Sunday, November 18, 2012

3 Reasons You Should Check Your Credit Score Often

Your credit score says a lot about your financial health. In the same way that you monitor your weight during a weight loss/gain program, you need to constantly check this figure to make sure your finances are in good shape.

There are many reasons why your credit score should be monitored and that is what we will be discussing in this article.

A lot of people find themselves in deep financial trouble nowadays. Though most of them can blame the bad state of the economy, a deeper probe will reveal that things would not be so dire if they only took time to monitor their credit score.

Most people think that they should only look at their credit score when they want to borrow money. While it is true that your credit score will play an important role in a loan approval, that is not the only reason to look at your credit.

One of the rising reasons to monitor your credit score is to prevent identity theft. This crime is done so people can steal from you by borrowing under your name. If you do not keep tabs on your credit report, it may take years before you realize that your credit history had been damaged by a loan that you did not make.

Another reason to keep tabs on your credit score is the fact that it will take quite some time to repair it. Sometimes, we think that paying the minimum of your credit card bill and missing out on a couple of loan payments will not harm us. On the contrary, your credit score may have been slipping lower and lower every time. In case you have to borrow money or you decide to buy a home, you need a healthy score to get an approval. If you find that your score is low because of your negligence, then you can start repairing it as soon as possible.

The last reason why you should constantly monitor your credit score is to check it for any errors. Incorrect information can drive your credit down and you need to see if there are erroneous late payments being inputted in your report. This will be reflected in your history unless you dispute that particular information. Filing a dispute to correct an error is one of your rights as a consumer. Do not be afraid to utilize it.

Remember that lenders are not the only ones interested in your credit history. Some employers take a peek as well and even landlords access this before getting a tenant. If you do want the inconvenience of being turned down by any of them, you should make sure your credit will not negate your ability to pay your dues or manage your finances wisely.

Monitoring your credit score will not cost you a lot. The government mandates the 3 major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) to provide consumers with a free copy of their report once a year. This can be accessed through the Annual Credit Report website.

The technique is to download one report from a chosen bureau every 4 months. This will provide you with a free report all throughout the year. You can use one of the many free online credit score calculator based on the information written on your report. Compute and monitor the details and make sure that any additions are based on your own actions.

Your credit score is also one of the factors that will be checked to see if you qualify for a debt relief program. If you have some debts to settle, make sure your score can allow you to pursue the debt relief option that you choose to take.

Aggressive Credit Repair Made Easy With These Great Tips

Whether you have only a few small things to change, or an entire overhaul to accomplish, know that many people also endure problems with their credit rating. Following the advice from this article will help to guide you on your way to better credit.

Get a copy of your credit report first when trying to fix your credit. Check your credit score, and look over the report for any problems or discrepancies. Dispute inaccurate items on your credit report so you can get them removed. Before you can get to the task of repairing your credit, you have to know its current state.

Work with your creditors to work out a payment plan for your debts. If you are unable to make payments ask for a postponement. Where there is a good plan in place for repayment of the debts you owe, there is less risk of interest and late payments accruing. Once you have set up a plan with your creditors about the accounts that will be paid and those that will be postponed, you can then focus your attention on the bills that need immediate action.

Make sure to make a record of any negatives on your credit report. If you go over the document carefully, you might find missing factors or the wrong information. You will be better able to start boosting your credit score once you know what negative factors are influencing it.

Make sure you research the laws when it comes to debt collection in your state and know what your rights are. Keep in mind that collection agencies cannot send you to jail. In fact, it is against the law for them to threaten you this way. State laws regarding collections vary, but almost all states have some law that protects debtors from verbal abuse. Know your rights, and the laws that protect them, to avoid collection agency abuses.

Make every effort to keep your credit card balances under 30 percent of the credit limit. This figure is important for both improving your credit and making your payments easy to keep up with.

You can try to see if you can set up a payment plan for the bills that are already in collections. You can even do this before your outstanding debts are turned over to collections. The worst thing you can do is to avoid the collection agency. By talking to the agency, you can set a mutual plan for repayment. Be honest about your financial situation; let them know that you are sincere about paying off your bills, even though you are having a difficult time with it. Creditors may reduce the amount you owe them and get you set up on a payment plan. If you are upfront with them, many creditors will help improve your situation.

If you follow these tips, you can be sure that you are going to fix your credit. These tips can help you increase your credit score.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tips for Secure Usage of Credit Card

Nothing in the world feels quite as terrible as having your credit card stolen. And when your credit card information gets stolen online, it's a whole different story. Your card isn't secure anywhere, especially the internet. When shopping online, stick to some guidelines to keep your credit card information safe.

