Archive for Credit

You’ll Never Guess What I Found on My Credit Card Statement

Free Credit ScoreA month ago (on this very day), I wrote a blog post about new changes in the credit card industry. Last week it was reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (a.k.a. the nation’s largest consumer protection organization for financial products) called on banks to give consumers their credit scores for free.

That’s right FREE.

In my February 5th blog post, I told you about a new way some consumers are getting free credit scores (without any strings attached). Just in case you missed it, here’s a link to that post – How to Get Your Free FICO Credit Score.

Without any nudging from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some financial institutions were already leading the charge and giving their customers free access to their credit scores.

One of those financial institutions is Discover Financial, which also happens to be my very first credit card. So in my post, I wrote—”I sure hope Discover starts offering free FICO® Credit Scores to all of their cardholders (myself included). biggrin

And you’ll never guess what I found on my credit card statement this month. You guessed it—My Free FICO Credit Score. Did the picture give it away?

Seeing is Believing (more…)

How to Get Your Free FICO Credit Score

Free Credit ScoreWould you like to see your free credit score? Yes, free.

Forget about all those jingles, scams and gimmicks promising you a free credit score. Then you open up your monthly statement only to see you’ve been charged. What?!?

Well, now some creditors are giving their customers free FICO® credit scores for real—without any strings attached. That’s right!

For some reason, every time I hear the word free, I question it. Don’t you? (more…)

Don’t Fall for Credit Repair Scams

TruthsLast night on NBC 5 Investigates they showed us “The Gospel Truth about Credit Repair.” So what’s the gospel have to do with credit repair? Apparently a minister’s credit repair business allegedly scammed consumers out of their hard earned money.

Click here to see how it happened on NBC 5.

In the segment Illinois’ Attorney General Lisa Madigan says, “There is no such thing as a legitimate credit repair organization. We’ve never seen one. And so there’s really only one thing you need to know about repairing your credit. You’re the only one that can do that.” Yes, you read that right. 😯

And those words carry a lot of weight coming from an Attorney General. Madigan’s probably seen it all. As a consumer advocate, she’s “Illinois’ Top Consumer Cop.”

Credit Repair Companies: Buyer Beware!

Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of credit repair companies. I can’t stand those radio ads promising you easy credit repair. I put them in the “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” category.

But I can see how someone who’s really looking for help could fall prey to those ads. Like the woman in the video who is still fighting for her $400 back.

When it comes to credit repair, there is no magic eraser to wipeout bad credit history that has been reported correctly. (more…)

Categories: Credit, News

What is Student Loan Default? Why You Should Care…

Student LoansMake no mistake about it – What you don’t know can hurt you! Every year millions of college students take out student loans to fund their college education. In fact, the average college graduate owes nearly $27,000 in student loan debt.

But do we really understand what it means to sign on the dotted line? Interest rates? Repayment plans? What if you default?

It can be confusing, when you have all of those loans to choose from. There are federal (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Perkins) and private student loans. And many of us don’t take the time to read everything.

Some borrowers are only 17 years old when they start taking out student loans. So what’s top of mind is closing the tuition gap.

But you need to understand the terms of the loan before you borrow money. What will it cost(interest rate)? When do you have to start paying the loan back (repayment plan)?  How much will you owe?

This is important to know, especially with student loans.

You Can’t Escape Student Loans (more…)

Credit Problems? Get the Credit You Deserve

800-Clubv3It’s time for you to get the credit you deserve. After all, your credit really does matter. It could open the door to unbelievable deals like a 60-month interest-free loan on a brand new car. On the flip side, the door could be slammed shut when you’re denied a mortgage, car loan, or place to live.

Whether you like it or not, your three-digit credit score makes a big difference. In fact, lenders use it to make decisions about you. It’s gives them an objective way to determine if you’ll pay a loan back.

The higher your score, the less risk. With a high credit score you’ll get easier approvals and pay less (lower interest rates) for financial products.

Does your credit matter if you’re not applying for loans? Yes, because some employers use it to make hiring decisions. And many insurance companies use your credit to set premium rates (how much you pay).

How to Check Your Credit Report

Your credit report shows you who you owe, what you owe and how you pay (on-time, late).

If you haven’t checked your credit report in 2013, do it now. It’s quick and easy. You can pull your credit report for FREE in less than 5 minutes without any strings attached. (more…)

How to Get Your Free Credit Report – For Real!

A friend of mine asked if she could really get a free credit report. I sensed the embarrassment in her voice. But it’s a great question. Yes, you can get a free credit report! And I mean completely free without any strings attached.

I don’t blame her for doubting it. Every time you turn around companies are telling you about free stuff.

