Photo (cc) by lemonjenny
Today’s question comes from a reader who doesn’t have credit card debt, but she needs help with other types of debt…
I always hear about getting out of credit card debt, but never out of other debts like hospital bills, old loans, and etc. I have those but no help on how and where to start. I don’t have credit cards but I do have debts. Please help.
Here’s your answer, Gloria!
While it’s true that some debt-counseling organizations specialize in credit card debt only, there are some that will help you with all kinds of debt, from hospital bills to mortgages.
Here are two trade organizations whose members might be able to help. The links below will take you to a search for an agency near you:
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling
- Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies
Most – not necessarily all – of the members of these associations will approach your debts holistically and will be willing to provide advice for pretty much any kind of debt you need help with.
That being said, many organizations may not be able to provide as much direct intervention with your creditors as you might like, or to the level they could with credit card debts. That’s because credit counseling agencies have long-established relationships with most major banks. So when you go in with a credit card debt problem, they don’t need to call the bank to see what concessions they can negotiate on your behalf: They already know. With other creditors, like a hospital, for instance, they may not have such a relationship.
But any quality credit counseling organization should be able to go over your debts with you and offer advice on what you should do. And many will help you do it, by reaching out to those you owe and trying to negotiate terms you can live with. If they say that the only debt they’ll handle is credit card debt? In my opinion, they’re not a quality counseling organization.
I’ve written extensively on credit counseling, as well as other methods of dealing with debt. You can do a search for “credit counseling” or start with this article: 5 Tips to Find the Right Debt Relief Agency.
Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.