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Frequently asked questions

What is CreditSmart®?

CreditSmart is a suite of free, comprehensive financial education resources for the general public (consumers) and practitioners who wish to coach consumers. The suite consists of several courses, curricula and other resources covering credit, renting and homeownership.

Do I need to pay for CreditSmart resources?

No, CreditSmart resources are completely free.

What’s the difference between CreditSmart Essentials and CreditSmart Homebuyer U?

CreditSmart Essentials, offered in English only, provides consumers with self-paced, personalized learning on the essentials of credit, money management and financial resilience; it’s not a homeownership education course.

CreditSmart Homebuyer U, offered in English and Spanish, is a self-paced homeownership education course for consumers that leads to a certificate of completion that aligns with National Industry Standards on Homeownership Education and Counseling. The CreditSmart Homebuyer U certificate meets the Freddie Mac homeownership education requirement for Home Possible® and HomeOne® mortgages.

What languages are CreditSmart resources offered in?

CreditSmart Essentials, CreditSmart Coach and CreditSmart Military are offered in English only. CreditSmart Homebuyer U is offered in English and Spanish. CreditSmart Multilingual consists of financial capability resources in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. In addition, we offer the CreditSmart financial capability train-the-trainer program in Spanish.

Is CreditSmart accessible to people with disabilities?

CreditSmart Essentials and CreditSmart Coach both meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) for people with disabilities.

Why does Freddie Mac offer CreditSmart resources to the public in addition to housing professionals and practitioners?

It’s core to Freddie Mac’s mission. We believe in the power of education and want to support the financial capability and sustainability of rental and homeownership readiness of people in America.

Can I share CreditSmart resources with my family, friends, community and coworkers?

Yes. We encourage you to share all the CreditSmart resources. Refer to our Terms of Use to learn more.

I’d like for my organization to become a CreditSmart partner. How can I learn more?

CreditSmart partners frequently use and share our content with consumers if they adhere to our Terms of Use. Please see the Contact Us option on our Partners page to learn more.

Do you offer co-branded marketing materials to share CreditSmart resources with consumers?

Yes, please see the Partners page to access our materials.

Does it cost anything to take CreditSmart®? Essentials?

No. CreditSmart Essentials, in addition to the other CreditSmart resources, is free.

Will I receive a certificate for completing CreditSmart Essentials online?

No, there is no certificate for completing CreditSmart Essentials online. However, there is a “diploma” that learners can achieve if they collect enough “badges” when they take CreditSmart Essentials courses online.

Can I teach CreditSmart Essentials to consumers in a class, through 1-on-1 sessions, or is it only a self-paced curriculum?

If you’d like to teach CreditSmart Essentials to consumers, you’ll need to become a certified facilitator by taking the CreditSmart Coach training. Refer to the CreditSmart Coach FAQs for more information.

What age range is CreditSmart Essentials designed for?

CreditSmart Essentials offers content and tools that can be used by young adults as well as older adults.

What’s the benefit of completing the CreditSmart Coach training program?

Facilitators will be able to participate in peer-to-peer discussions, live Q&A sessions, obtain the newly revamped curriculum, take self-paced learning and access materials and marketing resources. They’ll be equipped with reliable and relevant information to teach financial capability to consumers.

Is there a cost to become a CreditSmart® Coach certified facilitator?

No, there is no cost to become a CreditSmart Coach certified facilitator.

How do I become a CreditSmart Coach certified facilitator?

Practitioners must register for the CreditSmart Coach training program and complete a combination of self-paced online trainings and instructor-led live sessions. In addition, you must complete mandatory activities and pass a test at the end of the program.

Who can become a CreditSmart Coach certified facilitator?

Housing industry professionals such as real estate professionals, housing counselors, lenders, housing finance agencies and owner-operators of rental properties can become certified facilitators. Lenders can be facilitators but per the Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (Guide), they can’t use CreditSmart Coach to teach homeownership education to their clients. Lenders can use CreditSmart Coach to teach financial capability to consumers. In addition, educators, financial coaches and staff of community-based organizations are eligible to become certified facilitators.

Can CreditSmart Coach certified facilitators issue homeownership education certificates to consumers?

No, CreditSmart Coach certified facilitators will be able to issue a “diploma” of completion to consumers following program guidelines. This diploma will not be a homeownership education certificate. Any practitioner wishing to provide a homeownership education resource to a consumer can refer them to CreditSmart Homebuyer U, which offers a course completion certificate.

Does CreditSmart Coach provide facilitators with material that can support homebuyer readiness?

Yes. Although CreditSmart Coach is not a homeownership education training program – it’s a financial capability program – the materials are relevant to aspiring homebuyers, renters, and others. Certified facilitators of CreditSmart Coach will be able to access helpful tools to prepare future homebuyers with credit and money management information and resources on many more topics important to wealth-building, including homeownership.

What happens if I miss a training class(es)? Am I able to make them up?

We don’t offer make-up sessions or record the live instructor-led sessions. In the event practitioners miss a session due to an emergency, contact our customer support center through the CreditSmart Coach portal and a program administrator will let you know how best to complete the required training.

How long is my certification valid?

The certification is valid for two years.

What do I need to do to renew my certification?

Facilitators must recertify every two years by completing the training again if they wish to continue teaching the CreditSmart curriculum.

What types of materials can I receive with my CreditSmart Coach certification?

