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Archive for February, 2009

Looking For An Unsecured Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 27th, 2009 | Filed under: credit cards

Some individuals compare finding an unsecured credit card when you have bad credit to searching for buried treasure and the individuals that actually find them are very lucky.  Finding a credit card when you have bad credit is getting harder each year and the average interest rate that individuals are expected to pay continues to climb.  There are some ways that may make it easier for an individual to find a good unsecured credit card that they can be approved for.

Beware Of Scams
The hardest part of finding a good unsecured credit card is shifting through all of the scams and false promises of less than honest credit card companies to find a real deal.  There are many individuals out there that are only interested in tricking you into divulging your personal information in order to steal your identity.  Some dishonest credit card companies will offer people that have bad credit a credit card, and then charge numerous fees to the credit card before even sending the credit card which the credit card applicant is responsible for repaying.

Review The Interest Rate Offered
Another trick that the credit card company may use to get a person to think that you are getting a good unsecured credit card is giving the individual a low initial interest rate for a set period of time and then raising the interest rate by a significant amount.  Potential customers are lured into applying for the credit card by the fact that they will get a low interest rate without realizing that the rate only applies to the first few months that the account is opened, after which, the interest rate for the credit card skyrockets by 10% or more increasing the balance of the credit card by a significant amount each month.  It is very important to read all of the terms and conditions for the credit card prior to applying for the credit card to be sure that there are not any unpleasant surprises in store for the future.

Compare Different Types Of Credit Card
If an individual is interested in finding a good unsecured credit card, the individual must be willing to compare different types of credit card products to see which ones fit their needs the best.  Many individuals overpay for their credit cards because they haven’t taken the time to find out if the credit card is right for their needs.  You will want to get the credit card with the highest credit limit amount and the lowest interest rate.

There are literally hundreds of different credit card products available from a number of different credit card companies and each of them may offer different products for people with bad credit.  The trick is to find the credit card with the features that you want at a credit card company that is willing to give you the lowest interest rate for the longest period of time.  This is the only way for an individual to find a good unsecured credit card.

What To Do When A Credit Card Application Has Been Refused

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 26th, 2009 | Filed under: credit cards

Many people have chosen to apply for credit cards using an internet credit card application because of the ease and simplicity of applying for the credit card and the speed in which the card can be obtained.  But what should you do if your credit card application has been refused?  The refusal of your credit card application is not the end of the line as there are numerous things you can do to try and get approved for the credit card.

Find Out The Reason For The Refusal
The first thing that the person should be concerned about when their credit card application has been refused is finding out why the application has been refused.  There are numerous reasons why the application may have been refused and knowing the reason for the refusal may help you decide which steps to take next.  Typically, people only apply for a credit card when they need the funds in a short amount of time, so it is important that you find out the reason for the refusal as soon as possible.

Applications Submitted Within A Short Time Period
Some of the reasons that your credit card application may be refused can be benign, such as an application to that credit card company has been made using the same information within the last two months.  In many cases, applications from people that have sent in an application to the same credit card company within the last two months are automatically refused without any further review.  If you have applied for a credit card within the last two months, there is no reason to be alarmed by the refusal, but if you do not remember applying for a credit card within the last few months, you may have been a victim of identity theft.

Unqualified For That Particular Type Of Credit Card
In some cases, the credit card application has been refused because the person’s salary is too low for the credit card that they are attempting to obtain.  If the credit card has been refused because of a low personal salary, there are several options for the person to choose from.  They have a choice of reapplying for the same type of credit card from a different credit card company in the hopes that the application is approved or applying for a credit card that has a lower value and less attractive features.  There are many reasons why a credit card application can be refused and knowing the reason why will tell you what steps you should take next.

If you can’t apply for a regular credit card, there are specific credit cards that allow people to rebuild their credit. One of the best resources to find credit cards for rebuilding credit is BankVibe.

