12 Habits of Debt Free People

Getting out of debt is not easy, but it is possible. Thousands of people do it every year. They do it because of some things they each do. These are the habits of people who are debt free.

habits of people who are debt free

There is no greater feeling in the world than not having debt hanging over your head.  Whether you’ve worked hard to pay off your debts, or never got yourself into a financial bind before, there are things you do to remain financially fit.

If you are struggling with paying off your debt, these folks may be able to help:  Call 866-948-5666.

While we share the secrets to help you get out of debt, staying there can be tough.  It is a change in lifestyle which requires you to give up some bad habits and pick up some new (and better) good ones!  Here are ten habits of debt-free people!

THE 12 HABITS OF DEBT FREE PEOPLE

The 12 habits of debt free people -- strive to follow their lead

1. They are patient

People are debt free all of this in common. When you don’t have debt, you learn to be patient.  You know that all good things come in time.

For instance, if you know you need a new car that you need to start saving now and build up the cash.  It might take three years to get there, but you can do it.

Patience pays off as you can pay for your vehicle in cash rather than having to take out a loan and getting into debt once again.

2. Responsible for their actions

The debt free person is responsible with money.  Whether they are 20 or 60, they know the value of a dollar.  They understand and follow their budget and do not allow themselves to get into financial troubles.

When someone who is debt free makes a money mistake, they own it.

3. Material items do not matter

When it comes to “stuff” people who are out of debt know that this is not what matters.  Sure, you could have the newest TV, the fastest car and the biggest house — but at what cost?  They know the things that matter most in life and know that money can’t buy them.

In fact, for most debt free people, what matters more in life are experiences rather than things.  They know items will not be around forever, but that creating memories can last a lifetime.

4. They live below their means

People who do not have debt do not spend more than they make.  In fact, they often spend much less.  They are saving for the future and increase their emergency fund for that “just in case moment.”

When you are content, you do not need to spend more than you make.  You find contentment with what you have and don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s.

5. Think long-term

If you have debt, all you can see what is right in front of you.  That is your debt

People have no debt can see further ahead and plan accordingly. They plan for the big purchase. The emergency fund is ready for the unexpected.   They are prepared for anything that may come up in the future.

Set goals to be debt free

6. They set goals

Just like people in debt, they work hard for their money.  However, what they often do is set financial goals.  They might want to go on vacation or get that fancy new handbag.  They set a goal on how to pay for it and then work to achieve it.

It might mean fewer dinners out to save the money to pay for it – but they do it.  Once they’ve saved enough money, then – and only then – will they take the plunge and make the purchase

7. They use cash

This may not be the case for everyone, but most people who are debt free use cash.

Even if they use a credit card, they never charge MORE than they have available in the bank to pay off the statement every. single. month.  They have learned that if they do not have the money, they can not spend.  They don’t buy now and worry about how to pay it off later.

8. They can say no

When you have a limited budget, you know what you can spend money on and what you can not.  Sure, it might be fun to go out to dinner with your friends on Friday night, but if it is not in the budget, they know and will pass.

9. They always save

The one habit that most debt free people have in common is savings.  When they get paid, they first pay themselves. It might be a company funded 401(k) account or even regular savings.  Whatever way they do it, they always save.

The same holds true for any windfalls.  If they get a bonus or money from a family member, they will often set it aside and save it rather than run out and spend it right away.

They also watch to make sure that they are not ever paying more than they should for the items they need. It might mean using a coupon or merely waiting for the right deal to come along.

10. They ask questions

One thing we did when we needed a new television, was negotiated a discount by paying with cash.  We knew it did not hurt to ask and for us it worked!  We were able to save 5% off of our purchase – just by using cash.

Those who are not in debt are not afraid to ask for discounts.  They are not afraid to ask for a lower interest rate (if they truly need a loan for any reason).  They realize all that can happen is that they could be told no.  However, they also know that they might get what they’ve asked for!

The 12 habits of debt free people

11. They pay attention to their bills

When the bill arrives, they not only look it over to ensure it is accurate, they also make sure it is paid timely.  By doing this, they are never late paying bills, which results in late fees.

What they do when the bill comes is always look it over and then place it somewhere they know they will remember to pay it on time.  They may make a notation on a calendar or spreadsheet to remind them of the due date — so it is always paid on time.

12. They know that money does not buy happiness

Many times, people in debt are in that situation because they’ve spent money trying to fill an emotion or other need.  Instead of shopping out of necessity, they buy out of emotion.

Shopping to fulfill a need results in nothing more than debt.  Take the time to figure out why you shop.  What is it you are trying to replace?  Work to make a change in that part of your life, and you will find that your desire to shop for fulfillment can fade.

Whether you are in debt $5,000 or $50,000, I know you are doing what you can to get out from under your financial burden.  If you start to practice the habits of debt free people now, you can put those ideas to work for you — and get your debts paid down even more quickly!

