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Even Affluent Women May No Longer Be Eligible for Credit Cards

 

WOW – this article by JEFF LANDERS really spells out how far off the the mark we (OUR elected officials – congress) are with both issuing credit and using credit. We need to protect our self from our self….if i was a woman i would be up in arms about this. Enjoy the read he really does nail this one.

The federal government is cracking down on who can and cannot own credit cards –and for some women, these changes could have dire consequences.

Under new rules in development by the Federal Reserve Board, banks will have to consider a consumer’s individual income as part of the credit card application process. Your household income or assets will no longer factor into the equation if you need credit.

This appears to be yet another law with unintended consequences. Although regulators undoubtedly saw these changes as a way to make it more difficult for consumers without income –particularly, underage students and the unemployed –to get in over their heads with credit card debt, they obviously missed an important point.

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I Didn’t Know There was a Fair Credit Billing Act!

2010 brought about a flood of new consumer protection acts complete with the Fair Credit Billing Act. Have you ever taken a look at your credit card bill and been shocked at your balance only to find out you were billed twice or three times for an item or transaction? Well this is where this Act comes into place. Before this act you were at the mercy of the credit company to take your word that you were overbilled and hoped that they would fix the problem. Now there are official steps you can take to ensure you aren’t overbilled at the mercy of these companies. 

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Identity Theft's Young Victims: How to Protect Your Children's Identities

When we think of identity theft, children are probably not the first victims we might imagine. Unfortunately, more and more kids are being targeted for this crime, and the culprits may not be who you think. Right now, approximately 4% of all identity theft cases involve children, which means roughly 400,000 kids a year are having their futures ruined without their knowledge. * In an article on MSNBC.com, a 24-year old man explained that by the age of 10, his identity had been used to accumulate almost $250,000 in debt and to commit a felony. Another victim, a 9-year old boy, received a collection notice for a $2,000 debt.

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Elderly Financial Abuse: Don’t Miss the Signs

It’s almost hard to believe, but the elderly are by far the number one targets and victims in the United States for identity theft and credit card fraud.The elderly are typically selected because of their established credit histories, a lack of education about credit as well as an increased dependence upon family members. Elderly financial abuse is unfortunately on the rise. The 2011 MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse reported that victims lose an estimated $2.9 billion dollars annually which is up 12 % from 2008. Strangers are responsible for 51% of the elderly abuse crimes, but unbelievably friends or family members commit 34% of these crimes. The Most Common Victims

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Does the American Dream come to those with bad credit?

 

I was asked today if people with bad credit just rent for the rest of their life....

I had to sit back and think for a second because, I knew 10 Praxis Credit Consulting graduates that started our program with scores of 490’s and filed Bankruptcy who just closed on houses in May 2013 alone! So YEAH the American dream of owning a home is ALIVE AND WELL for those with bad credit!

These were all your friends and family members that everyone seems to know right now – one was living with their in-laws in Mesa, another with his brother in Phoenix. You see the stories on the news all the time.

All of these folks just followed the simple road map that we laid out for them to get to their goals of owning a home.
I have to say when – they told me they couldn’t of done it alone it makes me feel pretty good that we are really helping people.

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Do I still owe after a short sale?

A common problem with short sales is that the seller doesn’t know precisely what he or she owes after the sale is final. That’s because short sales are complex contracts and are usually only drawn up in situations that are unfavorable for the seller. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the post-2008 market, and it’s usually the lesser of two evils (the other being the “f-word”: foreclosure).

In many short sales, the bank agrees to discount the repayment of the seller’s home loan. That is, if they bought the house for $120,000 and the sale price is $80,000, the bank will only demand $80,000 in repayment for the $120,000 loan. This sounds like a great deal—and usually it’s the only deal—but there are a couple of things to watch out for.

The first is that $40,000 you made on the loan will probably be counted as income, and the bank will issue a Form 1099 which means that you’ll be on the hook for tax on that income. If you’re really out of money, this is unlikely to cause a real problem, but if you have a little more than most short-sellers, you may be in trouble.

