Archive for December, 2011

The magic of Santa’s beard
News from Kansas City Star:

Hey kids,

You’ll never believe who came to visit me at work the other day.

It was Santa Claus!

I could hear him coming all the way down the hall because he had a bunch of sleigh bells in his hand, and he was shaking and jingling them really loud. I think he borrowed them from Rudolph, who was waiting outside.

Santa came looking for all the nice boys and girls in my office. But, uhm, he found mostly naughty ones. We’ll have to work on that next year.

He looked so awesome in his bright red suit and shiny black boots. His eyes twinkled like stars behind his glasses, kind of like yours do when you’re telling a joke.

His beard covered his chin like a giant cloud of white cotton candy, and the mustache above it curled up at the ends like the tips of little elf shoes. One time when he was trimming his beard, Santa accidentally cut off one of those tiny curls. Thank goodness it grew back in time for Christmas.

It’s my job to ask people…………… continues on Kansas City Star

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Time to Take an Email Holiday
News from PC Magazine:

Volkswagen is going to shutdown corporate email during off hours for some of its German staff. It is the wrong solution, but the problem is real.

Like most of the country, many PCMag.com staffers are taking time off over the holidays. And like most of the country that time off comes in two distinct varieties: vacation and vacation with email.  For a many of us, the only type of vacation there is these days is the latter, but that needs to change. With a laptop, VPN and a smartphone, you can work anywhere anytime.  Instead of providing a flexible tether to the office, however, many workers feel unbearably bound to the stress of work. Workers are pushing back, and some of the solutions are pretty radical.  

Just this week, German car giant Volkswagen has negotiated a contract that will

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Tax credit and deduction tips for home improvement in 2012
News from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

(ARA) – With the new year under way, you may be thinking about needed home improvements and how you’ll use your credit to fund them. While it’s important to understand your credit before making major home improvement decisions, you should also consider another kind of credit – tax credits for energy efficient home improvements.

For the past few years, the federal government has offered tax credits for certain home improvements aimed at increasing a home’s energy efficiency. While the most popular and generous tax credits, such as the one that allowed you to claim up to 30 percent of improvements such as a new roof or hot water heater, have expired, you can still get credit for other significant energy-efficient improvements.

According to E…………… continues on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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8 Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Unions
News from Credit Card Guide News:

Love for credit unions took a big leap in 2011, tripling their popularity over big banks in just one year, according to a national poll of consumers.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found that customers are more satisfied than ever before with credit unions. The industry’s score improved 8.7 percent to 87 (on a scale of 0 to 100). It was the highest score ever reached by any of ACSI’s 47 industries. The ACSI is a national economic indicator based on 70,000 customer evaluations of products and services available in the United States.

Lower scores for banks follow a year of foreclosures, increased regulations and wildly unpopular fees. Among the four big banks, Wells Fargo again topped the list, but a 6 percent improvement for Citigroup tie…………… continues on Credit Card Guide News

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Can you get through Christmas on credit?
News from MoneyExpert:

Turkey with all the trimmings and a lavish holiday with no expense spared or like most of us, modest Christmas plans for this year’s celebrations, well that’s according to a new survey from online research panel Consumer Voice[1].

It seems almost everyone is going for the home-cooked Christmas dinner, with just two per cent going to a restaurant or pub and two per cent going abroad. And careful budgeting doesn’t appear to stop there, with most families setting cash limits for children’s presents and 22 per cent restricting their expenditure to £100 for gifts, food, drink and parties.

But they are balanced by almost a quarter of the survey respondents, who are looking forward to a more lavish festive season costing between £500 and £2,000.

Perhaps they are the 21 per cent who admitted that they would be relying on credit to get through Christmas, using a card, loan or pay-day lo…………… continues on MoneyExpert

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Payday lenders find new home online; interest rates hit 1000 percent
News from The Missoulian:

Want to talk to somebody at a payday loan operation? Good luck.

Most payday lending company phone numbers are disconnected, others now belong to different businesses.

A customer service representative did answer at EZ Money Check Cashing in Missoula last week, explaining the company does check cashing and tax filings, but no longer offers payday loans.

The reason is simple, and Bernie Harrington, owner of EZ Money Check Cashing, explained it this way: He closed three stores and cut services at others after Montana voters passed ballot Initiative 164 in November 2010. The initiative capped at 36 percent the interest fees and charges that payday, title and retail installment lenders can assess customers.

Supporters of I-164 called payday loan companies “predatory,” as lenders could charge up to 400 percent on the short-term loans.

