The Best Credit Counseling Agencies
InCharge Debt Solutions
InCharge Debt Solutions offers the best combination of online counseling, quality credit counselors, and customer service. Their online presence is extensive and includes tons of information and educational materials that cover all aspects of personal finance.
Money Management International
MMI is a network that includes 39 branches in 29 states. It’s a nonprofit credit counseling agency network. They offer both online and in-person credit counseling, giving them an edge over other options.
GreenPath is a financial wellness organization that focuses on people-centered approaches to financial planning. They are well-established and have 43 offices in 22 States. However, they don’t offer credit counseling online.
Consolidated Credit, based in Fort Lauderdale, focuses on financial education. To provide financial literacy education for underserved communities, they have partnered up with more than 500 organizations.
Cambridge credit counseling is proud of the high quality of its counselors. Although counseling can only be done over the telephone, counselors have an average of 13 years of experience.
Each of the five has a good reputation and follows a similar process. A credit counseling session will provide a personal budget review, debt analysis, and a customized action plan. It sounds like business jargon. But what does it mean?
They will first ask questions about your income, and then they will look at your expenses. They will then review your credit reports to determine what you owe. Based on the information they have, they will offer you options.
What is a Credit Counseling Agency?
Credit counseling agencies assist people in debt to understand their finances and find solutions. These agencies are often nonprofit organizations that offer credit counseling, debt management, prebankruptcy credit counseling, and housing counseling.
Although credit counseling offered by a non-profit agency is free, they still need to pay expenses. This means that their income comes from other sources, such as grants or fees from debt management programs.
A credit counseling agency acts as the intermediary between you and your creditors in debt management. To make the payments more affordable, they have agreements that offer lower interest rates to qualified clients. The client makes one payment to a credit counseling agency, distributing the money to the client’s creditors.
Credit counseling agencies are primarily focused on debt management.
How to find a credit counselor
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the best way to locate a credit counselor. The NFCC is a non-profit network of member agencies. They do not provide credit counseling. Instead, they will refer to one of their member agencies which must be appropriately vetted.
Credit counseling agencies must meet these standards to be eligible for membership in the NFCC.
- Register as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit
- Conform to the NFCC quality standards for members
- Offer financial counseling in compliance with federal and state laws
- Accreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA).
Another network of member agencies is the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA).
Each of the top five credit counseling agencies is either accredited by the NFCC or the FCAA. These accreditations should give you confidence that the agencies are working for your best interests.
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