PROS / Springboard offers in-person counseling at 15 locations in eight states in addition to phone counseling and online webinars.
CONS / This credit counseling information center doesn't cover as wide an array of topics as other agencies we reviewed.
VERDICT / Springboard lacks some of the calculators and tools we look for in a credit counseling service, but it offers a broad array of educational resources and excellent support.
Springboard is a California-based nonprofit credit counseling agency that also offers bankruptcy and housing counseling services. Springboard has been providing financial education services since 1974. This service offers a good first counseling session along with a wide variety of educational resources but doesn't have as many financial tools or calculators as other services. For these reasons, Springboard receives our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
One of the main services Springboard offers is a debt management plan. Under this plan, all your debts are combined into one payment you make to Springboard, which then disperses the appropriate amounts to your creditors. Springboard negotiates with your creditors for concessions, which usually come in the form of a lowered interest rate. A debt management plan has a short-term impact on your credit score, since you will need to close most if not all of your accounts.
Advisory & Education
As part of our evaluation of each credit counseling service, we called and learned about the initial advisory session. This first call is always free and provides you with a breakdown of your financial situation. The counselor you speak to should help you form a detailed budget and help you find options for where your spending can be trimmed.
Springboard's initial session rated well. The counselor we spoke to took the time to tell our reviewer how the service works to provide a solid budget and options on how to best deal with large amounts of debt. Springboard didn't provide additional follow-up materials, which is why it didn't score as well on its initial advisory session as other services we reviewed.
The best credit counseling agencies have websites with educational resources that allow you to use it as an ongoing point of reference for learning more about managing your finances. Among the educational resources offered by Springboard are blogs, eBooks and financial FAQs. The eBooks cover topics like financial planning, maintaining good credit and preventing foreclosure. The blog is frequently updated with useful information that focuses on savings and financial planning.
Credit counseling services include calculators and tools on their website to help you learn about your finances before placing your call. While you don't have to use these tools before placing your call, it can certainly help streamline the process and give you a clearer idea of where you stand. Springboard's calculators and tools are one of its weakest areas.
Springboard lacks a few of the tools we consider most important, including a debt to income ratio tool and a financial health test. It does have a payoff calculator that provides a graphical breakdown of how long it would take to pay off your remaining debt. The tools are simple to use, but may require you to use a Java-friendly browser. Springboard also offers fewer of these tools than other credit counseling services and thus receives a lower score.
Springboard offers a variety of seminars and financial courses, many of which are available to take online. This is one of its advantages over other services, which may only offer these courses to people in the same city as the agency.
Fees & Availability
Springboard is licensed to provide credit counseling and debt management plans in all 50 states. Unlike many services, it also has multiple offices that you can go to for a face-to-face meeting.
Springboard's offices are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.
If you enroll in a debt management plan through Springboard, you have to pay a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee. These fees are capped, and waivers are available if your income is 150 percent of the poverty line. Springboard's maximum setup fee is $50, and the maximum you pay each month is $35. These are near the industry standards for these fees.
Support & Accreditations
Springboard and its credit counselors are accredited by the NFCC and the ACCC. It is one of the few agencies in our review to have multiple accreditations. This means that it meets the transparency, disclosure and educational requirements of both organizations.
Springboard is a quality credit counseling agency that offers a helpful initial session and useful, frequently updated educational resources. It doesn't offer as many financial tools as other services, but it does offer online seminars.