CESI: Consumer Education Services Inc. Review 2024

CESI offers limited credit counseling services, including financial education and housing counseling.
Tommy Tindall
Amrita Jayakumar
By Amrita Jayakumar and  Tommy Tindall 
Updated
Edited by Courtney Neidel

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

MORE LIKE THISPersonal Finance

CESI logo
Consumer Education Services Inc. offers a limited menu of credit counseling services by phone or online. It focuses on budgeting help and housing counseling, but no longer offers debt management plans for consumers looking to pay off credit card debt faster.

CESI is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, and offers services in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

CESI’s services and fees

CESI provides services available at most credit counseling agencies. Agencies differ based on fees and accessibility. However, CESI no longer offers debt management plans.

CESI’s services include:

General budgeting and advice. Financial education workshops and classes are offered via community organizations and partners; CESI also offers free online educational resources.

Bankruptcy counseling. CESI offers the two court-mandated sessions for those seeking bankruptcy, one before you file and one before your debts are discharged.

Housing counseling. CESI offers help for home buyers, homeowners considering a reverse mortgage and people struggling with mortgage or rent payments.

Service

Fee

General budgeting and advice

  • Free.

Debt management plan

Discontinued.

Bankruptcy counseling

  • Pre-file: $24.99 online, $34.99 by phone.

  • Pre-discharge: $21.99 online, $34.99 by phone.

Housing counseling

  • Free to $25, depending on the service.

How CESI compares

In general, credit counseling agencies offer similar services, although as noted above CESI has discontinued its debt management plans. The difference lies in where and how they offer those services. Here's how CESI stacks up:

Accreditation: CESI is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and accredited through the Council on Accreditation, an outside body that ensures standards of practice among counselors and oversight of the agency.

Online support: Counseling services and educational resources are available on the website.

Availability: The agency operates in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Track your budget, finances and credit
Make smarter financial decisions with the free NerdWallet app
NerdWallet News Ad

If you're struggling with debt

If debt is a problem, you might want to consider contacting another nonprofit credit counseling agency for a DMP. In a debt management plan, you enroll several debts and commit to one monthly payment; in return, creditors reduce your interest rate. The payment plan usually runs three to five years.

WHEN TO CONSIDER A DMP:

  • If you're struggling to make monthly payments on debt.

  • If your consumer debt is 15% to 40% of your annual income.

  • If you don’t qualify for a debt consolidation loan.

Before signing on to a DMP, know that other debt relief options might be better for your financial situation.

AD
Capitalize
Find and move all your old 401(k)s — for free.
401(k)s left behind often get lost, forgotten, or depleted by high fees. Capitalize will move them into one IRA you control.
start consolidating

on Capitalize's website