Opponents of I-164, mostly payday lenders like Harrington, said the 400 percent was a misrepre…………… continues on The Missoulian

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With age comes wisdom — and a better credit score, study finds
News from Dallas Morning News (subscription):

If age equals wisdom, then it stands to reason that we should become more financially responsible as we grow older.

And as we mature, that should translate into higher credit scores, a new study finds.

CreditKarma.com, which provides consumers with free credit scores, took a look at the relationship between debt and credit scores, and how it changes during a person’s lifetime.

What it found was that as credit history lengthens, credit scores typically increase.

“We took a sample of several hundred thousand users and we charted their overall debt levels, along with the average credit scores, and we grouped them by the age,” said Ken Lin, chief executive of CreditKarma.

What CreditKarma discovered was that the older you are, the higher your credit score tended to be.

“Age and your experience in life tend to lend a lot to your credit score,” Lin said. “Just like everything else, you tend to get better as you get older, and that’s very tru…………… continues on Dallas Morning News (subscription)

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Payday lenders find new home on the Internet
News from The Missoulian:

Want to talk to somebody at a payday loan operation? Good luck.

Most payday lending company phone numbers are disconnected, others now belong to different businesses.

A customer service representative did answer at EZ Money Check Cashing in Missoula last week, explaining the company does check cashing and tax filings, but no longer offers payday loans.

The reason is simple, and Bernie Harrington, owner of EZ Money Check Cashing, explained it this way: He closed three stores and cut services at others after Montana voters passed ballot Initiative 164 in November 2010. The initiative capped at 36 percent the interest fees and charges that payday, title and retail installment lenders can assess customers.

Supporters of I-164 called payday loan companies “predatory,” as lenders could charge up to 400 percent on the short-term loans.

Opponents of I-164, mostly payday lenders like Harrington, said the 400 percent was a misrepre…………… continues on The Missoulian

… Read the full article
.

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Five Tips for Building Your Credit Score
News from Patch.com:

This year I have had three prospects who previously paid cash for all of their purchases and, therefore, had no credit score. Consequently, they were not able to purchase a home and had to lease while they built a credit history.

It is fine to pay cash for items that are in the lower price point, but when it comes to purchasing real estate, seldom is cash possible for most consumers.

A credit score is the vehicle that mortgage companies use to evaluate a borrower. The higher the credit score, the better the loan terms will be, but one must at least have a score to be considered for a loan.

There are plenty of warnings about abusing credit, but rarely do you hear about how to effectively use credit for the benefit of the consumer. Credit, used wisely, is essential in today’s world. No credit history means no mortgage until credit is used for at least six months to establish a history.

If a home purchase is in the future plans, establish exce…………… continues on Patch.com

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Will 2 credit scores help borrowers?
News from Hindustan Times:

Bindisha Sarang
 letters@hindustantimes.com
A few days ago, Equifax Credit Information Services Ltd became the second credit bureau of India to offer a credit score or the “risk score”. Earlier, Credit Information Bureau

(India) Ltd (Cibil) was the only bureau which provided credit scores, which it started in April.
A credit report is the record of an individual’s past and current borrowing and payment history. A credit score is based on the credit report, representing it in a numerical format.
“The risk score is designed to predict the likelihood of a customer defaulting over a 12-month period,” said Samir Bhatia, MD and CEO, Equifax. “An account is said to be a default when it crosses the 90-day mark of no payments.”

Equifax’s risk score
The risk score assigned to customers will be based on more than 600 variables such as past credit payment history, current credit act…………… continues on Hindustan Times

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How influential are you in social media circles? Check your Klout score
News from The Tennessean:

How influential is what you Tweet about, blog about and post on Facebook? Are you a social media V.I.P. or an oversharing wannabe?

A service called Klout says it can now calculate exactly how high – or low — anyone ranks in online influence. The San Francisco-based startup created a formula that calculates social media popularity on a scale from 1 to 100.

The average person who interacts with friends on Facebook or keeps their LinkedIn profile up-to-date has a Klout score ranging between 10 and 20. Tweeting celebrities land the highest scores – Taylor Swift, for example, has an 89. Among non-celebrities, the very plugged in – those with hundreds or thousands of Twitter followers, for example – typically have respectable Klout scores between the 40 and 60. Justin Bieber is the only known person with a perfect score of 100.

While not yet nearly as ubiquitous a measure as a credit score or one with as much personal baggage as an…………… continues on The Tennessean

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Credit Score too Low for a Mortgage? Quick Fixes
News from Fox Business:

Thanks to the 2008 housing market meltdown, getting a mortgage these days can be tough. For potential homebuyers with bad credit, the process can be downright difficult.