The other issue is that banks will sometimes seek a “deficiency judgment” against sellers. That means that the bank would like to recoup the money you owe them but are unable to pay because of the value of your home. If the seller has not requested that the bank waive its right to seek a deficiency judgment, it’s still on the table. Being unable to pay a judgment can further damage your credit.

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Credit Score Of 800 Not Impossible

 

By now, most consumers with even a minimal history of Credit are aware that something known as a credit score has a tremendous amount of influence on his or her financial lives. The score, a distillation of one’s Credit History reduced to a three-digit number between 350 and 850, represents to the world the overall credit worthiness of the individual that it represents.

A score towards the lower end of the scale means that you are a poor risk for a Credit Card or a loan, while a score at the upper end means that you can get the best rates on just about any Type of lending. Despite what you may think, it is possible to obtain a score in the 800 range. All it takes is time and some discipline.

Here are some tips that will help you achieve a top credit score:

# Don’t have too many credit cards. It’s possible to have too few, and it’s possible to have too many. Too few cards means not enough credit, and too many means that you can potentially get into too much debt. Four or so is probably just about right.

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Identity Theft, Even After You Die

Believe it or not identity theft has moved to the dead. It is compounding more and more family's grief because con artists are digging up identities of the deceased. The identity of someone who has died is becoming an irresistible target to thieves and the death helps buy them time before they are likely to get caught. The scam artists search the obituaries where they find valuable information that gives them a jump start at identity theft. Lengthy obituary and death notices gives crooks more valuable information that they use to do more damage. Identity theft crimes involving the deceased are a dark, shady side of the booming identity theft crime.

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Loan Modification - credit killer!

In Part One of our loan modification post, we discussed the fact that banks are sending unsolicited offers of loan modification to mortgage holders. These deals, which often involve a change from adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) to fixed-rates or partial “principal forgiveness” make a lot of sense from a purely economic standpoint: the banks get to clear their books of “toxic assets” and you get a lower mortgage payment. Unfortunately, the results can ding (or even wreck) your credit score.

 

There are a number of reasons why this is the case. First, the bank reports activity on your account to credit bureaus, which then alter your credit score accordingly. If you modify your loan and the bank submits “settled for less than the full amount due” to a credit bureau, that’s going to hurt you. And while this is technically true, a tiny line item leaves out the important information that it was, in fact, the bank that suggested the modification in the first place. To avoid this, make sure you ask specifically how the bank is going to report the change. If they don’t give you a straight answer right away, be clear that you’re trying to avoid “settled for less than the full amount due”.

 

Further, if the loan modification requires a trial period, especially one that lowers your mortgage payment, that trial period can damage your credit, as the bank will have to report the payment as less than what you owed, even though it’s the amount of money the bank is expecting, and will not respond to the customer as if anything were out of order.

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Loan modification – is the lower payment worth it?

If you’re like an increasingly large number of Americans, you’ve recently received a letter from your bank. And if you’re lucky, it’s not a notice of foreclosure--it’s a letter announcing an offer for a loan modification. The banks are handing these things out like candy these days, and most people, especially those with banks that already have a tendency to try to upsell to their customers, are suspicious.

 

A lot of these loan modifications include options to switch an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage, partial debt forgiveness, and other bells and whistles. And, while the banks are not doing this out of some sudden bout of philanthropy, many unsolicited loan modifications are a good deal for both parties. Before we continue, never ever assume that all loan modification offers come from reputable sources because most are paid advertisements. There are scammers out there that will take you for all your worth if you aren’t vigilant. Real loan modification offers should come from the bank that handles your mortgage.

 

Banks are trying to get ARM loans out of their systems--they’re far more likely to end in default than fixed-rate loans and the government views them as “toxic assets”, which in turn can affect how the government and investors deal with the banks. In short, a farewell to ARMs is a hello to more money for the bank.

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Most of us want a good credit report…

Most of us want a good credit report to obtain automobile financing, credit cards, and to purchase a home. But, beyond these consumer loans, your credit report can cost you in everyday living expenses. What you don’t know about your credit could be costing you money.

