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New offers options to American consumers who need an effective debt reduction plan. We have settled over 150 million dollars worth of unsecured, credit card debt while saving clients thousands of dollars. AmeriGuard believes it is important to make an informed decision especially when it affects your financial health. Understanding your options can be overwhelming; that’s why we offer experienced, knowledgeable guidance along the way. provides the information you need to participate in creating a better future..

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Put a Lien on an Airplane

Placing a lien on property can be an effective way to get a debtor to pay you money that he owes you. When the debtor owns an aircraft, putting a lien on it may make it impossible for him to sell the aircraft without paying you first. If you're a mechanic and work on the aircraft in some capacity, you may place a mechanic's lien on it. You may also place a lien on the aircraft if the owner owes you money.



    File a civil lawsuit against the individual who owes you money. Once you file the lawsuit, the creditor needs to appear in court. In court, you argue your case; if you have a legitimate debt, the court issues a judgment in your favor.


    Allow the creditor enough time to voluntarily pay the judgment. States typically have a minimum amount of time that you must wait before you can try to collect the judgment.


    File a lien against the airplane using the judgment. This may be done in the local jurisdiction where the judgment was provided by the court. You typically have to pay a filing fee and fill out a form to create the judgment lien.


    Perfect a mechanic's lien against the aircraft if you work on the aircraft or provided some type of service to it. "Perfecting" is the term used to refer to recording and registering the aircraft lien in the appropriate manner. Fill out a mechanic's lien form with your local government and pay a filing fee. The agency that you work with may vary by state or county; often, you file with the county recorder or clerk's office. This process is basically the same process as completing a judgment lien --- it's simply a different type of lien.


    Register the lien with the Federal Aviation Administration. Send the original claim of lien and a $5 fee, as of the time of publication. The FAA then records the lien and sends you a form to show that you have a lien on the aircraft. If you live in a state that doesn't record liens against aircraft, you can't record it with the FAA.

Monday, August 30, 2010

South Carolina Credit Help

South Carolina residents have a number of federal and state rights when it comes to getting help with their credit. Whether you can't pay your bills on time, have a concern about the accuracy of your credit report or are a victim of identity theft, you can find help from several agencies including the Federal Trade Commission.

Credit Report Security

    If you're concerned about the security of your credit report and live in South Carolina, you can place a "security freeze" on your credit report, according to the credit bureau Experian. A security freeze bars any creditor from viewing your reports without verifying your identity; it also forbids them from opening accounts in your name without verifying that you made the request. You can have the freeze temporarily lifted if you want to more easily go through financial transactions such as shopping for a mortgage. South Carolina residents can request the freeze from any or all of the major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian or TransUnion by telephone, online or via postal mail.

Debt Collection Rights

    If you've been harassed by a debt collector while living in South Carolina, you should assert your rights under state code Title 37. For example, non-government creditors cannot garnish your wages if you live in South Carolina and cannot threaten to do so. Also, if your wages are garnished from a government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service you cannot legally lose your job as a result.

The Bankruptcy Option

    If you've tried credit counseling and other means to repay your debts and just can't get ahead, you may need to apply for debt relief through the United States Bankruptcy Court District of South Carolina. You don't need an attorney to request elimination of consumer debts under Chapter 7 or petition for a partial debt repayment plan under Chapter 13. But the bankruptcy process in South Carolina won't help some types of debts such as child support, alimony, court fines, tax bills less than three years old and any bills incurred right before filing bankruptcy, notes the book "How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy."

Credit Report Help

    Since 2005, South Carolina residents have had the legal right to request one free copy of their credit reports each year, notes the Federal Trade Commission. If you find errors on your reports, then you must request an investigation into the inaccuracy; if the inaccurate information remains you have the right to sue the company responsible for the credit reporting.

What Types of Mortgage Loan Modifications Are There?

Mortgage loan modifications help homeowners stay in their homes by restructuring existing mortgages to reduce monthly payments. Although mortgage modification loans are valuable to borrowers, lenders benefit from them as well. Foreclosure is a costly process and lenders can lose money on homes whose market value has declined below the loan value.

Several types of mortgage modifications are available. Check with your lender or loan servicer to determine which options are available for you.

Capitalization of Arrears

    If you have missed a mortgage payment, you are considered to be in arrears or delinquent. When a mortgage loan is modified, lenders can capitalize these arrears by rolling them into the principal of your loan. This process makes you current on your loan payments, and no longer in arrears or delinquent. Capitalization of arrears stops calls from payment collectors and is a good mortgage modification solution if your payment problems are temporary and you will be able to begin making your regular monthly payment again immediately.

Rate Reduction

    Lenders may also grant a mortgage loan modification by reducing the interest rate on your loan. According to a March 2009 article in the Los Angeles Times, interest rate modifications can be short-term or for the life of your mortgage. A short-term interest rate reduction lowers your monthly payments for a limited period of time. Once the rate reduction period has expired, your interest rate will revert to the original rate in your mortgage contract. The idea is that the lower payments will allow you to keep your home, get back on your feet financially, and start paying your regular mortgage payments when the rate reduction ends.

    An interest rate reduction that lasts for the life of your mortgage will reduce your payments until the mortgage is repaid in full. This option is usually only open to people whose payment abilities are not expected to return to full capacity in the future.

Term Extension

    A term extension lowers your payments by giving you additional time to repay your mortgage. For example, if you currently owe $100,000 and have 15 years remaining on your mortgage, a term extension would allow you repay the $100,000 over 20 or 30 years. You will pay more interest over the life of your loan under this type of mortgage modification, but your monthly payment amount will be more manageable, allowing you to stay in your home.

Principal Forbearance

    The Making Home Affordable website defines principal forbearance as moving a portion of the principal of your loan to the end of your mortgage contract. Your new payment will be lower and based on the mortgage loan amount less the amount of the principal forbearance. An added advantage is that the principal forbearance amount does not accrue interest over the life of the loan, but it will be due when you pay off or refinance your loan.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Definition of a Back-to-back Letter of Credit

Merchants who purchase goods from importers often need to get letters of credit. Letters of credit guarantee each bank involved in a transaction that the other bank will forward money to it from its customer. If a merchant must deal with not just one, but two importers, he may need back-to-back letters of credit. These letters guarantee that the first bank will get its money from the first seller and the second bank will get its money from the second seller involved in a transaction.