Be debt free with these habits

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Credit Card? – Lexington Law

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

To open your own credit card, you must be at least 18 years old. A common misconception is that the minimum age requirement varies by state, but this is not the case. Opening a credit card at a young age can seem overwhelming, but understanding the steps and benefits of doing so will help you through the process.

Can You Get a Credit Card Under the Age of 18?

While 18 is the minimum age to be the primary holder of a credit card, there is a way that those under 18 can still use one—a parent or guardian can make their child an authorized user on their credit card account. An authorized user is an individual who can use a credit card without being responsible for the bill, and you’ll need to submit a request to the credit card company to add your child as a user.

Also note that some credit card companies issue a minimum age requirement for authorized users, while others do not.

By doing so, you give your child a head start in building credit for themselves. This will become useful when your child is ready to qualify for a loan or apply for their own credit card. Becoming an authorized user will also help them establish healthy credit practices early on. Make sure your child knows how to properly use their card, because as the primary cardholder, you’re still responsible for the bills.

How to Apply for a Credit Card as a Teenager

Applying for a credit card as a teenager is a similar process to that of an adult, but with a few exceptions. To get a credit card, you must initially apply. Based on your credit history, credit score and personal financial information, you’ll be either approved or declined. As a parent, you can become a cosigner to help your child get approved for a card if they haven’t had much experience building credit yet.

Getting a Cosigner

A cosigner is someone that agrees to take responsibility if the primary cardholder can’t pay off their outstanding balance. Applying with a cosigner (presumably with good credit) can help you get approved and even a higher credit limit. Keep in mind that some credit companies don’t allow cosigners, so you may need to do a little research beforehand.

Best Credit Cards for Teenagers

With so many credit card options, it’s easy to feel lost when deciding which one to apply for. Consider applying for a card that is made for younger people and first-time credit applicants. These cards are designed for users that may not have a high stream of income or any preexisting credit. The following are a few cards that are popular for first-time credit applicants:

  • College credit card: These cards are designed for college students without experience in building credit. Since pursuing an education is often quite pricey, student debt makes it harder to get approved for a normal credit card. College credit cards typically offer users low fees, low interest rates and perks such as money back when using their card. Although it’s easier to get approved, you are still required to show proof of income and enrollment in school.
  • Secured card: This card requires an initial cash deposit in order to use the card. Think of it as a prepaid credit card. The amount of your cash deposit acts as your credit limit. As a result, secured cards typically also have higher interest rates than normal credit cards. Even with a cash deposit, all activity put on a secured credit card still impacts your credit score.
  • Store credit card: Some retailers also offer credit cards. While these cards are mainly for customers to shop at the specific store, the card can also be used for purchases elsewhere. These cards are easier to acquire since they often don’t require a specific credit score. Store credit cards intrigue customers by providing exclusive discounts and rewards, but beware as they often come with high interest rates.
3 options for first-time cardholders: college credit cards, secured cards, store credit cards.

Tips on Getting Approved

Getting approved for a credit card as a teenager can be difficult, since you likely don’t have significant preexisting credit or income. Both of these factors highly impact whether an applicant will get approved or denied for a card. The following are some tips on getting approved as a young user:

  • Take into consideration all forms of income. When your application asks for your income, you can include much more than just your income from a part-time job. You can also include student loans and parental allowance as income.
  • Consider getting a part-time job. Having a stable salary will show credit card companies that you have the ability to pay off your card.
  • Add a cosigner if your credit card allows you to. As mentioned above, this will help the company see that you have someone to rely on for your spending habits.
  • Apply for a card designed for young adults. College credit cards and secured cards are a few great ways to get started with building credit. Both cards are designed for those who may not have previous credit.

How to Build Credit at a Young Age

Building credit is always important since it takes time. Having good credit will open up more doors for you down the line. The time you dedicate to building your credit early will pay off when you’re applying for a loan, buying a car or making a big financial decision in the future.

When Is the Best Time to Build Credit?

The best time to build your credit is as early as possible. The length of your credit history impacts your credit score by 15 percent. By starting at an early age, your credit score will be positively impacted in this regard. As a general rule of thumb, seven years of credit history is ideal for building good credit. If you’re unsure about opening up a new line of credit, consider speaking to a financial advisor first.

Everyone’s financial situation is different, so it’s a good idea to know what will work best for you before getting started.

Best Practices When Building Credit

Building and keeping up good credit can be new for those who haven’t had much experience yet. The following are some best practices for doing so:

  • Apply for a credit card. You can’t build credit without a form of payment that affects your score. Do your research and find a card that you have a good chance of being approved for.
  • Be responsible with your spending habits. Having a credit card can positively impact your score if you use it responsibly. Be careful not to overspend—it can feel like you have unlimited funds if you’re new to using credit. Make sure you can pay off your balance in full to avoid a negative impact on your credit.
  • Keep utilization low. A general rule of thumb is to use no more than 30 percent of your card’s spending limit at a time. This will show lenders that you can be smart with your spending habits.
  • Make on-time payments. Late payments hurt your score immensely. Payment history actually affects 35 percent of your overall score. If you can’t make full payments at the card’s due date, at least pay off the minimum amount due on your balance.
Credit-building best practices: apply for a credit card, be responsible when spending, keep credit utilization low, make payments on time.