Having a credit card means that you can order tickets, rent a car, and reserve hotel rooms. Besides these conveniences, your credit report can mean that you must pay higher deposits and fees for everyday services.

Did you know that your credit history can keep you from getting utility connections, good telephone rates, the best auto insurance, home owner’s insurance, or even keep you from getting hired?

1. Some utility companies set minimum standards for service connections. If your report shows collection accounts for prior utility bills, you may not be eligible for service at all. And if utility companies do agree to connect your service, you’ll need to pay a higher deposit than another customer with good credit who may not need to make any deposit.

2. The same requirements exist for telephone services. People with a good credit history don’t need to pay deposits for home telephone or cell phone services. When we first got a cell phone with poor credit scores, we had to pay a 0 deposit, for one cell phone. After fixing our credit, we got eight cell phones for our business, with zero deposits.

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Overdue Library Books Can Hurt Your Credit Score

As municipal governments increase efforts to collect unpaid parking tickets, dog-catcher fines, library fines and the like, some consumers are seeing a surprising impact—a radical drop in their Credit scores.

To each individual Consumer, the fines in question may be very small and Collection actions may seem petty and unnecessary. For many cities, however, these unpaid fines and fees add up to millions of dollars a year. Those dollars can be collected with little investment by the cities if they’re turned over to private collection agencies.

Private agencies typically charge a percentage of the balance actually collected, so there’s no risk to the government. The risk to consumers who don’t make those payments in a timely manner, however, is significant. That’s because collection agencies report delinquencies to the three major credit reporting agencies. A single collection item can drop your credit score as much as 100 points. Many consumers don’t know that charges like this can affect their credit.

While not all municipalities use private collection firms, the trend is increasing across the country. As government collection activity rises, so does the number of consumers surprised to discover that they’re paying higher interest rates—or being turned down altogether—because the kids lost a library book or they neglected to renew Rover’s license.

If such charges are already appearing on your credit report, you may be able to negotiate their removal in exchange for payment. Getting items removed from your credit report can be a long and stressful process, though, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful. The best defense is to be aware of the risks and make sure you pay those parking tickets on time.

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Refinancing Your Mortgage Loan After Bankruptcy

Though it may seem impossible, refinancing your home loan after going through Bankruptcy is feasible as long as you can meet certain requirements. Finding the right lender is however, a challenging task.
Refinancing After Bankruptcy is Possible

Refinancing a home mortgage is probably one of the few financial transactions that someone who has gone through bankruptcy can achieve within a small period of time after the bankruptcy has been discharged. Since a mortgage loan is secured by an Asset, the usually extremely low Credit score bared by someone with a bankruptcy in his credit report isn’t that detrimental.

Raising your Credit Score

Moreover, refinancing a home loan is an excellent opportunity to raise your credit score and improve Credit History. The monthly payments you make will be recorded into your credit report and this will contribute to a continuous increment on your credit rank. However, since you won’t be able to apply for a refinance home loan till six months after your bankruptcy has been discharged. You need to work hard during this period in order to build a good credit history so as to make sure you get approved for your refinance home loan.

Getting Ready for Applying

In order to do so, you need to make all your payments on time including your current home loan installments. This is essential since any late payments or missed payments may be an obstacle between you and your refinance home loan. If you haven’t done so yet, open a bank account, either a checking or savings account and get a Credit Card. If you can’t get approved for an Unsecured Credit card, don’t hesitate, apply for a Secured Credit card and start using it and making regular payments. All this will help you build a healthy credit history and will ensure you get approved for a refinance loan.

Search for a Lender and ask for Loan Quotes

The search for a suitable lender is the main task you need to complete. You can refinance with the same lender that is currently handling your home loan, but don’t stick to the first offer you receive. Request loan quotes with every lender you run into and even request online quotes as you’ll be able to get much better deals this way.

