How Healthy Is Your Credit?

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There’s only one way to discover the “health?of your credit. You need to examine your credit
report. Your credit report is your “consumer identity?that potential lenders will use to judge your credit worthiness.

There’s only one way to discover the “health?of your credit. You need to examine your credit report. Your credit report is your “consumer identity?that potential lenders will use to judge your credit worthiness.

Use these tips to give your credit profile the “tune-up?it needs:

Tip #1- Check for Errors
Your credit report or profile is more than just a collection of who your creditors are and how much you owe them or have paid them.

The first thing you need to do is carefully check that your credit report is accurate. Nearly 70% of credit reports contain errors.

These errors may be as simple as an incorrect middle initial or address. Or it could be as serious as a creditor reporting that you were late with a payment when in fact you were not late at all.

This error might not seem like a big deal to you. However,to a future lender like a mortgage company it makes a big difference !

Carefully examine your credit report and if you find an error contact your creditor and the credit bureaus. Catchand correct these errors now before it hurts your chances of securing credit in the future.

Tip #2 – Correcting Errors
The two most common errors contained in credit reports are:

1) wrong account information
2) incorrect recording of late payments.

If you find an account reported that does not belong you, you need to contact the credit grantor or issuer immediately. Remember, finding accounts that you have not personally opened is a sign of possible identity theft.

Hopefully you’ll discover that this error is nothing more than an oversight and not an identity theft problem. Most often this occurs when they report an account belonging to a family member or someone with a similar name on your credit report.

If your problem is an error in reporting a late payment you will need proof to back up your case before this error can be corrected or removed. The most common error occurs when a payment is reported as “late?when it was actually a current or “on time?payment.

In either case, the problem can and should be corrected. You will need to correct the error in writing. Keep a journal or log of all calls and correspondence.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit bureaus and the agency reporting the information to the credit bureau to correct inaccurate information in your credit report. Therefore, it is important that you contact both the credit bureau and the creditor whose information is in dispute.

A sample letter is included here to help you in correcting your credit profile. Make sure that you clearly identify the information that you dispute, include copies of receipts or documents that support your position. Then request that the information be corrected or deleted from your file.

Send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt from the recipient. Keep all correspondence that you mail out. Give the agencies involved 30 days to begin their investigation. You can call them but be aware that phoning them does not protect your consumer rights! You must notify them in writing to protect your rights.

They must notify you of the results of their investigation. Although the process will take time, it’s important to do it. This is your credit profile, your “consumer identity?that is at stake. Don’t expect an error to correct itself.

At your request, the credit bureaus must send notices of corrections to your credit profile to anyone who has requested your report in the last six months. If you applied for a job and were turned down because of inaccurate information in your credit report, you can have the corrected report mailed to anyone who received a copy in the past two years.

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Sample Dispute Letter
Date

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code

Complaint Department
Name of Credit Reporting Agency
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute are also encircled on the attached copy of the report I received. (Identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.)

This item is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.

Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Your name

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)

Originally Posted at http://www.ftc.gov/

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Tip #3 – Budget Planning
You can also use your credit report to help you plan and implement a personal budget. Your credit report will show you where you are spending your hard earned dollars. While the credit card balances may not be completely current, you’ll still see which of your cards has the highest balance outstanding.

If you have more than one major credit card you should compare the annual percentage rate (APR) you are paying on each account. If you are working on a budget to “pay
down?your credit cards, start by paying down the one with the highest APR or interest.

Once that credit account is paid off, move toward paying off the account with the second highest APR. Using this method you will be able to concentrate your efforts toward paying down your outstanding credit obligations.

You should also check with your credit card company to see what’s the best annual percentage rate (APR) they can offer you. If you are a good customer, you can often qualify for a lower rate than what you are currently being offered.

Caution: Ask if the new rate you are getting is a “promotional?rate or a “contract?rate. A promotional rate will expire at the end of the promotional term, for example 6 months. A contract rate does not have an “expiration?as long as you continue to meet the terms outlined by your creditor for that rate.

Tip #4 – Making a major purchase
If you are considering a major purchase such as a car or a home, checking your credit report gives you the chance to see what a potential lender sees and uses to judge your credit worthiness.

You want to make sure that your credit report is accurate before you apply for that sports car or new home. Errors or problems can be corrected before your lender can use
those against you and deny your credit request. You’ll also have a better idea of what type or rate of credit you should expect from a potential lender.

Tip #5 – Check your credit report regularly
Check your credit report regularly. Guard your “consumer identity?as you would anything else you treasure. Use your credit wisely, along with these tips, and you will enjoy the benefits that your good credit and your good name deserve now – and for years to come.

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Personal Finance – How To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses

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Everyone has fixed expenses which are the basic of needs for our daily living. There is no way to eliminate the fixed expenses but with some innovative budgeting, you could save some good money. Get some ideas from this article.

