Majority Of American Consumers Do Not Understand The Bankruptcy Filing Process

Seventy-three percent of consumers polled by ACCC know someone who has filed for bankruptcy. Nearly 55 percent of consumers surveyed have filed or have considered filing for bankruptcy.

Boston, MA – February 24, 2016

Filing for BankruptcyThe vast majority of American consumers do not understand the process of filing for bankruptcy, according to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling.

About 60 percent of individuals admit they do not understand the bankruptcy process, according to the poll of budget-conscious consumers administered by national financial education nonprofit ACCC.

In addition, almost 55 percent of consumers who took the survey have either filed or considered filing for bankruptcy. Of these respondents, nearly 70 percent felt ashamed or guilty for having to file for bankruptcy. Although the majority of the respondents felt ashamed, 60 percent who filed or considered filing said they would be open about it with friends and family.

“There are a variety of reasons an individual might have to file for bankruptcy, such as debt, divorce, or loss of income,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “The word ‘bankruptcy’ often carries strong emotions and negative connotations. This difficult process can be compounded by the fact that the majority of consumers don’t fully understand the process – even those who have either filed or considered filing for bankruptcy.”

53 percent of respondents surveyed classify themselves as white collar workers.  67 percent of consumers polled are aged 45 and above. Of the respondents, nearly 55 percent are unaware of the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

According to the survey, 44 percent of respondents who had filed for bankruptcy did so due to some form of debt, followed by 16 percent of respondents who filed due to divorce or separation.

The online poll of 228 participants was conducted at by American Consumer Credit Counseling – a non-profit that helps consumers with budgeting, financial education and debt management.

You can view an infographic illustrating the poll results here.


ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for themACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). To participate in this month’s poll, visit and for more financial management resources visit