Advantage Credit Counseling Services is a non-profit counseling company that has the goal of getting as many Americans out of debt as possible. Founded in 1968, Advantage CCS has over 50 years of experience in credit counseling and debt management, and they are actually one of the most experienced companies in this sector. Along with debt management and credit counseling they offer services like bankruptcy counseling, bankruptcy classes, home ownership counseling (for both pre-purchase and foreclosure) and more. If you have an issue with debt or feel like you're rapidly approaching such an issue, then Advantage Credit Counseling Services may be able to help.
About Advantage Credit Counseling Services
Advantage Credit Counseling Services has been in the financial sector for over 4 decades now. They are a non-profit organization aimed to help people consolidate their debt into one monthly payment and decrease their monthly interest rate. During the process, Advantage CCS will provide certified counselors to analyze a customer’s financial situation to offer the best fitting solutions to their financial problems.
On top of debt consolidation, Advantage CCS provides assistance in bankruptcy, credit counseling, housing counseling, credit report review, and an electronic budget advisor. They also provide free tools like a calculator for credit card debt, mortgage and car loans, emergency savings, college, and retirement.
- Address: 2403 Sidney St Ste 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15203-2181
- Web Address: http://www.advantageccs.org/
- Date of Founding: 7/31/1968
- Contact Number: (412) 390-1300
- BBB Accredited? Yes, since 1990.
Advantage Credit Counseling hire around 50 employees and turnover more than $1 million a year. It's a lot of money and a decent sized payroll, but it's actually on the small side where this industry is concerned, with the likes of Money Management turning over more than $500 billion and hiring over 1,000 staff members.
There are two acting presidents and CEOs, and if you have an issue and want to go straight to the top, these are the guys you need to contact:
- Ms. Mary Loftus
- Mr. Gary Vollmer
The Services and Costs
Advantage Credit Counseling offer counseling, debt management plans, and bankruptcy assistance. They do not loan money like Best Egg, and they will not file bankruptcy for you, but rather they will counsel you in doing these things.
For their debt management plan they charge a one-time fee of $50 for the consultation and a monthly fee of between $5 and $50 thereafter. The monthly fee will depend on the number of creditors that you have.
We tend to ignore user review sites because they are not as impartial as you might think. Some of them (we're not naming names, but it's fair to say that they are not small) give businesses complete control, allowing them to court good reviews and basically delete or ignore bad ones. And then you have the fact that it's always easy for someone to fake reviews.
However, it is a different story with Facebook reviews. You tend to get much more honesty, much more transparency, and fare less fakery. And if you look at the Facebook reviews for Advantage Credit Counseling you will see a majority of 3, 4 and 5 star reviews. There are some bad ones as well, as to be expected, but they have a very strong overall rating.
To see what our own reviewers had to say about Advantage Credit Counseling, keep reading.
Our Advantage Credit Counseling Review
There are many great debt consolidation companies out there and we have reviewed most of them. The question is, are Advantage Credit Counseling Services one of them? Keep reading to find out with our Advantage Credit Counseling Services review.
- Reduced interest rates
- Eliminate late fees and overdraft fees
- Reduce harassing calls from creditors
Reduced Interest Rates
Advantage CCS has over 5 decades of experience managing debt and offering counseling services to those in need. Advantage CCS offers what is called a debt management program, a service aimed at those severely in debt. They work with creditors to lower monthly payments, interest rates, and repayment time, with the debtor simply needing to keep their head above water and remain patient.
Customers who decide to go with Advantage CCS can see interest rates drop to 15% and even 0% for those who enroll in the debt management program and see it through to the end.
Counselors are available for clients who require credit counseling. These experts will offer advice on all aspects of credit and debt, helping them to better manage their debts and to eventually escape the clutches of it entirely. Each session is tailor suited to meet each individual's unique situation, and there is no ineffective cookie-cutter approach here. This is important as every situation is different.
With sessions lasting around an hour, clients are encouraged to be completely upfront throughout so that the expert can better deal with their situation. We admire Advantage CCS for offering such a personalized approach, as it really gets the job done.
When each counseling session is over, clients are given the option to enroll in their debt management program, or to take them up on their offer of house counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and more. There is no commitment to do this though and there is also no pressure selling (from what we have heard), which has been reported with some other companies in this sector.
Advantage Credit Counseling Services excel when it comes to helpful educational resources, and these can be used by people in debt, as well as those who have escaped debt and want to make sure they never relapse. Clients have the opportunity to become financially literate, and this is a chance that we recommend everyone take.
They also offer blog posts on various topics, including finances and the holidays, which is always an important topic for consumers. What's more, Advantage CCS offers a plethora of tools like financial calculators, online budgeting advisors, newsletters, an electronic library, and video guides to help guide consumers to financial stability.
- A solid money-back guarantee
- A lack of important accreditations
There are a lot of things that we like about Advantage CCS, but there are a few downsides as well and one of the biggest issues we have is the fact they do not have any information about a money-back guarantee. Such a guarantee can give customers peace of mind and is an extra incentive to signup. It's always nice to know that if everything goes wrong, you have a crisis of conscience or you simply find a better service after it's too late, you can get your money back.
There is no clarity on such a guarantee here, and we can only assume that it means they do not have one. If they do and we're wrong, then they need to be more open about it.
Lack of Accreditation
Another concern we have with Advantage Credit Counseling Services is their lack of FCAA accreditation. This accreditation guarantees a minimal level of quality for the services offered.
Customers are not contractually bound and may cancel at any point in the process. If in fact, the customer opts out of the plan, by law, debt consolidation companies must notify the creditor, which will more than likely restore interest rates to the previous rate.
It's not necessarily a make-or-break issue, or rather it shouldn't be one, but it's definitely a cause for concern and Advantage Credit Counseling Services would get a bigger rating from us if they fixed this one small issue.
The Bottom Line
Advantage CCS provides free credit counseling with a range of program options to aid anybody who finds that they are struggling financially. Although their lack of accreditations concerns us, they offer consolidation services that are worth looking into. We recommend taking advantage of their free consultation as well as their credit counseling services to figure out if Advantage CCS is right for you.
Advantage Credit Counseling don't quite get full marks from us (checkout New Era Debt Relief, Freedom Debt Relief and Consolidated Credit to see companies that do) but they come very close and we definitely recommend them.