More Complicated Transaction

    If a transaction requires two letters of credit from separate banks, the transaction may require back-to-back letters of credit. These types of letters of credit are often required if a seller goes through a middleman. For example, suppose a seller must get a letter of credit to purchase diamonds for resale. The merchant he resells to must get a separate letter of credit to purchase the diamonds from him. These letters together are called back-to-back letters of credit.

Not Transferable

    Back-to-back letters of credit are different from transferable letters of credit. In a situation involving a middleman, if the middleman gets a transferable letter of credit, she transfers the rights to purchase the items on credit to the merchant she resells to. If the situation involves back-to-back letters of credit, each merchant must get a separate letter of credit from the bank she is dealing with.

Bank Transaction

    The back-to-back letters of credit require two issuing banks to deal with one another. The bank that issues the second letter of credit lends funds to a merchant so that the merchant can purchase goods. That bank then approaches the bank who issued the first letter of credit to get reimbursed for its investment. Each merchant involved in the transaction thus owes money to his issuing bank after the transaction is complete

Uncommonly Used

    Back-to-back letters of credit are used less commonly than other letters of credit. Scotia Bank reports that banks often discourage clients from engaging in this type of credit transaction because technical problems can cause one or both banks to lose money on the transaction. In addition, back-to-back letters of credit are only used in transactions involving several sellers, so many transactions may not require them in the first place.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What Effects Does a Student Loan Deferment Have on Your Credit Report?

Many students depend on federal financial aid to pay for a college education. If you accepted federal student loans while you were attending college, you must eventually repay those loans in full. If you are unable to make the payments, you may qualify for a deferment, which allows you to postpone payments for up to 12 months. If your student loans are in deferment status, they will not have a negative affect on your credit report.

Federal Student Loans

    The U.S. government offers loan programs that can help you pay for your college education. Direct subsidized loans are loans that the federal government subsidizes and that require you to show financial need to qualify. Direct unsubsidized loans do not require a showing of financial need. Unlike subsidized loans, interest begins to accrue on an unsubsidized loan as soon as the school receives the funds. You may qualify for both a subsidized and unsubsidized loan. In addition, Direct PLUS parent loans are available if you need additional funds.


    Repayment of student loans begins after you finish school, drop out or enroll less than half time in school. Once of these events takes place, you must begin repayment after a six-month grace period unless you request a deferment or forbearance. Although you may have numerous reasons for requesting a deferment or forbearance, common reasons include returning to school, unemployment or that repayment will create a financial hardship.

Deferment and Your Credit Report

    The major credit bureaus receive reports of student loans. If you request and receive a deferment on your student loan, your loan will show that it is not in repayment status. Since the loan does not show that payments are due, it will not affect your credit rating. For example, a lender looks at your monthly income and monthly expenses, along with your overall credit score, when you apply for a mortgage. Your expenses cannot exceed a certain percentage of your income to qualify for a loan. Lenders will not consider student loans that are in deferment when calculating your monthly expenses.


    While a loan in deferment will not affect your credit report, a late loan payment will definitely have a negative affect on your credit rating. In addition, if you request a deferment when you are already behind on your payments, approval of the deferment will not fix the negative impact of the late payments. A deferment will also not erase any past due amounts currently due. It is best to apply for a deferment as soon as you foresee the possibility that you will not be able to make a payment. You can locate deferment forms on the Federal Student Aid website (see Resources).

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Manage your Income and Save Money

How to Manage your Income and Save Money

During the recession all of us are looking for ways to save money and live a little bit more under our means. It can be hard to manage your income when we have been brought up in a society of entitlement and money management was secondary to "gotta have it now". After some simple steps of getting your finances in order and making sure your expenses are lower than your income, saving money will be easy.


    Personal finance software

    Personal money management is about being organized and the easiest way to do that is with money management software. There are many great programs out there, some free and some not. They range from the simple to the very complex, so shop around and chose one that is right for your personality. If you are a structured person, you will feel better with more detailed software, while if you are more unstructured, a simpler program might be better.


    Pay down your debt. After your necessities like food and shelter, paying down your debt is very important. It affects your credit score, and just as important, the interest is so high, paying the minimum might not even cover the interest! There is also debt management software and great online debt consolidation sites.


    Find a way to make some extra money. If you have some extra time or recently got laid off, there are many great ways to earn quick money online. Write articles for eHow. Sign up for the writer's compensation program and start writing a few articles everyday about things that you know. With a few articles you could pay your bills every month or your gas money etc. Also, sign up for bukisa, hubpages, cashcarate, ecrater and start putting time in making money online. These are all reputable sites and can earn you income while your at home.


    Figure out ways to cut some of your spending. Do you eat out 5 times a week? Cut it down to 2 times a week. Making your own tacos at home or chicken is very cheap and a lot more healthy than eating out. Try saving money on your cable bill by getting rid of channels that you don't need. Do you have a landline phone that you never use? Get rid of it. Do you have a big car loan? Sell that depreciating asset and get a smaller more gas efficient older car. You will save a ton on insurance, gas, and depreciation of the vehicle.

    Government bonds

    Once you have gotten expenses under your income, put your savings into a bond or 6 month t-bill. This keeps you from spending the money because it is locked up and will earn a little bit of interest as well. For those of you that are impulse buyers, managing your money will be easier if you can't spend it.


    See a CPA about personal finance management. They manage money for a living so they will be able to give you an outside view on your expenses. If you already have a CPA do your taxes, just sneak in some questions about your finances. These people get excited just talking about numbers so it would be some great advice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Steps to Fixing Your Credit

Fixing your credit can make a substantial difference in your financial life, because it can save you money on interest and make it easier to get approved for financing. If you have a low credit score, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your credit rating.

Review Credit Reports

    Before you can effectively fix your credit report, you must review your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus for free once every year by going to the Annual Credit Report website.

