Debt Collectors and Social Media

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the amount of debt  held per average American citizen has increased exponentially. With more debtors comes more collectors looking for new ways to track down those who owe them money.

With the implementation of new collection rules, debt collectors have new means of chasing down debtors outside of mail and phone calls.  Now debt collectors have the ability to reach you through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in an attempt to collect.

The new changes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is designed to  reduce and eliminate abusive debt collection practices, saw their first integration during the Trump administration when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) looked to provide assistance to the business community.

Kathy Kraninger, The CFPB director at the time, said these new rules were meant to “modernize the legal regime for debt collection.”

With this new rule, the fear is that this expanded access to consumers through social media platforms could contribute to new ways to harass struggling consumers.

TransUnion reported that this year, 77.6 million consumers had at least one debt in collections leading to a total of 118 billion dollars of outstanding debt.

The collection industry praised the update, arguing that text and email are now the preferred methods for communication for many people.

“The CFPB’s debt collection rule is a small step forward in modernizing communications with consumers,” Mark Neeb, chief executive of ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals, said in a statement.

  Article by Joe Peters 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. If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.
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The In’s and Out’s of Medical Debt

What is Considered Medical Debt

With there being more than 45 different FICO scores in circulation there is bound to be some variances in how each score is reported. Each debt listed on a report holds different weight; from revolving debt to past due debt, each instance is judged differently across each scoring model when determining risk. With the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, many consumers have experienced a new type of debt over the past year, unpaid medical debt.

It is rare for a medical debt to appear on your report listed under your practitioners’ company or service provider. You will primarily see your medical debt appear on your report as a collection under a third parties’ agency.

Medical collections is one of the more daunting debts held by a consumer as they do not willingly place themselves in the situation unlike opening a tradeline with a credit card provider or loan officer. The dilemma sits with the morality behind paying off the debt. Medical service provides are entitled to payment for their services like any other provider. On the other hand, no one chooses to fall ill or succumb to injury. Regardless of the situation, there have been many changes made by the credit reporting and scoring communities to attempt to pad and reduce the impact of medical debt to the consumer.

Are you unsure what is on your report? You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

 

NCAP

In March of 2015, the three credit reporting companies (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian) established a plan to provide more accurate and accessible information. The National Consumer Assistance Plan was set to help consumers better understand and correct errors found on their reports as to bolster their credit portfolio. This plan adjusted common practices in many beneficial ways:

1- Consumers who acquire their annual credit report and dispute information that causes the report to change will receive an additional free credit report after updates have been made.

2- The reporting time for medical debts has been changed to report after 180 days to allow insurance to be applied. Credit reporting agencies will also be removed from the reports that previously listed medical collections if they have been paid or are being paid by insurance. If the debt is reported by a debt collector, the account still needs to be noted as being a medical debt as stated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Section 623.

3- Traffic tickets, parking tickets or any other debt that didn’t not come from a contract or agreement will not appear on a consumer’s report.

4- Victims of identity theft will receive special attention or those that have another individual’s information listed on their report.

Do you have medical debt on your credit report? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

free credit repair consultation

An Ever-Changing Reporting System

Every few years a new credit scoring model is developed in an attempt to make meaningful changes in how credit report entries are considered. Currently we are acknowledging almost 50 different FICO scores, each assessing different aspects of the consumers debt. VantageScore (another leader in the credit scoring community) has also faced many changes in their scoring model throughout the years when it comes to medial debts. In the past, VantageScore had ignored medical debts that were furnished by the original medical provider. Though the situation was found to be extremely rare, this meant that a medical facilities debt had no impact on any generation of the current VantageScore (1,2,3 and 4).

Now, with the later VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, all paid collections are ignored and removed from the account. This had provided a more lenient scoring model that has been much more forgiving to consumers who face medical debt. Keep in mind that a medical debt that is paid by insurance is different from an account that is settled. A settled account is not applicable when it comes to removal and only paid collections made by insurance companies will be removed.

