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Archive for September, 2009

New Credit Card Rules From The Federal Reserve

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 30th, 2009 | Filed under: credit cards

For the past year, our representatives in Congress have been working on legislation that will curb some of the worst abuses in the credit card industry and protect consumers from predatory practices a little bit more.  These rules have been proposed before and some were even included in legislation that passed this past May, but Congress wants to enact these rules and add a few more to make sure that their constituents are being protected.

Curbing Unexpected Interest Rates
The new rules would protect consumers from unexpected and unwarranted rises in the interest rates charged to their credit accounts.  The card issuer would be prohibited from increasing the base interest rate charged to the account for the first year after the account has been opened.  They would also be prohibited from increasing the interest rate on an existing card balance, with new interest rate increases applying to only to new charges on the account.

Curbs On Over Limit Charges
The new rules would restrict the practice of enrolling all card holders into the credit card company’s “over-limit protection service” which enables the credit card company to pay for charges that go over the person’s credit limit and charge a hefty transaction fee for each charge they approve.  Under the new rules, the consumer would have to approve each charge that would go over their credit limit and agree to the charge that will be levied against the account.

Curbs On Additional Fees
Many of the subprime credit cards that were issued in the past few years included significant fees that were charged to the credit card before the credit card was sent to the customer.  The new rules would restrict the amount of fees a credit card company could charge to the credit cards of subprime borrowers.

New Age Restrictions
Because of the number of issues occurring with the credit accounts of those between the ages of 18 and 21, new rules would prohibit credit card issuers from opening a credit account for anyone under the age of 21 unless they meet specific criteria.  The person that is applying for the credit account will have to supply supporting documentation that illustrates their ability to make the required payments for the credit card.  If they are unable to provide this documentation, then they must have a parent or other co-signer on the account with them taking responsibility for the account.

Choose A Credit Repair Company With Care

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 28th, 2009 | Filed under: credit score

Many of the people that would like to find a way to complete a credit repair program quickly do not understand the importance of finding a good credit repair company.  There are thousands of credit repair companies across the nation and each one is charged with matching each person to the credit repair process that is best for their needs and their financial situation.  Finding a good credit repair company can be very important for being able to get out of debt and be able to secure credit for the future.

Understanding How The Credit Repair Process Works

The credit repair company can provide the person with the steps that are needed to complete the credit repair process and remain out of debt.  Most people do not seek credit repair frequently so they may not understand all of the terms that are used during the credit repair process.  Some programs have many requirements for the person to follow and will require the person to give the company lots of personal information to accurately judge the person’s ability to repay their debts. 

The representative of the credit repair company will go over the paperwork and explain about the credit repair requirements for the different types of programs available from the company.  The person seeking credit repair should know about the different types of programs available and the requirements for each one before determining which program is the best for their needs.  The representative can answer any questions that the person may have and help them find the right type of program for their current financial situation. 

A good credit repair company will pride themselves on the relationship that they have with their customers and will do their best to maintain a positive reputation.  A credit repair company knows that the loss of reputation in their targeted area could be something that could destroy the company because nobody wants to go to a credit repair company that may be charging excessive fees or driving their customers deeper into debt.  For this reason, a credit repair company will do their best to provide their customers with the best credit repair solutions for their needs.

A Coupon Comeback?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 27th, 2009 | Filed under: Uncategorized

Although the use of coupons has been around for many years, in recent years the number of coupons redeemed has declined by a significant amount.  Coupon use topped out in the early 1990’s with nearly 8 billion coupons being redeemed each year, but in 2006, that number had dropped to little more than 2 billion.  Now, mainly due to the economic recession, more people are discovering how much they can save on a wide variety of items by using coupons.  There are several different places where a person can find coupons that can be used at a number of different retailers for various items.

Newspaper Inserts
Many companies choose to distribute coupons for their products through local newspapers, typically the Sunday edition.  In these newspaper inserts, coupons can be found for items as varied as baby furniture, toothpaste, and restaurants as well as everything in between.  These newspaper inserts also contain the sales flyers of various retailers showing which items are discounted in the store for a specific time period.  By using the information and coupons available in these news inserts, a person can save hundreds of dollars each year off of the cost of the items that they usually buy.