Dispute Mistakes

    You should review your credit reports to determine whether are any mistakes were made. In some cases, creditors report inaccurate information, which can bring down your score. If you find a mistake on your credit report, contact the credit bureau and provide documentation of the mistake. If you can verify that the information is incorrect, the bureau can fix the mistake, which will boost your credit score.

Pay Down Balances

    Another way to improve your credit score is to pay down balances on your credit accounts. If you can reduce the balances below 30 percent of your available credit limit, it will help when the credit bureaus calculate your credit score. If your accounts are "maxed out," it appears you do not know how to handle your credit. Paying down the balances can make a significant difference in your score.

Making Payments

    When trying to repair your credit, you must always make your payments on time. This is true whether it is a credit card payment or an electric bill payment. Your creditors regularly report to the credit bureaus, and just one late payment can have a significant negative effect on your credit. This is the single biggest factor when calculating your credit score, and after a few months of making on-time payments, your credit should start to improve.

How to Get Rid of Education Debt

Thirty-eight percent of college students took out student loans to assist them in paying for school, according to a 2007-08 report by the National Center for Educational Statistics. The same report also found the average amount owed on loans by students who attended school full-time was $24,300. To overcome the debt incurred while in college, current and former students need a plan to get rid of education debt.



    Consolidate student loans. Earn a lower interest rate by combining your loans. Make only one payment a month instead of several different ones by rolling all of your student loans into one massive loan. Pay ahead when possible to reduce the principal of the loan, decrease the amount of interest paid over the loan lifetime and shorten the repayment period.


    Seek out a lower interest rate. Contact lenders to discuss refinancing your student loans to get a lower interest rate. Check with multiple banks and companies to find the lowest rate. Verify that the rate is set and doesn't vary based on federal interest rates or personal credit scores over the course of repayment. Ask each lender about any incentive programs they offer. For example, some lenders reduce interest rates on students loans by one-half percent if payments are made on time each month for two or three years. Consider any incentives that may exist when choosing a lender.


    Check out loan forgiveness programs. Visit the website of the U.S. Department of Education's Student Aid on the Web. Read about the forgiveness programs offered to teachers and public service employees. Connect to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration website to learn about a student loan forgiveness program that applies to nurses working in critical nursing shortage facilities. Review the terms of the program carefully to determine if you qualify.


    Consider volunteer service. Donate your time serving in the Peace Corp or AmeriCorp. Receive $4,725 to put toward paying off your student loans for each year of volunteer service in the AmeriCorp program. Get 30 percent of your student loan debt canceled by serving in the Peace Corp for two years. Sign on for an additional two years with the Peace Corp to get an additional 40 percent of your debt canceled.

How to Verify Credit Card Information

How to Verify Credit Card Information

It is important to be able verify your credit card when using it, either in person or online. Although each card has a different 16 digit number printed across the front, there are several other ways to verify the credit card. This helps lower the likelihood of identity theft, especially with online users. If you are ever asked to verify a credit card, be prepared to show at least one of the next several items.



    Give the expiration date if you are asked for it. Although this is a common question online, it is helpful when purchasing products over the phone to prove the validity of the card.


    Display a second form of identification that matches the name printed on the credit card. Most credit cards have a middle initial listed. Having a second form of ID can prove you are the rightful holder of the card.


    Read off the protection number on the card. On a Visa or MasterCard, this number is printed on the back. When using American Express, the protection number is four digits and on the front of the card.


    Provide the home billing address for the card. Without the home billing address, (especially for online purchases) the credit card transaction does not go through.

Credit Debt Repair

You need a good credit history to obtain credit on favorable terms in the form of credit cards, mortgages, car loans and personal loans. To perform credit debt repair, identify any negative information in your credit report. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States residents have the right to view one free credit report from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian every year and can pay a fee per bureau to see their credit score.


    Creditors usually report late payments to credit bureaus if you don't pay within 30 days of the due date, and late payments of 60, 90 and 120 days do even worse damage to your credit score. Become current on as many of your payments as possible by making the minimum payment necessary per account every month. In addition, don't take out new credit lines while attempting to repair your credit. Homeowners should limit damage to their credit report by selling the house through a short sale before a bank foreclosure.


    According to MyFICO, the amount of debt owed accounts for 30 percent of your Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score. To improve your FICO score, pay extra money on your credit card and personal loan balances every month to reduce credit utilization by creating a budget or working an extra job. For example, a borrower who owes $15,000 on a $20,000 total credit line across all accounts has a credit utilization of 75 percent. High percentages of credit utilization lower an your credit score.


    Improve your credit history within 30 days if you notice inaccuracies in your credit bureau report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a United States resident can send a dispute letter to a credit bureau detailing the inaccurate information in the report, and the credit bureau must investigate the item in question. Should the credit bureau find in your favor, it must remove that piece of negative information from your credit report.

Time Frame

    According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), federal law requires credit bureaus to remove negative information on a credit report within seven years, although bankruptcies can remain on your credit report for 10 years. As of March 2011, some states and the District of Columbia have shorter statutes of limitations than federal rules for judgments placed against you to collect a debt, including Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

How to Get Free Government Grant Money

How to Get Free Government Grant  Money

You can get free government grant money if you are willing to put in some time and effort. Do not spend money on some website to let some one else do it for you. Go get free government grant money for yourself.



    Go to www.grants.gov, this is where you will find a wealth of information on all the types of free government grant money that is out there.


    It will take some work to find something that fits you and your situation, but keep looking if you are serious about finding free government grant money.


    When you find you free government grant loan money make sure you write down the opportunity number. You will need this for all the paperwork.


    Register with www.grants.gov if you haven't already done it. Follow all the steps and get registered so you can apply for your free government grant money.


    Download the application packet and start filling it out. You need to be as clear as possible on everything you write. Make sure you spell it all correctly. Proofread it.


    It will take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to get an answer on your application for free government grant money. You can apply for more than one grant at a time, so do it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are Heirs Responsible for Debts in New York?

