PROS / Take Charge America offers student loan counseling in addition to credit counseling.
CONS / This credit counseling agency doesn't offer workshops as part of its services.
VERDICT / Take Charge America is a credit counseling agency that offers a variety of online webinars and courses but doesn't have as many online financial tools as other services.
Take Charge America is a consumer credit counseling service based in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to credit counseling and debt management, take charge offers bankruptcy, housing and student loan counseling. Take Charge is licensed to provide its services in all 50 states.
Before you place your first call, a good step is to use the tools and calculators provided on the credit counseling agency's website. These tools can provide you with helpful information and context about your finances before you make that first call. Take Charge America has a variety of these tools on its site, including cash flow, net worth and debt payoff calculators. These tools are particularly helpful in that they offer graphs that make it easy to visualize the results.
A credit counseling service should also offer a variety of education resources. This makes the service a valuable source of ongoing information and education. Take Charge America's educational resources include a blog and FAQs. The blog is regularly updated and covers topics such as savings, budgeting and job hunting.
After using the tools and reading through the educational resources, you may feel ready to call the credit counselor. The first session is always free, and our reviewers evaluated this first consultation to see what was recommended. The counselor from Take Charge America we spoke to went step by step through a budget, examining spending and debts. They offered several options, including a debt management program. As part of this session, you'll be provided with a login for Take Charge America's online portal.
Under a debt management program, Take Charge America will negotiate with your creditors for concessions, such as lowered interest rates. You will need to close your accounts, and you will make one monthly payment to Take Charge America.
Debt management programs include a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee. Take Charge America's fees vary depending on the state you live in and whether you income is less than 150 percent of the national poverty line.
Counselors are available by phone Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. This makes Take Charge America a good option if weekday business hours don't work for your schedule.
Take Charge America offers a thorough initial counseling session as well as night and weekend accessibility. This credit counseling service's financial tools and educational resources are thinner than some of the other services we reviewed.