We’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions about credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy, and our services. The answers that we’ve provided should help you find your way to a more stable financial future. Please contact us if you have any further questions. Thank you!
What is a Credit Counseling Session?
A Credit Counseling Session is an overview of your current financial situation. It can be done over the telephone, online, or in-person. During this session, a certified counselor will review all of your income, expenses, and debts. At the conclusion of this comprehensive session, the credit counselor will make recommendations to help you get back on track financially (one of which may be a debt management program). For additional information about our credit counseling services, click here.
How long does the credit counseling session take?
The average credit counseling session will last about one hour. This may vary depending on your specific situation. Beware of agencies that claim they can help you get rid of your debt in 15 minutes or less. These types of agencies may be trying to push you into their program without providing the full benefits of a credit counseling session.
What is a Debt Management Program?
A Debt Management Program is a payment plan between you, Advantage Credit Counseling Service, and your unsecured creditors. In this plan, creditors agree to offer special concessions to help you get out of debt. These concessions may include reducing your interest rates and stopping late and over-limit fees. This plan can reduce the months or years of repayment. For additional information about our debt management program, click here.
What are the benefits of a debt management program?
Benefits of the debt management program include:
- Lower interest rates
- Eliminate late and over-limit fees
- Put an end to collection calls
- One simple monthly payment
- Debt free in 3 to 5 years
- A great alternative to Bankruptcy
I’m only a little behind on my bills, can you still help me?
Yes, creditors will respect the fact that you’ve taken responsibility early and are attempting to resolve the problem before it becomes a major concern. In fact, catching the problem early can prevent further harm to your credit rating.
How long will it take to pay off my debts?
On your own, it may take ten or more years to pay off average debt amounts when making only minimum payments. Advantage Credit Counseling Service can devise a debt management plan to significantly reduce or eliminate most unsecured debt within three to five years.
Can you loan me money?
“We do not lend money.” ACCS is a non-profit credit counseling service company. We are not a finance company or loan service. We provide credit counseling and if appropriate a debt management program.
How many creditors can be on the debt management program?
Our program includes any unsecured creditor that agrees to participate in the debt management program.
Is there a minimum amount of debt required?
No. We are here to help you no matter how much or how little debt you have. Watch out for agencies that require a minimum amount of debt before they will work with you.
What kind of debts can you help me reduce?
Our debt management program will help you to reduce or eliminate debts created by major credit cards, retail store and gas cards, unsecured personal loans, medical bills and collection accounts.
Will I still be able to use my credit cards?
No. You cannot make a commitment to getting out of debt and incur new debt at the same time. Also, your creditors that participate in the Debt Management Plan (DMP) may close your accounts.
Is there a cost for this service?
Our credit counseling sessions are free. Consumers that participate in our debt management program are asked for a one-time consultation/setup fee of $50 and a monthly maintenance fee between $10 and $50 per month (Based on the number of creditors). Depending on state law, these fees may be reduced or waived. These fees are used to help defray the costs of administering the debt management program and to provide quality customer service to our clients.
Will you help me file bankruptcy?
No. Bankruptcy is a legal process and you should seek assistance from a bankruptcy attorney. Under the new bankruptcy law, consumers are required to complete a pre-filing bankruptcy counseling session. Before a bankruptcy can be discharged, consumers must complete a pre-discharge education class. Certificates are issued upon completion of each.
Will your service affect my credit report?
Credit counseling agencies do not report to any credit reporting bureaus about your participation in a debt management program. Most creditors will make a notation on your report that you are working through a 3rd party debt management company. Your credit score may initially be lowered due to the creditors closing your revolving credit accounts while on a program. How much your score is lowered depends on the current status of your accounts. Your counselor will address this with you in more detail as it pertains to your specific situation.
Are you able to provide credit counseling in my state?
Please go to the States Serviced page to see which states Advantage Credit Counseling is licensed to do business in.