Handling the estate of a loved one is stressful for heirs who are grieving their loss. Receiving calls from debt collectors only makes the situation more difficult. However, in the state of New York, heirs are seldom responsible for the debt of the deceased and the person handling the estate and probate process handles the payments of any debts.

Personal Representative of Deceased

    When a person dies in New York, the first step in handling the estate is to appoint a personal representative of the deceased. This person may already be appointed or indicated in the will as the executor or the responsibility may fall to one of the heirs. In some cases, the courts may appoint a public administrator of the estate. This person is responsible for handling the debts and assets of the estate.

Estate Assets

    The personal representative first gathers all the assets of the estate of the deceased. This includes bank accounts, insurance policies and investment accounts. The estate assets are then used to pay funeral expenses and outstanding taxes and other debts. The personal representative then distributes any money left over after paying debts as laid out in the will or distributed to the heirs and next of kin if there is no will.

Personal Responsibility of Heirs

    In some cases, the estate does not have enough in assets to cover the debts of the deceased. The personal representative and heirs are not responsible for covering these debts out-of-pocket. However, according to New York code, if the creditor files with the court, heirs who receive property from the estate may be ordered to pay debts up to the value of the property received. Debts not covered by the estate's assets or recovered from the value of property in the estate go unpaid.


    Heirs are responsible for debts of the deceased on a joint accounts. In this case, the full debt passes through to the joint account holder, regardless of who made the actual charges.

    Additionally, creditors must still abide by fair debt collection practices. They may not harass family members and heirs and may not disclose the details of the debt to any one other than next of kin or the personal representative of the deceased.

Can a Warrant Be Served for Bank Debt?

Many people who fall behind on their debts are afraid that the failure to pay back your creditors may result in a jail sentence or arrest warrant. This is not the case. In the vast majority of situations, the state will not issue a warrant for your arrest for bank or other forms of unpaid debt. Talk to a lawyer if you need legal advice or have questions about the laws in your area.

Debt Obligations

    When you enter into a debt agreement with a creditor, such as a bank, mortgage company or other lender, you agree to pay back the money the lender gives you. Sometimes, such as when you get a car loan, you agree to give the creditor a security interest in your property. If you default on the loan, the creditor can then take the secured property by repossessing the car. In other situations, such as a credit card, you do not provide a security interest and the creditor cannot take your property without first suing you.

Civil Warrants

    If you get sued by your creditors, you may be subject to a civil warrant, another name for a summons. Once your creditor sues you, it has to tell you it filed the lawsuit and provide the date in which the court will hear the case. The summons contains this information and tells you when you have to be in court. If you do not show up in court, the creditor can receive a default judgment, meaning the court will declare the creditor the winner in the lawsuit.

Search And Arrest Warrants

    An arrest warrant, or search warrant, is a judicial decree authorizing the state to take someone into custody or conduct a search. The judiciary issues warrants as part of the criminal justice system. Judges issue arrest warrants after the government has presented the court with reason to believe a crime has been or is about to be committed. A creditor cannot ask a court to issue an arrest warrant.

Criminal Debt

    However, there are some debts for which you might be subject to arrest of have a warrant issued for your arrest. If, for example, you write a bad check or commit a crime involving debt, you can be arrested for this crime. Also, if you are charged with a crime and fail to appear for a court date, the court can issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Stop a Scavenger Debt Collector

Scavenger debt collectors are companies that purchase old debts from original creditors and then contact debtors to recover these funds. According to BCS Alliance, scavenger debt collectors buy old debts for pennies on the dollar -- but they request the full unpaid balance from debtors to make a nice profit. Dealing with these types of collectors is often frustrating, but there is a wrong and right way for handling scavenger collectors.



    Request that the collection agency or company send proof that you owe the debt. Admitting to owing a debt encourages additional letters and telephone calls from the scavenger collect. Deny the debt, and then ask for written proof that you owe the money. If the company can't supply this information, it must stop collection attempts.


    Consult an attorney to inquire about the statue of limitations for debt collection in your state. Some scavenger collectors purchase old debts after the statue of limitations. If so, send a certified letter to the company. Mention that the time allowed to collect on the debt has passed and demand that the company stop contacting you.


    Negotiate for less than you owe. If you decide to pay the old debt, don't agree to pay the full unpaid balance plus interest. Scavenger debt collectors purchase debts for as little as 3 cents to 7 cents on the dollar, says BCS Alliance. Contact the company and agree to settle for no more than 25 percent of the original balance. Get all negotiations in writing before sending money.

How to Write a Letter Requesting a Salary Advance

How to Write a Letter Requesting a Salary Advance

Writing a letter asking for a salary advance is not difficult. The tough part is understanding how the letter will affect your professional reputation -- if at all. Salary advances are not common for all employers; sending a letter asking for advance pay could indicate you are having financial problems. The disclosure is an important consideration, especially for people involved in jobs managing money. In some situations employers have the right to check an employee's credit, and the letter could lead to a financial review. There are other instances in which salary advances are not a problem at all, however. For example, the University of California San Diego routinely issues salary advances for new international hires to help with moving expenses.



    Check with your company's human resources department to determine if there is a standard policy for salary advances, or discuss with your hiring manager if you have accepted an offer and you are relocating to take the job.


    Exhaust other avenues for a short-term loan -- perhaps from the company's credit union -- before writing a salary advance letter for a personal need unrelated to work.


    Write the salary advance letter if no other options are available. Only a few paragraphs are necessary. Explain your hardship in the first paragraph. For example, explain that you are facing foreclosure and must raise a specific amount of money by a deadline. Or indicate that you need money to help a family member who has a crisis. Make the explanation clear and honest. List the amount you wish to receive and the desired date.


    Tell the employer in the next paragraph that your hardship is a one-time occurrence -- if the salary advance is personal -- and that you do not expect to seek future salary advances. Also indicate that you exhausted all other possibilities for raising the money.


    Request a meeting with your supervisor to discuss the situation. Present your typed, signed letter during the conference, along with any forms required by human resources.

