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LAST UPDATED: July 18th, 2022

Since 1998, Consumer Education Services Inc. (CESI) has helped nearly 320,000 people consolidate their debt. The company is a non-profit organization that provides personal financial education and solutions. CESI states that its mission statement is to enhance economic security for each customer. CESI is ISO certified and accredited by the FCAA.

The company promises a 100% satisfaction and money back guarantees on their services, but many negative reviews center around poor customer service. The company also does not offer any information on what kind of interest rates they can negotiate with creditors.

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The Good

  • Debt Relief Calculator
  • Unsecured Debt Types
  • Accreditations
  • Guaranteed Services
  • CESI Interest Rates

Debt Relief Calculator

CESI has an amazing debt relief calculator on their website for people to see how consolidation can help them. The calculator asks users to answer questions about how much debt they currently hold, what kind of income you take home, and what kind of objectives are most important to you.

Then the calculator will make recommendations for debt settlement, debt management, or bankruptcy based on your answers. It is then that the company makes its pitch for its services.

Unsecured Debt Types

Not only does CESI work with credit card debt, but they also help consolidate student loan debt, medical debt, and some other unsecured debts. To see if your unsecured debt qualifies, you will need to speak with one of their credit counselors during a free consultation.


One thing that we do appreciate about CESI is that they are accredited by both the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) as of 2017. As a member of NFCC, CESI will have finalized a required COA accreditation in 2018.

Additionally, the company has certified financial counselors on staff to help consumers make the best possible decision. Accreditations are maintained by keeping a specific set of standards that guarantee quality service. Potential customers should look for companies which carry industry accreditations.

Guaranteed Services

CESI offers free consultations to potential customers that might be on the fence about signing up for the company's services. Additionally, if you sign up for the program and are not satisfied with the service, the company offers a 100% money back guarantee.

Additionally, CESI provides a wide variety of credit counseling and education services to help customers become debt free, including: 

  • Housing counseling
  • Bankruptcy Counseling
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Credit Counseling
  • Financial Education
  • Reverse Mortgage Counseling
  • Student Loan Solutions 

CESI employs certified credit counselors to help customers become debt free. The company has helped 83,000 customers graduate from its debt management program and pay off their debt in full. 

CESI Interest Rates

Because CESI is not a loan company, it does not charge any interest. Its job is to work with the companies you owe money in order to lower your interest rates to a manageable point. Consumer Education Services Inc.'s job is to lower customer interest rates on unsecured debt by 9 to 12 percent through its Debt Management Program.


The Bad

  • IRS Lawsuit
  • Excludes Tennessee
  • Cost and Interest Rate

IRS Lawsuit

The company's former issues with the IRS is also concerning. In 2004, the IRS took CESI to court because it was thought to be a for-profit company masquerading as a nonprofit (this has since been clarified).

CESI was partnered with a for-profit company called Amerix, which provided marketing services and back-office processing for many credit counseling agencies in the industry. CESI ended up cutting ties with Amerix in 2011 as a result of the IRS audit and no longer has anything to do with the company.

CESI contested the IRS findings and an agreement was reached with the IRS maintaining CESI's full non-profit status. The company's audited financial statements from 2013 noted that the IRS did not revoke CESI's tax exempt status and that CESI will continue to file form 990 annually with the IRS. 

Excludes Tennessee

Though the company does cover 49 of the 50 states in the U.S., it does not provide its services to those living in Tennessee. Residents of Tennessee seeking debt relief will have to look elsewhere.

Cost and Interest Rate

So, how much does CESI cost to use? CESI has an upfront fee of $37, a monthly fee ranging from $25 to $75, and can reduce your interest rate down to between 9 and 12 percent.

CESI's upfront fee is low for the industry, while the interest rates after reduction and monthly fees have the potential of being higher than other companies. The cost to savings ratio for this company is actually pretty good compared to many debt consolidation companies. 


The Bottom Line

Consumer Education Services Inc. (CESI) promises customers some really excellent features such as low upfront fees, a free consultation, and a 100% money back guarantee. Additionally, CESI provides customers with expert services from certified counselors, ensuring quality financial advice and top-notch financial education services.

While the company's website promises great features, their customer care representatives do not fulfill these promises according to customer reviews. On top of that, CESI is missing key information to help us judge them against other companies. At this time, we recommend working with a more transparent, customer-oriented debt consolidation company.

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8 Reviews

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Paula Oppedisano Mechanicsburg, PA

CESI is a non profit consumer financial education and debt consolidation program. It is free. They analyze your credit report issues and determine a plan of action. Lowers your monthly payments and interest rate to pay the cards off.

5 years ago


Reply from CESI

We appreciate your review Paula - and are so pleased that you have found our services helpful!

Aug. 15th, 2018

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Brian Knightdale, NC

CESI's community education is fantastic. They've done free financial ed classes in shelters downtown, community organizations, and even with immigrants trying to get established in America. This is in addition to the financial education happening with clients.

6 years ago


Reply from CESI

We love to hear that our financial education makes a difference!

Feb. 20th, 2019

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7 years ago

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Maggie Hawkins Port Hueneme, CA

Where to begin with how bad this experience has been…. Some months their autopay fails and you don’t get charged, leading to late payments on the accounts. Sometimes they double charge you, and don’t care that you are missing $600 you need for other bills and food. Their “customer service” basically is only there to take payments, nothing else. Any other issues (like the ones listed above) have to be escalated to a supervisor. And wouldn’t you know, they’re never available! The staff say the supervisors will call you back but they neeeever do. Can’t warn against this company enough. RUN RUN RUN!

1 year ago

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Coletta Hughes Arcata, CA

So far my experience with Cesi has been a total lack of communication on their part. They gave me one figure that I agree to the contract based on and then changed almost everything about it because the creditors would not agree. They then notified me only 6 hours before they withdrew money from my account and have only paid partial payments to at least 3 of my accounts. I've been monitoring my accounts and notice that none of the payments have posted to any of my accounts either. I'm now late on all my accounts and never have been before :( I wish I wouldn't have went with Cesi... Chose another company these people seem pretty mixed up.

8 years ago

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Terrence Gray Woodbridge, VA

Signed up with CESI almost a year ago with two department credit cards that would have lasted until 2021. I’m going to be done Jan 2019

5 years ago


Reply from CESI

We are so glad to hear that you've made such amazing progress with eliminating Debt. What a way to start the New Year!

Nov. 8th, 2018

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Michael Knightsby Salida, CA

Miraculous, wonderful help-thank you everyone that helped us!

4 years ago


Reply from CESI

It is our great pleasure to work with you Michael. We're so glad it has been helpful!

Jan. 29th, 2020

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Bridgette Ebbeling Sturbridge, MA

Customer service is horrible. Company took out money more than a week before they were supposed to. I will be cancelling my account.

7 years ago