Congratulations! You won a brand new credit card!

Jonathan, a financial specialist at Clearpoint, was the following client’s credit counselor.

I recently had the pleasure of celebrating with a client who became debt free after spending two years on our Debt Management Program (DMP).

This client stood out because of how he got into debt. When he turned 18, he went into a national retail store and was congratulated and told that he had the opportunity to use a store account to make his purchases that day and would not have to pay. He didn’t understand how credit worked and believed he had won a contest. He thought his purchases were free that day. After returning home with his freeĀ purchases, he went back to the store a second time to complete using the gift by maxing out the card. A month later, he was surprised when his mother came to him with questions about his bill. (He lived at home and she saw his mail.)

The client’s mother visited Clearpoint’s web site, read about our debt management plan (DMP). Her son submitted an application online and I then corresponded with him by e-mail and phone. The mother explained what had had happened and how she thought the retailer’s tactics were misleading. I admitted that this was the first time I had heard of anyone being told that they had won something to sign up for a credit card and suggested that he complain to the Federal Trade Commission. I then talked to my client about credit, the concept of interest, monthly payments, credit scores and how to use credit to his benefit.

I worked with him to create a budget based on his financial goals. I explained that we could contact the retailer to work out a repayment plan and he agreed that he wanted to join the DMP to repay his debt. Clearpoint then contacted the retailer and explained the extenuating circumstances. The retailer responded positively and we were able to secure a pay off plan for the client with an affordable monthly payment, a zero percent interest rate, and a pay off time in under two years. Still, with very little income (he took a part-time filing job), $2,500 was a hefty debt.

The client went on to make every monthly payment on time and keep me up-to-date on his progress. When he completed the program, he was extremely happy to be debt free. I can honestly say that I was quite proud of him for having paid off his debt, setting financial goals, achieving them and learning such a valuable lesson in credit.

Clearpoint has been helping consumers with their personal finance goals and debt repayment strategies since 1964. Today, we work with consumers all over the country through counseling that is administered online, in person or over the phone. Learn about our services today!

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