First and foremost- Shop only at sites you trust. Steer clear of clicking on email links because these links could take you to a fake website that's set up for the sole purpose of stealing your card information. As a substitute, go straight to the real website by typing the URL in your internet browser.

Tips to adopt responsible behaviour when you use your credit card at retail outlets:

  1. Keep receipts for your purchases and compare the amounts to what you are being charged on your monthly statement; errors have been known to occur.
  2. Never give merchants your personal information, even if they ask for it. All they can legally request is a valid card and your signature.
  3. Report the loss or theft of your card quickly.
  4. If a fraud occurs, take advantage of Zero Liability. If your number or card is stolen while you're shopping, you'll be free from your responsibility as a consumer and you won't have to pay anything. You must be able to provide reasonable proof that you are not accountable for any purchases that were made, unless they required the use of your personal identification number (PIN). Consequently, it is important to always review your monthly statements carefully in order to detect any unauthorized transactions (your cardholder agreement provides a definition of an unauthorized transaction).
  5. Make a list of all your cards and their numbers. Keep the list in a safe place (other than in your wallet or purse). It will be easier to cancel them in the event of loss or theft. You will be held responsible for purchases made with your card (with or without your consent) by anyone in your entourage.
  6. Ensure that the card you are handed back after you make a purchase is yours.
  7. Never give your card number over the phone, unless you are placing the call or are certain of the person who is calling.
  8. On the Internet, only conduct financial transactions on secure websites (often identified by a small padlock in the bottom right of the screen, and by a URL that begins with "https"). NEVER give your card number by e-mail.
  9. By no means should you leave your card unattended at work or school. Most card thefts take place in these locations.
  10. Sign the back of any new card as soon as you receive it and destroy any expired or unused cards.
  11. Check with your card provider... your card may also provide you with Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance, which protects your purchases from loss, theft or damage and extends the manufacturer's warranty.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting Your Credit Reports

If you want to improve your credit, you first need to gather some information and do a little research. You will probably want to focus on the three major credit bureaus--Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion--that most banks use to qualify you for financial products like loans, credit cards, etc. Fortunately, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year, so this doesn't have to cost you a dime. If you have not already done so within the past year, you can go to Annual Credit Report's website and get your free report there from each of the above mentioned bureaus. You will have to answer a few questions about personal information to confirm your identity; then you will get your full report from each bureau.

However, if you have already used Annual Credit Report to get your free reports this year, and it was more than a month ago, you should get new reports another way. Looking at old reports is a recipe for disaster; trust me, get current ones before you proceed with any credit repair steps. One option is to write a simple letter to each of the bureaus requesting a copy of your report and stating a reason why you need it; for example, perhaps you believe there is an error in the report and wish to review it. They may just send the reports for free or they may send you a letter informing you that it will cost $x.xx to order a report.

If you have been denied credit or had an adverse action taken against you within the past 60 days due to information in your credit report, you are also entitled to a free credit report from the agency that provided the negative information. That covers a wide range of possibilities; a few examples of an adverse action include decreasing your credit limit or increasing your interest rate on a credit card, refusing to grant a credit limit increase that you requested, and denying an application that you made for a loan, mortgage, or credit card. If any of these things happened, you have grounds to request a new free credit report, regardless of whether you have already received a free one within the past year. Just note that in this case, you only get a free report from the bureau that provided your credit report to the bank that subsequently took an adverse action against you. You can request a free report due to adverse action via the credit bureaus' websites, or by calling or writing to them.

Do not obtain your credit report from any other source that requires you to pay for it. There are many, many third-party sources of credit reports and credit monitoring services that will try to sell you your credit report and/or score. They do have a role in the credit repair process, but not at this stage. You want to get your original reports directly from the source! If it did not come directly from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion, (or Annual Credit Report) then you may run into issues down the road when you start trying to dispute things. So make sure you do this step right and get the report from the proper place.

A final note about obtaining your credit reports. If you do so by sending a letter to the bureaus, they will require several items in order to confirm your identity before they will send your reports. They sometimes ask for different pieces of information but the general standard request they make is for a copy of a government-issued id (such as a driver's license,) your full name, address, date of birth, and social security number, and a recent utility bill for proof of address. You can either send out your request letter first and wait to see what they request, or if you want to get your reports faster you can include all of the items I just mentioned with your initial request letter. I have personally done this every time I requested reports and they always sent them out immediately without asking for further documents but it is possible for them to still request something more so don't be mortified if they do. Identity theft is a huge problem nowadays and the credit bureaus try to lean on the paranoid side to avoid getting sued.