Reduce Your Credit Card Debt And Repair Your Credit Quickly

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 25th, 2009 | Filed under: credit cards, debt relief

Many individuals do not realize just how damaging credit card debt
can be.  Although circumstances do occur which are out of our control, a history of late payments and non-payments on your credit cards can destroy your ability to obtain financial help in the future when needed.  It can also skyrocket the interest rate you will have to pay to obtain any type of credit card.  Because credit card companies look at the overall financial history of the individual requesting the credit card, paying off the debts just before submitting a credit card application will do you no good.  But there are things that you can do to improve credit card debt and repair your credit rating.

Obtain Your Credit Report

The first step to improving credit card debt is to obtain your credit information from each of the three credit bureaus that hold credit information in the United States.  These three credit reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  Not all companies report to all three agencies, so it is important to obtain all three to ensure that all of your bases are covered.  Any credit accounts that are not yours will need to be removed from the report and any accounts that have been paid that are still showing on your credit report as delinquent will also need to be fixed.

Completing this step may make reducing your credit card debt much easier.  Most companies are willing to remove the negative actions on previous credit cards from the credit report once you have brought their attention to the fact that the reporting is incorrect.  If any company refuses to cooperate and remove inaccurate information from the credit report, the individual has the ability to file a dispute and let the credit bureau know that there are mistakes in their credit history.  The credit bureau will investigate these claims and correct any information that they find to be incorrect.

Create A Payment Plan

Once the credit report has been corrected, it is time to start paying off any other credit card debts that are present on the credit report or that the person is holding at the time, starting with the ones with the highest interest rates.  Although paying off credit cards will not give you a perfect credit report, it will go a long way towards showing the companies that you are a responsible individual that is taking care of your financial obligations.  Reducing credit card debt may take a long time and during this time, your interest rates will be much higher than for individuals that have a good credit rating.  By reducing credit card debt, you will be increasing your financial opportunities for the future.

Want To Save Money On Car Insurance? Consider ‘Pay-As-You-Drive’ Insurance

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

In many states, you have to maintain a certain level of car insurance coverage in order to be able to drive legally, but with many households taking a financial hit due to the economic downturn that has hit the country, paying for car insurance is an expensive monthly charge.  Some car insurance companies have taken this into account and have started to offer pay-as-you-drive insurance coverage, where driving less each year equals a lower insurance premium each month.

How Does It Work?

To participate in the pay-as-you-drive insurance program, the driver must obtain an electronic monitoring device that allows the insurance company to monitor the mileage that is being placed on the car each month.  Depending on the amount that the person drives the car each month, they could realize a savings of up to 54% off of the regular insurance rate for their age, car, and driving history.

The program is designed to be a fair alternative to high insurance rates for people that do not drive a great deal during the year.  The program is great for people that regularly drive less than 8,000 miles per year, such as people that have a short commute to work, regularly take the bus or subway, or work from home with a job that does not require a great deal of driving.

Things To Consider

Many people are wary about signing up for the pay-as-you-drive program because the electronic device that is added to the car can monitor more than just the mileage that is being placed on the car.  People are skeptical about allowing the monitoring device to transmit too much information about their driving habits to the insurance company and do not believe that the information that is not related to mileage that is transmitted to the insurance company will not be used against them in some way in the future. 

Although the insurance companies that offer these programs say that the information that is obtained from the devices will not be used in any way other than disclosed in the program’s terms and conditions, many people believe that their privacy concerns are justified and will not give the insurance company an opportunity to obtain information about their driving habits.  These companies already use personal information about you to determine how much of a driving risk you will be, including where you live and your personal driving record, so it is not a stretch to believe that any other information that is willingly submitted to the insurance company will be used in the same fashion.

The Economic Stimulus Package: What Does It Mean To Me?

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 22nd, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Now that the economic stimulus package has been passed in both the House of Representative and the Senate and has been signed by the President, many people are wondering how the economic stimulus package is going to help them.  There has been a great amount of speculation about what the economic stimulus package will actually accomplish and how fast the effects of the economic stimulus package will be felt by the general population, but the one thing that many people can agree on is the help is needed and the federal government may be the best solution for that help.

