CCCS stands for Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Every counseling office in the CCCS network offers a common set of services, including financial education, budgeting assistance, and Debt Management Plans.
Consumer Credit Counseling Services
Being a CCCS means the agency is a member of the NFCC. That carries extra guarantees of quality like accreditation by the COA, counselor certification, and negotiated concessions from creditors.
All CCCS agencies are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and most will offer other guarantees of nonprofit credibility, like membership in the Better Business Bureau. Credit.org has maintained an A rating with the BBB since 1983.
Some agencies, like credit.org, offer HUD-approved housing counseling services, though all CCCS agencies may not offer the same level of housing counseling.
History of Consumer Credit Counseling Services
The NFCC was founded as the National Foundation for Consumer Credit in 1951. Credit cards were still a very new financial product then, and the NFCC was founded to promote awareness of credit and financial literacy.
Very soon, credit counseling emerged as part of the NFCC’s nonprofit service. Individual CCCS offices sprang up around the country, including credit.org, which began in 1974 as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Inland Empire.
These CCCS offices were a kind of franchise. Independently operated, their common membership in the NFCC gave them access to counselor certification, educational materials, public relations support, a point of centralized negotiation with the creditors, and more.
Credit counseling became so central to the NFCC that they changed their name from the National Foundation for Consumer Credit to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
In 1993, the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) was founded. FCAA offered an alternative to the NFCC, and brought a focus on new technologies that allowed counseling by phone and eventually the internet, allowing credit counseling agencies to reach a wider geographical area.
Some CCCS agencies, like credit.org, belong to both the NFCC and FCAA. In order to allow nationwide credit counseling without confusion, we needed a new identity. The agency changed its name to credit.org, but as an NFCC member, we are still CCCS of the Inland Empire.
Credit Counseling Sessions
Consumers who call a CCCS are given access to a confidential, non-judgmental consultation with a certified counselor. This counseling session takes 45 to 90 minutes, and involves a comprehensive review of one’s debt and personal finances. The counselor offers expert advice along with a workable budget based on the client’s unique financial situation. By tailoring our advice to the client’s circumstances, we can offer a realistic plan for paying down debt, increasing savings, and improving the client’s financial situation.
Because the counseling session is free of charge and carries no obligation, we urge any consumer with financial concerns or mounting debt to take advantage of this nonprofit community service.
Debt Management Plans
Any CCCS agency can offer a Debt Management Plan (DMP) that consolidates the consumer’s unsecured credit and debt payments into one new convenient monthly payment. This may offer many advantages:
- A single payment to all of your creditors
- Total monthly payment amount may be reduced
- Interest rates may be lowered
- DMP designed to pay off debt in 3-5 years
- Budgeting advice and support for every client
Considering a typical credit card is designed to take 20-30 years to pay off at the minimum monthly payment, a DMP from a CCCS agency eliminates debts much faster than traditional methods.
Even without a DMP, credit counseling clients benefit from a free, confidential session that provides them with a workable budget and expert advice on managing personal finances and reducing debt over time.