In the last 30+ years, Take Charge America has aided over one million people in settling over $5 billion of debt through their debt management program. The company has many pros, including years of experience and a money-back guarantee, and they are available in all 50 states. Despite all of these benefits (and many more, as discussed in our review below), there is some question as to how affordable Take Charge America really is, considering the high monthly fees they charge their customers.
About Take Charge America
For around 30 years now, Take Charge America has offered credit counseling, debt management programs, bankruptcy counseling, and debt settlement services for anyone looking to get a hold of their financial situation. Take Charge America is a true debt consolidation company.
They consolidate customer’s unsecured debt into 1 monthly payment and negotiate lower interest rates with their creditors. Take Charge also offers financial education, housing assistance, and student loan aid to guide a customer to become more financially stable in the long run.
For more information about Take Charge America, see below. Make sure you keep reading beyond this as well for our Take Charge America review.
- Address: 20620 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85027-3585
- Web Address: http://www.takechargeamerica.org/
- Date of Founding: 7/31/1987
- Contact Number: (623) 266-6100
- BBB Accredited? Yes, since 1994.
Take Charge America have an A+ rating by the BBB, they have numerous accreditations and one look at TrustPilot will tell you that they also have a lot of very happy customers. These sites can be somewhat manipulated by the companies that run the profiles (sending out review invites only to customers who have had positive experiences, disputing negative reviews, etc.,) but they are still a very good reflection of how the company has faired in the eyes of the public.
In fact, of nearly 700 reviews at the time of writing, there are no 1 or 2 star ones. That's practically unheard of, and is testament to their solid public relations, as well as their services and their support.
As far as their employees are concerned, it's more of a neutral experience, and there are as many bad reviews as there are good ones. But for the most part it seems to have been a positive experience for former members of staff, especially when you rule out the issues that are very common in this industry, such as minimal training and low pay (if not for this, companies like Take Charge America wouldn't be able to offer such an affordable service).
There are around 100 to 150 employees working at Take Charge America and their estimated revenue is between $15 and $20 million.
Take Charge America have been guilty of being a little opaque where their fees are concerned, and we will discuss this in more detail shortly with our Take Charge America review. But you can benefit from all of the following services here:
- Housing Help
- Student Loan Support
- Financial Education
- Help with Credit Card Debt
Take Charge America Review
There are many reasons why you should use Take Charge America, but there are also reasons why you may want to try some of their competitors instead. Take a look at our Take Charge America review below to find out if they are a good fit for your needs.
Take Charge America are a very experienced company; they offer free consultations and they have exceptional counseling services, as explained in more detail below.
Take Charge America has over 30 years of industry experience, as well as AICCA and FCAA accreditation, which provide customers with some much needed peace of mind. They are also a member of the NFCC.
These accreditations are something that many companies cannot say they have, proving they are major competitors within the industry and take the extra steps needed to prove their legitimacy to their customers.
If you look back over their extensive history you will find a host of great reviews, endorsements, testimonials, and more. They claim to have helped debtors pay back over $5 billion in that time, and are rapidly approaching $10 billion with every passing week.
Free Consultations and a Money-Back Guarantee
Take Charge offers free consultations with a certified debt counselor as well as a money back guarantee, both of which provide customers with the safety and security they need when they are applying and when they have already applied. Take Charge does charge a one-time enrollment fee of no more than $25, but this is in accordance with state regulation. Under some circumstances, such as extreme debt, this fee can be partially or entirely waived.
If required, credit counseling services can be utilized by customers completely free of charge. Sometimes this initial free session is all that's required to help the debtor navigate the issues associated with being so deep in the red.
During the counseling session, which lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, consumers will be given an assessment of their financial situation and will be told what the best course of action is. The counselors are accustomed to working with even the most challenging of financial situations, and they provide solutions to meet a range of different needs, as well as providing consumers educational tools and resources to help them stay debt free. This is key, because it's so easy for customers to slip back into the red even after spending years trying to escape it.
For all of the good that the company does, there are also some bad points, including some additional fees and a worrying dispute they had with the IRS.
Unfortunately, Take Charge does not disclose what their upfront fees are. This is always a concern as it makes you question what they have to hide. It's not unusual as such, but it's certainly something that we like to see and something that we are quick to praise when we do see it.
Mysterious Interest Rates
We do not like the fact that Take Charge does not disclose average interest rates on its debt management programs. As with the prices mentioned above, this is an issue that isn't entirely unique, but would be better off if it didn't exist at all.
This makes it impossible to compare Take Charge with other companies to determine which plan would be most affordable to the consumer. This not only makes our job that little bit harder, but it means that the customers has to do more work to find the company that is a good fit for them and their needs.
Take Charge was forced to settle a lawsuit in 2012 with the IRS in a dispute over its “non-profit organization” status. In conclusion, the IRS claimed that Take Charge was abusing this status to further financially benefit the founder’s family. For obvious reason, this is troubling and makes us second guess working with them.
You could argue that profit was at the heart of all these companies, because regardless of their status that always seems to be the case. But many companies do a better job of hiding it than Take Charge do, ensuring that they take very little from their customers and that what they do take always goes back toward helping those customers. When this model is exploited it brings into question the honesty of free consultations, as well as the extent of their pricing.
The Bottom Line
With great accreditations, a money-back guarantee, and over 30 years of experience, Take Charge does have some very positive services. Conversely, their lack of transparency with upfront fees and interest rates, as well as their run in with the IRS are things to consider before working with this company. Moreover, we have seen lower interest rates in competing consolidation companies.
We recommend that you further do your research on Take Charge America to determine if they are the right fit for you. If you decide that they are not the right company for you, then you may want to try some of the companies we have rated highly in the past, including DebtWave, Family Credit Management and New Era Debt Relief.
There are many more reviews on this site as well, covering the hundreds of debt management companies out there. And if you need some help with your debt outside of what these companies can offer, take a look at our guides to paying off debt and getting your student loans forgiven.