The credit counseling and debt management industries are replete with industry-speak, acronyms, initials and all kinds of other confusing terminology. At Top Ten Reviews, we ve tried to define and/or clarify some of the more confusing terms for you.

American Association of Debt Management Organizations (AADMO)
The largest trade association for credit counseling and debt management industries that works to ensure operation and viability of the credit counseling and debt management organizations.

Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA)
A national membership organization that promotes quality and consistent delivery of credit counseling services. The association has established, by consensus among their members, service and conduct standards to protect both the organization s members as well as the various agencies  clients.

BBB Accredited Business
Prior to October 2007, this Better Business Bureau designation was known as BBB Member. Businesses that choose to submit to a detailed review process and pledge to observe a set of ethical conduct standards. The accreditation is not mandatory and the BBB does not evaluate the products or services. The company is simply evaluated to see if it meets the accreditation standards of the BBB.

BBB Ratings
These ratings range from A+ to F, including pluses and minuses. There is also an NR (No Rating) that means one of three things:

  • BBB file is being updated or reviewed
  • BBB doesn t have sufficient information about the business
  • Recent activity requires further BBB review

Better Business Bureau (
Established in 1912, the company is actually a private business franchise throughout the US and Canada. The individual BBB s work together to promote a fair, honest marketplace and trust between buyer and seller.

The mission and vision statements of the Council on Accreditation states that  COA envisions excellence in the delivery of human services globally (and) partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying and promoting accreditation standards resulting in the well-being of individuals, families and communities. 

FICO Score
This score, developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation, aids lenders in decision-making involving credit on secured and unsecured debt. It is calculated using statistics from a consumer s credit history including past payment behavior, number and types of existing credit, credit limits and any other information such as defaults, bankruptcies and so on. The scores range from 330 to 850 with the majority tending to fall between 650 to 749.

HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Service
This government agency approval means that the counselors have been trained in the various types of programs offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

ISO 9001:2000
Certification demonstrates that the organization has completed the requirements and meets the quality standards of the internationally recognized British Standards Institution (BSI) that improves the environmental, social and economic performance of its members. An updated version of the ISO 9001 standards were released in the fall of 2008.

National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC)
A non-profit, credentialing organization that oversees the education and certification requirements of its members. The organization works to increase professionalism, standards and ethics in the credit counseling industry.

National Housing Counseling Association (NHCA)
This non-profit organization works with HUD to enforce housing counseling procedures and policies.

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