CCCS - The Facts on Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: June 11, 2017
Some of the information posted on our site was disputed by CCCS. We invited them to have their say, and they responded. You can read the original letter here which contains some good information. If you DO want to go with any consumer credit counseling service, make sure they belong to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Their website is NFCC.org.
What is Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Consumer Credit Counseling Service, or more commonly known as CCCS, is a private, non-profit community service that provides money management counseling to individuals and families, assisting them in arranging mutually acceptable debt repayment plans for their creditors. Started in 1991, they have been improving lives and providing solutions to people in need of financial help. If you speak with a certified credit counselor, you will receive a complimentary budget and debt consultation.
How CCCS Can Help You
Problems with debts can occur at anytime to anyone regardless of income, background, or job classifications. Interruptions in income, health related problems, or unexpected expenses can be a few of the problems that may jeopardize your financial security. The one thing our clients have in common is the desire to regain control over their finances and build a secure future.
CCCS helps people with financial problems work out a plan for paying their debts and offers educational programs that will improve their money management skills. CCCS can establish and administer a repayment plan called a Debt Management Program (DMP). The DMP serves the dual role of helping consumers repay their debts and helping creditors receive the money owed to them. On the DMP, many national creditors will waive or reduce interest rates. A CCCS counselor creates a DMP by enlisting the cooperation of the creditors so the client is able to maintain an affordable schedule of payments to repay creditors and avoid collections, judgments, and bankruptcy. Once creditors are repaid, CCCS will work with clients to help them reestablish credit.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service differs from many other credit counseling services because of a commitment to education and strict standards of quality. The professional counseling staff at CCCS are trained and certified under the stringent guidelines of the National Foundation for Consumer Credit.
How Consumer Credit Counseling Works
During your first appointment, the counselor will analyze your income, expenses, and overall financial situation, discuss possible solutions, and make recommendations. Additionally, the counselor will determine if you qualify for a Debt Management Program and/or if an education workshop would meet your needs. Not all clients qualify for a Debt Management Program. To qualify, clients must have sufficient funds remaining (after paying monthly living expenses) to pay creditors in full within 48 months, unless otherwise stated.
The Debt Management Program involves the negotiation of CCCS with the client's creditors for special payment arrangements. The client pays CCCS a lump sum each month that is disbursed to the creditors. Clients pay a one time, setup fee and a monthly fee not to exceed $10 to offset operating expenses. Clients unable to pay the fee are never denied the services of CCCS. Most of the agency's funding comes from voluntary contributions from creditors who participate in the DMP. Since creditors have a financial interest in getting paid, most are willing to make a contribution to help fund the agency. These contributions are usually calculated as a percentage of payments made through the Debt Management Plan, up to 15 percent of each payment received. However, creditor accounts will always be credited with 100 percent of the amount paid through the agency and they will work with creditors regardless of whether they contribute to CCCS.
In addition to the Debt Management Program, CCCS also offers money management assistance to help implement self-administered debt repayment programs, provides help agency referrals, and presents a wide range of financial education programs. Education programs are free of charge.
The CCCS staff works as a professional team to give the consumer the knowledge necessary to resolve their financial difficulties.
Client Bill of Rights
Part of the services provided by CCCS is the client bill of rights. Clients have the right,
- to prompt counseling services for managing money based on their financial situation.
- to be treated with dignity and respect.
- to be actively included in a comprehensive assessment of their financial situation including an appropriate action plan.
- to express dissatisfaction through a complaint resolution process (form is available upon request).
- to discontinue their relationship with the agency at any time.
- to ask questions and to have concerns addressed.
CCCS services all members of the community and they do not discriminate in the selection and participation of clients in their programs or services with respect to race, religion, color, gender, national origin, or handicap.