Using Credit Cards After You Consolidate Your Credit
Most likely when you consolidate your credit through a credit counseling agency, you’re seeking relief from multiple high credit card balances with rising interest rates. You’ve been late or have missed some payments, and collectors have started calling. You’re under a lot of stress and feel overwhelmed by your finances. So you decide that entering a debt management program is the best option to consolidate credit card debt.
After your counselor sets up your debt management plan, you become nervous. “What happens if there’s an emergency?” you ask. “When I consolidate my bills, can I use my credit cards?”
Using Credits Cards is Discouraged when You Consolidate Your Credit
When you enter a program to consolidate your credit through American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), we ask you to stop using your credit cards. That’s because our debt management program serves two purposes:
- Consolidating bills through our program allows you to pay off your unsecured debt in the shortest time possible, without borrowing more money. It’s never a good idea to borrow more money to pay off debt.
- Our program to consolidate credit educates our clients on changing spending habits. We show you how to create a workable budget and how to live within your financial means.
Also when you consolidate your credit through ACCC, we send a proposal to your creditors in the debt management plan to lower your interest rates and monthly payments. In many cases, the creditors will even reset your accounts so that they’re no longer past due.
When the creditors accept our proposal to consolidate bills on your behalf, they do not want you to accrue more debt on your accounts in the plan. That means that you cannot charge any more purchases on the credit cards in the debt management plan.
After you graduate from the debt management plan (when you pay your balances in full), you may decide to open a new line of credit with your old creditors. Beware that some creditors may not allow this after you’ve consolidated debt.
Exceptions on Using Credit Cards when You Consolidate Your Credit
In some cases when you consolidate your credit, ACCC might enable you to keep one credit card out of the debt management program for emergencies. These exceptions are made depending on individual circumstances and creditor requirements. Talk to your ACCC credit advisor for more information.