StepChange Debt Charity logo

Free advice on problem debt
based on what's best for you

Request a call back »
Or call us on 0800 138 1111Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm

Consumer Credit Counselling Service

The idea of ‘consumer credit counselling services’ originated in the United States of America (USA) to help people deal with the emerging problem of credit card debt.

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 free national telephone helpline 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.

Our history

left right
1993 - CCCS created

Foundation for Credit Counselling set up by Vic Ware O.B.E and Malcolm Hurlston. This quickly becomes the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).

1993 - Leeds office opens

Our dedicated debt advice centre in Leeds opens. It has since taken 13 million calls, helping 1.5 million clients address 28bn worth of debt.

1993 - DMP introduced

We pioneer the debt management plan (DMP), which has since helped thousands of people repay their debts.

1996 - Credit industry support

With almost all of the biggest names in the UK credit industry having pledged their support to the charity, the pace of the development increases, allowing us to expand our debt counselling services

1997 - Glasgow office opens

Our office on Mitchell Street in Glasgow opens, giving us a regional base to provide debt advice in Scotland for people who are struggling with their debts.

2001 - Limavady office opens

Our office in Limavady opens, allowing us to provide specifically tailored debt advice in Northern Ireland.

2001 - Data warehouse

Our data warehouse is created, allowing us to provide government and policymakers with key insights into the lives of financially distressed families and individuals.

2006 - Debt Remedy launched

We introduce Debt Remedy - the first online tool to provide free, anonymous debt advice.

2007 - CCCSVA launched

We introduce CCCS Voluntary Arrangements - the only not-for-profit organisation to offer individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) on a charitable basis.

2009 - Housing helpline opens

Our office in Cardiff starts to operate the Housing Debt Helpline Wales - a dedicated service providing debt advice in Wales for people who are struggling to meet their mortgage or rent payments.

2010 - Launch of CCCSER

We introduce CCCSER - an equity release company to enable homeowners over the age of 55 to use equity from their home to repay their debts.

2010 - Wellbeing service

We introduce Wellbeing – an online tool providing support for Debt Remedy clients who have shown signs of depression or anxiety.

2012 - CCCS renamed

We change our name from CCCS to StepChange Debt Charity, as part of our plan to help more people, and become even more visible and vocal.

 

.

Need debt help now?

FREE online debt advice   20 mins

  • Completely anonymous
  • Tailored debt solutions
Use Debt Remedy
 

Our new name

StepChange Debt Charity is the new name for UK's leading debt advice organisation.

Previously known as Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) we have over 20 years' experience of helping people become debt free.

Our new name is part of our plan to be more visible and vocal and to help even more people.

Read more

Man writing at a desk

Join our team

Want to work for the UK's leading debt advice charity?

See our current vacancies

Helping you become debt free...

"What an amazing service. It is not always easy to call for help on the phone and the advice given to me was very private and very helpful."

StepChange Debt Charity logo