Direct Mail Coupons
Some retailers choose to mail their coupons directly to customers instead of relying on newspapers to distribute their coupons throughout the city.  These retailers may target a specific area of the city, close to where their store is located, or choose to only mail coupons to previous customers that have provided them with their mailing address.  These coupons may come as a flyer from a single retailer or bundled with other retailer’s coupons in an envelope.  Sometimes, these direct mail coupons include coupons for vehicle maintenance, pizza, local restaurants, and home improvement items.

Coupons From Websites
Because of the popularity of the internet, many retailers are beginning to offer coupons for their items on online websites.  Some websites contain many different types of coupons from various retailers and will allow the coupons to be printed from the website with a home printer so that the coupons can be taken to the physical store.  Other websites program the coupons onto the person’s store loyalty card so when the card is scanned at the store, the discounts are automatically taken off of the total.  Some store websites will have coupon codes listed on the website that can be used at the store’s website or a physical retail location.

Find Money Management Tips That Are Good For Getting Out Of Debt

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

Choosing the right kind of tips for getting out of debt can be difficult.  Many people would like to take control of their financial future and take the steps needed to reduce or eliminate the amount of debt that they hold, but they do not want to spend a great deal of money for the advice.  Many of these people seek out tips that can be used for getting out of debt that are less expensive, or free, but are still effective at debt elimination.

There are many places available where a person can find tips that the person would be comfortable using and knowing where to look for these money management tips is half of the battle.  Because most financial advisors charge a hefty fee by the hour for their advice, people that would like to find the absolute best price on tips that are good for getting out of debt will need to look in places that are more unconventional.

Money Management Websites

For most people, the best place to find tips that are good for getting out of debt is on a money management advice website.  Many of these online websites are run as small businesses and the low overhead of the business ensures that the company can keep their costs low while providing money management tips at a reasonable price for consumers.  Some of these websites require that the person become a member of their website in order to access the information while other websites allow anyone to have access to the tips found on their website.

Some of the most unique and effective money management tips you can find are found at these online websites.  These tips have been used successfully by many people for getting out of debt and the success of these methods have encouraged people to share their stories and recommendations for the best ways to manage money until all of your debt has been eliminated.

Many people prefer to find tips that are good for getting out of debt online because it allows them to compare many money management tips from different experts and choose the best ones for their current financial situation.  Different people have different ideas about the best course of action to take for getting out of debt and may decide to follow the advice of a particular expert because it conforms to their ideas on the best ways to reduce their debt load.

How To Find Good Information About Personal Loan Lenders

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 20th, 2009 | Filed under: loans

A personal loan lender can provide many different types of loans and tailor the personal loan to a person’s individual financial circumstances.   Every person that is considering using a lender to obtain a personal loan should take a look at several different personal loan lenders before deciding which lender to use.  There is certain information that will be needed by a person that is thinking about using one of these lenders, including what to expect from the lender and what types of loan the lender focuses on.  It is very important for anyone that is considering obtaining a personal loan to know where to look for good information about personal loan lenders.

Where Can I Find Information On A Personal Loan Lender?

Information about a personal loan lender can be found in a number of different places and each source may focus on different types of information about the lenders, so it is best to use at least two sources of information.  One of the best places to find information about a personal loan lender is from family members, friends and acquaintances that have used one of these lenders in the past and would be willing to describe what they liked and disliked about the lender 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 personal loan lender.

When obtaining information about a personal loan lender from friends and family members, it is important to remember that all loans are not alike, so the things that they have experienced with their loans may not be available with the loan that you choose.  The information about the lenders and their loans is obtained to give you a general idea of what you can expect when using the lender and what things you may want to look out that may indicate a bad lender to use.

Another place to obtain information about a personal loan lender is on websites dedicated to lenders and different types of loans.  This may be the best place to find out what types of loan you may like the best and the level of communication that you would prefer with a personal loan lender.  Although these websites will give good tips about different types of personal loan lenders, the information is generally positive because they are trying to entice people to use these lenders and do not want to say anything negative that may cause people to turn away from using the lender.

For truly objective information about a personal loan lender, you will need to find a website that offers consumer reviews on different lenders and loans.  These websites allow anyone to post their comments about the lenders they have used to help inform others that may be considering using the same lender.  The personal loan lenders that are found on these websites will have both the good experiences and the bad experiences that occurred for these individuals detailed, which can show you which lenders to seek out and which ones to avoid.

