Christian Credit Counselors, Debit & Your Credit Score, Money Management

Credit Reports – The Knowledge You need to Know

Improving Your Credit Score

The best way to improve your credit score is to improve your knowledge on credit reports.  There are three major credit bureaus that put together your credit report: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.  Although the information they gather is yours, you do not own it, these agencies own your information.  They have collected the information and they give you the right to view it.  You can view your credit report for free on www.anualcreditreport.com.  You can view one or all three, depending what you need it for.  Your credit score will be between 500 and 840, anything over 700 is a good score.

How your score is tabulated is unknown, but what makes up your credit score is no secret.  Some of the items that are calculated into your credit score are employment, department store credit card(s), credit card(s), installment loan(s), collection item(s), and inquiries.

Department Store Credit Card Accounts

For department store credit card accounts they look at highest credit allowed, balance, and date opened.  The rating scale on this account is R1 to R9 with R9 being the worst.  The R stands for revolving, and it tracks how well you pay.  A similar scale is used for installment loans, I1 to I9, where I9 means the account is in collection.  On this scale, I7 means they took back the collateral.  For example, on a car loan I7 means the car was repossessed.  All accounts, department store credit cards, credit cards, installment loans, etc., have a twenty four month window.  If you fall behind and make a late payment on any account, you must make twenty three on time payments to get the late payment to drop off.  Inquiries made on your account have a very small effect.  If you are shopping for a new car, the inquiries made by the dealerships have no significant effect on your score.  However, if you have fifteen inquiries in one month it will cause a big impact because it appears you are desperate for credit and this raises a big flag.

This information is sold to banks by the credit bureaus; this is how they make money.  With this information banks look at who is a credit risk, will pay over a long period of time, and earn them the most money.  For example, banks look at bankruptcy filers to offer them a credit card with high interest.  Also, the bank is attracted to those who recently purchased a home because most of them will make big purchases like furniture, home improvements, etc.

Managing Your Money

There are some simple rules that will help you better manage your money and increase your credit score.  Prioritize your bills, and pay your bills immediately.  As stated by the President and CEO of Christian Credit Counselors, Greg McTaggart, “the longer you have that credit card, the more they make off of you.”  Think of your purchases.  Do not just focus on the present, focus on what you will need 4 to 8 years from now.  Poor planning leads to impulse buying, pre-schedule bills, balance check book, and have cushion for savings and emergencies.  To avoid fraudulent activity on your credit report, do not give out your information generously.  Check your report annually and dispute any irregularities with the credit bureau.

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    Christian Credit Counselors, College Debt, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt

    Credit Card Debt and Five Habits You Need to Break

    Breaking Credit Card Debt

    Being in debt is no fun, but having fun costs money and that is what got you in debt in the first place. Credit card debt can creep up on you if you aren’t keeping track of your spending habits. Here are 5 things that are keeping you in debt that you might not even be aware of.

    Bargain Shopping

    We all love a great deal, and you may think that because something is on sale, that you are doing yourself a favor by making that purchase. But, before you buy, ask yourself if you really need this item. If you do, then if it is on sale you are saving money in the long-run. If you are buying it just because of the discount, then you are spending money that you shouldn’t be which of course isn’t helping you.

    Your Friends

    This becomes a problem if you are always going out to dinner/movies/bar etc. and spending money with your friends. Of course I am not saying don’t hang out with your friends, but find other ways to socialize that don’t cost money. Host a game night or go on a hike. I understand that this is unrealistic every time you get together, but try to incorporate free activities into your social circle when you can.

    Credit Card Rewards

    Many credit cards that are out there now offer various rewards on your purchases. While these rewards can really benefit you, be careful to make sure you can make your payments at the end of the month. Just because you are racking up airline miles by that outrageous charge on your card, doesn’t mean it is worth it if you can’t pay off your balance.