The most current and forgiving VantageScore (4.0) is the only scoring model that distinguishes medical collections from other accounts on your report. This means that medical collections are in a realm of their own leaving accounts such as credit cards and auto loans to be reported normally. This is meant to minimize the impact of a medical collection on consumers reports and better differentiate these accounts from all other types of collections.

Article by: Joe Peters

 

Students Loans and Credit Scores

Student loans seem to be on almost everyone’s credit reports. They can positively impact your credit scores if you are consistent with your payments and aware of what is happening with your loan. As with any bill or loan you take out, it is extremely important to your credit score as well because it can also have a negative impact too. We will discuss some of the positive ways that your loan can impact your credit, as well as a few ways it can do severe damage if you are not careful.

The Positives

1. Payment History

A student loan, when paid correctly, can be a great trade-line for your credit report. If you make the minimum payments, this shows great repayment on your part that you can reliable and make on time payments. This part of the credit report makes 35% of the FICO grading scale. The difference with a student loan as opposed to your other monthly bills such as your car insurance is that they do not report monthly (only when you miss the payment or fall into collection) whereas your loan will report positively when you have positive payments. This is great for your credit!

For some consumers, building credit is hard to do if you do not have an auto loan or any credit cards, but your student loan can help start to establish that payment history.

2. Building A Credit Mix

For a while, there was a myth out that having “diverse” accounts helped your scores and provided for a healthy mix of credit. Only about 20% of your FICO score is made up of new credit and types of credit used. Typically, having two revolving accounts and two loans (home, auto,or personal) are sufficient enough in trying to build on your scores. Your student loan will also help you start to fill out a portion of that percentage of your credit mix while you continue to make positive payments.

 

free credit repair consultation

The Negatives

 

1. Late Payments on Loans

A good way to completely tank your credit scores quick, fast and in a hurry is to get a late payment. As much as on time payments can help your credit score, they can also harm them, sometimes up to 100 points.

These bad or derogatory remarks can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. If continue to miss your payments and they continue to roll over, your scores will just keep dropping and dropping. The other piece to this puzzle that is not good, is how long it can take for you to rebuild once you have fallen behind. Be aware of what is happening with your bills and other finances and communicate with your institution if you start to fall behind.

2. Defaulting 

If your accounts are sent to collections, this can also really impact your credit scores. Often times, creditors will not lend you any money unless you “correct” it and make it right with the lender of the money. If you go and apply for a home loan and they see collection status, it can be extremely hard for them to justify lending to you with a lot of derogatory marks on the report.

You may hope to open credit cards and start to establish credit but the creditor denies you due to the defaults on your credit report. All in all, if you are seeing collections/charge offs or have been denied financing, you may want to reach out to a credit repair company today.

What Resources Are There?

Having student loans and pursuing a degree is important in this day and age. We see so many student loans every day on credit reports that are doing great things for people and their credit report. Make sure you stay up to date on the payments and work as well on establishing credit.

For more information on student loans and second chance checking, please visit this site. You will find a lot of programs to help you out in regards to student loans if you have not been able to find any resources yet that work.

The In’s and Out’s of Medical Debt

What is Considered Medical Debt

With there being more than 45 different FICO scores in circulation there is bound to be some variances in how each score is reported. Each debt listed on a report holds different weight; from revolving debt to past due debt, each instance is judged differently across each scoring model when determining risk. With the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, many consumers have experienced a new type of debt over the past year, unpaid medical debt.

It is rare for a medical debt to appear on your report listed under your practitioners’ company or service provider. You will primarily see your medical debt appear on your report as a collection under a third parties’ agency.

Medical collections is one of the more daunting debts held by a consumer as they do not willingly place themselves in the situation unlike opening a tradeline with a credit card provider or loan officer. The dilemma sits with the morality behind paying off the debt. Medical service provides are entitled to payment for their services like any other provider. On the other hand, no one chooses to fall ill or succumb to injury. Regardless of the situation, there have been many changes made by the credit reporting and scoring communities to attempt to pad and reduce the impact of medical debt to the consumer.

Are you unsure what is on your report? You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

 

NCAP

In March of 2015, the three credit reporting companies (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian) established a plan to provide more accurate and accessible information. The National Consumer Assistance Plan was set to help consumers better understand and correct errors found on their reports as to bolster their credit portfolio. This plan adjusted common practices in many beneficial ways:

1- Consumers who acquire their annual credit report and dispute information that causes the report to change will receive an additional free credit report after updates have been made.

2- The reporting time for medical debts has been changed to report after 180 days to allow insurance to be applied. Credit reporting agencies will also be removed from the reports that previously listed medical collections if they have been paid or are being paid by insurance. If the debt is reported by a debt collector, the account still needs to be noted as being a medical debt as stated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Section 623.

3- Traffic tickets, parking tickets or any other debt that didn’t not come from a contract or agreement will not appear on a consumer’s report.

4- Victims of identity theft will receive special attention or those that have another individual’s information listed on their report.

Do you have medical debt on your credit report? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

free credit repair consultation

An Ever-Changing Reporting System

Every few years a new credit scoring model is developed in an attempt to make meaningful changes in how credit report entries are considered. Currently we are acknowledging almost 50 different FICO scores, each assessing different aspects of the consumers debt. VantageScore (another leader in the credit scoring community) has also faced many changes in their scoring model throughout the years when it comes to medial debts. In the past, VantageScore had ignored medical debts that were furnished by the original medical provider. Though the situation was found to be extremely rare, this meant that a medical facilities debt had no impact on any generation of the current VantageScore (1,2,3 and 4).

Now, with the later VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, all paid collections are ignored and removed from the account. This had provided a more lenient scoring model that has been much more forgiving to consumers who face medical debt. Keep in mind that a medical debt that is paid by insurance is different from an account that is settled. A settled account is not applicable when it comes to removal and only paid collections made by insurance companies will be removed.

The most current and forgiving VantageScore (4.0) is the only scoring model that distinguishes medical collections from other accounts on your report. This means that medical collections are in a realm of their own leaving accounts such as credit cards and auto loans to be reported normally. This is meant to minimize the impact of a medical collection on consumers reports and better differentiate these accounts from all other types of collections.

Article by: Joe Peters

 

who looks at credit

Debt Collector or Scam; How Do I Tell?

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.

 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:

They must

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication
  • Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
  • Verify the name and address of the original collector
  • Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt

If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.

Taking Legal Action

The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.

  • Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
  • Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
  • Profane or abusive language is not allowed
  • Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
  • A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
  • Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop

A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.

free credit repair consultation

Suing the Debt Collector

If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.

Continued Harassment and Next Steps

The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:

  1. Collection Letters you received
  2. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
  3. Telephone Bills
  4. Notes and contact info taken during call
  5. Take screenshots of your caller ID info

 

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

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.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

student loan resources

Student Loans and Credit Scores

Student Loans and Credit Scores

Student loans seem to be on almost everyone’s credit reports. They can positively impact your credit scores if you are consistent with your payments and aware of what is happening with your loan. As with any bill or loan you take out, it is extremely important to your credit score as well because it can also have a negative impact too. We will discuss some of the positive ways that your loan can impact your credit, as well as a few ways it can do severe damage if you are not careful.

The Positives

1. Payment History

A student loan, when paid correctly, can be a great trade-line for your credit report. If you make the minimum payments, this shows great repayment on your part that you can reliable and make on time payments. This part of the credit report makes 35% of the FICO grading scale. The difference with a student loan as opposed to your other monthly bills such as your car insurance is that they do not report monthly (only when you miss the payment or fall into collection) whereas your loan will report positively when you have positive payments. This is great for your credit!

For some consumers, building credit is hard to do if you do not have an auto loan or any credit cards, but your student loan can help start to establish that payment history.

2. Building A Credit Mix

For a while, there was a myth out that having “diverse” accounts helped your scores and provided for a healthy mix of credit. Only about 20% of your FICO score is made up of new credit and types of credit used. Typically, having two revolving accounts and two loans (home, auto,or personal) are sufficient enough in trying to build on your scores. Your student loan will also help you start to fill out a portion of that percentage of your credit mix while you continue to make positive payments.

 

free credit repair consultation

The Negatives

 

1. Late Payments on Loans

A good way to completely tank your credit scores quick, fast and in a hurry is to get a late payment. As much as on time payments can help your credit score, they can also harm them, sometimes up to 100 points.

These bad or derogatory remarks can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. If continue to miss your payments and they continue to roll over, your scores will just keep dropping and dropping. The other piece to this puzzle that is not good, is how long it can take for you to rebuild once you have fallen behind. Be aware of what is happening with your bills and other finances and communicate with your institution if you start to fall behind.

2. Defaulting 

If your accounts are sent to collections, this can also really impact your credit scores. Often times, creditors will not lend you any money unless you “correct” it and make it right with the lender of the money. If you go and apply for a home loan and they see collection status, it can be extremely hard for them to justify lending to you with a lot of derogatory marks on the report.

You may hope to open credit cards and start to establish credit but the creditor denies you due to the defaults on your credit report. All in all, if you are seeing collections/charge offs or have been denied financing, you may want to reach out to a credit repair company today.

What Resources Are There?

Having student loans and pursuing a degree is important in this day and age. We see so many student loans every day on credit reports that are doing great things for people and their credit report. Make sure you stay up to date on the payments and work as well on establishing credit.

For more information on student loans and second chance checking, please visit this site. You will find a lot of programs to help you out in regards to student loans if you have not been able to find any resources yet that work.

 

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

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.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
debt collectors calling

Debt Collector Or Scam Call? How Can You Tell?

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.

 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:

They must

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication
  • Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
  • Verify the name and address of the original collector
  • Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt

If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.

Taking Legal Action

The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.

  • Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
  • Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
  • Profane or abusive language is not allowed
  • Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
  • A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
  • Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop

A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.

free credit repair consultation

Suing the Debt Collector

If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.

Continued Harassment and Next Steps

The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:

  1. Collection Letters you received
  2. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
  3. Telephone Bills
  4. Notes and contact info taken during call
  5. Take screenshots of your caller ID info

 

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

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.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

 

Banks Respond to Covid-19

A Light in the Dark

For all of those that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, below is a list of some of the largest lending institutions and banks that have already released statements and programs to help those affected. We have pulled this list together attempting to help you make the best decision to help you and your families. We implore you to communicate with your creditors in times like these and specifically ask how this will be reported to the credit bureaus. Most companies are addressing this in their press releases. If you are unsure or have a question, please reach out we are happy to assist you in understanding how the choice will impact your credit score. 816-994 -4600

FDIC website consumers’ frequently asked questions about the impact of COVID-19 on their banking relationships.

Ally

On March 18, Ally shared measures it will implement to offer relief to those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s how the bank is offering assistance:

  • Ally is waiving all fees related to expedited checks and debit cards, overdrafts and excessive transactions on savings and money market accounts until July 16, 2020.
  • Auto loan payments can be deferred for up to 120 days. No late fees will be charged, but finance charges will accrue. New auto customers will have the option to defer their first payment for 90 days.
  • Mortgage payments for existing customers can be deferred for up to 120 days. No late fees will be charged, but interest will accrue.

Ally is strongly encouraging customers to utilize its online self-service access and the Ally mobile apps, to avoid longer call wait times. Customers can continue to transfer money and make payments online as usual. For depositing of checks of $50,000 or less, it’s faster to deposit them online via the mobile app than to submit by mail.

Image result for ally bank

For more information and updates, visit Ally’s coronavirus help page.

Bank of America

Bank of America emailed information to Forbes about potential measures it is ready to take in response to the coronavirus:

“We continue monitoring the developments of coronavirus and are always prepared to support our clients facing financial hardship or loss of income due to illness. All employees who work directly with our clients are trained to identify and assist impacted clients and provide the right support to address their unique personal needs. As part of our regular practice, we offer assistance to qualifying consumer and small business clients facing hardships, including forbearance with certain fees.”

A video has been added to Bank of America’s coronavirus help page to explain the additional assistance the bank is providing to clients and small businesses.

