Consolidated Credit has helped clients hammer away millions of dollars worth of debt since 1993. Since opening, it has helped millions of customers with debt issues and is one of the largest credit counseling agencies in the United States. The company boasts highly competitive interest rates, industry accreditations, and a positive reputation with online customer reviews.
Consolidated Credit also offers educational resources to improve its customers' financial literacy, particularly regarding credit cards and debt. Some of these resources include webinars, debt-to-income ratio and credit score calculators, and articles on various financial topics. Consolidated Credit also offers a community outreach program to provide financial education in addition to consolidating debt for its clients.
Consolidated Credit is one of the biggest companies in debt consolidation — the company has been featured in CNN, Forbes, MSNBC, and more. By making one (lower) monthly payment with the company, you can stop worrying about penalties for late payments and reduce your credit card debt by 30-50 percent. However, you should know up front that while Consolidated is a debt consolidation company, it does not lend money as part of its debt consolidation program.
Consolidated Credit is one of the oldest names in the industry, having accumulated over 20 years in business. During that time, it has built a reputation for total professionalism, offering CPFC certified debt counselors and free debt consultations for potential clients.
Unlike debt consolidation companies offering personal loans, Consolidated Credit is a credit counseling agency. The company’s certified credit counselors perform a free evaluation to help determine the best debt relief option for each potential client.
Consolidated Credit Counseling services include a free review of the client’s current financial situation, credit report (credit history and credit score), and budget. This first credit counseling session can provide debt management strategies (e.g. making more than the minimum payments on your credit cards), budget advice, and ideas to improve bad credit and eliminate debt.
If a debt management plan is the best solution, the company will design a repayment plan to fit the unique needs of the client. A debt management program is a great alternative to debt settlement and debt consolidation loans while providing affordable monthly payments.
The customization of Consolidated Credit solutions means that each client’s specific needs will be addressed and clients are helped in meaningful ways.
Many consolidation companies charge an enrollment fee and a monthly fee for their services. Consolidated Credit charges an upfront fee of $0 to $49 — this is a one-time, account set-up fee. Consolidated Credit also charges a monthly fee of $49.
Consolidated Credit bases its monthly fees on what a client can afford. Some clients may qualify to pay no monthly fee.
Debt consolidation is a government-regulated industry. As a result, most companies charge similar prices, though fees vary by state. Consolidated Credit is no different.
The interest rates that Consolidated Credit can negotiate with lenders, including credit card companies, are less regulated. The company works with creditors to help clients achieve the best possible deal.
The company claims to get credit card interest rates down to an average of 0–11 percent APR — one of the lowest rates in the industry. These lower rates equate to a smaller overall payment for credit card debt and less interest.
Each state has its own unique debt consolidation rules. For this reason, not all consolidation companies have their services available nationwide.
Consolidated Credit follows the state laws in every state, and its counseling services are available to people struggling with unsecured debt in every U.S. state. Consolidated Credit works to help people understand the best ways to manage their debt and what their consolidation options are.
In addition to helping clients consolidate credit card debt, Consolidated Credit counselors can help clients with debt from medical bills, payday loans, and more.
The company is ISO certified and is accredited with the FCAA (Financial Counseling Association of America).
Gary Herman, the president of Consolidated Credit, has been working with the company for over 20 years. He has training as a certified credit counselor and is also the vice president of the FCAA, which is an important organization that ensures companies offer the best debt relief.
Consolidated Credit reviews frequently cite the staff's professionalism and overall quality customer service. Many of the reviews commended Consolidated Credit for the ease of contact and polite, helpful staff members who guided clients every step of the way.
Some reviews are from users who used the free consultation but did not end up using Consolidated Credit's debt management plan services, yet felt they were able to walk away more knowledgeable about their best course of action after the consultation with a credit counselor.
As far as we can tell, Consolidated Credit is not certified with the AFCC (American Fair Credit Council) or the IAPDA (International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators). There are several other companies in the debt consolidation industry that do hold one or both of these accreditations, including some of Consolidated's biggest competitors (Freedom Debt Relief, National Debt Relief, Pacific Debt, etc).
Accreditations and memberships can be an important feature to look for when choosing a company to work with. These associations require accredited companies to keep a certain standards of best practices.