What Will Happen If You Have a Medical Debt

What Will Happen If You Have a Medical Debt

Medical debts differ from other varieties of debt in that you cannot always control when you'll need medical care or the type of treatments you receive -- especially in emergency situations. Like other creditors, however, hospitals and doctor's offices expect you to pay any debts you incur and you can face unpleasant legal consequences for failing to do so.

Insurance Coverage

    When you incur medical debt, your health care provider submits claims to your insurance company for the amount you owe. Insurance companies typically receive price breaks on medical care but they do not cover all services in all areas. You are responsible for paying any medical debt you incur that is not covered by your health insurance provider. If you lack insurance, your health care provider will bill you directly. Unlike insurance companies, individuals do not receive automatic price breaks and often must pay the full price for medical care and services.

Collecting Medical Debt

    If you cannot afford to pay your medical debt in a lump sum, you have the option of negotiating a payment plan with your health care provider. If you cannot afford payment at all, your health care provider will turn your account over to a debt collector for recovery.

    Health care providers do not typically hold reporting contracts with the credit bureaus but collection agencies do. After your unpaid medical bills fall into the hands of a collection agency, the collection agency will report the debt to the credit bureaus and your credit rating will decrease as a result.

Medical Debt Lawsuits

    Both your health care provider and any debt collectors that purchase your debt have the right to file a lawsuit against you during the debt recovery process. The goal of a debt collection lawsuit is to force you to make involuntary payments through garnishment. After suing you, your creditor can garnish either your bank accounts or wages, depending on the garnishment restrictions in your state. Creditors can also place liens on your home or other property following a successful medical collection lawsuit.

Bill Payment Help

    Hospitals and health care billing services sometimes make errors that result in thousands of dollars in excess charges for the consumer. Medical billing advocates help consumers by identifying erroneous charges and negotiating with the health care provider to have the charges dropped. While medical billing advocates are not free, they provide a valuable service to consumers who are not eligible for government insurance and assistance programs. In addition, certain hospitals provide indigent care programs for uninsured individuals who cannot afford to pay for proper health care. Hospitals do not routinely advertise these programs. Thus, consumers concerned about incurring unmanageable medical debt should ask about the special programs available before agreeing to treatment.

Borrower Debit Card Rules in Texas

Borrower Debit Card Rules in Texas

In Texas, abusing a debit or credit card is illegal, according to numerous rules and regulations. Fraud is punishable by fines or jail time, depending on the offense. Debit cards can be used for either a credit or debit transaction, each with its own set of rules.

Debit Transactions

    Debit transactions require a four-digit pin for authorization. The money spent in a debit transaction is immediately pulled from the bank account that is linked to the card. There may be a fee associated with the use of a debit card.

Credit Transactions

    You can use your debit card as a credit card if it contains the Mastercard or Visa logo. In most cases, a credit transaction is not processed immediately and can be held in pending status for several days.

Debit Card Abuse

    Debit card fraud in Texas is punishable by law. Punishments can range from fines to jail time, depending upon the type of abuse. Abuses include using a card with the knowledge that it is suspended, expired or revoked, or using a stolen card or a card that is fictitious. The state of Texas assumes that the user of the card knows when the card is not valid; claiming ignorance of suspension or expiration is not a defense.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How to Keep Someone From Repossessing Your Vehicle

Everyone has a hard time keeping up with their bills from time to time. So if you are in danger of your vehicle being repossessed by the car lot, there are a few things you can do to keep that vehicle in your care for a little longer. Maybe even long enough to catch up that payment!


How To Keep Someone From Repossessing Your Vehicle


    Call and make a payment arrangement with the creditor if you get into a financial bind. If you do this at the first sign of trouble, generally the repo man is not sent your way. You can always try this for a few weeks to buy some time.


    Lock your car up in your yard with the fence or gate closed and or locked. If this is the case, it is illegal for a repossession agent to enter the premises without your express permission. If he does, this is considered breaking and entering because of the lock on your gate. Invest in a padlock, it will do the same thing on a regular fence.


    Put up a No Trespassing sign on your fence, or at the door of your garage, and close your vehicle inside. This will keep any repossession agent from entering your garage to take your vehicle. It is illegal to enter any premises that is marked No Trespassing without permission.


    Park your vehicle at a friend's house that was not listed on your application for your vehicle. This is the first place that skip tracers look for you. Maybe that cool friend of yours can give you a ride home, and come get you in the mornings to get your car.


    Continue to try to work something out with the bank. Even applying for a personal loan until you get back on track financially is a great idea.

How to Emancipate a Spouse's Debt

How to Emancipate a Spouse's Debt

Spouses are not responsible for covering each others' debts taken out as individuals. In general, it complicates matters to have one spouse pay the debt taken out by another directly. It's possible to repay an individual debt using funds from a joint account. If there's no joint account, it's more convenient to transfer the funds to the debtor spouse's account and have them pay the debt. There are no tax penalties for this kind of transaction. Having one spouse pay another's debt directly from their own account can result in unwelcome complications to the process.



    Order copies of your spouse's credit report from the three major bureaus (Transunion, Experian and Equifax). You can get a free credit report once per year through Annual Credit Report from each bureau. After the first report, you'll need to pay a fee. You can access reports through the bureau websites. This report will list all outstanding debts for your spouse along with relevant contact information for the creditors.


    Develop a debt repayment plan with the assistance of your spouse. As debts accrue interest at a steady rate, and most require you to make monthly payments, it's better to pay off as much as possible without adversely affecting your ability to live. Plan to limit expenditures and to increase monthly payments to reduce debt burden as quickly as possible.


    Transfer funds into your spouse's individual account or your joint account to use to pay the relevant debts. You can pay the debts through your own account, and it's likely that the company will honor them, but the legal status of such payments is questionable. It's safer to make all payments through your spouse's accounts.


    Continue to make debt payments in this manner while monitoring your spouse's credit report. It's far easier to pay back debt when both spouses work together on a coherent plan. If one member of the couple is out of sync with the other, it can lead to further complications and increased debt.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Happens to Your Credit Score After a Repo?

Credit scores provide a numerical indicator to reflect whether an applicant has honored creditor-based agreements and for predicting future risk levels. After an auto repossession, your credit score could trend toward a lower range, as your payment history is used for 35 percent of a credit score calculation. You can resolve the debt that stems from an auto repossession, while taking action toward improving your credit score.

