PROS / American Consumer Credit Counseling offers videos on a variety of financial topics.
CONS / This credit counseling agency doesn't offer online seminars or financial health quizzes.
VERDICT / American Consumer Credit offers one of the most thorough initial counseling sessions as well as educational resources that cover a broad variety of topics, including budgeting and identity theft protection.
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a credit counseling agency based in Massachusetts. It also has offices in California and Nevada. In addition to credit counseling, ACCC offers housing, bankruptcy and student loan counseling. This consumer credit counseling agency is licensed to provide its services in all 50 states.
The website of a credit counseling service offers more than just information on how to reach it. The best services include a variety of tools and financial calculators. Using these tools before you call is a good way to know where you stand and how much help you need. ACCC offers a wide variety of tools, 32 in total, including debt-to-income ratio and debt payoff calculators. Some of these tools are downloadable excel sheets, which hampers the usability and makes them more time consuming than the tools of other services.
The quality of an agency's education resources is another important consideration. ACCC has an excellent variety of these resources covering topics such as planning for college, saving toward retirement and homeownership. ACCC has frequently updated blog posts and videos.
As part of our review process, we contacted each credit counseling agency to learn about the initial consultation. The first counseling session is always free, and the best session should include a detailed breakdown of your expenses and your debts as well as multiple options on how to reduce those debts. ACCC offered one of the best initial consultations our reviewers received. What stood out in particular was the focus on setting goals, not just in the short-term but long-term goals as well.
The counselor we spoke to recommended multiple options on how to manage debt. ACCC suggested stricter budgeting and reducing spending in addition to the debt management programs typically suggested by consumer credit counseling services.
Debt management programs are a less risky alternative to debt consolidation. Under a debt management program, the credit counseling agency works with your creditors to reduce your interest rates. Your payments are combined into one payment that you make to the counseling agency.
Typically a debt management program includes a few fees, such as a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee. These fees can vary depending on where you live and if your income is below 150 percent of the poverty line. ACCC's fees are capped at $39 for setup and $35 for the monthly fee.
ACCC's credit counselors are available Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
American Consumer Credit Counseling offers one of the most thorough initial counseling sessions, including setting up multiple goals. The calculators and financial tools aren't as user friendly as other counseling services.