Why Should I Review A Mortgage Lender’s Website?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 19th, 2009 | Filed under: loans

Many people choose to go to a mortgage lender website when they are considering purchasing residential real estate.  A mortgage lender will handle most of the residential real estate transactions in the area and will be able to provide the person with the financing to purchase the properties that the person is interested in.  Some mortgage lender websites provide more valuable information than others, such as detailed information about some of the loan products available for purchasing residential real estate and what the common loan amounts and interest rates are in the area that the person is interested in. 

What Can Be Found On A Mortgage Lender Website?

When choosing a mortgage lender to help the person finance the purchase of residential real estate, checking out their website may be a good indication of whether the mortgage lender is right for the person.  On a typical mortgage lender website, there will be limited information about the mortgage lender.  However, the best mortgage lender websites will have information about the experience of the mortgage lender, information about the communities they service, a description of the different loan products that they have available, and multiple methods for the person to get into contact with the company to talk about obtaining a residential real estate loan. 

A mortgage lender that includes a great deal of information about the different types of loan products the lender has to offer will generally receive much more internet traffic than websites that offer less information about the loans.  Many people that are purchasing a home for the first time often have no idea of what types of mortgage loan products will be available to them.  By having the information about the loan products on the website, the mortgage lender will attract the person’s interest which makes it more likely that the person will choose them to do business with. 

One thing that every mortgage lender should place on their website is information about the company and their mortgage loan brokers.  Completing a residential real estate transaction can be a strenuous process and people are much more comfortable working with someone completely dedicated to the process when making a large financial decision for their personal lives, such as obtaining a mortgage loan.  By including some information about the mortgage lenders on the site, the lenders seem more friendly and easier to talk to about your personal financial situation.

Closing Credit Accounts Can Crater Your Credit Score

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 17th, 2009 | Filed under: credit score

In these times of extreme volatility in the credit markets, most consumers are trying to do everything that they can to maintain their credit rating and ensure that they will be able to obtain credit when it is needed.  Along with insuring that all payments are made on time and refraining from using a large percentage of available credit, there are a number of steps that a person can take to maintain or increase their credit score.  What many people do not realize is that there are numerous ways to wreck their credit score as well, with one of the most common being closing credit accounts.

How Does Closing Accounts Affect My Credit Score?

Closing your open credit accounts may seem like a good idea when you are trying to save money and decrease the chances that you will make a mistake with the account, such as missing a payment or going over the credit limit.  People that have gone through the process of paying off hefty credit card bills may feel more financially secure when they no longer have those credit cards to use, erasing the temptation of placing items that they cannot afford on the credit card.  Unfortunately, this is one of the fastest ways to destroy your credit score.

The reason why closing credit accounts can do so much damage to your credit score so quickly is because reducing the number of credit accounts in your name reduces the amount of credit available to you.  A large portion of the credit score calculation is based on the amount of debt a person holds relative to the amount of credit that a person has available to them.  For example, a person that has $15,000 of credit available on multiple credit cards but only has a balance of $5,000 is only using 30% of their available credit, which is good in the eyes of the credit rating agencies.  But if the person closes a $5,000 credit account because they are not using the credit card, their available credit amount drops to $10,000 and they are now using 50% of their available credit, a level that can knock points off of their credit score.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to leave credit accounts that you are not using open, having the credit available to you can be more beneficial than closing the account and taking the hit to your credit score.

Simple Ways To Save Money On Appliances And Other Big Purchases

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 15th, 2009 | Filed under: saving

Are you looking to purchase a new appliance for your home?  Maybe the television is broken and needs replaced or the washer is not working in the way that it is supposed to.  For these types of purchases, buying the items new from a retail store can end up costing you hundreds of dollars, not to mention the cost of delivery and installation.  Many people feel that this is their only real option to get the items that they need, but in reality, there are a number of different resources that a person can use to save 20% or more on any of their big purchases.

Newspaper Sales Flyers
Every week, many major retail companies pay to have their advertising or sales flyer inserted into the local newspaper of the city or town that they serve.  This way, they can alert their customers and any potential customers to the items in their store that will be on sale for the week.  If you are looking for a particular item and you would prefer to purchase the item as new, then these sales flyers are a good resource for finding which stores in the area have the item that you are looking for at a discounted price.  In many case, the amount saved by purchasing the item on sale is around 20%, which is significant when you are purchasing an item that costs several hundred dollars.

Outlet Stores
Outlet stores are some of the most overlooked stores by people that are trying to save money on their big purchases.  These outlet stores generally sell floor models and overstock items from major retail stores that do not want to put the time and effort into moving the merchandise.  Some of these stores are branded as the outlet store of a specific retailer while some others sell items obtained from a wide range of different businesses.  Although the selection at outlet stores can be much smaller than the selection found at most retailers, the price found will be much smaller too – between 25% and 50% off of the average retail price for the item.