Why You Should Build Credit Young

Building good credit doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years of smart moves and healthy practices to build a solid foundation. If you wait too long to start building, you’ll have a harder time when applying for loans or engaging in other financial decisions later.

Starting young also helps establish good credit practices from the very beginning. By doing so, you’ll be less likely to engage in activities that hurt your credit down the line. It can be easy to damage your credit, but hard to repair it. By learning this now, you hopefully won’t need to do much damage control later.

Although 18 is the required age to be a primary account holder on a card, there are still ways to start building credit at a younger age. This can be very beneficial for the future, as long as it’s done right. We know the process of applying for a card and building credit can be stressful at times—visit our credit repair blog to learn more about credit best practices.


Reviewed by Kenton Arbon, an Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Kenton Arbon is an Associate Attorney in the Arizona office. Mr. Arbon was born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in the Northwest. He earned his B.A. in Business Administration, Human Resources Management, while working as an Oregon State Trooper. His interest in the law lead him to relocate to Arizona, attend law school, and graduate from Arizona State College of Law in 2017. Since graduating from law school, Mr. Arbon has worked in multiple compliance domains including anti-money laundering, Medicare Part D, contracts, and debt negotiation. Mr. Arbon is licensed to practice law in Arizona. He is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

You can now add select Chase business cards to Apple Pay

You can now add select Chase business cards to Apple Pay


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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Points and Miles Editor Ariana Arghandewal: My top 10 credit card stories of 2020

Points and Miles Editor Ariana Arghandewal: My top 10 credit card stories of 2020


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Elan Max Cash Preferred – 5% On Two Categories

There is a new credit card being offered by a number of credit unions called ‘Elan Max Cash Preferred’. This card is basically identical to the U.S. Bank Cash+ card, although the sign up bonus is usually $150 instead of the common $200 offer on the Cash+ card. Card basics:

  • No annual fee
  • You can choose two categories to earn 5% in (limit $2,000 in spend per quarter), one category to earn 2% in one and 1% on all other purchases

The advantage to the Elan card is that it seems to be easier to approved than the Cash+ card. It’s available from the following credit unions (via MyFICO):

  • Abby Bank (Wisconsin)
  • Air Force Academy Federal Credit Union (Colorado, veterans)
  • Allegiance Credit Union (Oklahoma)
  • Alliance Credit Union (Missouri)
  • All South Federal Credit Union (South Carolina)
  • Amplify Credit Union (Texas)
  • Astera Credit Union (Michigan)
  • Atlantic Union Bank (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina)
  • Banc of California (California)
  • Bank of Albuquerque (New Mexico)
  • Bank of Clarke County (Virginia)
  • Bank Five Nine (Wisconsin)
  • Bank of Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
  • Bank of Texas (Texas)
  • Bank of Utah (Utah)
  • Banner Federal Credit Union (Arizona)
  • Bay Coast Bank (Massachusetts, Rhode Island)
  • Beacon Credit Union (Indiana)
  • Bell Bank (Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota)
  • Bremer Bank (Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin)
  • Byrn Mawr Trust Company (Pennsylvania)
  • Buckeye State Bank (Ohio)
  • Busey Bank (Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Florida)
  • Capital City Bank (Florida, Georgia, Alabama)
  • Capital Credit Union (Wisconsin)
  • Cattle Bank and Trust (Nebraska)
  • CCF Bank (Wisconsin, Minnesota)
  • Central Pacific Bank (Hawaii)
  • Centricity Credit Union (Minnesota)
  • Centris Federal Credit Union (Nebraska, Iowa)
  • Chevron Federal Credit Union (United States)
  • Comerica Bank (California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Michigan)
  • Cornerstone Bank (North Dakota, South Dakota)
  • Credit Union of Georgia (Georgia)
  • Envision Bank (Massachusetts)
  • Desert Financial Credit Union (Arizona)
  • First Class Community Credit Union (Iowa)
  • First Financial Northwest Bank (Washington)
  • First National Bank Texas (Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona)
  • First National Bank of Waterloo (Illinois)
  • First State Bank of Florida Keys (Florida)
  • Flagstar Bank (California, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin)
  • F&M Bank (Farmers and Merchants) (California)
  • Fulton Bank (Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania)
  • Greater Nevada Credit Union (Nevada)
  • Green Belt Bank and Trust (Iowa)
  • Guaranty Bank and Trust (Texas)
  • Highland Bank (Minnesota)
  • Home Federal Bank (Tennessee)
  • Horizon Bank (Indiana, Michigan)
  • Incredible Bank (Wisconsin)
  • Intrust Bank (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas)
  • Johnson Financial Group (Wisconsin)
  • Liberty Bank (Connecticut)
  • Meriwest Credit Union (California)
  • Merrimack Valley Credit Union (Massachusetts)
  • Mid Penn Bank (Pennsylvania)
  • MIT Federal Credit Union (Massachusetts)
  • Nodaway Valley Bank (Missouri)
  • Northside Community Bank (Illinois)
  • NRL (Naval Research Lab) Federal Credit Union (DC, Virginia, Maryland)
  • Oklahoma Central Credit Union (Oklahoma)
  • Park National Bank (Ohio)
  • Pawtucket Credit Union (Rhode Island)
  • People’s United Bank (Connecticut)
  • Pikes Peak Credit Union (Colorado)
  • Premier Bank (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan)
  • Prevail Bank (Wisconsin)
  • Public Service Credit Union (Michigan)
  • Renasant Bank (Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida)
  • Radius Bank (Massachusetts)
  • Rockland Trust (Massachusetts)
  • Twin River Bank (Idaho, Washington)
  • U.S. Employees Credit Union (US government employee and retiree)
  • Valley National Bank (New Jersey, New York, Florida, Alabama)
  • Wesbanco (West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio)

