Check for Theft

Identity Theft

As your post-holiday credit card statements arrive in the mail, you´ll probably think about what you spent. But have you thought about how much of your personal and financial information was exposed? Sounds like the perfect time to check your Credit Report!

In the past you had to be careful of the carbons when they “swiped” your credit card. Today credit thieves have a whole new high tech and low tech bag of tricks. The only way to make sure you’re safe is to take precautions and regularly check your credit report for inaccuracies, you know, the key changes on your report that could either indicate identity theft or a reporting error.

Your Children and Credit

Educate Your Children about Money and Credit

Parents, start building your children’s credit early – and do it well. Build credit early for your children – even before college starts, if they plan to take out student loans. Sign over an account that they must pay on time each month. Get a credit card with a low limit, and a bank account that you help them manage monthly. Avoid opening several charge cards at once in their name – not only will they be hard to repay, but having new accounts when they have a short credit history will cause their credit rating to drop. Encourage them to get a part-time job.

“The Credit Card Act of 2009 sought to temper aggressive marketing of credit cards to students by restricting campus promotions and requiring students younger than 21 to have a co-signer, unless they have enough income to get their own card.” And banks are unwilling to offer credit education to their customers. “They do not tell us that no credit is as bad as poor credit. Banks and educational institutions certainly do not think it is their responsibility to conquer the critical task of teaching children about credit.”

Online Loan Comparisons

Be careful when using Online Loan Comparisons

Be careful of online loan rate comparisons, timing is everything. Online loan rate quotes are easy to get – type in some personal information and you can get a quote on a car loan, personal loan, student loan, or mortgage in seconds. This is free and convenient, leading many people to compare several companies at once in order to make sure that they get the best deal possible.

The problem is that since online quotes are a fairly recent phenomenon, Credit Bureaus count each such quoted estimate as a “Hard Inquiry.” This means that if you compare too many companies online by asking for quotes, your credit score will fall due to too many “Inquiries.” This does not mean that you shouldn’t seek online quotes for loans – not at all. In fact, online loan quotes are a great resource that can help you get the very best rates on your next loan. What this information does mean, however, is that you should research companies and narrow down possible lenders to just a few before proceeding.

Credit Card Piggybacking

Credit Card Piggybacking can raise your scores

Credit card “piggybacking” isn’t a new practice. For years, parents have done it to help their children get a jump start on their credit. However, it recently came under scrutiny because shady credit repair companies and unscrupulous consumers used the practice to artificially boost bad credit scores.

What is Credit Card Piggybacking? Credit card piggybacking is much like the childhood game of being carried around on someone else’s back; but instead, you’re “carried” on someone else’s credit card account. Once you’re added as either a joint card holder or  an authorized user to a credit card account, the entire credit history typically appears on your credit report and included in your credit score.

Being a joint card holder or an authorized user on an account with a positive payment history would boost your score. While late payments and high credit card balances could lower your score depending on the other information on your credit report. Note that not all credit card companies report authorized user accounts to credit bureaus, partly because of the cost and partly because of the way the practice has been abused by some.

Pay Day Loans

Avoid Payday Loan Scams

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season looms just over the horizon, having available money for holiday shopping swings into the forefront of our thoughts. As enticing as it may be, you should avoid payday loans except as an absolute last resort. Payday loans are also called “cash advance loans” and they are small, short-term loans that carry very high interest rates. Some companies have even begun to advertise them as “loans to help you repair your credit”, but this is very misleading. Some companies suggest that these loans can help you pay off your bills and so establish good credit, but if you cannot afford to pay your payday loans back on time, you have to “roll-over” or extend the loan – often at huge expense and interest. Many people get into a “payday loan cycle”, whereby much of their monthly paycheck goes towards paying off their ever-growing payday loans.

Holiday Recipe

Darrell’s Key Lime Pie

That time of the season is rapidly approaching. So you have company coming over and need something quick, easy and delicious for dessert.  Well here it is…Darrell’s Key Lime Pie.

First heat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl mix at low speed (for 2-3 minutes) one can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup key lime juice and four egg yolks.  Pour the mixture into a pre-made graham cracker pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Cool for an hour.  THAT’S IT !!!  This recipe is so simple and easy.  I like to top it with real whipped cream, and I highly suggest pairing it with a nice high quality margarita…….

Best,

Darrell

Short Sale vs Foreclosure

Surviving A Short Sale

There are several differences between a “short mortgage” sale and a mortgage foreclosure and the effects between the two are substantial for all involved including the borrower or mortgage holder, the bank and a potential real estate agent.

For the borrower, the benefits of a short sale include not having the “foreclosure” designate on a credit report, eliminating the opportunity for the lender to take legal action against the borrower for the difference between the negotiated “accepted” price and the actual cost of the property (with a no recapture allotment) and zero tax implications as long as the short sale is completed and closed before the year-end 2012.  Even if the short sale text is reported to the credit bureaus (which, again, any wording or verbiage can be negotiated), a borrower will not have to wait the industry standard 24 months for another mortgage. The obvious benefit for the lender is they no longer have to absorb the operating cost nor the liability of the property until the property is either auctioned off or becomes an REO (Real Estate Owned) property.  The lender knows the realized settlement net because of the accepted offer.

Learn About Money

Make learning about money a priority

There’s a lot to learn about money, and there’s plenty of free information available. The Federal Reserve education web site,  offers personal financial education information and links to many useful resources.

Look for organizations in your community that can help you learn more about setting financial goals, budgeting, saving, using credit wisely and getting the best deal. Whether you attend information sessions at different venues, read about money in books, magazines, newspapers, or online, learning how to manage your money is an important part of life.

Here are some other possibilities:

  • Nonprofit credit counseling service.
  • Library.
  • Community college.
  • Bank or credit union.
  • Nonprofit community development corporation.
  • Nonprofit housing organization.
  • Religious organization.
  • Senior citizen center.
  • Employee assistance program.
  • Cooperative extension service.

How Credit Bureaus Make Money

 Credit Reporting and You

Information you as a consumer should know about Credit Bureaus. The Credit Bureaus make money selling your information. The three major Credit Bureaus are in business for two main reasons only and those reasons are to make money, and be profitable for their shareholders. They make their money by selling consumer information to other businesses who lend money. With this information those businesses can assess the risk level of potential borrowers. Many of those businesses are:

  • Mortgage companies
  • Banks
  • Credit Unions
  • Car dealerships
  • Credit Card companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Collection agencies
  • Land lords
  • Employers (with your permission only)

The Bureaus enjoy greater financial success if  you have low scores. As a rule, credit card companies do not spend nearly as much money buying the personal information belonging to people that have good credit.

Understanding Your Credit Score Part Five

Applying For New Debt, or Inquiries

Accumulation of new debt is the remaining 10% of your credit score. It is comprised of how much new debt you are applying for. It takes into consideration how many accounts you currently have open, how long it has been since you opened a new account, and how many requests (Inquiries) you have for new credit within a 12 month time period. If you go out today and apply for credit, that creditor requests information from the Credit Bureaus. This counts as a Hard Inquiry on your report. If you have a lot of Inquiries in a short period of time, your scores will be impacted. If you request your own report, that is considered a Soft Inquiry and doesn’t count against your score, or show up on your report.