Like you’ll get a free $20 gift card (BIG PRINT) when you purchase a $100 gift card (small print). Or how about Free Shipping (you’d better read the fine print because it’s only when you spend $99 or more)?

You see more “when you” attached to free offers than ever. (more…)

Categories: Credit

Beware of Same as Cash, No Interest Deals…

You can have it now – furniture, tires, appliances and electronics. Buy it today and pay no interest for 48 months. It’s the best no-interest loan out there. You’d be crazy not to take it.

We’ve all seen ‘same as cash’ deals and no interest offers. They come in all sizes. You can get 90 days same as cash. Better yet, how about paying no interest for 1 year, 2 years or more? Come on down…

These offers might sound like music to your ears. Especially when you want it now. After all, you’ll have more than enough time to pay it off.

Let’s hope so, because when you don’t it could cost you big time. And if you’re not careful you could find yourself paying extra fees that have nothing to do with interest. (more…)

Pull Your Free Credit Report in 5 min or less

When’s the last time you looked at your credit report? You know the report that lists all of your accounts: who you owe, what you owe and if you’ve paid them on time. Yeah, that’s the one.

I pulled my credit report a few days ago, in 4 minutes flat. Yep, I timed it just for you. It’s easy to do, and best of all, it’s FREE!

Why bother? Because your credit matters, it’s used for credit approvals, insurance rates, and even some jobs. Don’t wait until you’ve been turned down for a loan, mortgage, or credit card to find out what’s in your credit report.

You need to know what’s being reported about you. Still not convinced? Click here to watch my video “5 Reasons to Check Your Credit Report.”

So you want to check your credit report? Great! Pulling your credit report is as easy as 1-2-3 and it won’t cost you anything. It only takes a few minutes of your time:

  1. AnnualCreditReport.comGo to – This is the official site of the three credit reporting companies— Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each company is required to give you a free copy of your credit report every 12 months.
  2. Select Your State – Start by selecting the state you live in and click “Request Report. “
  3. Provide Your Personal Information – Next, you must enter your personal information (name, address, social security number) and press “Continue.” Please note the site is secure and uses encryption for highly sensitive information. Read the site’s “Privacy Policy” and “Security and Encryption Policy” for site security information.
  4. Answer Personal Identifying Questions – Next you’ll answer several personal identifying questions to verify your identity.  For example, you may be asked for specific information regarding a previous address like a street name. (more…)
Categories: Credit

New Book Shows You How to Get Your Money Right

Money is one of the leading causes of stress. And many people feel there’s no way out. Because they think it’s too complicated, they’re afraid to ask for help or feel it’s impossible.

After reading countless personal finance books, I felt there was a need to write one for everyday people that would be— easy to understand, inspiring, and informative. The wait is over! Get Your Money Right: The 7 Keys to Unlocking a Better Financial Future is that book. And it’s now available.

I wrote this book to help you:

  • Break free from financial stress
  • Change what you’re doing to get better results
  • Achieve your financial goals

Get Your Money Right Book

It focuses on the fundamentals of personal finance to help you change your money habits and transform your life. To find out more about my new book and get your copy, visit

I encourage you to get a copy, so you can start living the life you deserve. It’s my greatest hope that my book will make a positive impact on your life.



Beware of New Credit Reporting Practices that Go Beyond Normal

Pay BillsAfter the subprime mortgage debacle, lenders have been reluctant to approve loans and extend credit. The days of loose lending practices (e.g. stated income mortgages) have been replaced with stricter standards to mitigate risk. Lenders have turned to credit bureaus to gather information beyond your normal credit score to determine your credit worthiness.

Credit bureaus are taking their credit reporting practices to another level – to unveil more about your financial picture. Furthermore, they are using more information than what is typically reported on your credit report, such as your bank history, utilities and rental payments.

The Wall Street Journal’s article, New Ways Bankers Are Spying on You is a great read about the new credit reporting practices.

Here are a few highlights of The New Credit Reporting Practices:

  • Rental/Utility Payments – Checking your payment history on rental properties and utilities.
  • Home Values – Lenders may consider your home value in comparison to the outstanding principal amount owed. Please read the Wall Street Journal article above for more information on this.
  • Bank Behavior – A bank behavior score is calculated based on your bank account activity (deposits, withdrawals and balance history).
  • Income Estimation – Income estimates are generated using information from your credit report like mortgage, credit lines and account history.
  • Collection – Debt collection companies may receive reports alerting them when your financial outlook improves. These reports prompt them to collect on debts owed.

This additional insight into your financial activity helps lenders decide whether to approve you for credit cards, loans and other financial products. It’s also useful to prescreen customers for special credit offers (e.g. credit cards).

What are your thoughts on the new credit reporting practices? Please share them in the comments.

Photo – meddygarnet

Categories: Credit