Source: doctorofcredit.com

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on Your Credit Report?

March 3, 2020 &• 5 min read by Cheryl Lock Comments 56 Comments

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Disclaimer

Your credit report offers valuable insight into your financial history and affects most of your financial future. Everything from whether you get approved for a mortgage to what your credit card interest rate will be balances on your credit score.

Negative information on your credit report can be detrimental for years. Wonder how long hard inquiries stay on your credit report? It’s not always clear how long inquiries and other negative information stays on your credit report and affects your score. The length and severity vary, but here are four common types of inquiries and how long they affect your credit score.

1. How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a hard inquiry?

Hard inquiries are created every time your credit report is accessed by a business when you apply for a line of credit. For example, when you apply for a car loan, mortgage, student loan or credit card, your credit receives a hard inquiry.

How long do hard inquiries stay on your report?

Inquiries remain on your credit reports for 24 months. However, hard inquiries impact your score for only the first 12 months. After that, they have no impact on your score.

How much do hard inquiries affect your credit score?

New credit—including inquiries and any new credit accounts—make up just 10% of your FICO score. A single inquiry typically only drops your credit score by three to five points. As long as you apply for credit only when you need it, this is one of the lesser hits to worry about.

It is important to consider the perception associated with numerous hard inquiries, though. Even if your credit score can take a few hits and remain good or excellent, perception can matter. If a lender pulls your history and sees you’re running up a string of inquiries, they may wonder why. It can look like you’re desperate for credit but not getting approved by lenders, which isn’t an ideal look on your credit report.

2. How Long Do Credit Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a credit account?

Credit accounts refer to all of the accounts for which you hold credit, including credit cards, mortgages and car loans. Credit scoring models like to see a healthy balance to the types of credit accounts you have and can manage effectively. Negative information on a credit account includes late or missing payments.

How long does negative credit account information stay on your report?

Negative account information, such as a late payment, can stay on your credit report for seven years from the date it was first reported as late. If you close the account, the entire account typically will be removed from your report after seven years. If the account remains open, the negative information should be removed after seven years while the rest of the account information stays on your report.

Positive information, on the other hand, remains on your credit report indefinitely. If you close the account, positive information typically stays on your report for 10 years past the closing date.

How much do credit accounts affect your credit?

Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your credit score. A healthy mix means more points. The age of your credit accounts also impacts your score, accounting for 15% of the score. If you don’t have many credit accounts or if you close your accounts, it could negatively affect your credit score.

Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, and making payments on time is the most important factor in determining your credit score. A single late payment can drop a good score by as much as 90 to 110 points.

Most lenders don’t report missed payments until accounts are more than 30 days past due, so if you can catch the missing payment in enough time, you might not notice a hit at all. Other lenders will let one late payment slide, especially if you’ve been a loyal customer for many years and have a good excuse for why you missed it.

3. How Long Do Collection Accounts Stay on My Credit Report?

What is a collection account?

When you fall behind on making payments on an account, your debt could end up in the collection’s department of that company. The creditor may also sell your debt to a collection agency, which reports it as a collection account. At this point, the original creditor that sold the debt should not continue to report a balance owed, but you should watch out for duplicate collection accounts.

How long will collection accounts stay on your report?

Collection accounts remain open for seven years plus 180 days from the date the account was delinquent. After that time, it must be removed regardless of when it was paid or when it was placed for collection.

How much do collection accounts affect your credit?

Understanding how collection accounts can affect your credit score is tricky. The most important factor that will affect your credit score when it comes to collections is how recently the collections occurred—the more recent the collection, the lower the score. Multiple collection accounts can also lower your score. Unfortunately, settling or removing a collection may not impact your score positively.

While there’s no way to tell exactly how much a collection account will affect your credit score, it is one of the higher penalties. The best course of action is to avoid having accounts sent to collection in the first place.