Okay, do you have your credit reports in hand now? You're ready for the next step: Checking Your Credit Reports for Accuracy.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Travelling for Free With Credit Cards

Internet savvy travelers, sometimes called travel hackers, who are willing to do a little online research are able to get airline tickets at a greatly reduced cost or even for free. By applying a few simple techniques used by experienced travel hackers, almost any traveler can get airline tickets at prices that will make traveling by air a pleasurable experience. A relatively simple way to get airline tickets for free is through promotions on credit cards, especially airline credit cards.

Most modern travelers already participate in a form of travel hacking when they visit online reservation sites such as or By using aggregate sites like these to compare prices, travelers can reduce the cost of their airline tickets by twenty five percent or more. Experienced travel hackers take the concept of reduced prices a step further by seeking ways to get an airline ticket for free.

Finance companies are constantly seeking out new credit worthy applicants by offering marketing promotions such as zero or low interest rates for the first year, no annual fees, or even free frequent flyer miles. A simple search on Google for "credit card frequent flyer miles" will yield over a million results. Many of these websites will display comparisons of the various companies currently offering mile promotions. Companies typically entice new applicants by offering promotions for twenty thousand, thirty thousand, or even fifty thousand frequent flyer miles. Travelers can then use those frequent flyer miles to get free airline tickets.

When comparing credit cards for the best frequent flyer miles deal, travelers need to ask the following questions:

1) Is there an annual fee? If so, then a wise traveler may want to avoid applying for the credit card since many companies do not require an annual fee.

2) Can the frequent flyer miles be used on multiple airlines, or are the miles specific to one airline? Southwest Airlines offers a twenty five thousand frequent flyer miles promotion on its credit card, which is good for a free roundtrip flight, but the traveler is limited to Southwest Airlines.

3) What are the interest rates? Even if the card holder has good intentions to pay off a card each month, unexpected things do happen. Consequently, potential applicants may want to avoid cards with high interest rates.

4) Is there a minimum purchase requirement? Some companies require card holders to make a certain amount of purchases within a specific timeframe in order to qualify for the frequent flyer miles.

5) Last but not least, how many miles does the company offer, and does the company offer any additional ways to earn frequent flyer miles? In addition to the initial free miles, many finance companies will award the card holder with one or two miles for each dollar charged to the credit card.

Although acquiring free frequent flyer miles is enticing, a wise traveler knows that credit cards can be dangerous if used unwisely. Anything a traveler charges to a credit card must eventually be paid. A true travel hacker knows their limits and controls their spending.

Using the techniques discussed, anyone with reasonable credit has the ability to acquire enough frequent flyer miles to fly for free. Why wait? Become a true travel hacker and apply for a credit card today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Four Credit Card Mistakes that Can Cost You Money

There are four major mistakes most people do with lines of credit that keep them from increasing their wealth. It is these four mistakes the smart wealthy do not make, which make them wealthier.  Start by checking the fine print of your offers, checking your purchases, paying down your debts, and breaking these five bad habits.

It's In the Fine Print

Credit card companies use flashy advertisements to grab your attention. In reality, the fine print notes that those rates are introductory, often ending in as little as a month or your next bill. Cash-back is also not as good as it seems, many companies use it as a marketing ploy, but the fine print usually dictates how it can be spent, and that's usually only with them and their partners. Credit card companies are not out there with your best interest at heart, they are there to make money, and lots of it. Read the fine print with scrutiny and ask:

· When do the introductory rates end?

· What are the normal rates?

· What causes rates to go up again and how much?

· Do the rates fluctuate?

· Do rates increase for late payments?

· Do rate changes depend on your credit score?

· Can they charge compound interest on late payments?

· Can they charge extra fees?

· Can they charge you for paying off your bill?

Additionally, we need to know if they charge for using the card, where they charge, and if the card is accepted only at certain stores or venues. Also, many companies charge if you do not keep a minimum debt on the card, which is a bust for those who pay off their bill each month.

Using Credit as Investment Funds

Many of us begin our credit card debt by purchasing consumables. This is the absolute worst way to waste the loan the credit card companies give us with the little card. Consumables include small purchases such as food, drinks, movies, services, and other random things which immediately lose their monetary value upon purchase.

Those who look for ways to increase their wealth use credit cards as a form of investment. They also use it as an emergency fund and only use it to buy consumables if they know for certain they can pay those off on their next bill, before they get charged interest. For the wealthy, the investment option means they use the money to generate money, thereby offsetting the interest charges.

