Personal Loans

GreenPath Financial Wellness: Is It Right for You?

GreenPath Financial Wellness was known as GreenPath Debt Solutions until 2016. It is a certified and national nonprofit company with services available online, by phone and at locations across 22 states. Its services include credit counseling, debt management and online financial courses and webinars.

Click below to learn about its services, who they’re best for and more:

GreenPath Financial Wellness services

GreenPath credit counseling is free and offered by counselors certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). But some of its other services come with a monthly cost or one-time fee.

GreenPath is most helpful to those who:

  • Want to better understand their finances
  • Are struggling with debt
  • Are in the bankruptcy process and required to undergo counseling and an education course

However, certain services, such as the $200 “enhanced support” student loan counseling, aren’t worth the cost when you could easily do the legwork yourself. Below is a closer look at GreenPath’s credit counseling and other services.

GreenPath Financial Wellness services
Service What it is Fee
Debt counseling
  • Speak with a credit counselor to learn how to manage your debt and finances.
  • Free
Debt management
  • 3-5 year program intended to repay your debt by consolidating payments, reducing rates and getting certain fees waived.
  • Varies by states and debt amount
  • $0-$50 one-time setup fee; $0-$75 monthly charge
Credit report review
  • Review your credit report with a financial counselor; learn how to read your credit report; and make a plan to improve your score.
  • Free; or about $5 if you wish to see your credit score
Simple payment plan
  • Online service that automates your monthly payments.
  • Your first 12 months are free; $19.95 monthly charge thereafter
Student loan counseling
  • Review your student loan debt and explore repayment options, create a plan to get out of debt and get delinquent accounts current.
  • $50 for basic counseling
  • $200 for “enhanced support”
Homebuyer counseling
  • Learn the homebuying process, how to get a reverse mortgage or get mortgage delinquency or rental help.
  • $150 for pre-purchase counseling
Bankruptcy support
  • Learn if bankruptcy is right for you
  • Get counseling and take bankruptcy education courses required for bankruptcy.
  • $25 online, $35 by phone for bankruptcy counseling
  • $15 online, $25 by phone for bankruptcy education course
  • Pricing may be lower based on your income

Debt counseling

Debt counseling, also known as credit counseling, is a free service intended to help you better understand your financial situation, explore your debt relief options and create a plan of action for your money.

GreenPath’s credit counseling services are offered by phone or in person. Phone sessions don’t require an appointment and take about an hour or less. If you choose to pursue debt counseling, Greenpoint recommends knowing beforehand how much money you spend each month on living expenses and your household take-home pay.

Although the service is free, be mindful that any additional services recommended to you may come at a cost.

Pros

  • Free service led by NFCC-certified counselors
  • No appointment required for phone sessions
  • Can help you get a better grasp of your finances
  • Allows you to explore debt repayment options

Cons

  • You may be pitched paid services, such as a debt management plan or the simple payment plan

Debt management

The GreenPath Debt Management Plan works the same as other debt management plans to repay your debt in three to five years. You’ll close any credit card accounts you enroll in the program and set up a bank account to make automatic deposits into it each payday. GreenPath will then use that money to potentially pay off your debt for less by offering a lump-sum payment to creditors.

 

GreenPath’s debt relief program will also negotiate on your behalf to:

  • Lower your interest rates
  • Get certain fees waived
  • Reduce your monthly dues

Unfortunately, the service may come with hefty fees: An initial setup fee up to $50 and a monthly charge up to $75. (The amount varies by states and the size of your debt.) And while GreenPath may eventually help you get debt relief, the service doesn’t do anything you couldn’t do yourself with time and dedication.

Pros

  • Debt relief in 3-5 years
  • Little legwork required on your part
  • Can stop collections calls, reduce interest charges and your monthly payment, and get certain fees waived

Cons

  • Potentially high fees
  • Will need to close enrolled credit card accounts, which will harm your credit
  • Can be done on your own

Credit report review

GreenPath’s counseling services include a simple, free service: A credit report review. If you’re not familiar with how credit reports work or how to make sense of the information on them, this can be a helpful service.