4. How Long Do Bankruptcies Stay on My Credit Report?

What are bankruptcies?

Bankruptcies are proceedings that let you restructure debt you have no way of paying. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you may pay a portion of some of your debt back via a plan. Once your bankruptcy is over, outstanding debts are considered discharged and no longer owed.

How long do bankruptcies stay on your report?

Chapter 7, 11 and 12 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years from the date filed. Completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies are usually removed after seven years from the filing date.

How much do bankruptcies affect your credit?

In the aftermath of a bankruptcy, your score is likely to drop dramatically. However, the purpose of bankruptcy is to provide a last-resort option for restructuring your financial life. By making strong financial decisions during and after your bankruptcy, you can work on bringing your score back up.

How long do inquiries stay on your credit report? As you can see above, it depends. And the impact each has to your score is variable.

But one truth remains. Negative items on your credit report do impact your score. You can’t afford to ignore these items, especially since some may not even be accurate. Sign up for your free Credit Report Card today. You can check your credit, get a better grip on your credit report and learn how to get the most from your credit score. 

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Source: credit.com

How To Remove Collections From Your Credit Report

When you’re trying to fix your credit, having one or more collections can put a huge damper on getting your score on an upward trajectory.

While it can be difficult to get a collection removed from your credit report, it’s not impossible. The best way to get started is by learning how collection accounts affect your credit, so you know how to handle them.

final notice

How long do collections stay on your credit report?

Collections can remain on your credit report for up to seven years. Even if you pay it in full, it’s still considered a negative account and will stay on your credit report as a “paid collection” for seven years.

A collection account is separate from a charge off placed by the original creditor, which will likely also show up on your credit history for seven years.

How do collections affect your credit?

Most accounts end up in collections after being 120 to 180 days past-due. During this time, the original creditor may stop contacting you about the debt.

For many people, renewed collection activity comes as a nasty surprise when their debts are turned over to third-party collection agencies that use aggressive tactics.

When collections on your credit report first show up, you can expect your credit score to drop anywhere from 50 to 100 points depending on how high your credit score was to start. The reason is that payment history has the most significant impact on your credit score.

In general, the better your credit, the worse the hit will be. Over time, the collection account will impact your credit less and less. Before your account is sent to collections, you should receive a final notice from the original creditor.

It’s best to try and make some type of payment arrangement at that time so you don’t end up with such disastrous effects on your credit score.

Can paying off collections raise your credit score?

In the past, paid collections on your credit report were treated the same way as unpaid collections. However, FICO has updated its credit scoring to ignore paid collection accounts. Similarly, VantageScore has recently updated their algorithm to ignore paid collections of all types.

With these new updates to the credit scoring models, paying off a collection does now help your credit score. Since it takes time for new credit scoring models to be rolled out in financial institutions, it may take time for you to see a result when applying for credit.

FICO 9 & VantageScore 4.0

You can always ask potential creditors which credit scores they use. If it’s FICO 9 or VantageScore 4.0, you should be able to take advantage of the lenient calculation of paid collections.

It’s still important to be careful before you decide to pay off a collection account if it’s still something that you owe.

Debt buyers will try to collect on debts that you don’t legally owe anymore so it’s important to have them verify the debt before you take action. Also, consider your state’s statute of limitations, which we’ll discuss shortly.

The FDCPA & State Collection Laws

You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regarding timelines and statutes of limitations, so it’s critical to learn them before you take action.

If you don’t, you could inadvertently reset the clock on your collection account. So settle in and get ready to go in-depth on everything you need to know about getting a collection account removed from your credit reports.

Debt Buyers

Often referred to as “junk debt buyers”, collection agencies like Midland Funding LLC go after very old debts that they’ve purchased for pennies on the dollar. Then, they report the collections account on your credit report to try to get you to pay them. Sometimes they use unscrupulous practices like buying debts that you’ve already paid.

It’s not uncommon for a third-party collection agency to buy and sell the same debts multiple times. This means you could have multiple collection accounts listed for the same debt, each one lowering your credit score even further.

Finding out which of these companies actually owns your debt at any given time can be tricky. Even then, you’ll still have to negotiate with the other debt collection agencies that have posted negative information on your credit report

Debt Validation

The best way to start is to send a validation request to the debt collector claiming you owe them money. First, this step requires them to stop all collection activity.

The debt collection agency must then validate the debt and prove that you do indeed owe it. There’s no timeline for them to return this information to you, but they can’t take any action towards collecting the funds until they do.

Reporting Limit vs. Statute of Limitations

There are two distinct dates that you need to be aware of when it comes to collection accounts: the reporting limit and the statute of limitations.

Reporting Limit

The reporting limit on collection accounts is set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is equal to seven years from the date of last activity, or DLA. Most accounts are charged off after six months of missed payments. You can expect to see the collections fall off of your credit report seven years and six months after your last payment.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on a debt varies from state to state. It can be as few as three years or as many as six (or longer for some types of debt). When the statute of limitations has passed on a debt, it is referred to as “time-barred.”

