It was then introduced into the UK and developed as the model for the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS). In its more modern form of ‘debt advice,’ credit counselling is deeply engrained in the history of StepChange Debt Charity.
History of credit counselling
As credit began to be more widely used, debt charities in different US states joined together in the 1980s to form the National Federation for Credit Counselling. For the first time, people were offered advice and debt management as an alternative to personal bankruptcy.
Credit counselling in the UK
As in America, there were calls for the UK credit industry to offer help to the growing numbers of its customers who were in financial difficulty.
Recognising that the model worked well in the USA, Vic Ware O.B.E and Malcolm Hurlston introduced the Foundation for Credit Counselling (FCC) to the UK in 1993. Thanks to support from the credit industry, the pilot - based in Leeds - was a success and allowed FCC – as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) - to offer impartial debt help, free of charge.
Leading UK debt charity
In 1996, CCCS won the support of the biggest names in UK credit industry so we could expand and develop. We’ve since opened offices all over the UK to provide debt help to anyone in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The original plan to offer mainly face to face debt counselling has been overtaken by other methods and now, through our national telephone helpline (freephone, including all major mobile networks*) and online counselling on the internet, we are able to help people with debt problems in the way which suits them best.
Future of credit counselling
As the landscape of UK credit has changed over the last 20 years we’ve adapted to meet demand.
Through the years we’ve extended our service to offer expert credit counselling to self-employed people, those in need of bankruptcy support, or homeowners with mortgage arrears. And we’re always looking to develop new tools such as our welfare benefits checker and utility switching service to help maximise client income.
Since bringing the credit counselling approach to the UK from America we’ve grown into the leading UK debt charity. From the introduction of debt management plans (DMPs) to the pioneering use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help with debt-related stress, we’ve shown a quality of care that sets the standard for both credit counselling and debt management.