You’ll grab your free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — using AnnualCreditReport.com and then go over them with a GreenPath counselor.

If you want to see your credit score, the nonprofit will charge you $5 for it. We don’t recommend you do this, however, as you can see your credit score for free through a variety of services, such as your credit card company or My LendingTree, an app that is designed to help you better manage your finances and potentially explore loan options.

Pros

  • No-cost service
  • Learn how to read your credit report and factors influencing your credit score
  • Create a plan to increase your credit

Cons

  • $5 charge if you pull your credit score through GreenPath
  • Counselors may pitch additional services to you

Simple payment plan

The simple payment plan offered by GreenPath Financial Wellness is intended to make debt repayment easier by automating payments using EarnUp, an app that allows you to track and pay off your loans from one place. Unfortunately, this service comes at a cost: As a GreenPath client, you’ll get 12 months of free usage on EarnUp; thereafter, the app charges $9.95 per month.

GreenPath’s simple payment plan is best suited for consumers who struggle to juggle multiple debt payments and make payments in full. EarnUp makes smaller, automatic withdrawals each payday throughout the month to make debt repayment more manageable. But free services like Mint allow you to see all your financial accounts in one place, and you could set up automatic payments with each debtor for free.

That said, the simple payment plan takes some of the legwork out of debt management. To determine your eligibility for the simple payment plan, you’ll have a free call with a GreenPath counselor, who will review your budget and learn about your financial goals. (The GreenPath website doesn’t outline eligibility requirements.)

Pros

  • Allows you to put payments on autopilot
  • Smaller payments throughout the month help you stay current on bills
  • EarnUp allows you to see your debt payments in one place

Cons

  • $9.95 per month fee after the first 12 months
  • The plan doesn’t do anything you couldn’t do on your own for free

Student loan counseling

GreenPath offers two tiers of service for student loan debt management:

  • Student loan counseling: Pay $50 and a counselor will review your loans, including terms, balances and repayment program eligibility. They will help you understand your repayment options and create a plan to manage your debt.
  • Student loan enhanced support: For $200, a counselor does a more in-depth analysis of your student loan debt and creates a personalized plan to handle to get your delinquent accounts current. They may help you complete an application for a student loan repayment program, or contact your loan servicers to help reach a resolution.

Each service may be helpful to those who feel lost and don’t understand their student debt. However, you can find plenty of information online on managing your student loans, such as on the Federal Student Aid website. You can also contact your loan servicer if you’re delinquent on debt but need help making payments.

Pros

  • Counselors can you better understand your student loans and repayment options
  • Find help creating a plan to keep your debt on track or get it back on track

Cons

  • May be a pricey service if you’re already struggling to make payments
  • Information on managing student debt is readily available online
  • Calling your loan servicers to explore options is free if you do it yourself

Homebuyer counseling

GreenPath’s homebuyer counseling offers help to: individuals wanting to buy or rent property; homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage; and homeowners who want or have a reverse mortgage.

Its services are free to those who need mortgage delinquency or rental counseling. GreenPath charges $150 for pre-purchase counseling and $199 for reverse mortgage counseling.

Its pre-purchase counseling can teach you:

  • What kind of down payment you need
  • The types of mortgages
  • How to find a lender and apply for a mortgage
  • What to expect from your real estate agent, lender, home inspector and other professionals you deal during the homebuying process

For homeowners or future homeowners, GreenPath’s services may be worthwhile. A home will likely be the largest investment you make, so spending up to $199 to better understand how to shop lenders or navigate the homebuying process can save you a lot of money (and grief) down the road. However, we recommend you first explore the potentially free housing counseling offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Pros

  • Receive unbiased information on your housing-related questions
  • Free services for those with mortgage delinquency or rental issues
  • Understanding the homebuying process can save you money elsewhere

Cons

  • May find totally free housing counseling elsewhere
  • For mortgage delinquency, your lender may be your best bet for answers

Bankruptcy support

GreenPath is approved by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide bankruptcy counseling and bankruptcy education courses. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you’re required to complete two hours of bankruptcy counseling and education from an approved organization within 180 days before you are released from your debts.