    Tax Refund

    If you are fortunate enough to get a tax refund this year, then lucky you! But just because you are getting a lump sum of money, doesn’t mean you need to go and spend frivolously. I know it may seem like you deserve to treat yourself, and that this is “extra” money, but be smart about it and use the refund to pay off some of your debt.

    Gift Buying

    Just because your friend spent an excessive amount on you for your birthday, doesn’t mean you need to do the same. If you are trying to stick to a budget, remember it is the thought that counts when it comes to gifts. If he/she is a true friend they will understand your financial situation and won’t resent you for not over indulging for their birthday.

    Can you think of any other things that are keeping you in debt?

     

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      Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling

      Credit Education Month and Tools You Need

      Credit Education Month

      We all have credit cards, but who really pays attention to see if they are helping or hurting us. This month is Credit Education Month, which should give you an incentive to learn a little more about your credit. I know it can be confusing at times, and not all that interesting, but it is important to know and understand for your financial well-being.

      Your Credit Score

      The first thing I would advise is for you to find out your credit score if you don’t already know what it is. You are able to get one free each year from the 3 consumer credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Take advantage of this! Once you receive the reports, go through each carefully to make sure there are no discrepancies. If there are, you will need to contact the credit reporting company to get it corrected.

      Once you know your credit score, you need to determine if it is good or not. Your credit score can range from 300-850, an the higher your score is the better. Go to MyFico for information on what is in your score and how you can improve it.

      Tracking Your Credit Report

      There are many tools available for you to track your credit report. Most offer a free 30 day trial, but if you opt for that, make sure you cancel before the 30 days so you don’t get charged for the next month. The monthly fee usually isn’t too outrageous, so if you do want to track your score, you can do so without paying much.

       

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        Taxes

        The Social Security Tax Break and its Advantages

        The Social Security Tax Break Facts

        In December President Obama signed a Social Security tax break into law. This was good news, because it reduced the amount of Social Security tax taken out of workers’ pay, meaning an increase in a worker’s take-home pay. This doesn’t apply to everyone, and is only for one year, but by dropping the Social Security tax rate to 4.2% instead of the original 6.2% people below the pay cap, $106, 800, can see some extra money coming in.

        For more information about tax breaks read Carla Fried’s article here.

        By now, workers’ who are affected by this should have seen the adjustment in their pay. For example, for every $1,000 you earn in pay, instead of taking out $62 (6.2%), only $42 (4.2%) will be taken out. This tax break was meant to increase consumer spending but if you do notice this change, put the extra money to good use.

        Paying Bills

        First and foremost, use it to help pay off credit card debt or your current bills. Everyone is suffering from the economy, and with this little help from the tax break, people should use this extra money to their advantage. Pay off bills in full if you can, don’t settle for the minimum. Or if you are in debt, put as much money as you can toward that so you can pay it off sooner.

        Increase Your Savings

        Another way to utilize your additional income is to save it. When people receive a bonus or gift of cash, they usually spend it because they figure it is money they wouldn’t usually have. So don’t think of this tax break as a bonus or gift. Think of it as a start to a new savings account, or add it to your current savings account. Save it, and pretend like you never saw it. Don’t be tempted to spend, because you never know when you will need it for a rainy day.

        These are the two most important ways to help in securing your financial future. I hope you take them into consideration and put that extra money to good use.

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          Credit Cards, Debit & Your Credit Score, Identity Theft

          Identity Theft Victims Must Do List

          A Must Do List for Identity Theft Victims

          If you’re a victim of identity theft, it’s essential to take certain steps as soon as possible, to start repairing the damage. At the same time, begin to keep a record of all conversations and copies of all correspondences. There are six things you should do right away:

          Fraud Alert

          Placing a fraud alert on your credit reports will prevent a thief from opening any additional accounts in your name. Although there are three credit reporting agencies, you only need to call one of them:

          Equifax 1-800-525-6285
          Experian 1-888-397-3742
          TransUnion 1-800-680-7289

          Review Your Credit Reports

          Request them from all three agencies and review them very carefully. Look for accounts you didn’t open, debt that isn’t yours, and inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted. Verify everything and begin the process of removing any fraudulent or inaccurate information.