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Everyone has fixed expenses which are the basic of needs for our daily living. There is no way to eliminate the fixed expenses but with some innovative budgeting, you could save some good money from this practice. If you have debt problem, a good practice in expense control and budgeting can help you to free up enough money to pay down your debt and may prevent you from bankruptcy. Of course, to accomplish your goal, you might have to live a very austere existence and scarification.

This article will list down some ideas on how to lower your expenses. While reading this article, you can make a list of you own ideas to cutting down your expenses.

Ways To Save Money

1. Reduce the Number Of Credit Cards

For many people, owning a credit card is the style of life and there are people holding 5 to 10 credit cards. It's so convenient to make payment with credit cards and you many overlook your budget. Although to terminate all credit cards are not possible for many people, you could reduce the number of credit cards in hand.

2. Ask for a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate

A major consumer group conducted a study to find out how easy it is to get a lower credit card interest rate. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of those who simply telephoned their credit card company and asked for a lower interest rate got one instantly.Getting your credit card interest rate lowered depends on various factors. Normally the bank will approve your request if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have a good credit rating — meaning no late pay notations on your credit report and a good credit score;
  • You do not have a high debt-to-income ratio and you do not carry a big balance on your credit card;
  • You do not send in just the minimum payment required each month;
  • You have an excellent payment record with that particular creditor;
  • The credit card is not one that is categorized as "sub-prime", meaning it is not a secured credit card or one marketed exclusively to those with bad credit.

When you call and ask for a lower interest rate, your reasoning should be based on the argument that you deserve it because you're an excellent customer or you're getting better offers from other credit card banks.

3. Always Buy Classic Style on Clothing

Clothing fads come and go so quickly and it will become out of fashion after a season.Instead, buy only good quality classic clothing that you can wear five years from now if you haven't worn it out by then. This will help you to reduce the frequency of buy new cloths.

4. Know Your Budget on Food

According to some survey, people who do not know how much they spend on groceries each month are twenty times more likely to be over their heads in debt than those who know exactly how much they spend on food each month. A lot of money can be saved by with below practices:

  • Stop eating outside – Dinners you prepare at home is significantly less expensive than meals you pay someone else to prepare.
  • Don't buy what you don't really need – Good examples are soft drinks, sugary snacks and other sweets. Giving them up will improve your health, reduce your medical and dental-related expenses and fatten your wallet.
  • Get the best price by comparing supermarkets — Don't shop at the closest supermarket just because it's more convenient. Driving a mile or two down the road can save you as much as $50 per week on groceries.

5. Car pool with your neighbors

If you have neighbors who work close to your company, you can car pooling with them to save gasoline and transportation cost.

Summary

Above are just a few ideas to reduce your monthly expense, sit down and list down your own list. You will surprise that by listing down all your monthly expenses, your will realize that actually there are a lot of expenses which can be reduced or eliminated. And you can use the saved money to pay down your debts.

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Effective Ways Of Getting the Best Rates for Your Credit Cards

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How many times a day do you receive offers through email or phone for free credit cards with money back schemes, low introductory rates and other perks of credit cards? All banks and financial institutions vie for maximum customers by pouring umpteen perks to tempt you, the customer, in one way or the other.

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How many times a day do you receive offers through email or phone for free credit cards with money back schemes, low introductory rates and other perks of credit cards? All banks and financial institutions vie for maximum customers by pouring umpteen perks to tempt you, the customer, in one way or the other.

Remember that a credit card is just a form of borrowing money that has to be paid later. However, it is better to choose a credit card with good rates to avoid ending up paying too much interest to the banks. Make it a point to compare credit card terms and fees before opening a credit or charge card account. Once you find the credit card that has an interest rate that best fits your needs and budget, you can then open an account with that bank.

The annual percentage rate is the measure of the cost of credit the bank offers and is expressed as a yearly rate. Make sure you are aware of this rate before accepting a credit card as some credit card plans have interest rates that change when other economic indicators change. This plan is called a variable rate program. In such a case, when you first get the credit card, you may be offered 5% interest, but in case of index changes, the interest rate may go up to 8%. This means you will later have to pay more interest with the increased interest rate! So confirm if the credit card offers a variable rate program or ‘fixed rate’ program where there is no change in the annual percentage rate, even when economic indicators change.

It is beneficial for you if the credit card you have has a ‘grace period’. This is the period where you can avoid finance charges by paying your balance before due date. This is because with a free period, you will be sent your bill at least 14 days before the due date, thus giving you enough time to pay. Check if the credit card charges annual membership or participation fees or any other costs like transaction fees. It is better to choose the credit card company offering the least ‘extra costs’! This is because the more extra costs there are, the more money you have to pay the company!

When applying for a credit card, it is better to first consider if the credit limit is up to your requirements. Then only is it beneficial for you to apply for the credit card. To get the best rate for your credit card, make sure you understand all terms and condition of the card before accepting it. This is to avoid any future misunderstandings and misconceptions with the credit card company.

Of course, the main point that is taken into consideration to get the best rate for your credit card is your credit score. The better the credit score you have, the better will be the rates the credit card company offers you! This is the reason it is always advisable to have, and maintain a good credit score!

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