Pros / AAA Fair Credit Foundation's financial tools are comprehensive and provide clear recommendations.

Cons / The counseling agency is not licensed to provide services in all 50 states.

 Verdict / AAA Fair Credit has some of the best education resources of any service in our review, but the availability of its services is more limited.

TopTenREVIEWS - Silver Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set
TopTenREVIEWS - Excellence Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

AAA Fair Credit Foundation offers consumer credit counseling among its many services. This agency is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It also offers housing, student loan and payday loan counseling in addition to debt management programs. Because of the breadth and quality of its education resources and financial tools, AAA Fair Credit Foundation receives our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.

A debt management plan is one of the primary services offered by a credit counseling agency. If you have a large amount of debt and are having trouble making your monthly payments, this may be a good option for you. Under a debt management plan, the credit counselor negotiates with your creditors for concessions that often include lowered interest rates. You then close your accounts and make one payment to AAA Fair Credit Foundation, who then disperses the funds to your creditors. Debt management plans usually last from three to five years. There is a small impact on your credit score when you begin your plan, but in the long term, your credit score will be helped by paying down your debt.

Advisory & Education

The first counseling session is one of the most important steps in choosing a credit counselor. This session is always free, and the counselor goes through your bills, debts and other spending with you. The counselor helps you create a budget and look for areas where you can cut back on your spending. Counselors also recommend other options for managing your debt.

The initial session with AAA Fair Credit Foundation rated as one of the best our reviewers encountered. The counselor we spoke to explained the various options for managing debt, including debt management plans. Where AAA Fair Credit stood out was the detail with which it explained this option. It provided information about more than just the basic framework of the plan; the counselor also gave us details about the debt management plan's impact on your credit scores, the fees involved and the potential reduction in your interest rates.

Credit counseling services offer more than just debt management plans and financial assistance. The best use their websites as repositories for information on a wide variety of financial topics. AAA Fair Credit has a wide variety of educational resources and number of topics covered. AAA Fair Credit has blogs and FAQs, which are standard across the credit counseling services we reviewed. It also has videos, podcasts and downloadable eBooks. Though having information in a variety of media is helpful, it's not necessary useful if it all says the same thing. AAA Fair Credit's educational resources covers a broad range of topics as various as retirement planning, general budgeting and helping children learn good financial habits.

In addition to educational resources, we also evaluated each credit counseling service on the financial calculators and tools it provides. AAA Fair Credit has the best mix of quality, usability and number of tools. With 37 tools in total, AAA Fair Credit has the second largest amount of the services we reviewed. This includes the basic tools we consider essential for evaluating your financial health – a debt-to-income ratio calculator, a debt payoff calculator and a financial health quiz. These tools provide you with clear answers about your personal financial situation and offer recommendations for next steps.

AAA Fair Credit offers a variety of courses, seminars and workshops to help improve your financial knowledge. These courses are available online or in-person and cover topics such as setting financial goals, creating spending plans and buying cars.

Fees & Availability

One of the disadvantages of AAA Fair Credit is that it isn't licensed to offer its services in all 50 states. It is based in Utah and is also licensed in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas. If you live in those states, you can call for credit counseling sessions and sign up for debt management plans. Counselors are available Monday through Friday from 8 A.M to 5 P.M.

Debt management plans include setup fees and monthly maintenance fees. Credit counseling agencies cap these fees and waivers are available if your income is 150 percent of the poverty line. AAA Fair Credit has a maximum setup fee of $50 and a maximum maintenance fee of $50.

Support & Accreditations

AAA Fair Credit is not accredited by any of the major credit counseling industry groups. This only means that it has not sought out those accreditations. But if you value the extra sense of security that comes with an accredited organization, AAA Fair Credit may not be the best choice for you.

You can get support through phone and email, but the counseling service does not have live chat.

Summary

AAA Fair Credit Foundation has the widest range of educational resources and financial tools of any service in our review. One main drawback of this service is that it only offers its services in a few states.