Manage Your Accounts Better Today With These Easy Steps!

Credit Alerts Worth Setting Up Now

In order to maintain great credit scores, keeping track of all the activity on your accounts is key! Smart phones are attempting to make our lives easier with a multitude of applications. All major banking institutions now have online banking or apps to make life easier on their customers. These apps have the ability to “control” what comes and goes out of your bank. Gone are the days of driving to the bank to make a deposit. You can now take a screenshot and deposit through mobile banking. The possibilities are endless! We’ve made a list of several other ways to get the most out of your banking apps, most of which are free! Here are a few other ways to use those apps:

Maintenance Notifications:

Statement Notification: Many times it feels like the month flies by and bills are  due once again. ‘Payment due’ is now one of the most used alerts on mobile apps. When the payment is due, an alert pops up, reminding you ahead of time when to make a payment and what the balance is. You can set it up to notify you as soon as you would like! While auto pay or auto draft is great, it is still important to double check that the payment was taken on time. For many families with many different bills due at a time, this is a great way to reduce the headache of having to remember one more thing on that laundry list of “to-do’s” for the week.

Payment Received: Having this notification can ensure that the payment successfully went through and will notify  you immediately on your mobile device.  One of the worst things that can happen is  falling late on a credit card or payment.  Many times if something happens with a card on file and the payment is not processed, consumers don’t catch it. This will ensure that you know those payments are made on time and for the correct amount. To set these up, you will want to download the credit card or bank app you use and turn the notifications on for all purchases and payments made.

Balance Notification: This is a great notification to have set up, as it is very important piece of the puzzle for your credit score. A great rule of thumb is to keep the balances below 30%. The best thing for your credit score is two revolving accounts and two installments in order to have a healthy credit profile. The lower the balance, the better the score is! So, if you’ve noticed your credit card keeps creeping out of your wallet, you can set up notifications at a certain balance so overspending is combated. It is almost like an accountability partner and is great if you find yourself overspending often!

 

credit apps

 

Preventative Notifications:

  1. Suspicious activity- Your bank or credit card company will now send a text message to you if you would like if  there is suspicious activity on the account. The message may sound similar to this: Please verify activity on ____ card ending in ___ at this Location. You can then confirm or deny this text.  If you reply deny, a text follows up with a message that you will receive a phone call in the morning to go over the details. Easy enough, right?
  2. Card not present-Purchases made online will notify you with an alert. Online shopping has seen a dramatic spike in identity theft. For this reason, a feature such as this is a great to keep in mind.
  3. Gas-Any purchase made at a convenient store or gas station will alert you, if you wish. Unfortunately not every station requires a pin to make purchases.
  4. International Purchases-This is not a new feature but is great to keep in mind. If you are traveling, always notify your institution of the activity. Some will automatically turn the card off on you in order to protect the cardholder.
  5. Over limit-This notification is set up by the cardholder and notifies them any time a purchase is made over a certain price.

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

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

 

Ease and E-Commerce│The Pros & Cons of Online Spending

How Would You Like To Communicate?

We took a recent survey on our Facebook page asking how users would like to be contacted; via phone call or text/email conversation. The results were not surprising! More than 90% of users voted text and emails. There seems to be a wave of change happening in the way our every day consumer takes in information.

Are you watching the news or your news feed for most recent events? Are your daily interactions on a device or a face to face debate?

If you are with the 90% of consumers that would rather communicate with no real human interaction, does this also apply to the way you purchase goods and services now too?

E-Commerce and E-Tail (Not Retail)

Apparently, it does!

The trend continues when you look at companies that are now converting their grocery shopping to an online platform. Their consumers are taking a side that “we are too busy” to go in the store anymore or that they no longer want to deal with lines, people and the inconvenience it adds to their day.
So what did these companies do? They gave consumers what they wanted; convenience.
As a whole, business owners are recognizing they need to shift their focus (and their marketing) to the digital platforms.

The Pros Of The “New Consumer”

Are there some products you are okay with buying online as opposed to others? Science says that for some people, purchasing an unfamiliar product they feel is more comfortable to buy in person. Have you gone to the store to try a new product, only to return it again a few days later? This proves the point that we will continue to buy familiar products over and over again. For those that do quite a bit of shopping online, they most likely stick to the same brands and services they have come to know and trust because they know the likelihood of having to return it is slim. That among the convenience of buying online makes the e-commerce option seem more appealing.

For Businesses, the pros are as follows:

  • Customer Loyalty
  • Brand Recognition
  • Repeat Customers
  • Customer Reviews/Satisfaction

Many of these pros play a very important role in the customer experience! For an online consumer, there is no long lines, and annoying check out attendant, just a basket of items to add and one click to check out. If the user experience is quick, easy and a great product, you better believe they will share it with all their friends (Facebook “friends” too).