Job Creation

At a time where millions of people are being laid off and being forced onto the unemployment rolls, job creation is one of the most important goals of the economic stimulus package.  Estimated to create or save 3 million jobs in the short term and fuel job growth for the long term, the stimulus package provides government funding for infrastructure projects in nearly every state in the nation.  The creation of millions of well paying jobs will stabilize the financial future of the people that have few job prospects in this economic downturn.

Tax Breaks

During negotiations with the Republicans in Congress, tax breaks for individuals and companies were added to the economic stimulus package as a way to put more money into the pockets of average citizens and allow business owners to keep more of their profits to fuel expansion and job creation. The taxes for the general public will be seen as a reduction in the payroll taxes that are taken out of each paycheck from an employer. Although the weekly amount seems small at an average of $14 per week, over the course of the next year the average individual will pay around $700 less in payroll taxes.
Housing Assistance

A portion of the economic stimulus bill was crafted to arrest the soaring amount of home foreclosures that are occurring across the country.  Massive numbers of foreclosures are occurring in nearly every city in the nation, depressing house values and creating ghost towns in once thriving communities.   Many experts believe that without a stabilization of the housing market, a stabilization of the economy can never occur and the mess in the housing market was the catalyst for many of the problems that are occurring today.

The goal of the foreclosure relief provisions of the economic stimulus package are not to reward the people that applied for homes that they clearly could not afford or to reward speculators that made bad bets on the housing market.  The provisions of that portion of the economic stimulus package is to help make ridiculous payments caused by skyrocketing interest rates more affordable so that families can stay in their homes and off of the streets.  There are a number of different ways that the stimulus package is meant to help average Americans, both in the next few months and for years to come.

Smart Money Moves To Make With Your Tax Refund In 2009

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 20th, 2009 | Filed under: saving

Millions of people will be receiving an income tax refund check from the federal government this year because of an overpayment of their taxes throughout the year.  Once these people get these checks into their hot little hands, they imagine all sorts of things to spend this new “free” money on.  This year, many people are planning on doing something much smarter with their income tax refund check; they are planning on making their money work for them.

Pay Off Existing Debts

For many people, the best thing that they can do with their income tax refund check is to use the money to pay off or pay down some of their existing debts.  Although it may be tempting to use the money to purchase tickets for an exotic vacation, using the money to pay off existing debts is a much smarter money move because of the amount of money that paying off the debts can save you in the long run.  It is estimated that the average adult in the United States has at least $5,000 in existing debt today.

By using the money to pay off or pay down an existing debt, the person will be eliminating future interest charges associated with carrying a balance on the account.  Paying off the account will also eliminate the risk of late payment charges, over-limit charges, finance charges, or a higher interest rate being levied against the account in the future.  By paying off the account when you have the chance, you will be increasing your financial freedom for the future as well as freeing up the portion of your funds that was going towards paying the account each month.

Make A Major (Needed) Purchase

If you have been putting off getting a new hot water heater for your home or your refrigerator is on the fritz, then there is no better time to pay for the needed purchase than when you have the money in hand from your income tax refund check.  In many cases, paying for these items could cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket, an amount of money that may be hard to come by all at once at other times of the year.  Making these major purchases using the money from your income tax refund check means that you will be avoiding paying interest on the purchase, as you would if you were to place the purchase on a credit card or apply for financing through the company.

Place The Money Into Savings

If you are fortunate enough to not have a great deal of outstanding debt and there are no pressing purchases that need to be made for the good of the family, then the best place to put the money from your income tax refund check is in a savings account.  By placing the money into a savings account, you reduce the temptation to spend the money on frivolous things and hold the money in reserve for future needs.  In many cases, the person can have the money from their income tax refund directly deposited into the savings account by the IRS to make sure that every penny goes into the account.

How Does The Debt Collection Process Work?

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 18th, 2009 | Filed under: collections

In today’s world of mass credit defaults, many people are finding themselves facing the debt collection process with one or more of their creditors.  Understanding how this debt collection process works can help a person determine what course of action they should be taking and what will happen next.

