Archive for July, 2009

Where to fax credit dispute to equifax ?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Where to fax credit dispute to equifax? There are so many factors to consider. Would you be kind enough as to give me some pointers as what to look for or avoid? Please point me in the right direction.
Thank you so much. yours truly, Paul

Hi Paul I will point you to our “how to dispute” article that tells you everything you need to know.
go here.

Mike Clover

On Vacation, Should You Carry Debit Cards or Credit Cards?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Credit cards seem to be the safest alternative when you’re going to be away from home, although you will need some cash, and thus might want to take your debit card.

If carrying large sums of cash makes you nervous, your debit card will allow you carry only enough cash for a day or two, because you can make periodic withdrawals from your checking account. But be careful with that debit card!

Of course you should also be careful with your credit cards – carrying only one and leaving the others locked in the hotel safe or in-room safe. But debit cards carry additional risks.

For safety’s sake, plan ahead so you know where to find legitimate ATM machines. Savvy crooks have figured out how to install phony ATM machines in high-traffic tourist spots, and using one could result in identity theft and an empty bank account. If your hotel has an ATM machine, it is probably legitimate, as are those in airports and banks.

Rather than carry the card for multiple withdrawals throughout the day, plan ahead and make as few withdrawals as possible. This not only helps ensure safety, it cuts down on those $2-$5 ATM fees.

As with your credit cards, let the bank know ahead of time that you’ll be on vacation. Otherwise they could freeze your account, thinking incorrectly that charges made away from home are the result of a theft.

Theft can be more serious with a debit card than a credit card, so if your card had indeed been stolen, you’d be thankful for their interference.

Unless you report the loss to your bank within 2 business days, you could be liable for up to $500 in unauthorized withdrawals. If you report within the 2 days, your liability drops to $50. BUT, while you’re disputing the withdrawals and waiting for the funds to be returned, your bank account is just as empty.

This could have serious consequences if the money for your day to day expenses, such as a house payment, car payment, and utility bills disappears overnight.

Disputing charges is also more difficult with a debit card than a credit card. Say you’re on vacation and see a beautiful painting, so you buy it and arrange to have it shipped home. If it never arrives, having the charge removed from your credit card is reasonably easy. But once the money has been taken from your bank account, getting it returned is not.

Author: Mike Clover

Cash Back Credit Cards are Not all Created Equal

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Getting cash back from a credit card is like getting free money – or is it?

It turns out that the words “cash back” are not enough to assure that you will actually get cash back from your purchases. It all depends upon the credit card and the fine print in your agreements.

Some cards charge an annual fee for the privilege of getting cash back. In order for you to know if it makes sense you need to determine how much you’ll spend in a given year.
For instance, if your cash rebate is 2% of your purchases and the annual fee is $35, you’ll need to charge $1,750 per year just to break even.

Some cards offer a tiered cash back plan – wherein their percentage goes up at intervals as they spend more. So it might start at 1% and go up as high as 5%. Again, you need to look at how much you typically spend per year.

Next, unless you can and will pay your balance in full each month, look at the interest rate. If you’re paying 29% interest that 2% doesn’t count for much.

After annual fees and interest rates, check to see if your rewards have an expiration date. Some cards will only rebate your cash back after you’ve reached a specific threshold – say $100. If you don’t reach that by the end of a set period of time, your rewards will dissolve into nothingness.

Low caps are another trap. Some cards limit the amount you can earn, no matter how much you spend. If you use your card for business and run large sums of money through it every year, check to see that you’ll be rewarded for all of your purchases, not just the first few months’ worth.

Merchant restrictions can also limit the value of your cash back credit cards. The advertisement may say that you get 2% back on all grocery purchases but when it comes time for a rebate, disallow the groceries you bought at Wal Mart or Whole Foods because they don’t consider those stores as “grocery stores.”

If the card offers cash back on fast food, read to see which stores are included and excluded. You may find that your favorite fast food place is not on the list of approved establishments.

If it offers money back on gasoline, see if it will honor gasoline purchased at the neighborhood quick stop that just happens to have 2 pumps outside.

Reading the fine print is tedious and time-consuming. Sometimes it requires a magnifying glass. But if you want to get real value from any kind of rewards card, and not spend your time fuming because you didn’t get what you expected, you must read the fine print.

Students, Begin Building Credit Scores Before You Need Them

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

College years are not a time of financial involvement for most students, and credit scores are far from their minds.

They may have student loans for tuition, but most are concentrating on education rather than home ownership or cars. Most students who pay their own way are avoiding extra debt because they simply don’t have the time to hold down a job that will return enough to pay a lot of bills.