The Cons on “Over Consuming”

While there are many reasons why the customer experience and the instant gratification with online shopping seems great, there are a few cons to the way we are making these transactions. While shopping in a store, there are several emotions that play into the purchase or “put back” of an item. Does this seem practical? Do I need it? What is my budget like?

You may feel you are getting great deals or that “time is money” but you may be overspending when it comes down to it. The same way that these businesses have marketed to you to show you that their way is better, are the same tactics they use to market more products and a need for more “stuff” that they have.

 

free credit repair consultation

You may find that you are spending more money due to:

  • High credit card balances (trying to make more payments to pay them off)
  • Cost of shipping products
  • New Products daily in your email/phone that you buy because you “want” them

There is an overwhelming amount of consumers in debt. The fact is, we sometimes we consume to many products and services without even recognizing it. Have you been there before?

Your Finances

If you are finding that you are falling behind on payments, have credit cards climbing in debt and have collection companies calling you daily, you may be in need of help. Credit Law Center is a law firm that specializes in credit repair. There are credit advisors ready to help you cut back and buckle down on your finances again. Whether you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy or are struggling to figure out the best option to pay a creditor back, they want speak with you so you can get back on track. Whether you want to talk via text, email or by phone, they can tailor to your needs.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are. Take the next step to better credit and a better life.

 

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

law firm vs credit repair

 

3 Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Credit│Changing Your Mindset

How You Might Be Hurting Your Scores

There are so many things that come into play to obtain a healthy credit profile. The hardest part of navigating the credit world however, is knowing what advice is accurate and possibly stumbling a few times in an effort to get back on track. Many times consumers think they have a good grasp on it all and then over night something changes. Have you been in this situation? Does it seem almost impossible to impact your credit scores in a positive way? Here are 3 ways you may not have known you were actually damaging your credit score, rather than helping it.

In order to keep your credit scores at the best they can be, there are a few things you can do on your own. While it may seem that the score is out of your control, you can manipulate it more than you thought!

  • Paying bills on time
  • Keeping balances below 30%
  • Only use credit cards for emergency or items you know you can immediately pay off
  • If you have a high balance, request your credit card increase your credit limits to get back down to the 30% utilization limits

Make Payments Too Late or Too Early

Late payments can damage your credit scores significantly.  Do you have your credit card payments set up on auto draft? For many people, the easiest thing to do is set everything up automatically after a pay period or a time when all other bills come out of their bank accounts. This is not a negative way to go about paying bills, but you can continue to work smarter and not harder in an effort to see an increase.

The credit card company that you are most likely using does not always report to the bureaus after you have made a payment. Knowing the cycle period on your accounts is vital. The credit card companies typically update a report once a month. If you want your credit card to look the best it can when you are applying for a loan and need your scores to look the best, pay the statement in full before the statement closing date. This will report to the bureaus as a zero balance which in turn, makes your scores look great because your utilization is down.

Please note: You can ask that your credit card company let you know when they report to the bureaus so you can be informed and make your payments accordingly.

Closing Cards Too Soon

Closing unused credit cards out seems to be a trend that many consumers follow. When you do this to a credit card with great payment history and low balances and several years on the length of history, you actually damage your scores.

 

free credit repair consultation

Do you know why that is?

When you close out a credit card with a low to no balance on it with a very high utilization ratio, you are telling FICO that your utilization amounts just went up significantly. Once the card is closed, it is not considered by FICO any longer. The longer the life on the credit card the better. If you have no use for the credit card, try to use it for a small purchase every 60-90 days.

Large Credit Card Balances

Your debts are heavily weighed by FICO and are a very large portion of the scoring model. If you have credit cards with large balances that you make payments on, on time that is great. However, the best way to really increase your credit scores is begin to pay down the balances on the cards as much and as soon as possible rather than the minimum payment.

If you have $20,000 in available credit and you have a $10,000 balance, your sitting at 50% of the utilization ratio which is not doing well for your credit scores. Just because you have a credit limit of $20,000, does not mean you want to push the balances out as far as you can to that limit. If you can, pay down the card as much as possible, rather than minimum payments on it. Once interest starts to kick in, you will want to start working that payment down quickly.

In Conclusion

If you start to make a change in these three areas of practice, you will start to notice a shift in your scores. Being smarter about your debt and understanding how FICO is working for, or against you will help you as you combat the credit world. 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

 

Student Loans And Credit Scores│Available Resources For Consumers

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.
credit collection myths infographic

credit collection myths infographic

 

Manage Your Accounts Better Today With These Easy Steps!