Lenders, such as banks, use an applicant’s credit score to determine mortgage rates, car loans and other loans. Individuals with a credit score below 700 face having to make concessions in regard to their interest rate and loan amount. But there are some steps would-be homeowners can take to quickly improve their score.

“You can begin impacting your score positively within 30 days,” says FICO spokesman Anthony Sprauve. “Paying bills on time, keeping low balances [on credit cards] and only opening new credit when you need it will positively impact your credit score.”

Industry experts recommend individuals first obtain copies of their credit score from the three credit score providers: Experian, continues on Fox Business

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Smart shopping tips to keep your credit healthy
News from Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Posted: Dec. 15, 2011 | 1:11 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 15, 2011 | 3:20 a.m.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for most Americans, it’s also the season to shop. While the items on your shopping list are sure to make gift recipients happy, being mindful about financial stress and maintaining good credit should remain top-of-mind.

Going overboard on holiday purchases is all too easy when you’re caught up in the spirit of the season. As many as 14 million people responded to a recent Consumer Reports survey admitting that they’re still paying off purchases from last year’s holiday season.

“If it’s taking more than a year to pay off purchases, you’re possibly on the way to damaged credit,” says Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore Solutions, LLC. “The short term enjoyment that you might get from a purchase could be far outweighed by potential stress that could come later when those credit card bills come due. Resolve now to head into the new year with good…………… continues on Las Vegas Review-Journal

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5 Lesser-Known Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
News from DailyFinance:

If you think your credit score doesn’t matter too much because you’re not planning on getting a mortgage anytime soon, think again. Credit scores affect many aspects of our lives — more than you may think. That’s why it’s important to keep your score as high as possible.

Paying bills on time and staying well below your credit limits are sure-fire ways to build and maintain good credit. But there are some lesser-known strategies to boost your score as well.

Fix clerical errors: Check your credit reports and correct errors. For example, it can make a big difference to your score if your credit limit for a card is understated. Imagine that you owe $ 5,000 and your limit is $ 15,000. That means you owe 33% of your limit. If your limit is incorrectly listed as $ 8,000, though, it will look like you’ve borrowed 63% of your limit. continues on DailyFinance

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Bargain for better loan terms with good credit score
News from Economic Times:

By Harshala Chandorkar (Senior V-P – Consumer Relations, CIBIL)

In today’s fast paced economy where there is intense competition among brands and services for the consumer’s attention and business, deriving the best value for your money is imperative.

Be it goods or services like insurance, telecom or banking, we now have multiple options to choose from based on our requirements.

Take for instance the credit sector where we now have several banks and financial institutions keen to provide loans and credit cards to disciplined consumers who have a healthy credit history.

Today, almost all the banks and lending institutions check the credit score and credit information report (CIR) of an applicant before approving loan applications.

A consumer’s credit score has today be…………… continues on Economic Times

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The Road to 850 (Proven Strategies for Increasing Your Credit Score)
This is one book you must have! As a result of the credit crisis, many financial institutions have raised their credit score requi…
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Consumers Tap Phones to Check Credit Scores
News from Bloomberg:

Consumers shopping for a loan or looking to rebuild their credit can use a free mobile application to monitor changes in their credit scores.

The application, for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone, updates users’ credit scores from Experian Plc (EXPN) once a month, in addition to details about how much of their available credit they’re using and their home value, according to a release today by Credit Sesame Inc., which also provides free scores through its website.

“If you’re trying to rent an apartment and the landlord or agent wants to know about your credit, you can go through o…………… continues on Bloomberg

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Smart shopping tips to keep your credit healthy
News from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

(ARA) – ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for most Americans, it’s also the season to shop. While the items on your shopping list are sure to make gift recipients happy, being mindful about financial stress and maintaining good credit should remain top-of-mind.

Going overboard on holiday purchases is all too easy when you’re caught up in the spirit of the season. As many as 14 million people responded to a recent Consumer Reports survey admitting that they’re still paying off purchases from last year’s holiday season.

“If it’s taking more than a year to pay off purchases, you’re possibly on the way to damaged credit,” says Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore Solutions, LLC. “The short term enjoyment that you might get from a purchase could be far outweighed by potential stress that could come later when those credit card bills come due. Resolve now to h…………… continues on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

… Read the full article


Business Plan for How To Start Credit Score Repair and Credit Counseling Services
How would you like to start or expand your business with a professional business plan that’s designed to save you time and money a…