On March 19, Bank of America announced additional support that will be provided, working on a case-by-case basis, including:

  • For consumer and small business deposit accounts, clients can request refunds of overdraft, insufficient funds and monthly maintenance fees.
  • Clients can request to defer payments and refunds of late fees on their small business loans.
  • On auto loans, personal loans, mortgages and home equity loans, clients can request deferral of payment, with those payments added to the end of the loan. So long as clients are up to date, no negative credit bureau reporting will be made.

Clients facing financial hardships related to the coronavirus are encouraged to visit Bank of America’s coronavirus help page and contact the client services team.

Capital One

In an email to customers on March 12, Capital One encouraged them to access their accounts with the bank’s digital banking tools, including online and app access.

Customers facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus are urged to contact the bank directly through one of its many customer support lines. At its website, Capital One encourages customers who may be impacted or need assistance to reach out so that the bank can help find a solution.

Capital One tells Forbes that all customers will be eligible for assistance, of which will vary on the type of product they have and their individual needs. Examples of assistance include:

  • Minimum payment assistance
  • Deferred loan assistance
  • Fee suppression
  • Image result for capitol one

For more information and updates, visit Capital One’s coronavirus help page.

Chase

Chase says it will “continue to adapt” to the changing coronavirus situation. Effective March 19, Chase temporarily closed approximately 20% of its branches to help ensure the safety of customers and employees. In addition to its nearly 4,000 branches that will remain open, Chase encourages customers to utilize the tools available on the Chase mobile app and at chase.com.

Individuals who are affected by COVID-19 and need help with their accounts are encouraged to call the number on the back of their credit or debit card, or on the back of their monthly statement. In an email to Forbes, Chase detailed what this help could potentially look like, but explains that, as of right now, it’s being addressed on a case-by-case basis.

“We are helping customers who contact us, as we always do and notably did during hurricanes and wildfires in years past. Things we’ve done for customers (and small businesses) in past crises include things like fee waivers or refunds, changing due dates, extending credit lines. Sometimes, if there’s been a government-designated area (like for a Hurricane), we will proactively waive certain fees. We’re not there yet with this, of course. We’re working with our customers on a case-by-case basis right now.” 

For more information and updates, visit Chase’s coronavirus help page.

Citibank

Effective March 9 for an initial 30 days, Citibank customers can contact the bank for assistance with:

  • Waivers on monthly service fees, for both regular and small business customers
  • Waived penalties for early CD withdrawal, for both regular and small business customers
  • Fee waivers on remote deposit capture for small business customers
  • Bankers available after hours and on weekends to support small business customers
  • Some credit card customers may be eligible for credit line increases and collection forbearance programs.
  • Some mortgage customers may be eligible for a hardship program through Cenlar FSB, the bank’s service provider. For assistance, call Cenlar FSB at 855-839-6253 (Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. ET or Sat, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET).
  • Image result for citibanl

For more information and updates, visit Citibank’s coronavirus help page.

Discover

Discover’s coronavirus help page says there is “support in place” for qualified Discover customers who experience hardship as a result of the outbreak.

Online banking customers can reach out to Discover’s 100% U.S.-based Customer Service team for help by calling 1-800-347-7000 (TTY/TDD 1-800-347-7454) at any time.

For more information and updates, visit Discover’s coronavirus help page.

Fifth Third Bank

The bank initially provided a written statement to Forbes about how it’s monitoring the situation, and actions it could put into effect. Since, the company has created a coronavirus help page, detailing similar information.

“We are focused on the safety of our employees and customers, and ensuring business continuity. This work includes ensuring that critical functions continue in the event of any disruption, with policies, people and processes aligned to provide continuous service. We are not starting from scratch on these plans. Fifth Third Bank has long had comprehensive plans and strategies in place to manage effectively through emergencies—these include hardship programs for our customers. We are well prepared, and we continue to monitor this situation from every level of our organization.”

Fifth Third adds that if circumstances require temporary closure of any of its branches, customers will be notified and informed about backup physical locations. Fifth Third accounts also can be accessed via the bank’s digital banking tools including mobile, online and voice banking services.

“Fifth Third’s focus on helping customers improve their lives and building stronger communities is more relevant than ever during these times of uncertainty,” said Greg D. Carmichael, Fifth Third chairman, president and CEO. “We take our role and responsibility seriously to understand and put our customers’ needs first. We are continually evaluating our programs to assist our customers. Last week, we announced several proactive measures that we are taking across our business and consumer products to help lessen the financial strain on our customers, and we are providing additional details on these programs today. Our goal is to stand with our customers to help them and our communities get back on their feet. We are here to help our customers when they need us most.”

Fifth Third is offering the following programs for our consumer and business customers facing financial hardship related to COVID-19. To participate in the programs, customers will need to contact Fifth Third.

  • Vehicle Payment Waiver Program: Payment waived for up to 90 days and no late fees during the waiver period.
  • Consumer Credit Card Payment Waiver: We are offering to waive the monthly payment requirement on Consumer Credit Cards (Trio, Truly Simple, Platinum, Secured, World Elite) for up to 90 days with no late fees.
  • Mortgage and Home Equity Program: 90-day payment forbearance with no late fees.
  • Small Business Payment Waiver Program: We are offering a payment waiver program for up to 90 days, no late fees and a range of loan modification options. We are waiving all note processing fees for new Fifth Third Fast Capital loans for six months.
  • Fee Waiver Program: Fee waivers for up to 90 days for a range of consumer and small business deposit products and services.
  • Vehicle loans: Suspension of initiating any new repossession actions on vehicles for the next 60 days.
  • Foreclosures: Suspension of all foreclosure activity on homes for the next 60 days.

Customers should call Fifth Third to participate in these relief efforts. In addition, customers are reminded that interest will accrue during the 90-day no-payment period for each of the waiver programs.

For more information and updates, visit Fifth Third Bank’s coronavirus help page.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs initially shared information with Forbes about its efforts to help customers experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

Customers with personal loans through Marcus by Goldman Sachs can postpone payments on their loans for one month with no interest, and their loan terms will be extended by one month. For customers who need access to funds currently held in certificates of deposit prior to maturity, Marcus is waiving early withdrawal penalties.

As of this time, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is operating its contact centers virtually. The temporary hours of operation are Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET and Sat–Sun, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET. Customers can call 1-844-MARCUS-6 (1-844-627-2876) and may expect to experience unusually long hold times.

For more information and updates, visit Marcus by Goldman Sachs’ coronavirus help page.

PNC Bank

PNC’s website says it will be helping customers “navigate potential financial hardships” because of the coronavirus. In an email to Forbes, the bank encourages customers encountering hardship to reach out to the bank directly; assistance will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Customers affected by the virus who are encountering hardship can call 1-888-762-2265 (Mon-Fri 7 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Sat-Sun 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET) to discuss options.

PNC adds that the bank will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation “to determine potential extension or expansion of available assistance,” and customers will be notified of any developments as they arise.

Effective March 20, PNC has made temporary adjustments that include operating primarily via drive-up only (except branches that do have have drive-up), and PNC estimates that three quarters of its branch network will remain open. Open branches are operating on reduced hours, offering designated days for “essential appointments,” such as safe deposit box access, loan closings or other in-person services.

Image result for pnc bank

For more information and updates, visit PNC’s coronavirus help page.

Truist

Truist (formerly BB&T and SunTrust banks) says it’s committed to working with clients “to reduce financial stress during this challenging and uncertain time.” The bank is also encouraging individuals to use its digital and mobile banking options.

Effective March 21, most branches will remain open with “modified service” including ATMs, drive-through, and consultations in the branch by appointment.

Customers experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus will be provided payment relief on consumer loans, personal credit cards, business credit cards and business loans. The bank is also temporarily waiving ATM surcharge fees to help consumers and businesses access cash. Customers who use their BB&T and SunTrust credit cards for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies will receive 5% cash back through April 15.