Credit Alerts Worth Setting Up Now

In order to maintain great credit scores, keeping track of all the activity on your accounts is key! Smart phones are attempting to make our lives easier with a multitude of applications. All major banking institutions now have online banking or apps to make life easier on their customers. These apps have the ability to “control” what comes and goes out of your bank. Gone are the days of driving to the bank to make a deposit. You can now take a screenshot and deposit through mobile banking. The possibilities are endless! We’ve made a list of several other ways to get the most out of your banking apps, most of which are free! Here are a few other ways to use those apps:

Maintenance Notifications:

Statement Notification: Many times it feels like the month flies by and bills are  due once again. ‘Payment due’ is now one of the most used alerts on mobile apps. When the payment is due, an alert pops up, reminding you ahead of time when to make a payment and what the balance is. You can set it up to notify you as soon as you would like! While auto pay or auto draft is great, it is still important to double check that the payment was taken on time. For many families with many different bills due at a time, this is a great way to reduce the headache of having to remember one more thing on that laundry list of “to-do’s” for the week.

Payment Received: Having this notification can ensure that the payment successfully went through and will notify  you immediately on your mobile device.  One of the worst things that can happen is  falling late on a credit card or payment.  Many times if something happens with a card on file and the payment is not processed, consumers don’t catch it. This will ensure that you know those payments are made on time and for the correct amount. To set these up, you will want to download the credit card or bank app you use and turn the notifications on for all purchases and payments made.

Balance Notification: This is a great notification to have set up, as it is very important piece of the puzzle for your credit score. A great rule of thumb is to keep the balances below 30%. The best thing for your credit score is two revolving accounts and two installments in order to have a healthy credit profile. The lower the balance, the better the score is! So, if you’ve noticed your credit card keeps creeping out of your wallet, you can set up notifications at a certain balance so overspending is combated. It is almost like an accountability partner and is great if you find yourself overspending often!

 

credit apps

 

Preventative Notifications:

  1. Suspicious activity- Your bank or credit card company will now send a text message to you if you would like if  there is suspicious activity on the account. The message may sound similar to this: Please verify activity on ____ card ending in ___ at this Location. You can then confirm or deny this text.  If you reply deny, a text follows up with a message that you will receive a phone call in the morning to go over the details. Easy enough, right?
  2. Card not present-Purchases made online will notify you with an alert. Online shopping has seen a dramatic spike in identity theft. For this reason, a feature such as this is a great to keep in mind.
  3. Gas-Any purchase made at a convenient store or gas station will alert you, if you wish. Unfortunately not every station requires a pin to make purchases.
  4. International Purchases-This is not a new feature but is great to keep in mind. If you are traveling, always notify your institution of the activity. Some will automatically turn the card off on you in order to protect the cardholder.
  5. Over limit-This notification is set up by the cardholder and notifies them any time a purchase is made over a certain price.

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

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

 

How to Protect Those With a Developmental Disability When Handling Finances

Managing money can be challenging for most Americans, even in the best situations. For the 6.5 million people in the United States living with a developmental disability money, credit and debt create a unique concern.

Developmental disability is a term used when a person has a specific limitation in cognitive functioning and skills, including communication, social and self-care skills. Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, attention deficit disorders, and intellectual disabilities.

Developmental disabilities vary greatly, so do the abilities of the disabled to handle their finances. Some individuals with developmental disabilities may be able to make sound financial decisions and for others receiving a credit card solicitation may lead them to overspend and put them at significant risk for a financial uproar.

How Can I Help My Family Member Make Sound Money Decisions

For many family members caring for an individual with a developmental disability we often question how much do we help, or what do we do to protect their finances. The ultimate goal is to achieve as much independence and still be there for them when they need our help.

Here are a few tips on how to help a developmentally disabled loved one with their finances.

1.Don’t Overstep

Intellectual disabilities vary in degrees, and for some individuals, they may be perfectly capable of handling their finances. If you are helping that individual in other activities of their daily living, it may be very natural for you to want to help them with this area. Many individuals with disabilities want to be as independent as possible. It is important to remember that they may see this as you overstepping or you trying to control their life. Keep in mind what their strong points are and offer advice as you would to any other.

Set up Accounts with Limitations

You may be tempted to set up joint checking accounts, or a credit card with an authorized user so you can easily track their spending behaviors.It is also important to remember that setting up these types of accounts opens you up to financial liability for any checks written or any credit card charges they have made. You may consider opening a Secured credit card for them, a prepaid card.

Put Credit Safeguards in Place

Reduce the number of credit offers sent to your developmentally disabled family member by opting out of receiving prescreened offers of credit at OptOutPreScreen.Com or by calling 888-5-OPT-OUT.

You may also want to look into putting a credit freeze on your loved one’s credit report. Having a freeze placed will make it difficult to obtain credit, but could also prevent your loved one from impulsive credit card applications.

