges later. This is very dangerous and if it’s not stopped, it can result in an uncontrollable amount of debt. So, after you sort your spending, the next step is to see what expenses you’re charging on your credit card. If at all possible, you should never charge your “must pay” expenses. If you charge your electrical bill, you’re merely transferring your debt from one company to another, and not paying it down. Pay your mortgage, car payments, and other necessities via your paycheck. If you are charging them and you do have the cash to pay for them each month, STOP CHARGING! Pay for them outright. The reason you’re in debt is probably because your credit card charges are getting out of hand. By not charging your “must pay” items, you can ensure that your monthly “must pay” debt is truly getting paid down and not just getting transferred to your credit card company.

NOTE: If there is no way you can pay for your “must pay” items without charging them, you have too much debt. Your income is less than your total debt. This is commonly known as your debt to income ratio. You want your income to be higher than your debt, and the way to do this is to either increase your income or decrease your debt (e.g. sell that extra car/boat/RV or cancel the movie channel package on your cable TV plan).

Step3. Cut Back Where you Can

After you’ve established your spending habits and what you charge on your credit card, it’s time to start cutting back. Take a look at your last credit card statement. What items are on there? Are there any charges that were not “necessary charges”? The occasional medical or car repair expense can’t be avoided so don’t worry about those. What you want to look for are expenses like clothing, restaurants, movies, and non-essential big-purchase items like televisions and sporting event tickets. These are the items you need to cut back on. Remember, if you want to get out of debt, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. That means no more going out to eat or to the movies. No new clothes for a while. You need to cut back as much as you can so that you can put as much of your funds towards paying off your debt. If you don’t cut back, you’ll just be adding to it.

For further debt reduction help, visit http://www.bills.com/debt_reduction_help/

Justin narin has 5 years experience as a financial adviser; his key areas are loan consolidation, debt relief, mortgages etc. For more free articles and advice visit http://www.Bills.com
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