Credit Counseling Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of choosing Cambridge's credit counseling program over other agencies?
It has never been our policy to criticize another organization. All agencies should be trying to help you, but there are many differences between us and other debt relief services. Some of the differences between us and the other agencies include:
- We provide a full financial assessment of your situation, including a budget analysis and evaluation, to determine the advice needed for your situation. We'll go over all your options together and determine the course of action you can take to improve your financial situation.
- We provide extensive post-counseling opportunities, including counseling sessions, mailings, phone calls, and free education that promotes budgeting, savings and an understanding of credit fundamentals. The support that we provide enables us to continue working with individuals to help ensure that they begin to incorporate the advice that can ultimately help them achieve their financial goals.
- We have a state-of-the-art automated telephone system that provides account information to our clients and creditors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- One of the greatest benefits of working with a credit counseling agency is all of the valuable financial education you'll receive. In addition to the specific information provided to you by our nationally certified counselors, you will also receive a free "Learn Now or Pay Later" workbook. Additionally, we provide a wealth of free financial information on the education page of our website. In addition, each week you'll receive an e-mail linking you to the latest episode of our "Personal Finance 120" video series. Our clients also receive a subscription to our newsletter, the Cambridge Quarterly.
- After you've made your first four payments through our agency, our Benefits Verification and Analysis Department (BVAD) will audit your account to ensure that it is receiving the full benefits normally extended by each specific creditor involved. If it isn't, we'll determine any adjustment that must be made to ensure your success on the program.
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Do you charge fees for your credit counseling and debt management plan services?
At no cost to you, our counselors provide a thorough budget analysis and evaluation to determine the advice needed for your situation. After we complete that full financial assessment and go over all your options, if you decide that a debt management program is right for you, we'll send you a full breakdown going over any fee you'd be charged, if any, and what you would be saving by using a DMP. If you choose to become a client, your fees will be based on the rules and regulations set by your state. And although our initial and monthly fees are capped at $75 and $50 respectively, our average initial fee is just $40.00, and the average monthly fee is only $30.00.
Do your clients have access to their account information online?
You have access to all of your account information through the "Clients" section of our website. Your information is kept on a secure server to ensure your privacy. As a registered client you will be able to:
- View your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- View payment disbursements
- Print out detailed payment reports
- Add and remove creditors
How will Cambridge's debt management program affect my credit rating?
According to FICO, the recognized authority in the credit scoring business, participation in a DMP is not a factor in your credit score; it is considered a neutral mark. Some creditors will report your participation to the credit bureaus after your accounts are closed, and there are still some lenders out there who will view this negatively, even though you're taking control and dealing with your situation.
What types of bills can include on Cambridge's debt management program?
Debt Management programs (DMPs) traditionally assist individuals with the following types of debt:
- Credit cards
- Personal loans (unsecured)
- Personal loans secured by household items, such as furniture, appliances, etc.
- Past-due balances on telephone bills, cellular phone bills, electric bills, etc., as long as the client no longer resides at the same residence and the debt is for an old and inactive account
- Student loans
- Collection accounts
- Lines of credit
- Disconnected utility bills
- Medical bills
- Repossessions (if the items has been resold and an unpaid balance remains)
Is joining a debt management program the same as filing for bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that individuals and corporations use to discharge many types of debt. Not all types of debt can be discharged, and individual states have their own rules. For more information on filing for bankruptcy, we recommend that you seek the advice of a reputable local bankruptcy attorney. They're usually listed separately in the yellow pages. We are a credit counseling service, here to give you advice and education to help you improve your financial situation and avoid bankruptcy, if reasonably possible.
Is Cambridge Credit Counseling a non-profit credit counseling agency?
Cambridge is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized under the general laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What are Cambridge Credit Counseling's credentials?
Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. has gone to great lengths to ensure that individuals receive superior service for all of their credit counseling needs, as well as the education necessary to help them reach their financial goals. Cambridge has been a registered ISO 9001 organization since 2001. Unlike other accreditation services that are recognized only in the United States and Canada, ISO 9001 is recognized and accepted worldwide.
Code of Practice - Cambridge is accredited to the Financial Counseling Association of Americs's (FCAA's) Code of Practice, which consists of rules that strictly govern the actions of credit counseling agencies. If you would like more information about the Code of Practice, please visit our Counselor Certifications page.
National Certification - As counselors reach their six (6) months of hire or transfer into the Credit Counseling department, all must achieve and maintain certification through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization in the United States. As a condition of their employment, they must complete approved continuing education courses every two years to maintain their certification certificates.
If you would like more detailed information about our program, please contact our office at 1-800-235-1407 to speak to a counselor. One of these professionals will contact you shortly and address any questions you may have.
Will my credit card and other accounts be closed if I join your debt management program?
The accounts we handle will be closed while you're on our program. Once you've paid off the accounts in full, you would need to re-apply with the banks. They will evaluate your credit history at that time, and this will determine if they are willing to extend you credit.
Why choose Cambridge Credit Counseling?
Cambridge has been providing consumer credit counseling and financial education services nationwide since our inception in 1996. Our nationally certified counselors are among the most respected in the profession, averaging more than 12 years’ experience in helping people get out of debt. Cambridge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and we’re proud to be the top-rated credit counseling agency by ConsumerAffairs.com. Cambridge is also a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, and we provide both bankruptcy and reverse mortgage counseling services. For a complete listing of license information, please visit our credit counseling disclosures page.