Credit Cards For College Age Students│5 Back To School Basics

Back To School For College Students

Do you remember what you did with the last credit card you closed out or cancelled?

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Don’t skip class
  • Get involved/meet new people
  • Have fun, but not too much fun

College orientation can be a whirlwind and there are so many things that happen very quickly prior to the first day of classes. It is no longer as easy as grabbing the list at Walmart for school supplies and heading off for your first day.

I can recall my mother and I signing up for a checking account at a bank that was local in the town my University was at. I was extremely excited to start school and was ready for all these new responsibilities.

With that being said, there were also some things I didn’t know about as an 18 year old out on their on my own. I was not aware of what all went into good credit scores.

Here are five tips to educate your college age student when it comes to credit:

1. The Reality

As a student you may not know what shows on your credit reports.  Student loans are just one of the items that may end up on your credit report.

Other things that may show up on your report in a negative way can be

  • late payments on utilities
  • a landlord that you or a roommate doesn’t pay with the lease and fines
  • retail credit cards
  • late payments on a student loan

If your student is making payments on their loan themselves, stress to them that late payments are very serious when it comes to their credit. The same goes for any kind of credit card or bill.

A late payment on a credit report can drop a score up to 100 points. Rebuilding credit can take a while and although it may not seem to be a big deal to a student currently, good credit is important and should be emphasized to your student.

 

2. Find The Right Fit For You

If there is an absolute need for a credit card as a student, you want to be sure to do all research before taking the next step and signing up.

When you are looking into applying for a credit card remember these few rules

  1. Shop for low rates
  2. Try a credit union
  3. If you apply for a checking or savings account with a bank, look into credit card options with them as well

 

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3. How To Use The Cards You Get

A credit card should only be for emergency use or to build credit. Students should keep credit card balances as low as possible. If they are using the credit card, try to keep the balance below 30% of the limit.

Credit card balances are reported to the credit bureaus each month. Your credit score will reflect lower scores, if your balances are very high or are reaching maxed out or close to the limit.

 

4. Building Credit

If your student is using credit cards, encourage them to monitor their credit.

The myth out there about having to keep a balance on your credit cards is not accurate. Remind your student as well, that most of the credit cards will be acquiring interest.

There are many companies out there that will offer credit reports for free or you can enroll in credit monitoring.

When pulling a credit report, take note that any consumer score that you can view online is a vantage score not an actual FICO score. Vantage scores tend to be higher than what an actual FICO is. FICO scores can only be given to  you by a bank or lender. However, monitoring your credit at this time is more about what is showing on the report and the timely payments, etc on the report rather than the bureau scores.

5. Put A Lid On It

In an era where it seems there are so many awesome things going on whether you are on Facebook or Instagram, it can be hard to miss out on fun opportunities that maybe you just cannot afford.

Although your student may want to take that awesome Spring Break trip with friends or they have a hard time without the newest clothes, continue to help guide them and help them understand the importance of making good financial decisions.

How Can My Student Start Building Credit?
  • Become an authorized user on family member card
  • Look into a credit builder loan
  • Apply for a secured credit card

There will be many important life lessons that happen through this next time period in their lives. As parents it is important we both teach and model good decisions and long lasting lessons. We hope this sparks a conversation in your household about good financial choices for your high school graduate or soon to be graduate.

 

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

 

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Protecting Your Credit When Natural Disasters Hits

In recent weeks the United States has been hit with several natural disasters, leaving Americans uprooted from their homes and their employment. Texas and Florida are dealing with the aftermath of flood and rain waters from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, while the Western United States is dealing with the complete opposite dry and extreme conditions causing widespread forest fires.

In the wake of a natural disaster such as the recent hurricanes and wildfires, you may be wondering:

    • What if I use my credit cards or max them out?
    • What If I miss a payment?

What if I use my credit or max out my credit cards?

Rebuilding your home or life after a natural disaster can be overwhelming mentally and financially. Natural disasters like the recent events in the United States will require many Americans to start over completely, even with insurance money, government grants and any nest egg you have built you may still need to use your credit cards. We do know that the area we reside is not part of what makes up your FICO credit score, but using your cards and or maxing them out may affect your FICO Score. One of the first things you should do is pull your credit report, pulling your credit report will give you a complete picture of your credit profile at the time the natural disaster hit.

What If I Miss A Payment?

