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Sunday, October 1st
Advantage Credit Counseling Service (CCS) is a non-profit credit counseling agency that has been assisting individuals in managing their finances since 1968. Their services include educating consumers about debt management, bankruptcy, and proper credit management. Being a 501(c)3 organization, Advantage CCS provides confidential consumer education, credit counseling, and creates effective debt reduction programs for their clients.
Start the process 24/7 online
You can get started with free credit counseling online any time of day or night. You'll click on "Get Started" and enter your name, zip code, state, email address, and desired password. From there, you'll answer some questions about why you're looking for credit counseling: loss/reduction of income, divorce/separation, excessive credit card use, money management challenges, medical issues/disability, death of a family member, gambling, addiction/substance abuse, or other.
More information is better
On the next page, feel free to type any additional information in the free response box. You'll also be asked the year you were born, the number of adults/children in the household, whether or not you plan to include a spouse/partner's income, your own income, and so forth. The more details you provide, the more accurately the system can give you a preliminary determination on your best next steps.
Get a detailed action plan and advice - right away
While CCS definitely focuses on debt management programs, even if you don't qualify you'll still get a comprehensive action plan at the end of the process - all without ever having to speak to a representative. That's amazing.
Debt management program fees can be higher than average
Let's say you do qualify for a debt management program with CCS. You'll pay a one-time enrollment fee of $50 - higher than many competitors' fees, lower than some - and monthly fees ranging from $10 to $50 depending on where you live. We encourage you to read the FAQ on the Debt Management Program page if you'd like more detailed information about how these plans work and what the limitations are.
Most, but not all, types of credit counseling available here
You can also access other services through Advantage CCS. These include pre-filing bankruptcy counseling ($24.95 online, $50 over the phone or in person at one of CCS' five PA locations) and pre-discharge education classes ($25 online), credit report review ($65 individual/$70 couple), and several types of housing counseling (pre-purchase, foreclosure, reverse mortgage). You'll have to look elsewhere if you want credit counseling regarding student loans or post-bankruptcy advice, however.
Solid track record for client success
CCS has racked up decent numbers over its 50+ years in operation: over 400,000 clients counseled, with more than $1.2 billion in debt eliminated. That's not quite as many people served as some of our top credit counseling providers, whose clients number in the millions, but it's not bad either.
Needs more ratings from clients
Still, we would like to see more client feedback from CCS' clients beyond the handful of testimonials on the website. We had a hard time finding more than a few comments around the internet: just 15 reviews left with the Better Business Bureau (where, by the way, CCS has a perfect "A+" rating and accreditation), one review on Trustpilot, nothing on their Facebook page, you get what we're saying.
Good choice for most prospective clients
There are a lot of options for credit counseling, and we don't doubt that Advantage CCS is good at what it does. But is it better than our higher-ranked providers? That's hard to determine without more feedback from clients. The reviews out there are positive, but that's not quite enough to make CCS competitive with rival organizations who have thousands of five-star reviews to go by. Keep Advantage CCS as a backup possibility after you've looked at the top-rated credit counseling services on our list, or if you'd like an all-online first look at your finances and a preliminary set of action steps without having to speak to a credit counselor beforehand.
Credit counseling services can be incredibly helpful to individuals who are struggling with debt, looking to improve their credit score, or simply need guidance on financial planning. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to turn for the best counseling services.
One of the primary benefits of credit counseling is that it can provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation. This assessment takes into account your income, expenses, debts, and assets, and helps identify areas where you may be overspending or under-saving. Based on this assessment, the credit counselor can provide personalized advice to you on how to create a budget that aligns with your financial goals.
Another benefit of credit counseling is that it can help you develop a plan to pay off your debts. This plan may involve consolidating debts, negotiating with creditors, or creating a debt repayment plan. By working with a credit counselor, you can develop a debt repayment plan that is tailored to your specific financial situation, which can help you achieve financial freedom more quickly.
In addition to debt repayment, credit counseling can also provide education and resources on how to manage credit and financial products. This education can help you make informed decisions about credit cards, loans, and other financial products, which can improve your credit scores and make it easier to access credit in the future. By learning about the different types of credit products available, you can choose the products that are best suited to your financial goals and needs.
The first step in finding the best credit counseling service is to identify your specific needs. Are you currently dealing with significant credit card debt? Are you looking for guidance on how to improve your credit score? Do you need help with financial planning or budgeting? Depending on your situation, you may need to seek out a credit counseling service that specializes in a particular area of financial counseling.
Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, you can begin your search for the best credit counseling service for you. A good place to start is by checking with non-profit credit counseling organizations, as they typically offer free counseling services and may also be able to direct you to resources that can help you better manage your finances.
There are also a number of for-profit credit counseling services available, many of which offer free consultations to help you determine whether their services are right for you. When considering a for-profit credit counseling service, it's important to do your research and make sure that the organization is reputable and has a solid track record of success.
When evaluating any credit counseling service, be sure to consider these factors as well:
Ultimately, the best credit counseling service for you will depend on your individual needs and situation. Top Consumer Reviews has done the hard work of researching all of today's most popular credit counseling providers, making it easy for you to choose the one that will best help you make better financial decisions and achieve your goals.
Select any 2 Credit Counseling Services to compare them head to head