DIY Credit Repair - Can You Improve Credit Yourself?
Jan 22, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

Undoubtedly, if you have somehow ended up with a less than great credit rating or credit score you have felt the possible effects that this may have on your life. A negative rating will affect your ability to apply for and be approved for loans, credit cards and accounts, which will affect the way in which you shop for and buy items that may well be seen as necessities. Unfortunately though many people only realize this when it is too late, and hence the need to improve credit ratings arises.

Once the realization has been made with regards to having to improve credit ratings and scores or profiles, the next step is asking where should one begin. General consensus indicates that obtaining a full credit report is the most logical place to begin, but this should also be done in conjunction with actually determining what your credit situation really is like. This is easily accomplished by sitting down and listing all accounts and outstanding debts, regardless of size or nature thereof.

This will serve as a great basis for you to get back on to the so called straight and narrow when it comes to your financial affairs and is absolutely necessary for you to improve credit and the overall situation within which you find yourself. And although there may be companies that are out there to help improve credit, there are also those that may possibly be what is often referred to as scam artists, and like any industry these unsavory characters exist within this sector too. There are also those companies that are indeed valid and can help you improve credit ratings.

To get back to doing things by yourself, once you have established the exact position that you find yourself in, the next best step is to approach your creditors and discuss the payment terms and the current situation you find yourself in. This may be somewhat of a humbling experience and will require definite and focused persistence. However by entering into negotiations with your creditors you will be taking a valuable step to improve credit ratings and standing, as these people are the ones who may or may not provide negative comments and ratings within your credit report.

If you make any arrangements or agreements with any of your creditors make sure that you stick to these agreements, especially considering the fact that they might be slightly more lenient on repayments, assuming you did negotiate a better payment structure. If you renege from these agreements you may find that your creditors will certainly not be as accommodating as they were the first time around.

Before looking to improve credit ratings and your report consider the various options that are available, this in turn can help you do this yourself. In the event that you may be too busy then considering a legitimate company that can assist you may well be the best option for you.

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Stop Creditor Harassment - Tips On How to Get the Upper Hand Over Credit Card Companies
Jan 08, 2010     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

If you want to stop creditor harassment, learn the best methods to overcome debt quandaries in the market. Each and every step has to be taken care with utmost precaution and discretion.

Are you trying to stop creditor harassment immediately? Always remember that creditor harassment will be invariably taking place if you are not able to give your accredited dues on time. High credit payments and inability to pay back the sum at the within the due period is a serious issue which can lead to several grave consequences. Debt management systems are there which take care of such situations, however; first, you should learn the ways stop creditor harassment at any cost at the earliest.

Unsecured debts are the most risky deals. Hence, first you need to get rid of such unsecured debts and eliminate them completely. Some of these loans are credit card loans, student loans, car loans and medical bills. Unsecured debts do not have any liability or nothing as a security, chances are that the credit card companies will make constant phone calls at your place and irritate you to the hilt. These companies have a fear in them that they might not get back their sum of money. Having no security, they feel even more financially insecure. Hence, they always pressurize the debtor to pay some amount lest these debtors end up paying nothing at all once they are bankrupt.

Always remember that creditors are in need of debtors since they are entitled to obtain a monetary gain from these debtors. Hence, in these situations, always try and Should the creditors in a way that it stops incessant phone calls. In these cases, seek the advice of a debt management consultant. This consultant usually negotiates with the creditor on your behalf. He persuades the creditors to accept monthly payments from the debtor since the latter is unable to pay in huge sums. Once these credit card companies accept the small monthly payments from the debtor, you can be relieved of the continuous calls from these creditors. This is one of the ways when you can successfully stop creditor harassment.

Therefore, few of the points that you have to remember while you are conferring a debt management service is that keep yourself calm because this is a very crucial procedure for your monetary issues. Every step has to be in place. Also, you must deal with the debt settlement company well so that they settle your deals at the minimal cost.

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Save Money with 0% Balance Transfer Cards
Dec 22, 2009     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

Credit cards with low introductory rates on balance transfers or purchases offer many advantages. These cards come with as little as a 0% annual percentage rate and the introductory rate can last up to 12 months, or in some cases, till the balance is paid off.

These cards can give your finances a boost in several ways:

Consolidate High-Interest Debt: Use the money from a 0% or low-interest balance transfer to pay off debts with higher interest rates. You will save money on interest and may lower your total monthly debt payments as well.

