Finding reputable credit counseling services
When you need help managing your debt, it’s important to seek reputable credit counseling services. The debt relief industry is a huge moneymaker for some firms, and it can be hard to tell the reputable firms from the agencies that don’t have your best interests in mind. With a reputable agency, you’ll have a much better chance of paying off your debts while preserving your credit rating and avoiding potential legal trouble.
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit company providing highly reputable credit counseling services. With a proven track record and 30 years of experience, we’ve helped thousands of people just like you to take control of their financial lives and learn to live debt-free.
What makes a credit counseling agency reputable?
Here are the things you should look for when seeking a reputable credit counseling service.
- A non-profit agency. While there are many for-profit debt relief companies in the market, these firms charge hefty fees and often use strategies that may ruin your credit rating. Non-profit credit counseling services, on the other hand, typically provide free or low-cost services and are committed to sound strategies for paying off your debt.
- Reasonable fees. Your initial credit counseling session should be free, and the agency should charge no more than $50 per month for a debt management plan.
- Proven track record. Reputable credit counseling services will have been in business for at least 7 to 10 years.
- Certified counselors. Consumer credit counselors at a reputable firm will be highly trained and certified by a professional, independent organization.
- Accredited. The firm should be accredited by the International Standards Organization (ISO) or the Council on Accreditation (COA). A reputable company will also be a member of one of the trade organizations for credit counseling services.
- Highly rated. Check to make sure any credit debt counseling service has a solid rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- Licensed and bonded. The agency you’re considering should be licensed and bonded to do business in your state.
- Educational services. Reputable firms will provide free education services and resources to help you learn how to manage your finances more effectively.
ACCC: reputable credit counseling services and more
Since 1991, ACCC has been offering credit counseling services to individuals and families nationwide. Our consumer credit counseling services are designed to help people take control of their finances and plan for a debt-free future.
Whether you choose credit counseling services offered in person or over the phone, you’ll speak with a certified and professionally trained credit counselor who can help you evaluate your financial situation. We’ll closely review your income, expenses, and assets to get a clear picture of your finances. We’ll walk you through all the options available to you for managing your debt, including a variety of personalized options based on your specific financial goals. Your ACCC credit counselor may offer specific recommendations, but the final decision on how to address your debt is up to you.
How a debt management plan works
Debt management plans are one of the most effective strategies recommended by ACCC and other reputable credit counseling services. Debt management plans are designed to make it easier to pay off your debts over time – usually up to 60 months – while taking the pressure off your personal finances. With a debt management plan, you won’t need to take out more loans or risk damaging your credit with aggressive debt relief strategies.
Here’s how a debt management plan works:
- When you enroll in a debt management plan, we’ll notify your creditors that you’re working with ACCC to get control of your debt.
- We’ll help you create a budget that you can live with while you pay down your debt.
- We’ll consolidate all of your debt payments into one monthly payment that you make to ACCC and pay your creditors on your behalf.
- We’ll also contact your creditors to explore possible reductions in finance charges, interest rates, late fees, and over-limit charges. We may also negotiate with them to “re-age” your accounts, giving you more time to pay off your existing debt.
When you get debt management help from ACCC, you’ll be able to simplify your finances and take reasonable steps each month to pay off your debt. As a result, you’ll experience less stress over your financial situation. You’ll always have access to the credit counselors at ACCC whenever you have questions or need assistance.
Why get help from ACCC?
When you choose the reputable services provided by ACCC, you can count on:
- Expert assistance provided by certified credit counselors and backed by three decades of experience in the credit counseling industry, from a company with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a membership in the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
- Supportive service from a team that cares about you and will work with you until your problems are solved
- Access to credit counseling and debt management help six days a week in English or in Spanish
- Free credit counseling services and debt management fees that are among the lowest in the industry, with the possibility of waived or reduced fees based on your financial situation
- Strict confidentiality – we know the importance of protecting your personal identifying information
- Educational materials and financial tools that can help you develop stronger money management skills
FAQs: How can I find reputable credit counseling services?
What is credit counseling?
Credit counseling is a service that helps consumers deal with a variety of common financial challenges. Credit counselors may help individuals to repair credit, manage debt, create budgets, avoid bankruptcy, and adjust the behavior that helped to get them into debt in the first place.
How can I find reputable credit counseling services?
Reputable credit counseling firms are typically mission-driven, non-profit companies that provide low-cost or free credit counseling services. The most reputable companies will have been in business for at least 7 to 10 years and will offer services provided by certified and highly trained counselors. Reputable firms will be members of industry associations, be accredited by third-party organizations, and have a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau.