Archive for February, 2012

Rising Credit Scores, Falling Debt: Here’s How To Jump On The Bandwagon
News from www.CreditCards.org:

Congrats average Joes and Janes! Your New Year’s resolutions are paying off. Credit scores are on the up and up, according to CreditKarma.com’s U.S. Credit Score Climate Report.

The trend data for January 2012 shows that the average credit card debt in the U.S. fell eight percent since December, landing at $ 6,069. That helped raise the average consumer credit score one point to 661– the first time since April that credit scores have increased.

Every state can go ahead and pat themselves on the back for paying down credit card debt this month, except for Wisconsin. The Cheeseheads were the only ones to add to their average credit card debt (by four percent).

But let’s focus on the winners. According to the report, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Iowa paid down their debt by the largest percentages. West Virginians have the least amount of mortgage debt. And Wisconsin made up for their credit card debt by claiming the lowest auto debt.

Three Easy Ways To Raise Your Credit Score

There’s no magic spell for fixing a mediocre credit score, and taking your credit from “yuck” to “wow” takes time and financial focus. But here are three simple steps you can take to get a quick score boost:

1. Get a cred…………… continues on www.CreditCards.org

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No Credit Loans With Instant Approvals and No Hidden Fees
News from Albany Times Union:

People with delinquent bills, facing foreclosure or bankruptcy, now have a new resource available providing easy access to money with no credit qualifications for approval. The trusted consumer financial resource for people with bad credit, ReallyBadCreditOffers.com, has announced recommendations for new no credit loans being made available online.

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 29, 2012

Consumers looking for loans with no credit check necessary for qualification can rejoice as the popular loan comparison site, ReallyBadCreditOffers.com has announced the release of two new financial product recommendations. The new personal loans with no credit check being offered use an application process that can be completed in 60 seconds or less and qualified people with bad credit scores can get approved and funded in under 60 minutes.

Consumers with bad credit ratings are often turned down by traditional lenders because of the ‘perceived…………… continues on Albany Times Union

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‘Plastic’ a key tool for building good credit
News from Daily Illini:

As students go off to college, many receive their first credit card and are faced with the challenge of learning how to manage their own money. If anything is to be said about this, responsibility is a must, especially if it comes in the form of a little plastic card.

For a college student, receiving a credit card can be glorious. It gives you the option to spend money, without cold hard cash in your hand. Although this is true, the word ‘credit card’ means more than just a piece of plastic.

“Credit is a situation where one person or one organization loans money to somebody else,” said Kathy Sweedler, a consumer economics
educator through the University Extension Office.

Kevin Waspi, lecturer in finance, defines it more simply as “the ability to have access to other people’s money.”

Using borrowed money can be dangerous, especially for students that are just jumping into the pool of financial responsibility, but obtaining a credit card is a good learning experience.

“(A credit card) gives you an opportunity to practice using credit,” Sweedler said. “Remembering to pay your bill, making decisions about when you want to use your credit card and when you don’t want to use it, those are all things that take practice.”

Ryan Maes and Mike Ferak, seniors in Business and peer educators in the Financial Wellness Center, both agree…………… continues on Daily Illini

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7 smart uses for your tax refund
News from MSN Money:

By Stacy Johnson 16 hours ago

This post is from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

Last year, more than 64 million Americans received an average tax refund of $ 2,985, according to the IRS.

Where did they spend it? Everywhere. On everything from everyday expenses to vacations and big-ticket items like giant TVs, according to a National Retail Federation survey. About two in five said they used the windfall to pay down debt.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder and CPA Stacy Johnson shares a few smart uses for tax refunds. Check it out, and then read on for more ideas…………… continues on MSN Money

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Here’s How To Completely Trash Your Credit Score
News from Business Insider:

tgraham / Flickr

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3 Ways the CFPB Can Improve the Credit Reporting Process
News from MainStreet:

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule earlier this month that would put credit reporting agencies with more than $ 7 million in annual receipts under the agency’s supervision.

The wide range of reporting agencies and methodologies make it an industry ripe for reform and standardization, so here’s what MainStreet would like to see if these companies end up under the CFPB’s jurisdiction.

Entitle consumers to one free credit score each year.

Currently, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles consumers to one free credit report from a major credit bureau – Experian, Equifax or TransUnion – per year. (Available through annualcreditreport.com.) But what many people don’t realize is that the report is delivered without its accompanying score. 

“We strongly advocate you should be able to get a free credit score when you get your free credit report,” says Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.

We agree, since that score gives a better indication of just how bad or how good a person’s credit truly is than the report,…………… continues on MainStreet

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Frugal Feb: How to improve your credit rating
News from DollyMix:

For the majority of people, credit is a fact of life. Even if you never live beyond your means and prefer to avoid credit cards at all costs, everything from mobile phone contracts to mortgages require you to “get credit” and the higher your personal credit rating, the better the deals you’ll be offered.