Missing just one payment could damage your credit significantly and could lead to not being about to obtain credit when it is most needed. If your house has was destroyed, make sure you cut off costly services, such as Wi-Fi and cable or electricity. This would be a perfect time to look at your budget and create a post-disaster budget; this budget should be a bare-bones budget. Once you created your budget and determined the amount, you can pay each creditor, call each creditor and discuss your options.  Depending on the credit card company and their situation they may offer you long-term or short-term options, may waive late fees or offer assistance programs.

A Few Companies That Are Helping

If you are your family or friends have been affected by a natural disaster here are a few companies that have resources for you. The information below is directly from the companies listed web pages, please visit the links to see more information.

Wells Fargo 1-800-869-3557

We know this can be a stressful time financially, so we are committed to giving affected customers additional support. Here are the ways we’re proactively helping customers in FEMA-declared areas (customers impacted by the hurricanes outside these areas are also encouraged to contact us):

  • Reversing certain fees — such as late fees — for our lending products, including credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, and lines of credit.
  • Waiving Wells Fargo fees for customers using non-Wells Fargo ATMs.
  • For Credit Card customers, providing payment relief and suppressing any negative credit bureau reporting for 90 days.

Citi Cards 1-800-950-5114

Customers in FEMA-designated disaster areas may be eligible for assistance such as:

  • Automatic waiver or refund of late fees on credit cards;
  • Automatic waiver of monthly service fees on Citibank deposit accounts;
  • Automatic waiver or refund of late fees on personal loans and lines of credit;
  • Deferred minimum payments on credit cards;
  • Emergency credit line increases;
  • Waived early withdrawal penalties on CDs and wire transfer fees;
  • Waived late fees for September mortgage payments; and
  • Mortgage payment forbearance programs.

Chase Home Lending 1-888-356-0023

First, for all customers who live in a FEMA-designated individual assistance disaster area, we’ll pause the obligation to make mortgage and home equity payments for 90 days from when the hurricane first hit (a 90-day grace period).

Millions of people in America with mistakes on their credit report- Credit Law Center

 

 

Believe it or not we live in an age where much of what goes on in our daily lives is monitored, collected and sold to interested parties. Our driving records, our medical history, our internet traffic and most importantly our credit information. Which can make you vulnerable to identity theft or a mistake on your credit report, that could cost you money. These mistakes can increase the interest you pay on your loans, prevent you from getting a mortgage, buy a car, landing a job or getting a security clearance. A government study indicates as many as 40 million Americans have a mistake on their credit report. Twenty million Americans have significant mistakes and the credit reporting industry shows that those mistakes can be nearly impossible to get removed from your record.

Consumer Credit Reporting

Consumer credit reporting is a four billion dollar a year industry dominated by three large companies Experian, TransUnion, Equifax. They keep files on 200 million Americans in traffic and our financial reputations. They make their money gathering information from people we do business with and sells it to banks, merchants, insurance companies and employers. These businesses use it to make judgments about our credit worthiness and reliability.

But now the reliability of the industry is being questioned by the Federal Trade Commission. John Liebowitz served as FTC chairman says “One out of five Americans has an error on their credit report and one out of ten has an error on their credit report and because of these mistakes Americans credit scores might be lower as a result”.

Close your eyes for a minute and trying to think of another industry where a 20 percent error rate would be acceptable. Maybe weather men and woman are the only ones that you were more than likely able to come up with. Even then, you want to make sure you remind them that they were wrong because they ruined your plans.  The same applies to your credit report.

Errors On Your Credit Report

These errors are clear violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act which performance based credit repair companies can take care of for you, that monthly credit repair companies just can’t. Performance based credit repair companies like Credit Law Center uses those mistakes as leverage to get their clients results faster, without dragging out the process to simply collect as much money as they can get.

These banks, merchants and debt collectors have a legal responsibility to make sure that the information is accurate. The federal law says that if you believe that there is a mistake you can go to them and they have an obligation to do a reasonable investigation. Let’s face it, they are not doing a reasonable investigation.

Disputing Your Credit Report

Eight million people a year file disputes about their credit report, which usually requires a visit to the Experian, TransUnion or Equifax websites. Those sites are primarily designed to sell you premium products, not resolve a dispute. There’s a toll free number you can call which is likely to connect you to someone on a faraway continent.

Besides the toll free number, they also give you a post office box address where you can send a letter and documents supporting your claim in each case. It’s extremely unlikely that anyone with the authority to resolve your dispute will ever actually see it. Usually if you challenge your credit report and mail your information to a post office box in the United States, the dispute will likely be investigated in India, Philippines or South America.

Then your dispute will be sent with a two or three line summary and no documentation back to the bank,merchant, or debt collector that furnished the original information. If there was a difference of opinion between the creditor and the person who was filing the complaint. The bureaus usually resolve it in favor of the creditor. You heard correctly, the creditor was always right.

