FAQ

What are Financial Empowerment Centers?

Philadelphia’s network of Financial Empowerment Centers provide free high-quality, one-on-one financial counseling with professionally trained counselors to help clients transition from debt management to saving for a better life for themselves and their families.

Where do I go for more information or to make an appointment

To find a location near you, and for more information, call the Philadelphia Financial Empowerment Centers Hotline at 1-855-FIN-PHIL (346-7445) or click on the Make An Appointment button at the top of the page.

What services are provided at the Centers

The Financial Empowerment Centers help clients take control of their debt, deal with debt collectors, improve their credit, create a budget, find safe and affordable financial products, and much more.

Financial counselors provide sessions on the following financial topics:

  • Money management and budgeting
  • Banking and basic financial transactions
  • Credit reports
  • Using credit wisely
  • Consumer protection and debt collection
  • Student loan repayment options
  • Preventing bankruptcy
  • Negotiation
  • Planning for the future
  • Preparing to purchase a home

Who can receive free one-on-one financial counseling?

Anyone over the age of 18. There are no income requirements.

Is my personal information held confidential?

Yes. Absolutely.

Can counseling be provided in different languages?

We provide counseling in English, Spanish, and French. We can accommodate other languages through an interpretation service free of cost to the client.

How many free counseling sessions may I attend?

Unlimited. As many as you need! As a matter of fact, repeat visits are encouraged.

What information do I need to provide when scheduling an appointment?

To schedule your appointment, please be prepared to tell the operator your:

  • Name
  • Phone number and/or email address
  • Availability for a session

The financial counselor will tell you what to bring to the appointment over the phone or in an email prior to the appointment. For your first session, you may be asked to bring your paystubs (at least two months’ worth if possible), any record of additional income, any bills that you may have, and any letters from creditors.

What can I expect from my first financial counseling session?

Take a look at this page for a more detailed explanation of what to expect. A certified financial counselor may work with you to provide any of the following services:

  • Run your credit report, tell you your credit score and give you a copy.
  • Make a budget and create payment plans to help you build savings.
  • Talk to creditors on your behalf to lower old fees and penalties.
  • Erase erroneous debts and correct credit histories.
  • Negotiate with creditors for more favorable payment plans, total debts owed, and ongoing interest rates.
  • Identify new sources of income such as unclaimed benefits like the childcare tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and others.