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What to Expect from a Credit Counseling Session

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When you’re working towards a financial goal like homeownership or struggling with high-interest debt – good credit can’t come fast enough. Unfortunately, improving your credit situation doesn’t happen overnight.

Building credit from scratch takes time and effort, which isn’t great news for people with big goals and no credit history. Just getting started is a daunting task, with a dizzying array of choices and challenges ahead.

Repairing credit can be even more demanding. Negative marks stay on your credit report for up to seven years, and it takes time to improve important factors like credit age and payment history.  Plus, it’s hard to get approved for new credit with a shaky borrowing record, which can leave you stuck in credit limbo. 

Whatever your financial situation, there are ways to build strong credit. But with so much to consider, it can be tough to know where to start. With StellarFi – you don’t have to do it alone. 

Your financial wellness should be a team effort

Selecting the best approach to improving or repairing your credit is often confusing. There’s a lot of advice out there, each claiming to be the correct solution. 

However, every aspiring credit-builder has different goals and unique financial circumstances. The best advice comes from an expert who can analyze the important details that make up your individual credit situation, and provide personalized suggestions.

While StellarFi’s credit-building tools are available to anyone, regardless of credit score or history, we know that access to a trusted advisor gives our members the best chance for success.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) to provide FREE one-on-one personal credit counseling for all StellarFi members. 

The NFCC is a nonprofit organization that works with nationally accredited counselors. These experts will now be on hand to help StellarFi members make informed decisions about their credit, and reach their financial goals faster.

What is personal credit counseling?

Credit counseling services help consumers take control of their credit situation. With the guidance of a certified financial expert, you’ll uncover actionable ways to build and repair your credit, improve your personal finances, and manage outstanding debt. 

Credit counseling is different from debt relief. Debt relief services are companies you hire to negotiate repayment with your creditors. While credit counselors can also help you manage debt, they offer a much broader scope of services to help you reach your financial goals. 

What happens in a credit counseling session?

When you sign up for credit counseling, you’ll meet one-on-one with a certified credit expert. Together, you’ll review your unique credit situation and discuss your short- and long-term financial goals. Here’s how the process typically works:

Step 1:  Work with your counselor to assess your current situation 

Before your appointment, you’ll need to pull together information about your income, monthly expenses, and credit balances. This gives your credit counselor insight into your current financial situation. 

With your permission, your credit counselor will walk you through your credit report line-by-line. They’ll highlight areas of concern, explain how different factors affect your credit history, and answer any questions you have about the information in your report. 

2. Identify opportunities to take back control 

It can be hard to see the bigger picture when you’re overwhelmed by your current situation. As you review your financial profile with your counselor, they’ll help you uncover and understand how to take back control. The best path forward may be different than you think.

For instance, if you’re having trouble paying your bills on time, you may slash your spending to get caught up. But high-interest debt or unaffordable housing could be the true root cause of your financial struggles, and addressing these issues will have a greater long-term impact.  

3. Receive a personalized plan of action

Armed with your full financial picture, your credit counselor will help you build a concrete plan of action. You may be able to achieve your credit goals through simple budgeting and money management. In other cases, your next step may be a debt management plan. When needed, a credit counselor can connect you with additional services and resources to address your unique financial challenges. 

Not all credit counseling services are created equal 

Credit counseling can be a life-changing resource. But not everyone is looking out for your best interest. Some credit counseling companies prey on people overwhelmed by their financial situation. 

As a rule of thumb, credit counseling services should be free and offered by accredited organizations. Avoid these credit counseling red flags at all costs: 

  • Companies that charge you before providing services 
  • Counselors that don’t suggest free credit-building actions 
  • Strategies involving credit fraud or disputing accurate information 
  • Companies that don’t explain your legal rights as a consumers

Learn more: protect yourself from credit building scams.

How do I connect with a credit counselor through StellarFi?

StellarFi credit counseling services are available to all StellarFi members. Sign up at stellarfi.com to get started.

StellarFi makes credit building easy 

StellarFi is a credit building tool unlike any other. As a public benefit corporation, StellarFi aims to erase the systemic factors that lead to credit inequity. 

With the StellarFi app, anyone can use their monthly expenses to raise their credit score and create their credit history. The more bills you link, the more impact you’ll have on your score. Sign up today with no credit check or deposit required, and no interest or surprise fees to build your credit.

StellarFinance, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.