After the certification is complete, facilitators will receive the Facilitator and Participant Guides, handouts, marketing toolkit materials and additional resources for teaching CreditSmart to consumers.

Once certified, can I use the CreditSmart Coach materials to teach the class on my own?

Yes. Facilitators must adhere to the CreditSmart Coach Terms of Use to be able to teach CreditSmart to consumers.

Are the CreditSmart Coach materials only available online?

Yes. We provide downloadable, printable materials, as well as presentation slides, so certified facilitators can teach consumers in-person or virtually.

Is the CreditSmart Coach program only available in English?

Yes, CreditSmart Coach is only available in English. In addition, we offer the CreditSmart train-the-trainer program in Spanish.

Can I charge a fee to teach CreditSmart to consumers via the CreditSmart Coach program? If so, what would be appropriate?

Facilitators can charge a nominal fee to help offset the cost of renting space, providing food, and printing materials. See our Terms of Use for details.

Can I partner with other industry professionals to teach CreditSmart Coach to consumers?

Yes. You can partner with other facilitators to present CreditSmart Essentials to consumers.

Can I supplement content from other curricula or resources when I teach CreditSmart to consumers?

Yes, you can use content from other resources in tandem with CreditSmart Coach materials when teaching financial capability to consumers, but you can’t change CreditSmart Coach presentation slides or cut and paste our modules. See the CreditSmart Coach Terms of Use for details.

Where do I access the materials after I become a CreditSmart Coach certified facilitator?

Facilitator and participant materials, resources, and marketing tools will be available in the CreditSmart Coach portal after facilitators become certified.

Can I order CreditSmart materials to provide to my students?

All materials will be available to download after facilitators become certified. We don’t print or mail materials.

Who do I contact if I have a technical problem during the trainings or live sessions?

Practitioners can contact the customer support center through the CreditSmart Coach portal.

What is required to obtain certification?

Two Facilitators’ master classes are mandatory. Practitioners are also required to complete all self-paced online training, discussion boards, homework assignments, and pass a test at the end of the program to obtain the certification.  Q&A sessions with master trainers are included, but not all are required.

Are the presentations available to facilitators?

Yes, all presentations, handouts, materials and additional resources will be available to facilitators after they become certified.

How long is the commitment to complete the CreditSmart Coach certification?

We offer several cohorts per year in English. Each cohort is open for one quarter of the year and involves a sequence of required online self-paced and virtual instructor-led live trainings. Approximately 13 hours over the quarter are required to complete the certification.

What are the features of the CreditSmart® Homebuyer U course?

CreditSmart Homebuyer U has interactive and multimedia features, including videos, infographics, worksheets and calculators. The course is mobile, tablet and computer friendly with user registration capabilities and customer support. 

Is there a cost to take the course?

No. The course is free.

Can anyone take this course?

Yes. The course is available to all users.

What languages is the course offered in?

The course is available in English and Spanish.

Is the course HUD-approved? Does it meet National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling?

No. This course is not “HUD-approved” as HUD does not approve homeownership education curricula. The course aligns with the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling (pre-purchase content).

Can the CreditSmart Homebuyer U certificate of completion be emailed to the lender or other housing professionals? Can the certificate of completion be shared with a co-borrower?

Yes. When a user registers for the course they can provide the lender’s email address so the certificate of completion can be automatically emailed to the lender. The certificate can be emailed to other housing professionals, as well as co-borrowers.

Is the CreditSmart Homebuyer U certificate of completion available in both English and Spanish?

No. The course completion certificate is available in English only.

How can CreditSmart Homebuyer U course users get customer support?

If users have questions or experience problems while taking CreditSmart Homebuyer U they can send an email to or call 877-486-6028 between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST, Monday – Friday for dedicated support. Customer support is available in both English and Spanish. This customer support isn’t for other CreditSmart resources (such as CreditSmart Essentials or CreditSmart Coach).

How long will it take consumers to complete the CreditSmart Homebuyer U course?

Users can anticipate completing the entire course within three hours but can return anytime to complete the course or review what they’ve learned.

What is CreditSmart Military?

CreditSmart Military refers to the Military Financial Readiness module, which is a financial capability resource for active duty servicemembers and their families, as well as Veterans.

Is there a cost for the CreditSmart® Military financial readiness module?

No. There is no cost to use this module.

Should I use CreditSmart Military on its own or in combination with other CreditSmart resources?

CreditSmart Military complements other resources in the CreditSmart suite, such as CreditSmart Essentials or CreditSmart Homebuyer U. CreditSmart Military can be utilized on its own or in tandem with Essentials or Homebuyer U.

What is CreditSmart® Multilingual?

CreditSmart Multilingual refers to several CreditSmart resources that are culturally relevant and available for Limited English Proficient (LEP) consumers. This includes the CreditSmart Español financial capability curriculum (in English and Spanish) and the CreditSmart Asian financial capability curriculum (in English, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese). Note that CreditSmart Homebuyer U, a comprehensive homeownership education course, is also available in English and Spanish.

Are CreditSmart Multilingual resources free?

Yes, all CreditSmart Multilingual resources are free.

When will Freddie Mac update CreditSmart Español and CreditSmart Asian materials?

We’ll be working to update these resources in the near future.

How do I become a certified facilitator to teach CreditSmart Español to consumers?

Use the Contact Us form on our website to learn about upcoming train-the-trainer offerings.

Need to talk to someone about CreditSmart?

Contact Us