While a debt collector can continue to contact you unless you tell them to stop, they cannot legally sue you to obtain a judgment once the statute of limitations has passed. The debt may still be listed on your credit report after the statute of limitations has passed if the reporting limit hasn’t.

An underhanded debt collection agency may attempt to coerce you into paying by listing a more recent date on the account. This is known as re-aging and is illegal under the FDCPA and the FCRA.

If you try to set up a payment plan, you could open yourself up to a lawsuit by re-starting the time creditors have to legally collect. If you’re not paying the creditor who currently owns the debt, the account remain as an unpaid collection.

billing statement

Medical Bills

Debt collectors now have to wait 180 days before reporting an unpaid medical bill to a credit bureau. This gives you an extra six months to receive bills, ensure they are correct, and figure out how you can take care of them before they land on your credit reports.

Also, with the newest version of the FICO score, FICO 9, medical collections carry less weight.

When you receive your billing information from your providers, your first task is to ensure that the information is accurate. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to understand what charges your insurance company should cover and what you’ll be responsible for.

Explanation of Benefits

Review your bill and compare it to your Explanation of Benefits (EOB). If you’re still not sure if you’ve been charged correctly, call your insurance company and get the details of your EOB sorted out.

Once you know the true amount you owe, figure out how you’re going to pay for it. It’s better to call the medical provider directly than to ignore bills and have them sent to collections.

You can sometimes sign up for monthly interest-free payments, or even ask for a reduction of costs. A balance forgiveness plan helps to work with your budget through either regular payments or a lump sum in exchange for a reduced balance.

Can medical collections be removed from my credit report?

Yes. Just like anything else on your credit report, medical collections can be removed.

Pay careful attention to each piece of information associated with the debt to give yourself the best chance to get it removed. When disputing medical collections, follow the same guidelines for any other type of collection account discussed below.

How to Remove Collections from Your Credit Report Without Paying

Here is actual letter sent by one of the credit reporting agencies of collections that were deleted from a credit report:

removed from TransUnion

Removing collections from your credit report can raise your credit scores dramatically. It’s often the case that there are errors on collections accounts. Because they get passed back and forth so often among debt buyers, it is not uncommon for records to be mixed up.

Your accounts may not have the right amount, the right date, or include any number of other mistakes that creditors don’t bother to fix. You may also have instances of late payments appearing that weren’t actually late.

Debt collectors don’t care about what they do to your credit. They only care about what it takes to get you to pay up, and they are hoping that you don’t realize that the law is on your side!

Disputing Collections

It is your legal right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to file a dispute for any inaccurate information on your credit report with the three major credit bureaus. That includes collection accounts with false information or even any accounts that you deem “questionable.”

The credit bureau must investigate your dispute within 30 days. If the collection agency can not verify the account, it must be removed from your credit report. Some debt collectors won’t even bother to verify. Furthermore, some of them don’t have the documentation to verify the negative information on your credit report.

Pay for Delete

To completely remove any kind of negative information from your credit report, you can also do what is called a ‘pay for delete.’ This is simply an agreement between you and the debt collector that once you pay the account in full, they remove it from your credit report.

The key is to make sure you get the agreement in writing. Getting an agreement over the phone won’t hold up. It’s very important that you get the debt collector to sign off on the deal.

Need help removing collections from your credit report?

This is where hiring a credit repair company can really make a difference. They help most people to remove collections by disputing errors with the credit bureaus for you. This means you don’t have to contact any of the credit bureaus or collection agencies yourself directly.

Credit repair companies also handle all of the tracking necessary to ensure that each collection agency and credit bureau is complying with the FCRA. On top of that, they make sure your credit report does not contain errors like account re-aging and multiple listings for the same collections account.

If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to disputing collections, talk to one of their credit repair professionals and get your questions answered. You can do it on your own, but you’re likely to have more success by enlisting professional help.

They offer a no-obligation consultation to explain what they can do to help in your particular situation.

Are collections hurting your credit score?

Lexington Law removed over 6 million collections in 2018 alone. If you’re sick of having bad credit, give them a call for a free credit consultation.

What to Unpack First in Your New Home

Where are the towels? Who packed the cat food? When you’re surrounded by boxes, what you need is a strategy.

So you’re finally in your new home, surrounded by piles of boxes, tired and glad that your relocation is about to end.

To fully complete your moving adventure, however, you need to unpack your belongings and make your new place feel like home. But where do you even begin?

First things first

No matter how much you want to get it over with, there are three important things to do before you can actually start unpacking.

  1. Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows and mop floors before your belongings are in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
  2. Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting your items will be a piece of cake.
  3. Set major furniture and appliances. Position your large furniture pieces and bulky household appliances first. Then you can put any smaller items you unpack later directly in their rightful places. Plan your interior design well in advance so you don’t end up moving heavy pieces around several times.