If you’re new to credit, or are having difficulty being accepted for the product you want, you might be surprised by what lenders are looking for when providing it.

Read on for a few tips on how to get your credit record in excellent shape.

1. Get on the electoral roll

Have you moved house recently? If so, you are likely to have difficulty obtaining credit for one good reason: you won’t be registered to vote at that address yet. Local councils update their electoral roll at regular (but not always frequent) intervals, so they best way to avoid this problem is to register to vote as soon as you have details of your new address. Contact y…………… continues on DollyMix

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Mortgage myths keep some buyers from looking
News from Grand Junction Sentinel:

This home at 3140 Summit Meadows is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows for a 10 percent down payment. Jason Holm with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, three-bath home with 1,948 square feet, for $ 174,900.



Staff

This home at 3140 Summit Meadows is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows for a 10 percent down payment. Jason Holm with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, three-bath home with 1,948 square feet, for $ 174,900.

This home is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows buyer to put a 10 percent down payment instead of the traditional 20 percent. David Durham with Bray Real Estate is listing the three-bedroom, two-bath home for $ 154,900.



Staff

This home is owned by Fannie Mae and is eligible for the Home Path financing program, which allows buyer to put a 10 percent down payment instead of the traditional 20 percent. David Durham with Bray Real Estate…………… continues on Grand Junction Sentinel

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How To Improve Your Credit Score

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Check Out The Best Gas Credit Cards On The Market Right Now
News from Business Insider:

Flickr / danmachold

As numbers on gas pumps climb higher, CardHub’s survey of the best gas credit cards on the market couldn’t come at a better time. 

The card comparison site reviewed over 1,000 credit cards to find which cards offer the most rewards for filling up at the station. 

Gas cards fall into two categories: gas-station affiliated cards and generic cards. Here, we take a look at the best of each. 

Generic gas credit cards

Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards Credit Card—5 percent cash back on gas purchases at any station (when paying at the pump), plus 1 percent cash back on everything else make this card a standout. There’s no annual fee, but you will need to join Pen Fed, which costs $ 15.

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Bank reports live customer dead
News from Petaluma Argus Courier:

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.

Patricia Goddard Sirna, with her big smile, doesn’t come across as dead. But that’s how her bank apparently reported her status, and its killing her credit score.

Enlarge |

Patricia Goddard-Sirna waits for assistance on the phone.

By John O’Hara/ For the Argus-Courier

The 58-year-old retired registered nurse discovered her so-called death about two weeks ago when she tried to have thousands of dollars of solar panels installed on her home.

The solar company…………… continues on Petaluma Argus Courier

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Bank reports live customer dead
News from Petaluma Argus Courier:

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.

Patricia Goddard Sirna, with her big smile, doesn’t come across as dead. But that’s how her bank apparently reported her status, and its killing her credit score.

Enlarge |

Patricia Goddard-Sirna waits for assistance on the phone.

By John O’Hara/ For the Argus-Courier

The 58-year-old retired registered nurse discovered her so-called death about two weeks ago when she tried to have thousands of dollars of solar panels installed on her home.

The solar company, which was financing the installation, told he…………… continues on Petaluma Argus Courier

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Credit Repair Kit For Dummies
Now, you can finally end the cycle of bad credit and get back on your feet by following the step-by-step advice and tools in Credi…
Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Improve, and Protect the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future, 2nd Edition
“A great credit score can help you finish rich! Liz Pulliam Weston gives solid, easy-to-understand advice about how to improve…

Time To Break Out The Mop And Clean Up Your Credit Report

Time To Break Out The Mop And Clean Up Your Credit Report
News from Business Insider:

Flickr / tom.arthur

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Credit Repair Kit For Dummies
Now, you can finally end the cycle of bad credit and get back on your feet by following the step-by-step advice and tools in Credi…
Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Improve, and Protect the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future, 2nd Edition
“A great credit score can help you finish rich! Liz Pulliam Weston gives solid, easy-to-understand advice about how to improve…

Tips and Support to Get Out from Under Your Debt Burden
News from DoD Live:

Brenda S. McDaniel, Program Analyst, Personal Financial Readiness Program
(Military Community and Family Policy)

A better credit score, less stress, and the financial freedom to keep more of your money for yourself–these are just a few of the benefits of paying down your debt. Reducing or eliminating debt also contributes to financial readiness, helping service members focus on the mission at hand instead of worrying about the finances at home. The sooner you address any debt issues, the better, so take control, make a plan, and get started on getting rid of your debt.

The first step on your path to debt reduction is facing your debt problem and resolving to fix it. Discuss your debt with your family or a financial counselor as a way of acknowledging the reality of your situation and taking action to improve it.  Second, stop using credit for at least one day, and use checks, cash, or debit or ATM cards to cover all of your expenses using money you already have. Day by day, try to continue using only cash or its equivalent—not credit—to pay bills and make purchases.

