New Options for Toll Free Credit Counseling for Credit Card Statements

Following the NFCC’s decision to charge for previously free toll-free numbers, there are other free options available, but CUs must be aware of the compliance issues if they switch providers.

As many credit unions are aware, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has supplied a toll-free number at no charge to credit unions since early 2010. The NFCC recently announced that it would have to begin charging for providing its toll-free number effective July 1, 2011.

The new charge will be $960 (equivalent to $80 monthly) if paid annually and $100 if paid monthly. Existing toll free numbers will be discontinued July 15, 2011.

Whether a particular credit union decides to sign up for the new NFCC number or decides to use one of the new providers for the toll-free number, it should make that decision early enough to place the new toll-free number on its June statements. Otherwise it would not be in compliance with Reg. Z when the old NFCC number is discontinued in mid-July. Any credit union that decides to continue using the new NFCC number must complete and sign a new agreement with the NFCC by their deadline of July 1, 2011. To contact the NFCC, you can email Rhonda Ashburn, NFCC Director of Partner Relations, at [email protected] or call her at 202.677.4343.

There are a few other options; however, it should be noted that neither the NWCUA nor CUNA makes a guarantee that the providers are compliant with Regulation Z requirements. Credit unions will need to perform their own due diligence. 

GreenPath (a CUNA Strategic Services provider)
GreenPath Debt Solutions, the parent company of Accel Members Financial Counseling, and a CUNA Strategic Services provider, has announced it will provide a toll-free number credit unions may use on their periodic statements at no charge. GreenPath also has plans to roll out a more robust version of the toll-free number that includes reporting and other capabilities within 90 days.

Credit unions interested in using the GreenPath toll-free number should contact the GreenPath Partner Relations Team at 1.866.809.8913 to sign up or send an e-mail to [email protected] for more information about the service. 

Money Management International (MMI)
Thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Whatley and Kathy Leveille and the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League and Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, Money Management International (MMI), one of the largest full-service credit counseling agencies in the U.S. has agreed to offer a toll-free number at no charge to credit unions for use on their credit card periodic statements.

Credit unions interested in using the MMI toll-free number may contact Mel R. Stiller at 877.329.2508 on or after June 13, 2011. 

Peregrin Services
Peregrin Services offers a toll-free number (which can also be a unique number for each creditor) at three different tiers, each with a number of different features ranging from “Text to speech Prompts” to “Professionally Recorded Prompts.” Peregrin charges for their toll-free number, but the monthly charges are considerably less than the NFCC charges. The cost for Peregrin’s toll-free number ranges from $25 monthly for Tier 1 to $95 monthly for Tier 3.

Credit unions interested in using the Peregrin toll-free number may call 1.800.231.2493 and select Option 4, to sign up; or for more information (and to sign up) visit: www.peregrin.com/CardActInfo or send an e-mail to [email protected] .

 

Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465, [email protected].