Auto Financing

    Auto financing could position an applicant to buy a vehicle with minimal cash out of pocket. Based on an applicant's credit strength, an auto lender can determine the down payment requirements and other loan terms. If you have paid prior auto loans as agreed, as well as other creditors, you might qualify for favorable financing terms.


    An auto repossession generally results after a borrower defaults on a financing agreement. Typically, a finance company will send several notices to remind a borrower about missed loan payments and to mention any late payment fees. Collections efforts are increased, as a borrower can expect to receive phone calls and certified mail about the past-due balance. If a borrower fails to make payment arrangements and ignores collections efforts, an auto lender might hire a towing company to repossess the vehicle. To redeem the vehicle, a borrower must pay past-due amounts, late fees, storage fees and towing costs before regaining the vehicle. Repossession laws vary by state, but if the period of past-due payment is prolonged, a lender might auction the vehicle to recoup some of the investment.

Credit Impact

    Favorable credit experiences, such as loan payments that are made on time, low credit card balances and few inquiries for the extension of new credit, improve credit scores and could position a borrower for attractive financing. However, an auto repossession typically hurts a borrower's credit rating and credit score. Slow bill payments detract from a credit score, and a default on a home loan or an auto loan hurts a consumer's credit rating and credit score even more. Your credit score may be harmed with the bureau where your auto lender reports the information, as the result of a repossession. Some auto lenders report to either Equifax, TransUnion or Experian, while others report payment experiences to all three bureaus.


    If you've had a recent auto repossession, you'll probably have more difficulty procuring an auto loan under favorable terms. Your credit report will reflect a negative rating from your former auto lender, as well as a vehicle repossession. To remedy the amount in arrears, you can make arrangements with the lender to pay off the debt. Paying your current bills as agreed could help increase your credit score over time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Happens if a Cosigner of a Student Loan Dies?

Borrowing money can enable consumers to invest in cars, homes or education, but lenders are often wary of lending large sums of money to young borrowers with short credit histories. In this case, the lender may require a loan cosigner, who agrees to pay back the debt if the primary borrower fails to pay. The death of a primary borrower or cosigner can affect student loans or other debts.

Basics of Loan Cosigning

    When someone cosigns a loan, he guarantees that the loan will be repaid regardless of whether the primary borrower fulfills the obligation. When a borrower adds a cosigner to her loan, it reduces the chance that the loan will go unpaid, because the lender can collect money from the primary borrower or the cosigner.

Death of a Cosigner

    If the cosigner of a student loan or other debt dies, the primary borrower is still generally required to pay off the debt. A cosigner acts as a fail-safe for a lender in case a risky primary borrower doesn't pay what he owes. The death of a cosigner eliminates the fail-safe, but the primary borrower is still liable for the debt. If, however, someone else took out a loan on your behalf and you are not the primary borrower, you might not be liable for the debt in the event of her death.

Death of a Primary Borrower

    When a primary borrower dies, loan cosigners may or may not be liable to pay back the debt. According to Cheryl Costa of the Boston Globe, most student loans have a provision that discharges or cancels debt if the original borrower dies. In addition, loans might be discharged if the primary borrower becomes permanently disabled. Some loans, however, may still require the cosigner to pay in the event of the primary borrower's death or disablement.


    Since the liability for debts after death can vary from one loan to another, it is essential to read all the terms of a loan carefully before accepting a loan. The Federal Trade Commission warns that cosigners may end up paying for the debts of those they cosign for, and that cosigners should be sure that they have the means to pay for loans if they have to.

When Do You Get Back Your Deposit on a Secured Credit Card?

When Do You Get Back Your Deposit on a Secured Credit Card?

Secured credit cards are a great way to rebuild credit. They're also a good way for those new to credit to get a credit card and learn how to use it responsibly. A secured credit card requires a deposit, which is used as collateral against the cardholder's line of credit the cardholder. Yout deposit is refundable, although you should check the details of your particular card to find out what fees or restrictions may apply.

Where to Get a Secured Card

    Many banks and credit unions offer secured credit cards, although the deposit amounts vary. It's good to do some investigating and compare what each card offers. Some require a low deposit, but offer a limited line of credit. The APR for cards will vary, so shop around for the best rates. However, secured cards' annual rates are always higher than with an unsecured credit card. Keep your secured card for only as long as you need it and switch to unsecured card when you can.

What to Look For in a Card

    The point of a secured credit card is to build or rebuild your credit, so you want to choose the card that will do that best. It should report to all three credit agencies and you should be aware of the APR. Avoid cards that charge an application fee, and investigate any card before you invest in it. Compare the other fees as well, because some cards offer a very low APR, but charge more in other ways. Choose a card that gives you a credit limit of at least as much as you deposited.

Building Savings

    Deposits are kept in an account that earns interest. With prompt payments to your bill, your deposit is returned when the secured credit card is cancelled and the account closed. This allows you to build savings while rebuilding your credit. When choosing a card, look closely at the fees and conditions surrounding your deposit refund. Some card will require the money to remain in the account for a billing cycle or two after you have closed the account. Other will require your account to have a zero balance before refunding your deposit. Choose the unsecured card that offers the best options, and make sure you know the closing conditions. Some secured cards will convert to an unsecured card after a period of time, and the issuer will return your deposit when the conversion occurs.

Using a Secured Credit Card

    The best way to use your secured card is to make a few purchases that you then pay off when the statement comes. Secured credit cards aren't meant to carry a balance. Linda Sherry, editorial director of Consumer Action, advises that "It helps to pay in full every month to show you've got this excellent credit rating." Paying your secured card off every month shows that you are using your credit responsibly.

Should You Pay a Charge-Off?

Your credit card company typically allows you six months to make payments on a delinquent credit card before charging off the balance. While many debtors mistakenly believe that a charge-off indicates the credit card company has forgiven their debt, the credit card company can continue to pursue payment on its own or hire a collector to secure payment from you. While paying a charge-off prevents further consequences, doing so may not be the right move for everyone.

