Most Consumers Are Unsure Where to Find Affordable Financial Counseling, According to Recent Poll

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American Consumer Credit Counseling offers low-cost financial guidance for all age groups and hosts dozens of free workshops every month.

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As a non-profit we work hard to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial stability and have access to critical financial education and resources

Most Americans who are in need of credit counseling are at a loss at how to best obtain it, according to a new web poll. Of the 2,274 survey respondents, 47 percent said they are not seeking professional financial guidance because they don’t know where they can turn for trustworthy help. Another 24 percent said they don’t seek assistance because they don’t think they can afford it. The poll was conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in July.

“It’s a shame that so many consumers are unaware of the valuable resources that are available to them through credit counseling agencies,” said Steve Trumble, president of Newton-based American Consumer Credit Counseling. “A lot of consumers have developed an implicit mistrust of organizations that deal with personal finances, and it can be difficult to distinguish the ones that want to nickel-and-dime you from the ones that can really help you.”

There are several important factors you should consider when choosing a credit counseling agency. First, credit counseling agencies must meet a rigorous set of standards. ACCC is ISO 9001 certified through the International Organization for Standardization, which ensures that our organization’s quality management system provides continuous improvement and client satisfaction.

Second, credit counselors must regularly participate in examinations to prove their knowledge about a variety of financial matters. Third, a credit counseling agency should be a member of a national association that sets the standards for credit counseling by creating guidelines that protect consumer’s interests. For example, ACCC has been a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) since 1997.

Finally, agencies are required to waive their fees for individuals who cannot afford them.

“It’s a startling percentage that nearly a quarter of the poll respondents admitted that they didn’t seek help from an agency because they didn’t think they could afford it,” Trumble said. “As a non-profit we work hard to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial stability and have access to critical financial education and resources.”

As part of its commitment to providing affordable counseling, ACCC offers dozens of free financial workshops every month. From April through June, its 164 workshops helped more than 2,000 participants on a variety of financial concerns, including managing debt, saving for the future, and preventing identity theft. Credit counselors are also available to meet one-on-one with workshop participants to address their individual situations.

“There are few subjects more personal and private than household finances,” Trumble said. “But there are credit counselors out there who can be an incredibly helpful resource to help you and your family, so that you can determine a plan that is right for you.”

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

     • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571

     • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924

     • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180

     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x708

     • Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.

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