Q: I have been repaying $22,000 in debt through a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) office. Next year I will be through with their debt management program.

What will end up showing on my credit report when I am done? The accounts will be paid off and closed. Does this end up hurting my FICO score? What should I do to raise my score?

I have paid my bills on time even when I struggled so that isn’t any issue on my credit history. Last year we moved and I bought a house without too much problem except for not qualifying for as much as I would have liked to.

A: The folks at CCCS of Greater Atlanta tell me that simply entering a debt management program shouldn’t lower your credit score. In fact, by making on-time payments and continuing to pay off your debt, your credit score should be fairly high.

Why don’t you test the water and find out? Go to myFICO.com and pay $12.95 for a credit history and score and see what credit score you have right now. In addition, the site will give you specific suggestions based on an analysis of your credit history of what you can do to raise your score.

From what you’ve written, it sounds like you have taken control of your finances. Congratulations.

Posted August 20, 2004.