Our mission is to help improve your financial picture and quality of life by helping you repay your debt and keeping more of your hard-earned money! Here are some friendly reminders and frequently asked questions that can help make your experience on our debt management plan both rewarding and successful!
- The DMP (Debt Management Plan) is not a loan. If you do not make your payment, we are unable to pay your creditors
- Missed payments can result in the creditors dropping you from the DMP and increasing your interest rate
- The estimated time on the DMP is based on keeping your monthly payment the same
- Some creditors re-age but if the creditor doesn’t then accounts that are past due prior to the DMP, will remain past due until you bring them current
- Being in a DMP does not remove current negative reporting from your credit report
- Send in statements
- Send extra payments and payoffs through DRS – even if you are refinancing. The lenders can make the checks out to the individual creditors and send them to DRS (Debt Reduction Services) to pay off.
- Monitor your statements and notify us of any discrepancies immediately. If you are not receiving statements, contact your creditors and request they be sent to you
- ACH withdrawal changes require 5 business days written notice
- You can monitor your account, send messages to us, update your banking info, and update your email address on our extranet site
- We communicate a lot via email. If you provided us with an email address, please monitor your email for correspondence.
- Keep your phone number, address, and email updated!
- If you did not move out the due dates on your accounts upon enrollment, please ensure the creditors are receiving their payments on time.
- Until your proposals are accepted, we highly recommend that you send in the difference between what we are sending and what your creditors are requiring to avoid delinquency.
- If you have not called to close your accounts, please note that your creditors will likely close them automatically once they receive our proposal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why can my monthly payment change from the original quote my counselor gave me?
A: The estimated payments are typically a percentage of your account balance. Prior to your first payment, we verify the current balance on your account and adjust the payment accordingly.
Q: Can I make payments to my creditors outside the program?
A: If your account is past due, you may make a payment to the creditor to bring the account current. All other payments must be sent through DRS. If you pay the creditor directly, they take this as an indication you are no longer a client, which can result in increased interest rates, payments, fees, and previously deferred interest being added back onto your account.
Q: Am I able to pay more than my minimum payment?
A: Absolutely! You may pay extra at any time. You can send in a money order, cashier’s check, or contact us to assist you in adjusting your automatic withdrawal.
Q: Can I change or lower my payment?
A: The DMP is designed to pay off your debts within 60 months. Lowering the payment will lengthen your time on the DMP. If hardship occurs please contact us to discuss.
Q: What should I do if I am unable to make my payment on time?
A: Notify us immediately. This can affect the arrangements we have with your creditors.
Q: Will the DMP affect my credit?
A: Fair Isaac Company, the pioneer in credit score modeling and still the overwhelmingly most commonly-used credit score, clearly states that they do not take participation in a credit counselor’s debt management program into account when calculating an individual’s credit score. It should be noted, though, that any of the following may occur:
*Creditors may place a temporary notation on the individual’s report stating that they are enrolled in a DMP. This is done for the purpose of preventing any further credit card accounts from being opened while the individual is paying off current debt. The creditor is obligated to remove the notation once the individual is no longer enrolled in the DMP.
*When an individual enrolls in a DMP, their accounts are closed (either by the individual or by the creditor). Because of how a credit score is calculated and depending upon the balance on the individual’s account(s), such closings may initially lower the individual’s credit score. However, FICO’s credit scoring model relies most heavily upon a history of on-time payments and lower balances, which is also what we strive to help our clients achieve.
Q: Why do I need to change my due dates?
A: Your creditor due dates need to coincide with your disbursement date with DRS. This will help your payments post to your accounts without penalty. Creditors will not allow DRS to request due date changes on your behalf.
Q: Can I add more accounts to my program?
A: Yes. Contact us for details.
Q: Why are my creditors calling me?
A: You may receive calls from your creditors until they have approved the DMP proposal. We encourage you to take these calls and notify our office of any important information.
Q: Will I receive a monthly statement for payment verification?
A: You have access to view your account online 24/7. Please monitor your creditor statements monthly and notify us of any discrepancies. We do not mail statements unless required.