Tackle the necessities

What matters most when unpacking your items after a move is ensuring that your essentials are immediately accessible. So prioritize your belongings, and unpack only the necessities first.

Bedding

You may not be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you’ll definitely need at least the bed the day you move in. Reassemble the bed frame (if necessary), lay down the sheets, unpack the pillows and spread the blankets so you can get a good night’s rest — you’re going to need it!

Provided that you have a change of clothes and some comfortable indoor shoes (as well as curtains on the windows to ensure your privacy), the rest of your bedroom items can wait until you find the time and the energy to deal with them.

Bathroom items

Without a doubt, your personal care items, toiletries and medicines should top the list of the most important items to unpack after your move. Put out toilet paper and soap, find your toothbrush and toothpaste, hang the towels and the shower curtains, and unpack any other bathroom essentials you’ll need to wash away the weariness and stress of moving.

Kitchen necessities

Kitchens tend to take a very long time to unpack and organize properly due to the large number of items that need to be sorted and carefully arranged.

As soon as you’ve hooked up the large appliances, such as the fridge and the stove, move on to your smaller kitchenware. Plates, silverware and glasses should be the first to find their places in cupboards and kitchen cabinets, closely followed by cooking utensils, pots and pans, and pantry items.

Kids’ and pets’ items

If you have young children, unpack some of their favorite toys, books, games and blankets during the first few hours in your new home. Keeping your young ones happy and occupied will let you concentrate on your work and finish it faster.

Of course, you should also take care of your pets’ needs immediately upon arrival. It’s a good idea to pack adequate pet food and some of your animal friends’ favorite toys in your open-first box.

Finishing up

When you’ve unpacked the three most essential rooms in your home (bedroom, bathroom and kitchen), everything else can wait a bit. There are no deadlines to meet, so you can set your own pace when unpacking and decorating your new place — just unpack in order of priority without procrastinating.

If you stay organized, set reasonable goals, clean after every unpacking phase, and dispose of the packing materials in a safe and eco-friendly manner, your new surroundings will soon stop looking like a warehouse full of boxes and start feeling like home.

Related:

Originally published February 5, 2016.

Source: zillow.com

Ask The Expert: More Thoughts On Refocusing on Purchases

In my last column, Cheryl from Florida asked about refocusing on purchases in 2021. Here are some additional insights.

Dave Hershman

As a reminder, here is Cheryl’s question: “I read the forecast by the MBA which says there will be less refinances [in 2021]. I have been doing mostly refinances and I have no idea how to get back to focusing on purchases. What do you recommend?”

In my last column, I wrote about the importance of diversification in any market. There will be refinances in 2021 and every year, though the balance will change from year-to-year.

Going back to focusing on the purchase market, the next question is: are you rekindling agent relationships you have neglected or expanding by developing new relationships? Again, in this regard I am going to recommend diversification. That means that you need to work in both directions.

If you have ignored your agents during the refinance boom, I will quote Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

You may feel uncomfortable calling someone you have not called in 18 months, but you must do so anyway. However, doing what is right is not calling and asking for their business–“Hey, I know we have not talked in 18 months, but do you have any deals for me?”

But, it is always the right time to call and get caught up. Reestablish the relationship first. Find out how they are doing and what their challenges are. That conversation may lead to business or it may build a foundation for the future.

Regarding meeting new agents, this is where you leverage your sphere. Everyone you know also knows a real estate agent or two. Your neighbors, your family, the professionals you use and more. You should not be cold calling agents if your next-door neighbor knows an agent and can introduce you. You have a sphere. Leverage that sphere. This is networking at its highest level.

Moving to the last point, establishing agent relationships is not enough, you must have a value proposition. And to get to that we must first define the term value. In order to be labeled valuable, your offering must be different.

If you are offering the same things your competition is offering, then there is no inherent value. Think of a rare coin. The value is in the rarity. If a million of the same coins were discovered tomorrow, the value of that coin will fall. If your offer is great rates, service or products, the offering will not be different. How many loan officers approach an agent and say “use me, but keep in mind I deliver lousy service?”

Secondly, value must be in line with the interests or goals of your target. It can’t be what you are interested in. For example, your clients are not interested in mortgages. They are interested in real estate. No one gets up in the morning on Saturday and says to their spouse “let’s go look at mortgages today.”

And your agents are not interested in loans either. They are interested in bringing in more business. Just like you. It is all about increasing their income.

How might you help your agents increase their income? There are a multitude of ways and, in a future article, I will give an example that illustrates a common loan officer offering and making it unique, as well as being more on target with regard what your agents are really interested in.

Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School – the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is www.OriginationPro.com and he can be reached at dave@hershmangroup.com.

Source: themortgageleader.com

What Is Title Insurance, and How Much Does Title Insurance Cost?

Buying a home often entails also buying various types of insurance to protect your property, and one type you might need to get is called title insurance.