The difference between monthly and performance based credit repair

Much of what’s known about the inner workings of the consumer credit agencies come out of lawsuits filed by performance based credit repair companies like Credit Law Center who have subpoenaed company records, deposed employees and executives and say under the current system there is no way for people to get these issues resolve.

Performance based companies like Credit Law Center can get a jury verdict for hundreds if not thousands of dollars for their clients.That’s chump change for these bureaus! They would rather pay a verdict in a hundreds to thousands of dollars, than to actually go in and change the policies and procedures that they have.

What most people don’t understand is that monthly credit repair companies are limited by what they can do. Basically you are paying $65 to $100 a month to send dispute letters that are going to India, Philippines, South America or filling out the dispute on the 3 big credit bureau sites on your behalf and keeping their fingers crossed. Very little if any fighting for consumers rights are going on.or people to get their problems solved. So clients who take the time to meticulously document their case that the bill isn’t theirs or the bill has been paid, have sometimes not only got the items deleted but also has received a check from the bank, merchant or collector for damages.

 

 

TOP 10 BLOGS 2018

CREDIT REPAIR2018 Top 10 Credit Repair Blogs


Thank you to all of our 2018 clients for giving us a fantastic year for Credit Law Center.  From our new facility to the thousands of lives we have made an impact on, we wanted to share what we learned last year in the same order that you liked the most.  So whether it be learning how to handle credit after the death of a loved one, handling collectors, understanding the myths that surround credit, or just understanding the mortgage process - we have you covered with our 2018’s most popular blogs written by our very own award-winning Credit Repair experts.  Be sure to check in with our Live Chat specialists to schedule your free credit repair consultation to see how quick, easy, and affordable credit repair can be with Credit Law Center!


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  1. The Mortage Process

Our most popular blog of 2018 was this blog that addresses what to do to be “Mortgage Ready”.  Short and simple to the point, but however a few checklists here to make sure the largest purchase of our lives has us ready to take on the big decisions that go along with it.

   2. Debt Negotiation

Don’t worry, debt collectors fear Credit Law Center!  However, knowing your options when a debt collector comes after you.  This debt negotiation will walk you through your options.

   3. Credit Rating Matter?

Here is a very powerful piece of writing that will walk you through not only how important Credit Law Center’s clients are to us, but how credit ratings are different than character ratings.  This is important information to know as to when you are applying for credit, these credit ratings are important and the better you understand the better you can navigate through your next purchase.  Better credit, better life!

   4. After The Death Of A Loved One…

This being the most difficult credit issue to face, however important to know what to do after the death of a loved one.  Knowing what to do to make sure thieves are at bay, debt is reported accurately, and understanding the laws behind it all is what makes this blog one of our most popular sources of learning for our clients.

   5. Harassment From Debt Collectors

Even though you may have debt that you have agreed to pay at one time, but that does not mean the debt collectors get to abuse and ignore the laws that they are required to follow.  So before you hang up or avoid that next collection call, read the information here so you know your rights. Credit Law Center is on your side.


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   6. Credit Myth On Divorce

Making the decision to end a marriage can profoundly affect lives and credit.  This article will walk you through the myths associated with credit and how the aftermaths divorces leave behind.  

   7. Credit Law Center Is Superior To All Other Credit Repair  Companies.

Yes, you read correctly.  This is probably our boldest claim, yet we have not found any evidence to other credit repair companies that have REAL attorneys that get REAL results, in as soon as 39 days, and with nothing to pay upfront.  Be sure to check out the graph on this blog that compares everything you need to know up front when deciding to sign up for credit repair.

8.  Credit Repair │ The Elephant In The Room

Throughout the years, there have been so many credit repair companies that took advantage of their clients, leaving a bad taste in their mouth the next time a real law firm that uses the law to delete negative items off credit reports.  Not to mention the personal anguish we go through when our credit scores are low and sometimes not everybody like to discuss openly about credit repair. Here is a great article that helps ease the conversation no matter who you want to share with.

9.  Credit Myth On Paying Collections

Our very own Jana Fox puts it perfectly on what happens when you pay a collection.  We all have a responsibility to pay our debt, however, we do what we have to do when things get tough - paying that collection isn't doing what you think it is doing to your credit report.

10.  Credit Myth On “It’s On The Credit Report, It Must Be True”

It is a fact that 80% of all credit reports contain errors.  Here is Jana Fox again setting the record straight on another myth of credit.  Great job Jana!


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