Give Your Budget a Temporary Cash Infusion: If you are faced with higher than usual expenditures or need extra cash, a 0% balance transfer can give your budget a temporary cash infusion to tide you over until your economic situation improves. Many cards will transfer the money to your bank account so you can pay off bills and other expenses, or they may send you a check that you can deposit directly into your bank account.

Make Large Purchases Earlier: A card with a 0% APR gives you the option to make a large planned purchase earlier than you would otherwise be able to. It can also help you save money on interest, if the purchase is something you would usually finance, such as a car. Just be sure you have alternative financing lined up when the promotional rate expires.

If you pay the balance off in full before the introductory rate expires, these cards offer many benefits. Pay careful attention to the terms and conditions of the card, however, so you know exactly when the introductory rate expires and what would put you at risk for triggering higher rates.

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4 Ways to Help Shrink Your Debt
May 07, 2009     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

According to the Federal Reserve, total consumer revolving credit, including credit-card debt, stood at nearly $974 billion last November, up from some $770 billion in 2003. Meanwhile, a January 2009 report by the American Bankers Association found that bank-issued credit-card delinquencies hit their highest level in five years during the second quarter of 2008. And consumer bankruptcy filings increased by nearly 33% in 2008, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

“We’re in a different time than we’ve been in any of our living memories,” says Gerri Detweiler, credit advisor for Credit.com. “The level of debt that consumers owe is much higher than it’s been in the past, and there’s this big gap in [debt] solutions.”

Fortunately, the first steps toward a debt-free life are some of the easiest. Cut down on discretionary expenses such as dining out or shopping. Then create a budget and stick to it. Another helpful move: asking lenders if they can offer better terms on rates or minimum payments.

Here are four more ways to help you reduce commonly-held debt.

Mortgage

If your mortgage payment is getting hard to afford, contact your lender to see if you can negotiate a better rate or lower monthly payments. If you’re in real dire straits, see if your lender is participating in Hope for Homeowners, a government-run program that encourages lenders to refinance mortgages of borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes. More than 200 lenders have signed up since the program began on Oct. 1, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Credit-Card Debt

Interest rates on credit cards can run as high as 33% for cardholders who are late with a payment or have a low credit score, says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com.

To tackle this debt, pay more than the monthly minimum requirement and focus on paying off high-interest-rate cards first, says Sheryl Garrett, a fee-only certified financial planner.

Another way to rein in costs: Take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers or low introductory APRs. Just be sure to read the fine print. Currently, the average fee for a balance transfer is 3% or 4% of the transfer amount which can equal up to $120, says Arnold. (Some lenders don’t even have caps.) Also, make sure you can pay off the balance before the introductory period expires and the high rates kick back in.

Private Student Loans

According to the College Board, the average undergraduate student left school with more than $12,000 in debt during the 2006-07 academic year.

Just like credit-card debt, it’s best to tackle higher-interest loans, namely federal student loans issued before July 2006 and most private student loans, first. Both carry variable interest rates that can rise and fall each month. Last year, rates on private loans, for example, averaged 14%, says Mark Kantrowitz, founder of FinAid.org.

One solution is to consolidate all your private loans. However, since consolidation loans currently carry variable interest rates it would only make sense to do so if you have a good credit score. Otherwise, you could get hit with an even higher rate. One problem with these consolidation loans: They’re hard to find. Currently, only four lenders — including Wells Fargo and Student Loan Network — offer them.

Medical Debt

If you’re drowning in medical debt, make sure your insurer is paying its share of expenses. Often times, the doctor will use a certain code for the services rendered that the insurance company can’t identify, says Garrett. Instead of rectifying the issue, the insurer just doesn’t pay.“These mistakes happen way [too] often,” she says.

Next, speak with your medical provider. To ensure they get paid, medical providers are often open to working out payment plans. Before speaking with your provider, figure out how much you can afford to pay each month, then pitch that amount to the doctor’s billing department, says Garrett. In addition, many hospitals have government funds to help patients who can’t afford their medical care, and independent nonprofits also provide financial assistance.

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5 Ways to Ruin Your Credit
Jan 13, 2009     post this at del.icio.uspost this at Diggpost this at Technoratipost this at Furlpost this at Yahoo! my web.

Improving your credit score takes some elbow grease. Ruining it, on the other hand, is a piece of cake.

Just a few false moves, and in no time, your credit reputation starts to suffer. It doesn’t even need to be something extreme, either. Just a late bill payment here or a retail splurge there is all it takes. Woe to the consumers who make a few missteps in a row and find themselves slogging through suboptimal loans (high rates, high fees) the next time they’re shopping for credit.