Preventing Legal Action

    Depending on the company's policies and the amount you owe, the credit card company may sue you after charging off your card balance. If you have a job, own a home or car or have a bank account, a lawsuit threatens your financial security. A credit card company or debt collector that wins a lawsuit can request an order from the court allowing it to garnish bank accounts or wages and attach a lien to your home or car title. Paying the charge-off prevents this from happening, ensuring that your assets remain safe from seizure.

Judgment-Proof Debtors

    Not everyone benefits from paying a charge-off. Judgment-proof debtors are individuals whose assets are legally exempt from seizure. For example, a credit card company or debt collector cannot garnish your retirement or unemployment payments. A judgment-proof debtor not only possesses exempt assets but also owns no property that a creditor can place a lien against.

    If you are judgment-proof, the credit card company can sue you and obtain a civil judgment for the unpaid charge-off, but it cannot enforce its judgment. Thus, paying the debt benefits you if you are morally inclined to satisfy your obligation, but the financial penalties of leaving the charge-off unpaid are minimal in this situation.

Credit Concerns

    Regardless of what a collector may tell you, paying a charge-off doesn't benefit your credit score. A charge-off is derogatory by nature and will appear on your credit report for seven years.

    Paying the debt immediately, however, can help you prevent further credit damage. Both collection accounts and judgment records also damage your credit rating. Paying the charge-off prior to its sale to a collection agency or before a lawsuit from your creditor ensures that the charge-off doesn't wreak additional havoc on your credit report and score.


    If you decide to pay your charge-off, paying it in full rather than requesting a settlement protects you from having to pay taxes on any unpaid balance your creditor subsequently forgives. Doing so also prevents the creditor from selling the remaining debt to a collector. If you cannot afford to pay the charge-off in full and a settlement is necessary, ask for the complete terms of the settlement in writing before you make a payment to ensure the company doesn't later deny knowledge of the settlement and continue trying to collect the debt.

The Garnish Limit of a Judgment on My Bank Account

Your debts don't disappear simply because you don't have the funds to pay them back. Even if you honestly can't pay, if you let it get to the point that a creditor sues you, you may end up with serious financial problems. After receiving a judgment against you, the creditor can garnish your wages. If you don't have a job, the creditor can garnish your entire bank account balance, leaving you with no money for necessities.

No Limit

    Bankrate.com reports that unlike wage garnishments, where the creditor must leave you enough money to live on, there are no limits on the percentage of your bank balance that a creditor may garnish from your account. The creditor may garnish all the funds currently in your account to pay the judgment. Depending on state laws, the creditor may also garnish funds deposited into the bank account after the initial garnishment, if the debt is not yet completely paid.


    The creditor may not cause an overdraft by garnishing more from your bank account than you currently have in the account. However, the creditor garnishes the bank account by ordering the bank to place a freeze on your funds for the amount of the judgment. Thus, if you write checks on your account while the garnishment is in effect, the checks will bounce. You will then be responsible for paying insufficient check fees and any other penalties assessed by your bank or the creditor you were trying to pay with the check.

Proper Notice

    The creditor typically notifies the bank of the garnishment prior to notifying you about it. This policy stops debtors from trying to get around a bank garnishment by withdrawing all money from the account prior to the date the garnishment goes into effect. Your notice, which Fair Debt Collection says you typically receive a day or two after the bank puts a hold on your funds, contains information about your rights, including how to contest the garnishment if you feel it is unfair.


    Bank account garnishment is one of the most serious measures creditors can take against debtors, as the creditor can take all available funds and place a freeze on your bank account until the debt is completely repaid. Most creditors reserve this action for debtors who quit their jobs to avoid wage garnishment, or who otherwise try to avoid paying a debt back even after a creditor has gone to court and received a judgment against the debtor. You can avoid bank account garnishment by contacting your creditors if you have problems paying your bills, rather than allowing debts to go to collections.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Advantages of a Deed in Lieu

If you have missed mortgage payments because of a financial change, you may be at risk of foreclosure. However, if you realize that you simply cannot keep up with your mortgage payments, a deed in lieu of foreclosure may be an appropriate option. A deed in lieu is an agreement in which you give the deed to the home to your mortgage lender in exchange for cancellation of the debt. This transaction gives the lender ownership of the home, and allows the lender to sell the home to recoup some of your forgiven mortgage balance.

Foreclosure Prevention

    Negotiating a deed in lieu typically involves a promise from the lending institution that it will not initiate foreclosure proceedings on your mortgage. If you are already in foreclosure, the lender will typically halt the foreclosure proceedings after accepting a deed in lieu agreement. Although a deed in lieu will negatively affect your credit, the effects may not be as severe as those caused by a foreclosure entry. This may make it easier to buy another home or obtain other credit in the future.

Deficiency Forgiveness

    When a lending institution forecloses on your home, it will typically sell the home at a public auction or through a realtor. The sale price of the home may not be enough to cover your mortgage balance. If your loan balance exceeds the sale price, you are responsible for the difference, called a foreclosure deficiency. However, if you negotiate a deed in lieu, you can ask the lender to forgive any deficiency resulting from the sale after you transfer the deed to the lender. This prevents you from having to continue to make payments on a home you no longer own.

No Taxation

    Unlike most types of forgiven debt, a mortgage debt cancelled pursuant to a deed in lieu agreement is not subject to federal taxes if the debt was for your primary home. This prevents the cancellation of your mortgage debt from increasing your tax liability, since the Internal Revenue Service does not consider the canceled debt as earned income. However, if the lender cancels debt for a second home or equity loan, you will have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount.


    Although a deed in lieu can offer advantages, it can also pose disadvantages. You will no longer have possession of the home, which means that you cannot build equity or take advantage of mortgage interest, property tax or homeowner's insurance deductions. Even though a deed in lieu is better than foreclosure, it can still negatively affect your credit, which can limit your ability to obtain loans and credit cards in the future.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reasons for an Online Credit Report Dispute

Monitoring your credit report is essential to maintaining or building good credit. It is important to review the information contained in your credit report, since even a small discrepancy or error can have a substantial negative impact on your score. You have the right to dispute incorrect information. Filing an online dispute is a free, fast and secure method used to prompt an investigation by the credit bureaus. After the investigation, any errors must be corrected.