Customers in need of assistance can reach out to the following numbers:

  • Heritage SunTrust clients: 800-SUNTRUST (800-786-8787)
  • Heritage BB&T clients: 800-226-5228

For more information and updates, visit Truist’s coronavirus help page.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is encouraging customers to utilize its digital banking features, including its mobile app, online banking or banking by phone.

On its coronavirus help page, U.S. Bank says it is “actively looking for ways to assist our customers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19” and suggests several products that may be of help. Customers who need additional support are invited to call 888-287-7817.

Effective March 19, U.S. Bank has temporarily reduced its hours of operation in all branches and is encouraging the use of drive-up services rather than lobby services.

For more information and updates, visit U.S. Bank’s coronavirus help page.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo customers experiencing hardship from the coronavirus disease can call 1-800-219-9739 to speak with a trained specialist about their options. This includes customers of consumer lending, small business and deposit products. Details on what type of assistance might be available have not been released but are likely determined on a case-by-case basis.

Effective March 20, Wells Fargo is temporarily closing some branches and adjusting operating hours of branches. Customers are encouraged to utilize drive-up, rather than lobby, services when possible.

Wells Fargo also has suspended residential property foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary auto repossessions.

For more information and updates, visit Wells Fargo’s coronavirus help page.

 

Image result for wells fargo

 

 

Article by Bo Thomas

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.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

The Cost Of Low Credit Scores│How Your Score Is Costing Thousands

How Your Score Is Costing You Thousands

Back when I graduated high school (a few years after dinosaurs walked the earth) I had absolutely no idea how detrimental my credit score would be to my  future purchases. My brother was sitting pretty with a 750 credit score and financed his new car at an extremely low interest rate!  On the other hand, I was sinking with a 580 credit score and financed an older Honda Civic for almost double the interest rate! No big deal, I saw this coming but what about insurance. My brother is only 3 years older than me, had 2 accidents on record and we had the exact same insurance agency providing our car insurance. Even with a good driver discount, an older vehicle, no accidents and basic liability coverage;  I was paying 40 dollars more a more a month than my brother for my insurance!  Why is it that I had to pay so much more than George and how can I get  the same payments as he does? The answer all comes down to our credit score difference!

Low FICO Scores

Your credit scores play a major role in the financial freedoms you have. There seemed to have been a misconception that if someone made great money, the credit scores didn’t really have too much pull. Credit impacts us all, from the moment we start to take on paying bills, buying cars, cell phones etc.

Your employer might even take a look at your credit report and deny you for a job if they are low.

Contrary to popular belief, FICO impacts us all, across all demographics.

So, how does a low credit score cost you more money?

 Higher Interest Rates

If you were to apply for a 60 month car loan with a credit score between 500-589, one could expect to be quoted around 15.2% interest rate. That means that your poor credit is costing you and holding you back from lower interest rates (home and auto) and you are actually seeing your money be used in a way that is not benefiting you or your credit score.

Denied Financing

If you have low credit scores, you may have been denied a bank account, credit cards, a home loan or worse. While you may feel defeated right now, there are several ways to start improving your score. If you are in a tight spot financially and are thinking of completing credit repair on your own, please visit our DIY blog to learn more. If you would like to speak with a credit advisor about how to improve your credit score quickly, please contact Credit Law Center today.

How Do I Make A Change?

It is a good idea to monitor your credit scores. If you have noticed that you have any the below items on your credit report, you might be in need of credit repair.

  • Collections
  • Charge Offs
  • Repos
  • Bankruptcies
  • Foreclosures
  • Tax Liens

If you are thinking about going and paying these items off in hopes that they will increase your credit scores, rethink that option. Your credit report will change, but not in the way you want. If you have a 10 year old medical collection reporting and you decide to pay that collection off, the last date of activity on your report changes to the day you pay it. FICO is looking at your activity and weighing it heavily. Your score may decrease significantly due to the last date of activity being updated. There is less than a 2% difference whether a collection is paid or unpaid, most weight is given to how recent the activity. This does not mean we are advising you to not pay your bills or let things fall into derogatory status.