The First 30 Days
In the first thirty days after a bill has become due, the company that has sent the bill takes some predictable actions.  For the first two weeks, the company may not do anything about the payment except charge a late payment fee to the account, which can be for any amount between $5 and $50.  The amount of the fee is typically dictated by the company and disclosed in the terms and conditions of the service agreement that was accepted by you.

After the first two weeks have passed, the company may begin to call to remind you to make your payment or to inquire when a payment will be made.  The calls are typically made by representatives of the company that holds the account and automated messages are left by the company for the person to contact the company about their account at their earliest convenience.

Between 30 And 60 Days
After 30 days have passed, the company begins to take additional action against the account holder.  It is within this time period that most companies report the missed payment to the three major credit bureaus for reflection on the person’s credit history.  Once this action has been reported to the credit bureaus, it will remain on the credit report for up to seven years.  The only way for this item to be removed from the credit history is for the person to dispute the information and prove that an error was made.

Once the missed payment has been reported to the credit bureau, the calculation of your credit score will reflect the missed payment.  The effect that the missed payment will have on the person’s credit score will vary from person to person depending on what other information has been reported to the credit reporting bureau within the last few months.  After the original missed payment has been reported, the creditor may choose to report the status of the account on a regular basis until the missing amount has been paid to the company.

At any time after 90 days, the creditor that holds the account can hire a debt collection agency to attempt to collect on the debt on the company’s behalf.  These debt collection agencies are responsible for maintaining contact with the debtor to attempt to collect on all or part of the debt that is owed.  These debt collection agencies can pursue you for the debt that is owed until the debt has expired but they are often interested in making a deal for the repayment of part of the debt to settle the account.

Can A Debt Settlement Company Review Help Me Choose The Right Company?

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 14th, 2009 | Filed under: debt relief

The best information sources available about different types of companies are the reviews given by ordinary people who have used the company before you.  A debt settlement company review can provide many different types of important information for the person that is thinking about using one of these companies, including what to expect from the company, what financial solutions the company offers, and what types of debt settlement the company focuses on.  Every person that is considering debt settlement should take a look at a debt settlement company review before deciding which company to use.

Where Can I Find A Debt Settlement Company Review?

A debt settlement company review can be found in a number of different places and each type of review will focus on different types of information about the companies, so it is best to use at least two sources of information.  One of the best places to find a debt settlement company review is from family members, friends and acquaintances that have used one of these companies in the past and would be willing to describe what they liked and disliked about the company to you.  These are the people that know you the best and will be able to tell you about the things that will be of interest to you and fill you in on the things that may annoy you about a debt settlement company.

When obtaining a debt settlement company review from friends and family members, it is important to remember that all companies are not exactly alike, so the solutions that they have been offered and the things that they have done with their companies may not be available with the company that you use.  These reviews are obtained to give you a general idea of what you can expect after using the company and what things you may want to look out that may indicate a bad company to use.

Another place to obtain a debt settlement company review is on websites dedicated to different types of debt settlement solutions.  This may be the best place to find out what debt settlement options are available to you and the level of expertise that you would prefer in a debt settlement company.  Although these websites will give good tips in their debt settlement company reviews, the reviews are generally positive because they are trying to entice people to use these companies and do not want to say anything negative that may cause people to turn away from using the company.

For a truly objective debt settlement company review, you will need to find a website that offers consumer reviews on different companies and debt settlement solutions.  These websites allow anyone to post their comments about the companies they have used to help inform others that may be considering using the same company.  The debt settlement company review that is found on these websites will contain both the good experiences and the bad experiences that occurred for these individuals, which can show you which companies to seek out and which ones to avoid.

The Benefits Of Obtaining Your Credit Report From A Credit Reporting Agency

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 12th, 2009 | Filed under: credit score

A report from a credit reporting agency has become a very important financial document for any person that is interested in engaging in credit transactions in the future.  A report from a credit reporting agency and your score from a credit reporting agency are used by a wide variety of businesses to determine your level of responsibility and credit worthiness.  There are several reasons why every individual should obtain their report from a credit reporting agency at least twice per year.