This help ensures that customers are receiving quality services. While Consolidated Credit is not certified through AFCC or IAPDA, it is certified by other organizations, such as the ISO and the FCAA.
Though Consolidated Credit provides a robust amount of financial advice, it does not have much information about its actual credit counseling services and debt management plans available on its website.
However, this is likely because its programs are created based on client needs. Each client’s situation is different, so the programs vary accordingly.
Consumers are urged to call or apply online to receive more information. Online information helps customers while they are searching for the company that best fits their financial needs.
Consolidated Credit is not a loan company, so you cannot receive a debt consolidation loan from the company if you determine that debt consolidation is the best route for you. You can meet with a credit counselor from Consolidated Credit, but if you want to participate in a debt consolidation program, you will have to go through another debt relief company.
A debt management program is meant primarily to pay off high-interest rate credit card debt. One of the primary benefits of working with a nonprofit credit counseling agency is that it works with a client’s creditors to reduce or eliminate interest charges applied to the debt. That’s most beneficial with high-interest rate credit card balances. However, it may be possible to include other types of debt, including unsecured personal loans, medical bills, collection accounts, and payday loans.
Consolidated Credit works with all major credit card companies, as well as major retailers, banks, and credit unions. In total, the company has established relationships with over 1,600 creditors. A consumer can include general-purpose credit cards, charge cards, gas cards, reward cards, and store cards in the program. Consumers are not required to enroll all their cards in the program. If a client decides to leave a card out, they can add it later during the program.
No. A debt management program is like a professionally supported repayment plan. The client still owes their original creditors when they enroll. Clients make one payment to Consolidated Credit each month and that payment gets distributed to their creditors every month on schedule.
Credit cards will be paid-in-full as a client completes the program. However, the credit counseling service itself does not pay off the individual’s credit cards for them. As a client makes monthly payments, Consolidated Credit disburses the funds to creditors on an agreed schedule. As a client makes payments to Consolidated Credit, the balances on their credit cards will decrease over time. Individuals can monitor monthly credit card statements and see the balances getting paid off. These payments will also be noted in the payment history of each account on the consumer’s credit report.
Receiving a debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor is always free. Consumers can talk to a qualified professional about their situation and ask questions to understand their options for relief. If someone qualifies for a debt management program, there is a one-time setup fee and a small monthly fee rolled into the program payments. Fees for debt management programs are set based on the total debt, budget, and the state where a client lives. They are capped at $79 nationwide, and the average client pays $49.
Enrolling in a debt management program does not generate any negative items in a consumer’s credit report. It helps avoid the 7-year to 10-year credit report penalty that you see with solutions like debt settlement and bankruptcy. For most people, completing the program has a positive or neutral credit score effect. While a person is enrolled, they generate positive credit history on all the accounts included in the program. Creditors will generally bring delinquent accounts current once the client makes three payments.
When someone enrolls in a debt management program, Consolidated Credit works with each creditor to reduce or eliminate the APR applied to their account balances. On average, rates are reduced to between 0%–11%. This is often much lower than what a client would be able to negotiate with a credit card company if they contacted them individually.
Yes. A debt management program works by paying back everything that someone owes at a reduced interest rate. The principal is paid in full. By contrast, debt settlement only repays a percentage of the principal. Debt settlement also creates negative items in a consumer’s credit report that remain for seven years from the date the remaining balance is discharged. Each account settled will be noted in the consumer’s credit report. A debt management program does not generate any negative items.
The payment structure is also very different. While a consumer may make monthly payments on a debt settlement program, those payments are placed into an escrow account to generate the funds necessary to make settlement offers. Creditors are not paid each month, which can lead to missed payments and even greater damage to the consumer’s credit.
A debt management program is 100 percent voluntary. If a client drops out of the program, all payments made up to that point will still be credited to their accounts. However, creditors may choose to restore the previous interest rate and reapply any penalties that were stopped when the person enrolled.
Yes. A debt management program does not prevent someone from getting loans while they are enrolled in the program and paying off debt. It is possible to get approved for loans like a mortgage or an auto loan while enrolled, so there is no need for life to be put on hold while someone is paying off their debt. A client will not be able to get new credit cards while enrolled.
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