Pay attention to Interest Rates and other fees

You need to pay special attention not only to the interest rate and fees charged by the lender that will refinance your home loan, but also to any punitive fees that your current mortgage loan lender may charge for pre-cancellation of your loan. These fees and costs may turn refinance too onerous to even consider the possibility. You may have to pay a slightly higher interest rate since you’ve got a bankruptcy on your credit report, however, don’t let lenders take advantage of this situation. This kind of loan is secured by Collateral so there is no reason to charge high interest rates, no matter how low your credit score is.

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Safeguarding Can't Hurt

Will we ever get a break? Not right now. In San Diego, police arrested a postal worker for stealing mail and trading it to identity thieves to support his drug habit.

Another arrest involved the hacking of wireless carrier T-Mobile USA's network. According to Fox News, the attacker gained access to a database of 16 million customers including the personel information of the Secret Service agent investigating the break in.

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Short Sales vs. Foreclosure – The Process

Many of you are probably wondering what you should do with your underwater mortgage, and for some of you, the only options are probably short sale or foreclosure. It’s not an easy question to answer: only licensed financial professionals and realtors should be giving you advice on which to choose, and even then, they should be doing it in person or over the phone. Never, ever take advice from a stranger.

That said, we’re going to go over what the differences between short sales and foreclosures are, so that when you do talk to a professional (in person!) you know a little more what you’re talking about. When it’s your financial survival on the line, you want to make sure you’re as informed as possible.

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Simple Ways to Help Avoid Identity Theft

Each year, thousands of people around the world fall victim to identity theft… the assumption of their identity by others in an attempt to empty their bank accounts, establish fake lines of credit in their name, or to take advantage of current lines of credit and max out any credit cards that they might currently have.

Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take that will help you to avoid identity thieves and keep your personal and financial information private. The tips provided below are designed to help you to protect your identifying information, though in the end the implementation of them is up to you.

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So I Married Bad Credit

Marriage is not only the bringing together of two individuals in love who vow to spend the rest of their lives together, it is also a marrying of two credit histories for better or for worse. Asking the betrothed for complete disclosure of credit histories sounds about as romantic as a prenuptial agreement but may be just as important in some cases. In the interest of full disclosure it is well worth it to be aware of the two credit reports which will soon become one.

Having a serious conversation about credit history even going as far as swapping credit reports before the vows are read may be a make or break deal in the engagement. Like it or not, the three credit bureaus track every facet of an individuals credit history, this includes any joint accounts as well as accounts where one may only be an authorized signer. Whether the accounts are within your ability to pay the bills on time are of no consequence to creditors or the credit rating agencies and whether these items are positive or negative factors on your credit report likewise makes no difference.

If upon finding out that the lovely bride or dashing groom to whom you are engaged has horrifically bad credit, there are ways to protect your own credit the best you can ahead of time. The best way to go about this is to keep all accounts separate until the betrothed is able to restore positive credit, this includes adding one another as an authorized signer. Additionally, there are states within the U.S. considered Community Property States that consider accounts and property acquired prior to marriage sole property of the respective bride or groom throughout the marriage.

It is better to at the very least be aware of the bad credit you may be marrying ahead of time. Financial disagreements are the leading cause of divorce these days and while it may seem that love will conquer all now, it won’t qualify the two of you for that new home to begin your growing family.

 

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So you need to refinance a Conventional Mortgage?

You’re not alone. I’ve heard from hundreds of people about their interest rates coming up for adjustment on their 3, 5, 7 or 15 year interest only loans. The lower mortgage payments on these loans made them oh so tempting back when you were signing the note and deed on your home, but now the payment is about to, or already has, get or gotten really ugly. If you’ve tried to refinance in the past couple of years you’ve probably come across a problem or two, which leaves you unqualified for a much-needed refinance.

I’m sure a short sale or strategic foreclosure has crossed your mind but these should be done at an absolutely last resort. You may want to see if you can qualify for protection under the Housing and Mortgage Protection Act (HAMP). It’s a bit of a long shot but worth the try. If you qualify you could have a principle reduction or temporary lower mortgage payment applied to your mortgage. More than likely you are facing a lack of equity in your home or an ugly credit score.