Know Your Credit Standing
You should review your report from a credit reporting agency so that you know your credit standing before applying for credit products or making major purchases that require financing.  Reviewing your credit standing before allowing someone to pull your report from a credit reporting agency will reduce the risk of getting any unpleasant surprises or being taken advantage of by unethical businesses.  Reviewing your report from a credit reporting agency also ensures that you are not shopping for an item that you will not be able to finance.

Correct Any Incorrect Information
Individuals should obtain their report from a credit reporting agency because creditors often make mistakes when it comes to reporting financial information to credit bureaus.  As much as we would like to believe that the report from a credit reporting agency will be accurate, the truth is that nearly a quarter of credit reports that are reviewed regularly have incorrect information on them.  Items that may be incorrect include credit limits, late payments, missed payments, account balances, and charged off payments.  By law, a credit reporting agency is required to investigate and provide a correction for any information that is found to be incorrect on the document.

Protection From Identity Theft
An individual should obtain their report from a credit reporting agency at least twice per year to ensure that they have not been a victim of identity theft.  The cases of identity theft found across the nation have increased dramatically as more and more people choose to purchase items and provide information over the internet.  There are many different ways that your identity can be stolen by thieves and the result can be financially devastating.  Your report from a credit reporting agency should be reviewed carefully for any accounts that you do not recall opening in order to determine whether you have been a victim of identity theft.  If there are any discrepancies that are noticed, you should contact the creditor and the credit bureau immediately to alert them to the issue.

How to Get Out of Payday Loans

Written by admin on Feb 9th, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  If you got a payday loan to get yourself out of a financial jam previously, chances are you’re struggling more now than you were before you got the loan.  In theory, a payday loan helps you make it from one paycheck to the next; but the majority of people are unable to pay the loan back by their next paycheck.  The result is exorbant interest fees and finance charges that are far more than the amount you borrowed.  The longer you take the pay the loan back, the worse your financial situation becomes.

If you have a payday loan, you  need to find a way to pay it off and then avoid using them in the future.  They seem to be the answer to your financial prayers when you get them – but quickly become your recurring nightmare when they’re too difficult to pay off on time.

Here are some suggestions for getting out of payday loans:

Borrow from a friend or family member.

Most everyone has a friend or family member they could turn to in times of need.  Having a payday loan you’re not able to pay off immediately classifies as a time of need!  You can work out a reasonable repayment schedule (with or without interest).  It may hurt your pride a bit to have to ask for help, but if you don’t pay off the payday loan, you’re going to continue growing more debt through the finance fees and high interest.

Ask for an employee loan:
If you don’t have close friends or family who can or are willing to help, you  may be able to get a cash advance, or borrow money, from your place of employment.  Some companies will loan money to employees for an agreed upon payment out of each of your paychecks until the money is paid off.  It’s not something you can expect to make a habit of, but if you’re able to get a loan from your employer, you can use it to get yourself out of the payday loan that is causing you ongoing financial difficulty.

Set up a budget and repayment plan.

If you are unable to obtain the full amount of money you borrowed from another source to pay off your payday loan, you have to set yourself up with a budget and payment plan.  Your payday loan has a repayment schedule that you agreed to when you obtained the cash.  The longer you take to repay your loan, the more it will cost you.  It’s in your best interest to do everything you can to send more money to pay it off quicker.

Cancel all unnecessary expenses to free up more money in your budget.  You can stop eating take out or going to restaurants and apply that money directly to the payday loan.  You can cut back on utility use, eat spaghetti at home instead of buying steaks, reduce or cancel your cable television bill.  There are many ways to reduce the amount of money you are spending, and each time you find a way to reduce your expenses use the difference in spending to pay down your payday loan.

If you can take on odd jobs or work overtime, now is a great time to do so and use the extra money to pay off the loan.  As soon as you pay off the loan, work on getting money in the bank so you’ll never be tempted to use a payday loan again.