How does that work? It's simple, by using the line of credit to purchase things that appreciate in value, or increase in value over time more than the interest rate costs them. They create an income source that also is tax free until they sell that item. Usually this amounts to antiques, rare cars, properties, and business investments.

Credit cards are not free money. This is a loan from a business to you. If you do plan to use it for everyday expenses, be forewarned. Only do this if you have the cash in your bank account to pay off the purchases before the next bill in order to earn points or other rewards. And check the fine print, so see if non-carried over debt actually counts for that.

Paying Down the Debt

If you simply pay down the minimum monthly balance and let interest accrue on the remainder, you set yourself up for increasing debt. The minimum payment is only for covering the interest, thus creating an income for the credit card company.  The larger your charges are on your account, the more interest they earn from you each month.  How do we end this cycle?

1. Start by stopping credit card use. If you don't have cash for food and beverages when out, learn to make time for them at home. Which also means you will be saving money by doing so.

2. Pay down the minimum monthly payment, plus as much as you can on the bill. Can you cut some expenses over the next few months and reduce your credit card debt by half or more? Create a financial plan that enables you to do so.

3. Read the fine print on all of your current cards and calculate how much interest you are paying and how much of that interest makes up the monthly payment. Then decide if you can consolidate them into a lower-interest card, take out a lower interest loan to pay them off, or pay off smaller cards with one card to eliminate multiple  debt avenues.

4. Pay off cards with the highest interest rates first and those with the highest balance second. Work to eliminate as many credit cards as possible from your debt and wallet. Eliminate any cards which have hidden fees, monthly charges, or fluctuating interest rates. The remaining cards should be used for a) emergencies only [like breaking down and needing a tow truck, or emergency medical care], and b) investment purchases.

Five Mistakes Never to Make with Credit Cards

These five mistakes are what separate the middle class and wealthy from the broke and barely surviving financially. Making them, especially repeatedly, will end us up in a mess of financial trouble that results in the inability to get an apartment, buy a house, lease or buy a car, get insurance, and sometimes, even be denied certain jobs.

1. Using Cards with fluctuating interest rates

2. Using cards with monthly charges

3. Using cards to buy consumables

4. Paying the monthly minimum balance, late payments, or skipping payments

5. Allowing non-investment debt to increase monthly

By being smart with our borrowed money we can improve our chances of financial success, our credit score, and our purchasing power. Thinking like a rich person when it comes to credit card debts and other loans may not make us rich or famous, but it will increase our personal financial wealth. The feeling of empowerment that comes from being debt free is amazing, it boost our self-confidence and our bank accounts. By being smart with how we use borrowed money, we will work to earn, not work to earn money for our debtors.

Friday, August 31, 2012

An Online Cash Advance Does Not Discriminate Against Poor Credit

Pay for a cash advance is one expense, but to pay to look at your credit score is outrageous. There are many web sites which will provide access to credit scores after the credit card information has been processed. It sounds like a good deal until you forget to cancel your membership. It may take months before you remember and until then, you will have paid the fees for a service you do not use.

Many websites have names similar to the actual free site the credit bureaus offer. A consumer, who is not educated on the free site, would not know better and move forward with entering credit card information. These companies are hoping for that to happen and that you will forget to cancel your membership. It will give you access to your credit scores as promised, but the free site provided by the credit bureaus will as well.

A credit score is a guide not a guarantee or promise. The online cash advance industry knows that credit scores represent many years of managing money. it does not reflect on what is happening now which is exactly what the cash advance industry is looking for.

Each of the three credit bureaus offer one free credit score check every twelve months. If you stagger them (one every four months), you can check your report three times a year by rotating which one you pull. People put so much emphasis on credit reports that the whole picture gets overlooked.

Credit scores vary. Pull all three reports and you will find yourself with three different scores. your scores can be affected by errors, identity theft and if you had to go through a bad time. The reports are made by the creditors each month and they stay on your credit for seven years. If you had a period of time in your life where money was tight, got divorced or lost your job, future creditors will be seeing the aftermath without knowing the cause. Unfortunately, your story is not attached to the report so when a creditor looks at your history and sees unpaid debt or multiple late notices they will tend to think you are not credit worthy.

This is one reason so many people have turned to applying for cash advances and other short-term money options. Because these loans are no credit check and provide fast cash, those with a poor credit history can still find relief with struggling budgets. As horrible as these loans can be for some financial situations, they tend to get overused as the one of the only options available.

Financial vulnerability has promoted the short-term loan industry into the forefront. Applications for cash advances online and payday loans as well have increased in the past few years. Responsible lenders would not promote their loans to those who cannot afford to pay it back or to use them towards outstanding debt.