CCCS - What Does It Stand For And Just Who Are They?

In short, a CCCS or "Consumer Credit Counseling Service" is a name given to most, but not all, of the non-profit credit counseling agencies that are members of the NFCC (National Foundation Of Credit Counselors).

All together there are over 850 locations across the United States to serve consumers in need of financial counseling and debt help.

How Can These Agencies Help You Get Out Of Debt?

Not only can working with a CCCS help you become debt free, they can provide the education and money management skills you need to stay debt free. More specifically their services can include:

  • a thorough financial analysis of your current situation
  • creation of a budget that will help you meet your current needs and pay down your debts
  • credit and money education
  • debt counseling
  • credit counseling
  • if your counselor thinks it is appropriate they will recommend a Debt Management Plan or DMP (yes, I know, lots of acronyms)
  • if necessary they can provide bankruptcy education and counseling
  • and education regarding purchasing a home

Answers To Some Common Questions About CCCS

The agencies are funded from a number of sources, including your creditors, and you. And depending on the outside financial support an agency receives, state laws dictate that they must offer their services at a low cost to you. If your financial situation warrants it, the service is often provided to you for free.

A warning. There are some bad apples out there, and not all nonprofit credit counselors are above board. Some unscrupulous agencies promote their services as free, and ask that clients make "voluntary" contributions. In some cases high pressure tactics are used to get consumers within the program to contribute excessive amounts. In addition, some non-profit credit agencies have been caught diverting payments from debt management plans into their own coffers, unbeknownst to the consumer until well after the fact.

What Is Involved In A Debt Management Plan Offered By These Companies?

You will be offered help by way of a debt management plan (DMP) if the credit counseling company feels it is something you can benefit from. In short, a debt management plan (or debt consolidation plan) aims to get you out of debt and get your creditors repaid in full within 5 years.

The CCCS negotiates reduced interest rates, (and sometimes reduced payment amounts), with your creditors in order to come up with a workable payment plan that will have you out of debt in about 60 months. Keep in mind that debt management plans are not typically free, and involve an upfront fee and an ongoing maintenance fee. Make sure you shop around for the service that offers the best program, at the best price.