Consumers One-Stop Source
To Manage Credit and Debt
National Credit Education Week (April 18-24)
Washington, DC, April 18, 1999 - Two emerging consumer trends, the increased use of credit as payment and the use of the Internet as an information source, today are merged with the launch of a website that offers reliable, comprehensive, and confidential advice about managing credit at the click of a mouse.
The unveiling of the site, www.CREDITPAGE®, coincides with the start of National Credit Education Week (April 18-24) and means consumers now have one source on the Internet to help them manage credit, examine their spending habits, access their credit record, and contact hundreds of money management and debt counseling advisors and agencies.
CreditPage®, the collaborative effort of leading financial education organizations, nonprofit consumer credit counseling organizations, and financial institutions, is the portal for credit education information on the Internet.
"This website is a great tool for consumers. It will help them better understand how they're spending and how to better manage the debt they owe," said Durant Abernethy of the National Foundation for Consumer Credit, a CreditPage® sponsor. "Most importantly, the site is full of information that will help people avoid problems with credit and debt. Too many people manage their finances by trial and error without realizing that there are resources such as CreditPage® to help them."
"With the growing number of consumers turning to the Internet for debt and credit information, CreditPage® is a site worth visiting," said Gerri Detweiler, Educational Adviser to Debt Counselors of America and nationally recognized credit and personal finance expert and author.
CreditPage® offers an array of services including a secure credit report delivered within seconds; the Credit Alert Test, designed to measure how well consumers are managing credit; a directory of credit counselors; tips on borrowing; advice on making payments; and links to numerous other consumer education websites.
"Technology has changed how Americans spend their money and how they gather information. The promise of electronic commerce will further increase the use of plastic over cash payments. While credit transactions provide an increased level of security and convenience, they also require that people actively manage their spending to avoid problems down the road," said Tim Becker, Vice President at Bank of America. "To keep pace with these trends, consumer credit education organizations and leaders in the credit industry have come together for the first time to create a website that navigates consumers to some of the best credit information available on the Internet."
During National Credit Education Week, the sponsors of CreditPage® recommend the following tips to help consumers protect and manage their credit.
"The success of our economy has sparked a rapid growth in consumer spending and an expanding array of payment options. Logging onto CreditPage® during National Credit Education Week provides consumers an opportunity to take stock of their credit situation to be sure they're getting the most from the dollars they're spending," said Ira Aurit, President of the Forms Group, an Internet development company instrumental in developing the site.
The sponsors of CreditPage® are: National Foundation for Consumer Credit, Debt Counselors of America, National Council on Economic Education, The Jump$tart Coalition, Bank of America, The Forms Group, Genus Credit Management, MasterCard International, Money Management International, Personal Debt Solutions, and Visa U.S.A.
Americans are increasingly using the Internet as a source for information and services:
These statistics suggest that consumers are eager for reliable information thats available online.
CreditPage® offers a one-stop source for comprehensive, reliable and confidential information about credit. Below are some of the services available from CreditPage® and its sponsors. At CreditPage® you can:
CreditPage® is sponsored by the following organizations in the interest of promoting consumer credit education.
The National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) is a network of 1450 non-profit offices that provide money management education, confidential budget, credit, and debt counseling, and debt repayment plans for both individuals and families. Because the NFCC agencies receive support from a wide-range of creditors, such as banks, consumer finance companies, and credit unions, we can provide services at no cost in many communities and for a reasonable fee in others.
Debt Counselors of America® is a national non-profit organization which specializes in assisting consumers with credit and debt issues. Their website at www.GetOutOfDebt.org contains breaking debt news, a live call-in radio show, special programs, services to assist consumers, and frequently updated self-help publications which can be instantly downloaded. More information about DCA® is available by calling 1-800-680-3328 or visiting www.GetOutOfDebt.org.
The National Council on Economic Education (the Council), a partnership of business, education and labor leadership, is the nation's premier provider of economic education materials and programs. In 1997, the Council developed and published the Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics. Each year, through its EconomicsAmerica program and affiliated network of 48 state councils and over 275 university/college-based centers for economic education throughout the country, the Council provides materials, programs, and other resources that help 120,000 teachers infuse economics into the curriculum that in turn reach over seven million K-12 students. Through its EconomicsInternational program, the Council is helping to build economic education infrastructures in the emerging market economies of countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In this, its 50th year, the Council is launching a five-year Campaign for Economic Literacy to raise awareness that America's children must have the economics skills and understanding they will need as citizens, employees, consumers, savers and investors, and participants in a global marketplace.
The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy seeks to improve the personal financial literacy of young adults. Jump$tart's purpose is to evaluate the financial literacy of young adults; develop, disseminate, and encourage the use of guidelines for grades K-12; and promote the teaching of personal finance. The Jump$tart Coalition believes that all young adults need to have the financial literacy necessary to make informed financial decisions.
Genus Credit Management is a non-profit, community service organization offering confidential and professional credit counseling, debt management and financial educational programs to consumers nationwide. Genus is dedicated to providing free services that help financially distressed families and individuals effectively manage their personal finances. Assistance is available to people anywhere United States currency is used. Counselors can be reached 24 hours a day, six days a week and Sundays 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. EST by calling toll free (800) 210-4455. Visit Genus at www.genus.org
Money Management International provides an easy, confidential way for people to take control of their debts. Our experienced phone counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (800) 762-2271 or through our website, www.mmintl.org. MMI is a non-profit agency and a member of both the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) and the Better Business Bureau.
Personal Debt Solutions, Inc., (PDS) is the leading national provider of consumer credit counseling. Formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community agency, the Phoenix-based company helps consumers who are overwhelmed by debt to regain financial control and comfort. PDS provides nationwide telephone-based credit counseling and personalized debt repayment planning services 24 hours a day, seven days a week through its toll-free telephone number: 1-888-373-1737). Consumers and other interested parties can access information about the company and its services, as well as general credit-related information and educational materials on the Internet at www.personaldebt.org.
The Forms Group has been providing motivational marketing programs to financial institutions for over 20 years and now has a core business of well over 800 financial institutions. Several years ago, The Forms Group launched BankSITE®, a 200-page bank directory and consumer banking guide that helps to market websites on the Internet. Just recently, The Forms Group conceptualized CreditPage® to promote consumer credit education on the Internet. The company's website is located at www.theformsgroup.com.
Bank of America, with $618 billion in total assets, is the largest bank in the United States, with full-service consumer and commercial operations in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Bank of America provides financial products and services to 30 million households and two million businesses, as well as international corporate financial services for transactions in 190 countries. Bank of America stock (BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges and certain shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. Nearly 700 million MasterCard®, Maestro®, Cirrus® and Mondex® cards are in circulation today. With more than 16.2 million locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1998, gross dollar volume exceeded $650 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com
Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction"! programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 800 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate nearly US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than 16 million worldwide locations, including at over 480,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network.