The surest way to be blacklisted is to break the rules that matter most to the very folks measuring your creditworthiness. Here are the five key gotchas and some ways to stay in the lending world’s good graces.

1. Forget to put the check in the mail. Hey, it happens — you’re on the lido deck during your family getaway, and — doh! — you remember that the credit card payment was due three days ago. No big whoop, right?

Actually, you are right … to a point. Credit card companies actually do have a heart (or at least offer a little leeway), and they’re willing to let a few missteps slide, particularly in how they treat 30- and 60-day late payments that are brought up to date right away.

Still, if you make a habit of it, prepare for some brutal consequences, since one-third of your credit score — the most popular being the FICO score from Fair Isaac — is based on your bill-paying habits. According to Credit.com, a single 90-day-late payment is as damaging as a bankruptcy filing, a tax lien, a collection, a judgment, or a repossession.

The lesson here is simple: Pay your bills on time. Don’t skip any bills — and certainly not your rent or your mortgage payment. Send in just the minimum amount due, if you have to, but send it in. If you know your payment will be late, call your lender and explain, and he or she might give you a free pass, just this once.

2. Spend up to your credit limit. You’ve earned it, right? After all, a bunch of bankers in suits have deemed you worthy of a spending limit of $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, or maybe even $40,000 or more on your credit cards. Financing a Bugatti has never seemed so within reach.

Back to earth, Trump wannabe. Sure, you might have a $15,000 credit limit on your card, but that doesn’t mean that’s how much you can afford to spend. Even a temporary splurge could turn into long-term debt trouble if you’re not careful. Just ask Michael Jackson.

Keep those cards in your pockets and avoid coming anywhere near maxing out your credit cards. The measure of debt to your credit limits counts for a whopping 30% of your overall credit score. Our advice is to keep your debt to below 10% of your limit — and you are paying the bill off every month, right? If you can’t handle that, keep in mind that around 30% is “acceptable” to the banking world, and that red flags start waving when your debt-to-available-credit ratio exceeds 50%.

3. Dismiss your youthful indulgences. You may want to deny your past — that Limited Express charge card you used so often during college was so long ago.

But that’s the point. The longer your borrowing history — particularly if you’ve been a responsible, card-carrying citizen — the better your score. Too many people cancel old credit cards when spring cleaning their wallet, and then are shocked when it affects their credit score.

The length of time you’ve spent in the system determines 15% of your overall score, not to mention the impact of closing lines of available credit that factor into your debt-to-credit ratio mentioned above.

Celebrate and retain your credit history. If you’re going to cancel some credit cards, start with newer accounts, since the old ones help establish your long and illustrious credit record.

4. Sign up for a better card. And then sign up for an even better one. Given the number of credit card solicitations mailed out each year, it seems that everyone is in line to win the plastic popularity contest. Playing the field is tempting, and sometimes you should. If you’re trying to pay off debts, shopping around for the best deal makes sense. Most of the time, though, you should stick with what’s in your wallet.

Lenders like loyalty. Think about it: If you lent someone money, you’d probably get nervous if that person started asking all of his or her other friends for a loaner, too. Lenders check your credit file regularly to see whether you’re dating around. (New credit applications affect 10% of your credit score.) If they see you applying for lots of credit at once, they tighten their purse strings and fire a few warning shots at your credit score.

Also keep in mind that every line of credit you apply for will stay on your record for at least seven years, even if the account is open only for a day or two. So take great care when opening and closing accounts.

5. Grease a few palms to get ahead. Dressing to impress and picking up the happy-hour tab are classic tools to get ahead in some circles. So you may wonder whether there’s a way to buy your way to better credit.

There’s something to be said for variety. Those with perfect credit scores have a demonstrated history with a variety of loans — such as installment loans, like a car loan or mortgage, and revolving debt, such as your workaday credit card. Types of loans affect 10% of your overall score.

The problem with trying to quickly add variety to your borrowing portfolio is that doing so may put you in a worse situation than where you began. Remember, when you apply for loans, you’ll experience a short-term drop in your score. And then there’s the money — paying interest or annual fees or other costs of borrowing just to add some cards to your credit portfolio.

Don’t borrow money just to boost your score, and for heaven’s sake, don’t believe anyone who tells you that you have to carry a balance on your cards to prove your creditworthiness. That’s bunk.

There are just two things that are guaranteed to boost your credit score:

1. Time. (Remember, most bad marks fall off your report after seven years.)

2. The proper use of credit. (Responsible bill-paying habits matter most to those judging you.)

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