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Overwhelmed with debt? Nonprofits’ credit counseling could help

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some families owe more money now than even from a few months ago, as reported by our sister station WSOC-TV.

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According to recent Federal Reserve numbers, this year, household debt went up $16 billion from the first quarter to the second quarter, hitting $17.06 trillion. The Fed says credit card balances alone climbed to $1.03 trillion.

There’s one place Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke says you can turn to for help that you may not have thought of -- nonprofit credit counseling. That’s right, a nonprofit provides credit counseling.

He told you about this once before -- that report focused on Money Management International (MMI).

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MMI says its clients pay about $24 per month and the nonprofit negotiates with their creditors to get them a much lower interest rate (on average about 7% lower). MMI says most of its clients can pay off their entire debt in 3-5 years.

But MMI isn’t the only respected nonprofit credit counseling group.

Stoogenke spoke with another one, GreenPath Financial Wellness. It works much in the same way.

Anybody qualifies, and it’s free to talk to a counselor. If GreenPath comes up with a debt management plan for you, it costs about $28 per month. The group says the average person wipes away debt in 2-3 years.

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“The creditors will offer concessions to make that repayment easier, and typically those concessions are going to be lower interest rates and waived late and over-limit fees. And those are the ways that they help make repayment easier,” GreenPath’s Bill Fowlkes told Stoogenke.

For tips on how to avoid debt relief scams, click here.

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