Most of the recent legislation offering help to homeowners has applied to those with FHA home loans. With a conventional loan you are left out in the cold and facing a harder time qualifying for a refinance. You’re credit score as well as your credit history is two of the top few requirements to qualifying you for a refinance. Lenders are bumping their requirements on minimum credit scores thanks to incredibly low interest rates. It’s time to do everything you can to boost that score in the realm of the 700’s.

What to do:

1. Make all of your monthly mortgage payments on time - These types of late payments will not be received well by prospective lenders and are weighted more heavily than other types of late payments. If you are considering a short sale or foreclosure, WAIT! Let’s exhaust all other options first.

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So you need to refinance an FHA Mortgage?

Let’s look at the positives; at least you’re not trying to refinance a conventional mortgage! FHA loans have been made more easy to qualify for than they were a few years ago thanks to recent legislation. Typically one of the largest disqualifying factors is the homeowners credit score. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a minimum credit score of 620 but good luck finding a lender willing to extend you a loan. Currently you’ll need a score anywhere north of 640.

In the past a low credit score plainly meant that you’d need to pay a higher interest rate, but these days it could mean facing the possibility of losing your home. If you find yourself struggling or unable to make your monthly mortgage, there is help out there. There are a handful of programs for struggling FHA homeowners. Check out www.HUD.gov for a comprehensive list as well as pertinent information.

By improving your credit rating you could qualify for a streamline refinance of your home. Yes, it is called a streamline because it is way more simplistic than a conventional refinance. It would be in your best interest to speak with a licensed mortgage professional to have your credit analyzed within the framework of the mortgage world. One piece of advice, avoid missing your mortgage payments if at all possible.

When refinancing, consider the various loan options available:

Fixed Rate Mortgages – The interest rate will never changed no matter what

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Something Different About Credit Card Debt

There is a major crisis with people falling into large Credit Card debt. Rather than going through the numbers, the statistics and ratios, to help you get a realistic view of your debt situation, this will give you a different perspective.

On any article site, e-zine, printed newspaper or magazine, there are literary millions of write-ups about the condition of our national debt problem. We see TV reports and talkshows about this ever-growing problem. There are millions of tips about everything from debt consolidation, refinancing, and personal debt relief to the all important Credit SCORE.

Now, here is a new and different mode of thinking. If you have credit card debt so extensive, that other financial problems have occurred in your life, why does the credit score really matter at this point? It’s really a low priority in the large scheme of more important life changes you need to start looking at making. If you already own a house, have a job and are to the point where you can’t make ends meet, that credit score will not help you now. So trying to repair it right away or keep it from getting worse is the least of your worries. If you are renting, now is the time to chalk your credit card debt up as a major life learning experience and start to change your attitude about the debt, to pave a healthy road towards future financial goals as well.

It boils down to this, and reading every technicality about how to get out of debt, what will happen if you do A or B, will not solve the physical, mental and emotional turmoil that got you into debt in the first place. This is a task that will require a whole lot more dedication than reading every Source of information on the internet. There are not a lot of articles that deeply cover the changes you will have to make and the majority of them make it all sound so easy. It’s not easy to break free from using credit cards unwisely when it’s a bad habit. It didn’t start out this way, but slowly it got out of hand, because after the bills started piling up and a few unexpected life emegencies happened, you became stuck. Stuck in vicious cycle and this is now the most important part of breaking that credit card habit. Some of the consequences are inevitable and can only be helped as time goes on, with your first decision to stop the cycle. Yes, it’s important to get help or advice if you have been subject to debt Collection agencies. Find out what your rights are by gaining wisdom from those who have experienced it.

People who are in debt are not happy with tendencies towards depression, stress and anxiety. They may start to incur physical health problems as a result. In turn medical care, especially with no insurance plan, causes more bills with added worry and stress. How will it all get paid? This is living a life, where falling apart financially has snowballed into physical, mental and emotional anguish. These three components are the core of your debt problem. There is definitely not enough focus on this aspect of it. Making a plan in your everyday to life start from there can and does actually help.

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