          Close Tempered Accounts

          Call immediately and follow up with letters, including copies of your supporting documents. Also, send the letters by certified mail so you know they received it. Keep records of everything.

          Fraudulent Charges

          Dispute fraudulent charges on your credit card accounts or debit cards. Call the company to find out what their process is and where to send correspondence. Don’t send it to the billing address. Once it’s resolved, get it in writing.

          Federal Trade Commission

          File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Go online at ftc.gov or call their hotline at 1-877-438-4338. The information will be used to help law enforcement officials track the criminals and stop them.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Uncategorized

            Debts Solutions Tips

            Your Credit Score

            How well do you know your credit score? Do you even know your credit score? Have you hit the limit on your credit cards and started missing payments? If your response was yes to one or more of these questions you can end up having bad credit.

            Clearing Your Debt

            The very first step you can take for clearing your debt is by taking the help of a credit counselor, as it is one of the most common for clearing your debts. The credit counselor will suggest you an appropriate idea on how to manage your debts and credit, after investigating your financial state of affairs. He provides you suggestions such as a personalized relief plan, provides you with proper budgeting plans, as well as instructs you on proper use of your money.

            You can also adopt one of the successful ways for clearing your debts. Through a credit counseling service, you can go for a debt management program if you are not getting an appropriate solution for clearing your debts. You can reduce your interest rates on your debt by adopting a debt management plan, as here the counselor on your behalf negotiates with your creditor on interest rates. You are required to pay the monthly payment for clearing your debts, once you opt for a debt management plan the credit counselor decides upon your monthly payment thus making your task quite simple.

            So now you can distribute your payment among the creditors by paying the approved monthly amount to the agency. So by adopting a debt management plan for clearing your debt you can invite many benefits like, the interest rates monthly will get reduced, extra charges and late fees are not there, and no more distressing calls from the creditors. Therefore, overall it is the best and suitable plan for clearing your debts.

            Debt Options

            You can also go for debt consolidation which is like debt management. Then it is debt consolidation loan. In a debt consolidation loan, you can clear all your debts by taking a loan from the lender or financial institutions.

            Debt settlement is another solution for clearing your debts. If you are not able make your monthly payments towards clearing your debts, then you can go for a debt settlement plan. Even here the debt settlement company starts negotiating with your creditors to reduce the debt amount. A debt settlement plan helps you in clearing your debt faster and that too is an easier way. It saves you from further legal actions and lawsuits.

            The last option that you can use for clearing your debt is declare bankruptcy. You can select this option only when you are facing severe debt problems. In this you need to file your bankruptcy by taking the help of an attorney. By opting for bankruptcy it becomes difficult for you to qualify for future loans as it ruins your credit history.

            You can also try clearing your debts on your own by opting for a self repayment plan.

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              Budgeting

              Debt and the Help You Need

              Dealing with Debt Reality

              Are you struggling with your bills? Everyone has problems paying bills from time to time. And most everyone will be late paying a bill at least once in their lives. When this happens it is not always the end of the world. However, for some people being late is an every month occurrence due to their finances. And regardless of whether it is because they simply do not have the extra income anymore or because they have over extended themselves, they will find that a good consumer credit counseling service can help them get their lives back on track.

              Are you a newly single parent or young adult out on your own for the first time and having trouble juggling your debt? You will find that while unsecured debt is quite easy to obtain, it can be a lot harder to pay back. From credit card debt to old medical bills, these are the ones that make your finances scream. But do not let them get you down as there is help out there for you. When you go and get consumer credit counseling you will learn that not only can they help you create a great budget and plan for your finances, but they can also help you get all your debt consolidated into one easy to pay bill. In fact, while most people think of these counseling companies as a way to fix their problem, they forget that they are also there to teach you how to not get into trouble in the first place.

