Ask the Expert
If you’ve come to Accel seeking assistance to achieve your financial goals, you’ve come to the right place.
Accel’s financial counselors are available to answer your money management questions through this moderated question-and-answer forum. Whether you are interested in exploring issues related to budgeting, credit card debt, housing, debt management, or credit reports, Accel can help.
Submitting your question sends it directly to an Accel counselor. In response, you will receive an answer by e-mail.
Go ahead and “ask the expert.” We’re happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a counseling session take?
Plan on spending 60 to 90 minutes meeting with a counselor. Please make sure you have your most recent pay stubs and current creditor statements available. See Appointment Checklist
What’s the difference between debt settlement and debt management?
Debt settlement firms attempt to negotiate a settlement amount with your creditors to reduce the total amount needed to pay the debt in full. In order to do this, the settlement company needs to collect money from a consumer to pay the negotiated amount in full. Unfortunately, as this fund is being created, payments stop to those creditors, which will have a significant negative impact on the credit report and credit score.
Debt management is a program that involves negotiating reduced interest rates with creditors to enable full repayment of debts. A reputable credit counseling agency, such as Accel, will first conduct a thorough assessment of your current financial situation and then indicate viable options to improve the situation. In the event the counselor recommends a debt management plan as a solution, the program is entirely free to members of Accel credit unions.
Can I keep some of my credit card accounts open during a debt management program?
If you need to keep one card for emergency or business purposes, you and your counselor can discuss the situation and evaluate your options.
How will a debt management program affect my credit report?
The impact on your credit report may be positive or negative, depending on your situation and the specific creditors involved. We do not report any information to the credit bureaus. Only your creditors report information, and there is a wide variance in the way they do so. We recommend that you take a long-term approach. Focus on resolving your financial situation and your credit report will improve over time.
What are the fees for your service?
As a member of a credit union that has partnered with Accel, financial counseling is provided free.