But… they should still work at establishing credit, because they’ll need it when they leave school and enter the working world. Unless they’re staying at home for a while, the first thing they’ll need is a place to live – and landlords now want to see good credit reports.

Next, depending upon where they live, they’ll need a car to take them to that new job. Without good credit scores, they’ll pay high interest for that car.

Thus, every student should have at least one credit card. Unless they have some bad credit history, they should be able to get at least a low limit, high interest card. If not, they can get a co-signer, piggyback on a parent’s good credit, or get a secured credit card.

As with everything, students should read the fine print before making application for any card.

Those with little or no credit are often prey for companies promoting “Fee Harvester” cards. These come with a low credit limit, and so many fees that the cardholder is in debt for almost the full balance before using the card even once. Shy away from cards that charge annual fees, set-up fees, transaction fees, statement fees, and inactivity fees.

Right now, card issuers can and do charge as much as 78% of the credit limit in fees. Under the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights, they’ll be restricted to charging 25% of the credit limit – which is still excessive. They also charge interest rates that top the charts. So read the fine print – all of it!

When piggybacking – where the student is simply added to another person’s credit card account – students should choose wisely. Everything about that other person’s use of that card will go on the student’s credit report. So if they maintain balances over 50% or make late payments, the effect of piggybacking can be negative.

Secured cards are another option for students who have trouble getting a “regular” card. By depositing money in a savings account that’s used for collateral, there’s no danger of being harmed by someone else’s credit mishap. Again, be sure to read the fine print for fees, and always, always, always make the payments on time.

Where to get a loan with a 640 credit score ?

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Where to get a loan with a 640 credit score?
How might I best go forward?
Would you consider giving me a couple pointers?
I am very grateful for your help.
Kind Regards, Paul

Hi Paul. I would assume you are talking about a unsecured loan. I would recommend trying out our loan through Go here. You can get up to $15,000 dollar loan depending on your circumstances.

What helps to improve my credit score more loan or credit card ?

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I have poor credit, I paid over 2,000 dollars to pay off my debts that were in collections. My credit score however has stayed the same. Would it be better to get a co signer for a loan, or a secured credit card (been denied for a unsecured card)

Hi Andri,
This is a great question….. When rebuilding credit we always recommend getting a few Secured Credit Cards. This way you are establishing credit on your own, instead of piggybacking someone else s credit primarily. There is nothing wrong with having a co-signer along with some secured credit cards though. Go here to select a couple of good secured credit cards to get started.

Credit Cards and Your Summer Vacation

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Well-planned handling of your credit cards can help ensure that your summer vacation holds only pleasant memories. So begin planning as soon as you choose your destination.

Start by examining all your credit cards. Do some of them offer travel rewards? Should you use one card for airline tickets another for your hotel or resort reservation, and a different one for a car rental or gasoline?

Since some credit card issuers still do give rewards, you might as well take advantage of them. And, since using too much of your credit line on any one card will negatively affect your credit scores, spreading these charges between different cards is a good idea.

Once you’ve decided which cards to use where, choose which cards will go in your wallet for the trip. Be smart and pare down, so you’re carrying only 2 or 3. Then write down all the account numbers and contact information for each card. Put a copy in your carry-on luggage and leave another copy with a friend or relative you can contact quickly in case you need the information in a hurry.

If you’ve reserved a room with your credit card, find out if you’ll have to show the card in order to finalize the charge. If so, that one needs to go along as well.

Put the cards you’re leaving behind in a safe place. Your desk drawer or the corner cupboard isn’t that place! Remember, break-ins do happen when people are away from home, so don’t leave temptations like credit cards, debit cards, or large sums of money in easily accessible spots. If you have a safe, use it. Otherwise, use your safe deposit box at the bank.

Before you leave, notify your credit card issuers of your plans. Tell them where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. Otherwise, some conscientious card issuers could put a freeze on your spending when they see charges popping up in other cities. They’ll usually try to contact you first to verify the charges are valid, but when they can’t reach you, you could find yourself unable even to buy lunch.

If you forget, and it happens, you’ll have the contact numbers with you, so you can straighten it out. But… first you might have to be embarrassed when a charge is denied.

Once at your destination, put one card in your wallet and store the others in your in-room or hotel safe, along with the contact list and other important documents such as your passport, return airline tickets, etc.

Finally, if your card is lost or stolen, report it as soon as you know it’s missing. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act you’ll only be liable for the first $50 of unauthorized charges, but you don’t need the hassle of proving which charges are not yours if you fail to report it immediately.

Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.