              Consumer Credit Counseling

              A really good consumer credit counseling service will make sure that you know how to budget your finances in the future so that you do not get in debt again. This is the number one way to stay out of debt. If you have a fixed budget and financial plan that you always adhere to then you should not have to worry about many of the unsecured debts. But as mentioned above, these counseling services are also there to help get you out of your current debt.

              The way that these companies are able to help besides setting up a budget is they are able to work with your lenders to come to certain agreements. For some this may mean a consolidation of your bills with one lower monthly payment and most often even a much lower interest rate. Or it may just mean that they work with the lender to lower your interest rates and your principal balance. It really is that simple when you find the right consumer credit counseling to help you out.

              Getting Debt Help

              In the end what it is important to remember is that you are not alone and that there is no shame in getting help. All too often people that have been on their own paying bills for years will either feel that such services are for younger people or that it is just too embarrassing to ask for help. Don’t fall into this line of thinking when it comes to your financial future. Get your consumer credit report today and get back to life.

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                Identity Theft

                Identity Theft and How It Works

                Identifying Identity Thieves

                According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft ranks number one on the list of top complaints, with credit card fraud being the most prevalent type. Criminals usually commit identity theft to get money, goods, or services, as well as to obtain documents such as false drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, social security numbers, or visas. It can be devastating for consumers because of the long-term damage it causes. Knowing how the thieves get your information will help you protect yourself.

                Identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:

                · Looking in Dumpsters.

                They rummage through trash looking for bills or other papers with your personal information on it.

                · Skimming.

                They get credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

                · Phishing.

                They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages online to get you to reveal your personal information.

                · Changing Your Address.

                They divert your billing statements to another location by filling out a “change of address” form.

                · “Old-Fashioned” Stealing.

                They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access to this information.

                Common Types of Identity Theft

                · Credit card fraud 25%
                · Phone or Utilities fraud 16%
                · Bank fraud 16%
                · Employment-related fraud 14%
                · Government Documents or Benefits fraud 10%
                · Loan fraud 5%
                · Other 25%

                Security experts predict that these crimes will only increase as electronic transactions become more and more common.

                For more information, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .

                If you find you are struggling with credit card debt, please contact a credit counseling company today.

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                  Credit Counseling

                  Finances and Your Financial Future

                  Online Credit Counseling

                  Living in the US may be an absolute dream come true, but it doesn’t mean that its residents are protected from financial hardships. If you’re a consumer, it doesn’t matter where you live – slipping into debt is much easier than many think. If you’re worried about where you stand, need some help getting prearranged, or are worried about the future – enrolling in free credit counseling can help give you the piece of mind you need. Sure, you can spend hours researching tips and tricks online about how to better manage your finances, but none of this advice is catered to your specific situation.

                  Outcome of Credit Counseling

                  When taking part in credit counseling services, experienced credit counselors will work with you to decide where you stand, where you’re going, and what to expect. By carefully examining where your money goes each month, you’ll be able to put together a practical budget for your lifestyle. Not only will free consumer credit counseling benefit you now, you’ll get helpful advice that you can put into practice right through your entire life.

                  If you’ve already slipped into debt, you may feel absolutely helpless. Even though you may not know where to turn next, there are resources available to people that can help them understand where they stand and give them practical advice about where to go next.

                  Debt Management

                  Debt management services can not only help you get out of debt but your life will change in many different ways. You’ll better your credit score, end the collection calls, save money on credit card interest, and most importantly – avoid bankruptcy.

                  Although the changes you’ll experience are huge, taking the first step isn’t. Enrolling in a debt management program doesn’t put you in a judgmental environment like many debt-stricken consumers fear. Instead, you’ll be working and learning in a safe and accepting environment. Debt management counselors want nothing more than to see you back on the right financial track.

                  So whether you’re interested in just better managing your finances or you’d like to end the collection calls once and for all, take the first step to a more secure financial future. Paying off the bills takes money, but the piece of mind you’ll receive after doing so is absolutely priceless.

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