Learn how this debt settlement alternative can help you find a path to financial freedom.
Talking to someone about your options is free. And signing up for its debt management program could lower your monthly payments by as much as 50%. But before making any decisions, find out how all this works.
- Free consultation. The consultation, setting up a budget and considering your options are all free.
- Costs. Fees regulated by client's state of residence, can range from $0 to $69 with an average monthly fee of $35. No upfront or contingency fees. .
- Types of debt accepted. All major credit cards, store credit cards, store credit lines that have gone to collections, gas cards, unsecured personal loans, medical bills that have gone to collections. Does not accept payday loans or secured loans (like a mortgage or car loan) for debt management.
- Services offered. Debt management and credit counseling.
- Minimum debt considered. None.
- Typical turnaround. Credit Counseling claims customers can see results immediately, though how long it takes to get out of debt depends on each person’s unique situation.
- Ratings, accreditation and memberships:
- BBB rating: A+
- BBB accreditation: Accredited
- Association memberships: HUD member, accredited member of ANAB, member of Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), Certified ISO 9001 company
- Trustpilot rating: 9.6/10
- Direct or third-party negotiations. Direct.
- Service limitations. All 50 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and US Virgin Islands.
- Free resources or tools. Yes, Consolidated Credit offers free online webinars and seminars as well as local workshops, educational videos, financial calculators, self-help finance booklets and interactive financial education courses.
- Customer service options. Phone.
- Other details. Also offers specialized credit counseling for servicemembers and struggling businesses.
What exactly is Consolidated Credit?
Consolidated Credit is one of the largest credit counseling agencies in the country. It offers two main debt relief services: Credit counseling and deb management. With credit counseling, you and your counselor meet to go over your options and come up with a plan to get you out of debt. Credit consultations are free.
If other options like making a budget or taking out a debt consolidation loan won’t be much help, Consolidated Credit might recommend signing up for its debt management program. There are two parts to this program. You and your credit counselor design a payment plan that you can afford to pay off all of your eligible debts. Your credit counselor also goes to your creditors and negotiates with them to reduce or eliminate your interest and penalties like late or nonsufficient funds fees.
How much does it cost?
Unlike debt settlement programs, Consolidated Credit doesn’t charge a percentage of savings in fees. Instead, it charges a flat monthly fee that’s set by your state — and only for the debt management program. This can range from $0 to $69 with an average fee of $35 per month. Consolidated Credit factors the fee into the budget you draw up with your credit counselor.
How much could I save with Consolidated Credit?
Customers typically save between 30% and 50% of their total credit card debt. How much you save depends on your personal situation and which solution you and your counselor decide is right for you.
What are the benefits of Consolidated Credit debt relief?
- Available in all 50 states and territories. Many debt relief companies can only legally operate in a handful of states. Consolidated Credit works everywhere in the US.
- No minimum debt. Many debt relief companies only work with clients that are at least $7,500 in debt. Consolidated Credit works with all debt relief types.
- Lots of free educational resources. Offers free webinars, local workshops, educational videos, calculators for nearly every scenario, interactive courses and more.
- Positive customer reviews. Gets overwhelmingly positive reviews on Trustpilot, scoring a 9.6 out of 10 based on nearly 2,000 reviews as of July 2018.
What are the drawbacks?
- No payday loans or secured debt. Most debt relief companies don’t work with secured loans since they involve collateral, and Consolidated Credit is no exception.
- Not on the DOJ’s list of government-approved agencies. The Department of Justice has a list of government-approved credit counseling agencies that it recommends to people considering filing for bankruptcy. Consolidated Credit is not included.
- Can impact your ability to borrow. While signing up for debt management typically won’t lower your credit score, you typically won’t be able to take on new credit until you’ve paid off your debt.
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Is it safe to use Consolidated Credit?
Generally, yes. Its site uses industry-standard SSL-certificates to protect any data you enter online. Once Consolidated Credit has your information, only its employees and service agents have access to it. It only shares sensitive personal information like your Social Security number with third parties if it’s legally required to, or with your creditors when negotiating your debt and other service providers involved in the debt management process.
It also has the following memberships and accreditations:
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) member. In other words, HUD has given it its blessing to give homeowners and buyers financial advice.
- Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) member. This trade organization sets industry standards and makes sure that its members are effectively meeting consumer needs.
- ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). ANAB is an international accreditation board that makes sure its members meet world-wide management standards — especially when it comes to customer satisfaction.
- Certified ISO 9001 company. This means that it’s met rigorous quality management standards in terms of how the organization is set up and run.
- Endorsed by United Way. United Way is a nonprofit that works to promote local programs that help develop their communities, including educational initiatives — and getting people out of debt.
How do I get started?
To get started, set up a meeting with one of Consolidated Credit’s credit counselors. Here’s how in four steps:
- Click the Go to Site button on this page.
- Enter your name, email, phone number, state, ZIP code and amount of debt.
- Hit Start Now!
- Wait for Consolidated Credit to get in touch by phone or email to set up an appointment.
Once you speak to a certified counselor, they will work with you to come up with a plan specific to your particular needs. You might just come up with a payment plan or apply for a debt consolidation loan. Or, your counselor might advise you to enroll in a debt management program.
I’ve signed up. What happens next?
It all depends on your situation. You might be able to pay off your debt on your own after creating a budget. Or, you might sign up for debt management.
What do other customers have to say about Consolidated Credit?
Consolidated Credit has mostly positive online reviews as of July 2018. It gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which it’s been accredited with since 1998. The BBB bases its ratings on factors like transparency and time in business. Seven out of the 10 reviews on its BBB page are positive, and eight customers have filed complaints.
It does even better on Trustpilot, scoring a 9.6 out of 10 based on nearly 2,000 reviews. Almost 90% of customers called it excellent — none said its services were poor or bad. Many customers were happy with the quality of customer service and how easy Consolidated Credit made the process. Several mentioned that it helped them lock lower rates or get out of debt.
A few customers complained about unsolicited phone calls from Consolidated Credit. A few more felt they weren’t properly informed of the program’s costs or had some miscommunications with customer service. But the good generally overshadowed the bad.
How debt management works
With debt management, Consolidated Credit negotiates to lower your credit card rates, usually to between 0% and 6%. Your counselor comes up with a payment plan that fits your personal budget. With this plan, you’d make one monthly payment to Consolidated Credit, which then pays off your individual creditors until you’re debt-free.
4 tips to make Consolidated Credit debt relief a smart move
- Set a goal. Going into credit counseling with an intention can help you be more level-handed when it comes to tough financial decisions.
- Stick to your budget. Creating a budget is the easy part, but sticking to it can be tricky. Sometimes there are emergencies that require you to go outside of your spending limits. When this happens, reach out to your credit counselor to reassess your budget.
- Check your credit report. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each credit agency each year. This breaks down to one free report every four months if you rotate between the three main credit bureaus. Check it regularly to make sure there are no mistakes and that you’re on track to being debt-free.
- Be honest with your credit counselor. Debt can be hard to talk about, especially when you feel like you’re no longer in control. But your credit counselor is there to help, not judge. The more forthcoming you are about your situation, the more they’ll be able to help.
Consolidated Credit could be a good option for anyone struggling to pay off their debt. Consultations are free, so getting advice doesn’t cost you anything. And if you sign up for its debt management program, you could end up paying a reduced interest rate on your credit cards and loans.