When you buy a home, you “take title” to it and establish legal ownership. A title insurance policy protects you against the possibility that someone else might have a claim on your home. In essence, it ensures that a homeowner and their lender will be okay in the event that the seller or previous owners didn’t have absolute ownership of the house. (It sounds crazy, but sometimes it turns out that the homeowner is not the only one with rights to a home!)

If you need a mortgage to buy real estate, your lender will likely require you to buy a title policy from a title insurance company. Although it’s a cost home buyers incur, getting a title policy from a title insurance company is critical to establishing peace of mind.

Let’s examine the ins and outs of title insurance, why home buyers need it, how much you can expect to pay, and how you can save on a title insurance policy.

What is title insurance?

Holding a title insurance policy means you and your mortgage lender are protected against any financial loss or title issues due to liens, disputes between prior owners over wills, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures.

A title search will be performed by your title or settlement company to uncover any issues with your title that could give you legal troubles down the line.

The title company then insures your claim to the property’s title. If anything is missed during the search or there are lawsuits questioning your legal ownership of the property after closing, your title insurance policy will cover the costs of resolving the problem.

Why a title search is required with a mortgage

When getting a mortgage to buy real estate, you’ll find that most lenders will typically require that you get a title search before you close the deal with your escrow company. Basically this would mean you’ll have to hire a title company to search local records on your property. Some of the issues they’re looking for include the following:

  • Disputes between prior owners over wills: If your property was inherited and then sold by the heirs, there could be other heirs contesting the will and claiming ownership of your property.
  • Liens for unpaid property taxes.
  • Liens for contractors who worked on the home but were never paid.
  • Clerical problems in courthouse documents: Believe it or not, a simple typo can lead to title claim problems.
  • Fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures: For example, if a group of heirs can’t get a holdout to agree to sell the home, it’s possible that someone will forge a signature on a quit claim deed.

While most homeowners will never need to use their title insurance, its existence offers protection against a potentially aggravating—and very expensive—financial loss.

Lender’s title insurance vs. owner’s title insurance

There are two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s. Almost every lender will require you to pay for a lender’s title insurance policy. This protects the lender—not you—from incurring any costs if a title dispute pops up after closing.

Owner’s title insurance is usually optional, but it’s highly recommended. Without it, you’ll be left footing the bill for all the costs of resolving a title claim, which could be thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though it can feel like you’re hemorrhaging cash when you’re closing on a house, a title insurance policy is one of those things that can save you money in the long run.

“When you consider the benefits of title insurance and some of the unique aspects of title insurance relative to other kinds of insurance, it is clear why it’s risky and ill-advised to purchase real estate without a title insurance policy,” says Brian Tormey of TitleVest in New York City.

You can purchase basic or enhanced owner’s title insurance, with the enhanced insurance policy offering more coverage for things like mechanic’s liens or boundary disputes.

While your title insurance covers you for things such as mistakes in the legal description of your property or human error, be aware that it will have some exclusions—particularly in cases where violations of building codes occur after you bought your home.

How much does title insurance cost?

The average cost of title insurance is around $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home.

Title insurance premiums can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Some factors that can affect the cost of your premium include the title search, examination, and expected cost of any title defects.

“In general, each policy price is based on the purchase amount of the home or the total amount of the loan,” explains Tormey. “Title insurance is a highly regulated industry, so title insurance policy types and costs will vary from state to state. Each state’s Department of Insurance can provide information on the pricing regulations in their state.”

In some states such as Texas and Florida, title insurance premiums are fixed by the government, so you will pay exactly the same amount no matter what. Other states such as California and New Mexico have unfixed premiums, which means that buyers can shop around. Iowa actually underwrites the insurance itself, resulting in the lowest premiums in the country: $110 for properties costing up to $500,000.

Unlike other types of insurance, a title insurance policy is paid with a single premium during escrow while closing for your mortgage. If you’re buying a real estate resale or refinancing, you may be eligible for a “reissue” rate, which could offer a substantial discount off the regular premium—because the title policy is already in effect, and the title research has already been completed.

Here’s a calculator that can help you figure out the cost for your area and purchase price.

How to save on title insurance

In some states, title insurance premiums are the same no matter who you work with, but in the majority of states, you can save money by shopping around. Even in states with highly regulated title insurance industries, there are ways to save. Here are some ways to lower your title insurance costs.

  • Shop around. If premiums are unregulated in your state, find the company that offers the best deals. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing customer service to save a few dollars: Resolving a title issue can be stressful, and you want a company that will help you through the process. Read reviews and talk to your real estate agent for recommendations.
  • Bundle. Some companies will offer a discount if you bundle your lender’s and owner’s policies.
  • Negotiate add-ons. Even if the premium itself is fixed, there are almost always other fees built into your total premium price. See if there is any wiggle room with those items. They may be optional, or the insurance company might be open to discounting them.
  • Negotiate with the seller. Closing costs are always open to negotiation, and picking up the tab for the title insurance might be worth it to a seller who’s highly motivated to close the deal. But be wary of using this tactic in a competitive market.

Michele Lerner contributed to this article.

Source: realtor.com