A Message from Consumer Action

Consumer Action's MoneyWi$e educational materials have moved to our Managing Money Project website. Here you may view, download and order bulk copies of the MoneyWi$e materials. Please make a note of the Managing Money Project address— www.managing-money.org —and add it to your address book.

MoneyWise: A Consumer Action-Capital One Financial Education Project

Free Financial Education Brought to You by Consumer Action and Capital One

Winner: Innovative Financial Education Program 2003 NACAA Consumer Education Awards

Consumer Action and Capital One formed the MoneyWi$e national financial literacy partnership to educate consumers about how to manage their finances.

For three decades, Consumer Action has created and conducted projects to increase participation in the financial services marketplace by low income, disadvantaged, minority, immigrant and senior consumers. Together with Capital One, the fifth largest issuer of credit cards in the U.S., Consumer Action built an innovative national personal finance education and outreach program for use by individuals and community based organizations.

MoneyWi$e Phase One: The partners developed a free multilingual education program that includes four money management and credit-focused modules with consumer brochures, background guides for community-agency staff, adult learning curriculums, classroom activities and Power Point slide presentations for training the trainers and classroom use. In addition, a compact disc containing all of the MoneyWi$e program materials was created.

MoneyWi$e Phase Two: In 2002, the partners completed the second phase of the project by launching a competitive national mini-grants program to fund community-based organizations to teach the MoneyWi$e educational modules in their communities.

The reach of the MoneyWi$e program: Nineteen organizations in California, Florida, New York and Washington received stipends of up to $5,000 to help fund training workshops, financial counseling and distribution of the free MoneyWi$e educational materials for the benefit of low income and homeless families, immigrants and students in their local communities.

The stipends helped fund more than 280 educational sessions offered through the organizations, benefiting more than 65,000 consumers.

More than 150 potential grant recipients in Florida and California were the guests of the MoneyWi$e program at major regional meetings held in Tampa, FL in October 2002 and in Oakland, CA in November 2002.

Applicants from other areas were invited to attend one of three half-day MoneyWi$e roundtables held in New York City, Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC last fall.

The stipend program demonstrates the commitment of the Money Wi$e partners to support local communities and their financial education curriculum. Money Wi$e is designed to provide consumers at all income levels with the building blocks they need to help better manage their finances.

The Money Wi$e stipend program helps to support the efforts of local organizations dedicated to engaging and educating at-risk consumers.
Diana Don, left, and Michael Carren of Capital One joined Linda Sherry of Consumer Action in accepting the ACE award from the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators in Washington, DC on July 1, 2003.

How the MoneyWi$e educational program has been received received
The MoneyWi$e materials and curricula received high marks at the regional meetings held in Tampa, FL and Oakland, CA. In an exit survey of participating community based organizations, the groups overwhelmingly agreed that the program filled an important role in helping to educate their constituencies:


Hispanic/Latino Outreach Campaign: The team built a special Spanish language media outreach campaign which centered on Consumer Action’s contacts in community based organizations (CBOs) throughout the five states. These contacts volunteered to speak publicly on behalf of the MoneyWi$e program. The campaign leveraged the community endorsements by seeding quotes from the CBO spokespeople in the press materials and making the spokespeople available for interviews.

Consumer Action’s Guadalupe Aguilar conducted an effort to secure rush-hour coverage on Spanish language radio stations nationwide in order to let consumers know of the availability of the free Money Wi$e program Highlights of the outreach included several national placements, including live interviews with Aguilar on CNN en Español, Telemundo, CNN Spanish radio, Hispanic Radio Network, WADO-New York, KBLA-Los Angeles, El Nuevo Herald and La Opinion.


MoneyWi$e materials: The program includes four educational modules on the following topics: "Building and Keeping Good Credit," "Money Management," "Basic Banking," and "Going from Bad Credit to Good Credit."


The materials are written in a simple, straightforward fashion that is easy to read and understand by that the intended audience of adult learners of all skill levels.

For each module, Consumer Action has created a multilingual consumer brochure (in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese), a background manual for CBO staff, teachers and group leaders as well as a class curriculum and Power Point presentation for teachers and leaders. The four modules are:


  • Banking Basics: You Can Bank On It
    This educational module provides a simple introduction to the main services offered by banks and credit unions, including checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit and debit cards and covers opening an account and resolving problems.

The free MoneyWi$e multilingual financial education materials include brochures, background guides, curricula and PowerPoint teaching slides.

  • Building and Keeping Good Credit
    This educational module covers the concepts of personal credit history, good and negative credit history, the importance of good credit, steps to building good credit and what goes into a good credit score, selecting a secured credit card, obtaining your credit report and correcting inaccurate credit report items.
  • Improve Your Credit: Put Bad Credit Behind You
    This educational module explains why having good credit is important, your rights if your credit application is rejected, how to check your credit report, how to dispute mistakes on your credit report and how to begin to rebuild good credit.
  • Manage Your Money Wisely
    This educational module covers the concepts of keeping track of income and expenses, making a budget, keeping to a budget, how much debt is too much, paying down high interest debt and the importance of saving money.

Distribution: The MoneyWi$e materials are being distributed through Consumer Action’s network of 7,000 CBOs nationwide. Each organization is sent an order form for free bulk materials. CBO staff order the amount of materials they need, and all shipping costs are paid for by the MoneyWi$e program. The project has produced 250,000 printed copies of each of four MoneyWi$e topics. Bulk orders and outreach to individuals are expected to distribute one million publications. In addition, the materials have been posted on Consumer Action’s web site (www.consumer-action.org) where they are expected to reach at least a half-million more consumers.

About the partners
Consumer Action: A national non-profit, membership-based organization founded in San Francisco in 1971, Consumer Action serves consumers nationwide by advancing consumer rights, referring consumers to complaint-handling agencies and publishing free multilingual educational materials. Consumer Action also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers and compares prices on credit cards, bank accounts and long distance services.

Capital One: Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

The roles of the partners
Consumer Action and Capital One brought their greatest strengths to the project:

Consumer Action created and translated the educational materials, including brochures, leader’s guides, classroom curricula and Power Point teaching decks for each module. The non-profit organization also posted the materials on the Internet, trained Capital One volunteers and organized the regional meeting and MoneyWi$e outreach workshops in California, Florida, Idaho and Washington state throughout 2002. Consumer Action’s Director of Advocacy Cher McIntyre headed the committee to choose stipend recipients in a competitive application process.

Capital One provided the funding to create the MoneyWi$e program and devised an innovative employee volunteer program for Capital One employees. Trained by Consumer Action, and equipped with materials, a training manual and a curriculum, Capital One employees volunteer in communities near the company’s headquarters in Virginia to teach financial education to the public. The company has tallied feedback from the Good Credit trainings conducted by its employees, and it is overwhelmingly positive.

Good Neighbor Award: In early March, Capital One was awarded the Good Neighbor Award for the MoneyWi$e financial education volunteer program its employees conducted at Shelter House, a Northern Virginia non-profit organization. The Good Neighbor Award is associated with Fannie Mae's Help the Homeless Walk program which benefits over 100 homeless service agencies in the Washington, DC, Metro area. Shelter House nominated the MoneyWi$e program because of its positive impact on the shelter residents. Traditionally, the Good Neighbor Award is given to an individual for service to a homeless agency but the strength of the MoneyWi$e program and its volunteers helped secure the recognition, which came with a $1,000 grant that was in turn donated to Shelter House.

For more information, contact:

Linda Sherry (editor @ Consumer DASH Action DOT org)
Editorial Director
Consumer Action


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