Monitoring your loved ones credit report for any unauthorized activity or any credit errors is a good rule of thumb. Consumers are allowed one free credit report from all three major credit reporting bureaus; this can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com. 

Depending on the level of developmental disability you may also look into either guardianship or become power of attorney for your loved one.

Having a High Credit Score Could Be The Golden Ticket to Credit

A Credit score is a three digit number that could potentially make or break you when it comes to obtaining credit. Having a number above 740 is like having the Golden Ticket to getting credit.

Potential creditors look at your credit score to determine your risk. Your credit score is similar to a report card, with a grade on how financially responsible you are with your money.

What makes up your credit score?

  1. Payment History – 35% of your score, paying all bills on time will be a key factor. It is important to know that any late payments you have had will affect your score for some time and anything over 60 or 90 days late will be detrimental to your score.
  2. Amounts Owed – 30% of your score is determined by the percentage of available credit you being used. A good rule of thumb is keeping the amount owed under 30% of your available credit.
  3. The Length of Credit History – 15% of your score is based on the length of time you have had your cards open. Keeping the oldest account open and active will give you a stronger credit profile.
  4. Credit Mix – 10% of your score, having a good mix of credit shows you will be able to handle multiple types of credit lines. It is best to have a few credit card account and installment accounts.
  5. New Credit – 10% of your score is determined by how many new accounts you have opened. Having a few brand new accounts will affect your score.

Data from your credit report goes into five categories to make up a credit score.

Credit Report Grade Card

700 – 850 Excellent
680 – 699 Good
620 – 679 Average
580 – 619 Low
500 – 579 Poor
300 – 499 Bad

Having a zero credit score doesn’t always mean you have terrible credit, it usually just means you haven’t begun to establish credit yet. A zero score may also mean that you may have a harder time borrowing money from creditors since they have nothing to grade you on.

Having a score of 740 or higher qualifies you for the best interest rates, credit cards, and loans. It is also important to remember that the credit score is just a filter in the process of getting approved. Lenders will also look at your actual credit history.

It is important to remember that even if you have had a few mishaps or haven’t established credit yet, it is fixable. Remember the factors that are used to calculate your score and be conscious of your decisions, if you are unsure reach out to an expert.

5 Tips to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck- Credit Law Center

Many Americans are ending up broke month after month, even when their income is well above the poverty line. A recent survey by Suntrust Banks found that a third of higher-income households, (those that bring more than $75,000 or more a year) are living paycheck to paycheck.

It’s easy to get caught up in debt, once you are living paycheck to paycheck. You are more likely to use credit cards to pay for monthly expenses, therefore racking up more debt. Each month you will pay just the minimum amount owed, and continuing to rack up more and more interest.

If your income is steady, but your financial habits are what is causing you to live paycheck to paycheck, here are some helpful tips to overcome the paycheck to paycheck struggle.

1. Create a Monthly Budget

Many of us are poor at money management because we haven’t been taught the proper ways to manage money. Creating a monthly budget and sticking to it is much as possible. Budgets are a great way to get you back on track. Some budgets can be as simple as keeping track of your paydays and the due dates of all your monthly expenses, then determine items you might be able to cut back on to start saving money.

2. Stop Spending Impulsively

How many times have you grabbed something that has been placed at the end of an aisle at the grocery store, or Target? At some point or another, I am sure we are all guilty of this. Often we don’t ever use the product, or we may get home and instantly regret purchasing it.

3. Stop letting your feelings sway your shopping

Instant gratification can be a huge culprit in buying items we do not need. Emotions play a significant role in buying unnecessary items, your child may be upset about something, and you go and buy him/her a new toy, or maybe you just rearranged your living room, and you decided that to make it complete you need a new chair. You go and buy, and regret spending the money later. When you are feeling this way, maybe writing it down on a wish list will help curb the impulsive spending.

4. You’re Still Paying for Unused Memberships

With debit cards and credit cards being readily assessable to pay for things in this day and age, it allows for us to sign-up for gym memberships, video programs, and more. I know I have a gym membership that I have paid for the last 12 months and never used it.

5. Pay Attention to Your Bank Statement and Credit Card Statements

If you find yourself broke month after month, it may be a little easier to stomach if you avoid looking at your bank statements and credit card statements. Avoiding these important financial documents could be detrimental to your financial health. How can you possibly create a budget or tackle your financial situation if you are avoiding the key to your situation? You can’t! It is also important to review your statements to make sure all information reporting is correct, in this day and age there is a significant amount of fraud going on.

After you find ways to cut unnecessary spending and begin saving it will be important to start paying more than the minimum on your current credit card obligations. This will significantly help pay down the amounts owed and the interest you pay.