GreenPath Financial Wellness Review 2022

One of the biggest credit counseling agencies, GreenPath offers services that include plans to handle credit card debt.

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GreenPath Financial Wellness is one of the country’s largest credit counseling agencies, with branches in several states and services available nationally over the phone and online.

The agency may be a good fit if you:

  • Are looking for a debt management plan you can access online.

  • Value a long-standing organization; GreenPath has been around for 60 years.

  • Need help now. GreenPath operates in all 50 states and offers in-person help at offices in 21 states. (In-person services are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19).

GreenPath’s services and fees

Like most nonprofit credit counseling agencies, GreenPath provides common services that vary in price and availability. These services include:

General budgeting and advice: You and a counselor comb through your finances and set personalized goals in a free initial session.

Debt management plan, or DMP: A counselor creates a plan to consolidate your consumer debts and lower the interest rate, setting up one monthly payment to erase the debt over three to five years.

Bankruptcy counseling: GreenPath offers pre-file bankruptcy counseling over the phone; this is the first of two court-mandated counseling sessions. GreenPath does not currently offer pre-discharge bankruptcy counseling.

Student loans: A counselor outlines your repayment options and develops a customized plan. If you opt for the enhanced tier of support, GreenPath may assist you with documentation and contact the loan issuer on your behalf, for an additional fee.

Housing counseling: GreenPath offers help for prospective home buyers, people struggling to afford their mortgage or rent, and homeowners considering reverse mortgages.

Counseling services available at GreenPath:

GreenPath Service

Fee

General budgeting and advice

Free.

Debt management plan

Average startup fee: $35. Average monthly fee: $29. Fees vary based on your state of residence and specific debt amount, with a maximum startup fee of $50 and a monthly fee of up to $75.

Bankruptcy counseling

Pre-filing: $50.

You may qualify for a lower fee based on your income.

Student loans

Free for Tier 1 or $200 for enhanced Tier 2 support.

Housing counseling

$0 to $199, depending on the service.

How GreenPath compares

Most credit counseling agencies offer the same basic services. How they differ generally comes down to where they operate, how they’re accredited and what they charge. Here’s how GreenPath stacks up:

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

Online support: GreenPath offers an online client portal, a quick financial health assessment and other educational resources and tools on its website.

Completion rate of debt management plans: GreenPath says that about 50% of its DMP clients complete the program after enrolling.

Availability: Service is available in all 50 states.

GreenPath’s debt management plan

A debt management plan is a debt relief option that helps people get a handle on consumer debt, primarily credit card bills. Debts are rolled into a single monthly payment with a reduced interest rate. Interest rate cuts are standardized across credit counseling agencies based on your creditors' guidelines and your budget.

In return, you agree to a payment plan that fits your budget, usually for three to five years. You likely won’t be able to use credit cards or open new lines of credit for the duration of the DMP. There’s little room for missed payments once you’re enrolled in a plan; if you miss a payment, your creditors may drop accounts from the program, ending the lowered interest rate and leaving you to deal with debt on your own.

A debt management plan can save you time and money over paying off the debt on your own. Here’s an example based on the average GreenPath client with credit card debt:

Debt management plan

DIY debt paydown

$16,885 debt.

$16,885 debt.

8% interest rate.

21% interest rate.

$511 monthly ($482 to debt, $29 to program fee).

$511 monthly.

41 months.

50 months.

Interest: $2,409; Fees: $1224.*

Interest: $8,546.

*Figured at the average monthly fee of $29. Includes startup fee of $35.

Note: In a debt management plan, individual creditors offer the same adjusted APR for all credit counseling agencies. The difference in average APR among credit counseling agencies is a reflection of their clients’ creditors and does not indicate one agency will offer lower adjusted APRs than another.

When to consider a DMP:

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

  • If your consumer debt is between 15% and 50% 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.