If you’ve just started thinking about bankruptcy, Greepath’s bankruptcy counseling can still help you better understand your financial situation, explore debt relief options and the types of bankruptcy available to you.

GreenPath’s pricing is as follows (you may qualify for lower pricing based on your income):

  • Bankruptcy counseling: $25 online, $35 by phone
  • Bankruptcy education courses: $15 online, $25 by phone

According to the FTC, counseling from approved organizations typically runs about $50 for the pre-bankruptcy counseling and $50 to $100 for post-filing debtor education, which is higher than the amount GreenPath charges. All approved counseling organizations must offer counseling for free to people who cannot afford to pay.

Pros

  • Objective information and bankruptcy education resource
  • Bankruptcy counseling certificate typically available within 30 minutes of completion
  • Your fees may be lower or waived, depending on your income

Cons

  • GreenPath cannot help you file for bankruptcy. They are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.

GreenPath Financial Wellness review

GreenPath Financial Wellness offers low- or no-cost counseling for consumers in a variety of financial situations and with different needs. Initial counseling is free, and for many consumers, that may be all they need to get back on track financially.

However, some of GreenPath’s paid services may not be worth the cost. For example, its simple payment plan, which comes with a $9.99 monthly charge through EarnUp after 12 months, is a repayment program you could set up and manage yourself for free. Its student loan counseling, meanwhile, isn’t necessary with the wealth of information online (and with your lender on hand).

The services that are worthwhile deal with bigger financial issues, such as buying a home and filing for bankruptcy. In fact, GreenPath’s bankruptcy counseling and education courses are offered at a reasonable rate — less than the typical approved organization charges.

As a general rule, GreenPath may be a good fit for you if:

  • You don’t know where to start: If you’re new to handling your finances, or you’re in financial quicksand and feel stressed, counselors from GreenPath can help.
  • You want objective advice: As a nonprofit organization, GreenPath’s counselors may offer more objective advice than, say, a mortgage loan officer trying to sell you a product.
  • You just want someone to answer your questions: There’s a wealth of free information online. But not everyone wants to wade through it all and make sense of it. You might prefer to talk to a real person and get your questions answered.
  • You’re motivated to learn: You’re a good candidate for counseling when you’re ready to invest the time and energy necessary to get a better grasp on your finances, make a plan and make it work.

GreenPath is not the only nonprofit counseling organization you can choose from. You can find NFCC-certified counselors online here. When considering other organizations for counseling, keep fees in mind. And be sure to review the organization’s available services to ensure they can provide you with the help you need.

GreenPath contact information

GreenPath’s phone number is 800-550-1961, but you can request a call online and have someone call you back within 48 hours. For current clients, call 866-476-7284 or access the GreenPath client portal.

GreenPath’s customer service hours are:

  • Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. EST
  • Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST

If you’d rather talk to someone in person, you can look for a local branches here. Although GreenPath services all 50 states, it only has offices in the following:

Bottom line

You have many options for managing your debt and taking control of your finances. There’s no shortage of people willing to give you advice, some of whom are unbiased and have your best interest in mind, and others who may mean well but have products to sell. You need to choose carefully where you get advice to help with your finances.

If you need help, especially if you are having trouble keeping up with debt payments, consider talking to a NFCC-certified nonprofit counselor, such as those from GreenPath Financial Wellness. They can help you review your situation, understand your options and make a plan for a brighter financial future.

 

Get personal loan offers from up to 5 lenders in minutes