Next, create a spending plan you ca…………… continues on DoD Live

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Credit Management Kit for Dummies (Paperback)


The painless way to manage credit in today`s financial landscape

People with great credit scores are getting turned down for credit cards and loans for homes and cars. What do they need besides a good score? What are lenders looking for now that they are extremely risk-averse? Repairing broken or damaged credit is one thing, but having to meet today`s much stiffer credit standards requiring that consumers consistently manage their credit is another thing all together. Credit Management Kit For Dummies gives you answers to these questions and insight into these concerns, and also walks you down the correct path to credit application approval.

You`ll discover major changes with the Credit CARD (Credit Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure) Act provisions and the new Consumer Financial Protection Legislation Agency; the effect of tightened credit markets on those with good, marginal, or bad credit; new rules and programs including Hope and Government options via the Obama Administration; the best ways to recover from mortgage related credit score hits; tips for minimizing damage after walking away from a home; credit score examples with new ranges; and much more.

  • The pros and cons of credit counselors
  • The quickest and most effective way to undo damage from identity theft
  • Advice and tips about adding information to a credit report, and beefing-up thin credit
  • Guidance for evaluating your Credit Score in today`s economy
  • Fannie Mae`s revised guidelines for purchasing mortgages
  • Information on significant others (boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse) and credit and debt sharing
  • IRS exceptions to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in a mortgage meltdown situation

Not just for those who have bad credit and need to repair it, Credit Management Kit For Dummies also serves as an invaluable resource for those with average credit who want, or need, to manage it to get a job, reduce in
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Common Things That Improve And Lower Credit Scores
News from San Francisco Chronicle:

A credit score is a numeric expression that helps lenders evaluate a person’s credit report and estimate the risk of extending credit or loaning money to people. A person’s credit score is provided to lenders by the three major credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The most common credit score is the FICO score, named after software developer Fair Isaac and Corporation.

Since a person’s credit score affects his or her ability to qualify for different credit types and varying interest rates, it is in a person’s best interest to achieve the highest credit score possible. Understanding the factors that can negatively affect a credit score can help people work towards a more favorable score. This article will introduce how a FICO score is calculated, what factors are not included in a FICO score, and the common things that lower a person’s credit score.

How is the FICO Score Calculated?
It is helpful to understand what factors are considered when determining a person’s credit score. A FICO score is based on five factors:

  • 35%: payment history
  • 30%: amounts owed
  • 15%: length of credit history
  • continues on San Francisco Chronicle

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Realtors share the 10 top myths about credit scores
News from San Jose Mercury News:

Since lenders have tightened their loan requirements, there has been much concern about credit. Unfortunately, many borrowers do not have the correct information about how credit scores are evaluated, according to professional credit specialists.

“Certain facts about credit will affect you and any financial decision you make or are about to make, so it’s important to have the correct information,” says Julie Macc, a certified credit and identity theft specialist with the Century Law Group.

Macc notes your credit score is based on the following components: past delinquencies, 35 percent; debt ratio, 30 percent; average age of file, 15 percent; mix of credit, 10 percent; and inquiries, 10 percent. She asked members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors to share with their clients the following top myths about these components and how credit scores are evaluated.

Myth No. 1: It is good to pay your credit card balance in full. If you pay off a balance and leave a zero balance account, you will have no payment history. After six months, some companies look at it as an inactive account, which can be closed due to inactivity. It is best to leave a small balance every month (ideally 1 percent) to show you can pay on time.

Myth No. 2: I don’t need to check my credit because I pay my bil…………… continues on San Jose Mercury News

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Keeping credit reporting firms, debt collectors honest
News from Los Angeles Times:

Pamela Johnson of Orange is one of many people who has recently received notices from a debt collector called West Bay Acquisitions over supposedly unreturned Hollywood Video DVDs.

The video-rental chain’s parent company, Hollywood Entertainment, was purchased by an outfit called Movie Gallery in 2005. Five years later, Movie Gallery went out of business, selling its portfolio of outstanding customer obligations to West Bay Acquisitions.

Johnson, 68, said she was “dumbfounded” to receive a notice the other day saying she owes $ 24.43 for several DVDs that she rented from Hollywood Video in 2009 and never returned.

“I’ve never kept any DVDs,” she said. “I never had any problem with Hollywood Video at all.”

However, she has no receipt from 2009 attesting to her video-rental honesty — who would? — so she isn’t sure how to keep the debt collector at bay, or whether her credit score could be harmed if she ignores West Bay’s claims.

As it stands, debt collectors are largely unregulated by the federal government. They fall mainly under the purview of states, which may or may not have the wherewithal to ensure that consumers are treated fairly.

But new rules proposed by the

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