 

free credit repair consultation

The easiest and quickest way to start seeing a change in your credit scores is to start paying down balances you may have on current credit cards in your possession. This will have a direct/immediate impact on the score. If you are planning to start paying down your cards, try to keep the utilization down below 30%. This will help you start to see a swing in a positive direction.

The largest factor on your credit report is your payment history. Late payments are huge when it comes to dropping the credit scores. At any given time, always try to make at least the minimum payment on your loans.

 

Facts on Fico

 

Saving Money Starts Here

Whether you are looking to get into a new home or buy a new car, your credit scores are vital. If you are hoping to make changes for your financial future, you can start taking small steps now to get back on the right path. If you are in need of assistance today, our credit advisors can help educate you on what you can be doing on your end while we work on derogatory items on the credit report that are hindering you from higher scores.

 

 

 

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 Joe Peters

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.

 

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

 

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Credit Cards With High Balances and Interest Rates│Transfer Options

Credit Card Debt & Balance Transfers

Where is your credit card debt currently at? Are you making minimum payments that don’t make a dent once your interest rates kicked in? It may be time to weigh a different option now that you are hoping to make some headway on your current debts.

Your Balances and Interest Rates

While it is always important to take into consideration the best options for you and your financial situation, we have several people that want to know more on the option to do a balance transfer. Here is how in a few short steps:

  1. Check your current credit card balances
  2. Pick a card to transfer to
  3. Read all information and fine print
  4. Apply for the balance transfer cards
  5. Start paying debts

Below are the steps explained in detail. Before making any quick-second decisions, be sure to educate yourself on all of the pros and cons to the balance transfer.

1. Current Credit

When you are thinking about making a balance transfer it is important to figure out what your interest (APR) is on the current credit card. When looking for a balance transfer card, you’ll want to find one that has low (no) fees and will take the actual amount you would be transferring over.

2. What Cards To Transfer To

Researching what credit cards are best to balance transfer to is very important. Depending on the amount of debt you have, you may not be able to transfer all of the debt to the card you choose. Many balance transfer cards offer a 0% introductory period for an allotted time frame.

  • Check the promotional period
  • Check how long the low APR will last

3. Terms and Conditions

The most important part of this transfer is understanding what the fine print states. Although the balance transfer could help you out, many of the cards have balance transfer fees associated with them, and every time you transfer balances over.

Make sure that the transfer is really going to be financially beneficial to you before moving money around. Figure out what the balance transfer fees is and then you will want to calculate the transfer fee cost, how much you could potentially save on interest and go from there.

Some balance transfer cards won’t let you transfer within the same bank, such as Citibank. If your balance is already on one Citibank card, you cannot move it to a balance transfer card.

It is also possible that when the creditor runs your credit and is deciding if you are approved, you may not become approved for the amount you are trying to switch over.

 

free credit repair consultation

4. Application Process

As with any other credit card, you must become approved first. If you have completed the above steps and are ready to make the switch, go ahead and apply for the balance transfer card.

More than likely you can complete a balance transfer online or by phone. You will be giving your account information and the amount of the balances you wish to transfer over to them.

On average, the process takes 7 to 10 business days. Most importantly, it is important to continue to make your payments until you have been given confirmation that the transfer successfully went through.

 

The Pros Of A Balance Transfer
  • Streamlining all credit payments onto one card
  • Start fresh with low APR
  • Get ahead on paying debt
  • Lower interest than previous credit card
The Cons Of A Balance Transfer
  • If you do not conduct research, you may end up with higher interest rates
  • Transfers can be expensive
  • Could drop your credit scores (due to opening a new line of credit)
  • Risk of more debt-likely that your credit limit increases and more credit is available to you if you can’t control spending habits

Your Final Decision

We understand that life happens and the average consumer does own credit cards. In an effort to set our clients up for success, we want them to understand and become more educated about the way the credit world works. As always, continue to educate yourself and always read the fine print! If you are using the balance transfer card for what it is, and in an effort to pay off your debt, not get into more, you will eventually get there. Keep chipping away at the payments you are making and always try to keep your balances low and payments on time.

 

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

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.

 

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