Are Most Consumer Credit Management Services Legitimate?

Consumer credit management services assist you in making appropriate decisions to keep a healthy financial record. They offer services such as credit watch and alerts, detailed reports outlining your credit score factors and advice on proper spending and loan decisions. The point of these services is to protect the consumer. However, it is a for-profit business model, and companies do have their ow incentive for assisting you. There is also a great chance of identity fraud or theft with personal financial information. This means you must carefully select the service you use to protect your best interest.

Commissions and Fee Structures

There are some nonprofit credit management services. These include Credit.org, CreditGuard and Money Management International. Most of the nonprofit companies will have URL's ending in ".org" but not all .org companies are nonprofit. Even when you are working with a nonprofit, they are still making money off of the service they provide. This money goes to cover employee salaries and operating expenses. The salaries tend to be lower at nonprofit companies, but you should ask about commission and fee structures no matter what company you choose. A typical fee may range from $10.00 a month to $20.00 a month. The services may also take a percentage off of any debt they settle on your behalf or on any loan they extend. A service should also disclose their fees and commissions in full. If they do not, then you should walk away.

Identity Protection

You will need to disclose personal information eventually in order for these services to appropriately manage your credit. This will likely include Social Security Number, birth date and other information. You should not need to provide any information on your bank accounts. This information should not be disclosed until you have completely signed up with the company and have a contract of some type. Do not disclose this information as part of a free trial or at any time before a contract has been signed. Online predators can get this information if you are not working on a secure site, and many online predators will establish fake business names to get this information from you. Wait until you see exact terms of your agreement to provide it. Always use a personal computer to access private information. Never use a public portal.

Recommended Services

Consumer management services vary tremendously in both cost and scope. Signing up for an account with one of the major credit bureaus is one way to assure you are working with a legitimate company. These bureaus are: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They each offer identity protection and credit alert. FreeCreditReport.com has high consumer ratings. This service offers a glimpse at your credit rating with all three bureaus, which is a huge advantage. Any service you choose should have consumer reviews. You should also be able to reach the service by telephone if you have questions. When in doubt, ask a friend, accountant or trusted adviser about which services they would recommend.





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