Resale Stores
Another option that people fail to explore when they are looking to save money on appliances and other large purchases is resale stores.  These stores take broken or unwanted appliances and fix them so that they can be sold to people that are willing to purchase used products to save more money.  The items that are sold in these stores typically come with 30 to 90 day warranties on the items and extended warranties for repairs and parts may be purchased from the seller.  These items may not be as pretty as the items sitting on the showroom floor of a major retailer, but the products sold in resale stores work the same way and cost less than half of the price of purchasing the item new.

New Rules For Buying A New Home

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 14th, 2009 | Filed under: loans

The conventional wisdom of the past told soon to be first time homebuyers that they should stretch their finances to purchase as much house as they could afford to prevent unhappiness with the home and desire to relocate after a few years.  This advice was mostly based on the belief that salaries would continue to rise as long as the person was willing to work hard and that housing prices could never go down.  After the housing market collapse of 2008, many experts are now giving different advice based on new market realities.  Here are a few of the expert’s new rules for buying a new home.

Put Down A Hefty Down Payment
Banks used to require a person interested in purchasing a home to pay a down payment of 20% or more of the purchase price of the home before they would approve them for the mortgage loan.  As the frenzied housing market heated up, more and more lenders lowered or completely eliminated the down payment requirement, which resulted in many homeowners owing more than their homes were worth when housing prices dropped, limiting their ability to refinance or sell their home if they got into financial trouble.  The banks and lenders are beginning to realize how important the down payment requirements for a mortgage loan can be and are once again requiring hefty down payments from people seeking to purchase their first home.

Carefully Calculate Your Expenses
It is very important for a person interested in purchasing a new home to carefully calculate their income and expenses to determine how much home they can afford to buy.  The cost of a mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes should not exceed 35% of the household’s after-tax income.  The cost of maintaining and repairing the home should be included in the calculations as well, with the average cost of maintaining a home ranging between 3% and 5% of the value of the home.  By carefully calculating how much the home will cost on a monthly and annual basis, the person will be better able to make an informed decision on an acceptable price range for the home.

Plan On Staying For A While
Some people purchase a home with the anticipation of upgrading to a bigger home or moving out of the area within a couple of years.  This will virtually guarantee that the homeowner will lose a great deal of money on the deal, especially considering the high costs of buying and selling a home.  Taking the time to find a home that the homeowner will be willing to stay in for 8 years or more will save the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in loan origination, closing, transport, and moving costs.

Looking For A Good Credit Card For Students?

Written by Toi Williams on Sep 9th, 2009 | Filed under: credit cards

Finding the best student credit cards can be difficult if you are not sure where to look.  There are many credit card products available that are marketed to students in order to help them with their expenses while they are away from home.  There are many options available for a person to obtain a student credit card, but finding the best one may take some time.

The Features Of The Credit Card

It is important for the person to compare credit cards to be sure that they are getting the best credit card that they qualify for.  Most credit cards geared towards student have the same features as a traditional credit card and are used to help the student build their credit history before they will need to use credit to make major purchases.  Each credit card will have slightly different features that may make them a better choice for a person with specific needs.

Some credit cards have preset spending limits that will not allow the student to spend more than a predetermined amount while other credit cards are linked to the parent’s credit card to prevent overages and declined transactions.  Some of these credit cards even offer rewards points for the things that students use the cards for the most, such as groceries, movie tickets, and music cd’s.  By reviewing these features carefully, the student can determine which credit card provides the best value and can choose the one that rewards them in their preferred way.

Carefully Review The Terms And Interest Rate

Different types of credit cards will have different interest rates and terms associated with the credit card.  The goal is to get approved for the credit card with the lowest interest rate and the best terms.  A lower interest rate can save the person hundreds of dollars each year, which is significant when considering that these credit cards may be used by the person for many years.

When applying for student credit cards, always take the time to review the terms and conditions of the credit card to be sure that you understand the fees that are associated with the credit card.  Also included in the terms and conditions are the types and amounts of fees that will be charged to the credit card, the interest rate for the credit card, how the interest rate may change, and the fees associated with non-purchase transactions.  To get the best student credit cards, all of these features should be taken into account because these features can affect the way the credit card can be used.