Debt consolidation programs help you eliminate your credit card debt and give you some breathing room by lowering your monthly payment.
Credit counseling agencies usually can perform the following:

1. get unpaid interest, late fees or other charges waived off.

2. reduce your interest rates, therefore lowering your monthly payments.

3. Set up a budget plan.

Generally, debt consolidation programs updates your financial situation after every 6 months or so. In case your situation changes, you should inform the credit counselor about it immediately. The consultant will re-evaluate your situation and then request that your creditors offer you a different payment plan if required. He will also help you with budgeting and money management tips so that you can organize your finances effectively.

If you do decide to use a debt consolidation program, be very careful whom you choose. Shop around. Not all debt consolidation programs are created equal. You don't want to be taken advantage of and end up paying large fees with no debt reduction to show for it.
Also, just because the credit counseling agency says they are non-profit, that isn’t true. They are set up by the credit card companies. They receive “kick-backs” from the credit card companies. The less they lower your interest rate, the greater the “kick-back” they get.
In addition, keep in mind that that credit counseling has about a 75% drop-out rate. If you miss just one payment, you will be booted from the program. As a result, your credit will decline, and you will be back to square one.
Avoid the pitfalls and scams by checking references and asking a lot of questions. There are several steps to take if you decide credit counseling is appropriate for you:

1. Go for no-obligation free debt counseling. Contact a debt relief company and attend a free counseling session with their consultant. The consultant analyzes your financial situation and completes an income vs. expenditure review in order to find out how much you can pay towards your monthly bills.

2. Enroll in a debt consolidation program. If the consultant finds that a consolidation program is the best solution for you, he will send you the documents you need to sign including the details on the fees required and a power of attorney form which will allow him to talk to your creditors on your behalf.

3. The consultant starts handling creditor calls. Once the documents are signed and returned to the consultant, you can start referring your creditors to the debt consolidation company through the consultant.

4. The consultant negotiates with your creditors on your behalf. The consultant contacts your creditors and proposes the payment plan he designed for you.

5. Send in monthly payment to the consolidation company. Your monthly payment should be sent to the consolidation company who will in turn distribute it amongst your creditors.

6. Your creditors receive the payment. Within a few days of receiving your payment, the consolidation company forwards it to your creditors.

Debt consolidation programs help many Americans to wipe-out their credit card debt. You can get rid of debts in 4-6 years as compared to an average of 20-40 years. Good luck to you!

Author's Bio: 

Joseph Hernandez is the CEO of Debt Free Solutions, a debt consulting agency located in Long Beach, CA. His organization was created in October, 2000. His revolutionary debt program is like no other. Unlike other debt elimination programs, he drastically reduces the risks that are inevitable with all debt negotiation programs. Hence, his clients may be able to get out of debt fast-and safe.

Stop wasting money by making minimum payments. See how our revolutionary debt negotiation program may get you out of debt fast and safe!