Date of Last Activity

    Pay close attention to the date of last activity, listed as DOLA on your credit report. This date is 180 days from your last delinquency. In some cases, creditors will report recent activity in an attempt to "re-age" the account. More recent negative account activity will have a more substantial impact on a credit score. The creditor performs the illegal practice hoping the effect on the credit score will urge the consumer to resolve the debt immediately. Regardless of whether the debt changes collection agencies, the DOLA cannot be changed without payment activity. Keep in mind, if you contact the collection agency or debtor and resume making payments, the date can be changed.

Outdated Information

    Most negative information can only remain on your credit report for a limited time. If the items remain on the report longer, a dispute can be filed to have them removed. Late payments, collections, foreclosure and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can remain on a credit report for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Begin an online dispute to stop out-of-date, negative accounts from lowering your credit score. After the online investigation is complete, you will receive an updated copy of your credit report.

Incorrect Information

    Even the smallest error, such as your name, can affect you. Spelling errors in your name can make it difficult to obtain your credit file. If your credit report is showing a late payment, file a dispute and provide evidence to prove your payment was made on time. Since payment history accounts for 35 percent of your credit score, according to MyFICO.com, it is crucial to resolve any payment errors. Account balances on either revolving or delinquent accounts may be reported incorrectly. After filing your online dispute, you may be contacted with a request to submit additional information to support the claim, including statements from the creditor or proof of payment. By filing online, you eliminate the delay that can occur in communication and processing when disputes are initiated through the mail.

Suspicious Accounts

    If you do not recognize an account, you have the right to dispute the debt. Suspicious accounts could be a sign of identity theft. Check the inquiry section of your credit report, as well. If you see creditors with whom you did not submit applications, consider placing a fraud alert or temporary credit freeze on your credit file for protection. You will need to contact all three bureaus and dispute each account. An online dispute can be filed 24 hours a day. If you suspect identity theft, act immediately to prevent further credit consequences.

Why Debt Consolidation Doesn't Work

When you're drowning in debts, consolidating them may seem like a good solution. By transferring all your credit card bills to one low-interest card, taking out a low-interest home-equity loan to pay off your other bills, or working with a debt consolidation service, you end up with only one payment to make each month, and at a lower interest rate. Consolidation doesn't eliminate your debts, however, and ultimately may not help you.


    Debt consolidation may reduce your interest payments, but you'll pay for the privilege, the Federal Trade Commission states. If you get help from a debt-consolidation service, the company charges a fee; if you take out a home equity loan, you'll have to pay the lender. Depending on the services you're using and who you're dealing with, the total costs could be several hundred dollars or more added onto your existing debt load.


    For many debtors, the problem isn't just the money they owe, it's the spending habits that created the debt load. If you have a problem with overspending and don't fix it, consolidation isn't going to change anything, because you'll continue to spend more than you have. According to financial coach Dave Ramsey, 78 percent of the people who go through debt consolidation wind up over their heads because they don't stop spending and don't save for emergencies, which then have to go on the credit card as well.


    Consolidating your debts makes paying them easier, but it doesn't make the total debt load any less. If you're in over your head with bigger monthly payments than you can afford, you're still going to be over your head after you consolidate. Some debt-consolidation firms negotiate a lower payment by stretching out the payments over a longer term; that makes it easier on you month to month, but you'll be in debt even longer.


    If you sign up for a debt-consolidation plan, it can hurt your credit score almost as badly as bankruptcy. If you fail to complete the plan, that will also ruin your credit, and you'll be at risk for defaulting on your loans. Another problem is that debt-consolidation services aren't binding contracts: Some of your lenders may refuse to cooperate, or back out partway through the plan.

Who Regulates Credit Counselors?

Ten years ago, less than a million people had sought the help of credit counselors to help them manage their money. Today, as many as 10 million people are currently working with credit counselors to get themselves out of debt. Predictably, if the economy results in more people who are either out of work or victims of rampant inflation, they will seek help. However, finding a trained, ethical credit counselor is not easy to do because there are only two trade organizations that monitor credit counselors.


    As consumer debt was heading towards $3 trillion and the average American family shouldered over $10,000 in credit card debt, alone, creditors began to create nonprofit credit counseling agencies to help those families find ways to handle their debts. Those agencies created debt management plans (DMP) for their customers and the creditors paid them about 15 percent of the amount outstanding to fund the agencies' efforts. Unscrupulous entrepreneurs saw the profit in these operations, which gave rise to the questionable operations that exist today.


    If you believe you will benefit from a credit counseling company, you should do due diligence in finding one with a good reputation and whose counselors have received training in this field. Start by contacting the Better Business Bureau in your area to learn about the agencies near you. Also, you should make contact with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) through their websites.


    Most credit counseling agencies are not-for-profit and receive their income from the creditors, themselves. There are others that require that you make a small contribution in addition to what they receive from creditors. And there are those who provide a level of service that warrants significant payment from its clients.


    Credit counseling agencies should be populated with trained professionals who can give advice to those people with credit problems. In deciding on one, you should determine if the same person will always handle your account as opposed to a counselor that is chosen randomly each time you call.


    Because of the lucrative nature of the credit counseling business, more unscrupulous companies will be created to take advantage of consumers who are suffering financially. Not only are they attracted by the favorable way that they can profit from this business, some have even absconded with consumers' funds that they thought were being paid to reduce their debts. More than ever, you should check out available agencies before deciding to do business with them.

Is a Husband Responsible for a Wife's Debt in Texas?

Texas is a community property state and as such, many people believe the husband is responsible for his wife's debt and vice versa. In some cases that is true, but the reality of the law is actually much more complicated, particularly when you are getting divorced. Laws may vary if your spouse passes away instead.. The best course of action is to consult with a divorce or probate attorney to help clarify specific Texas laws and statutes.

Community Debts

    In Texas, it is generally assumed that debts acquired while you're married are community debts unless specific documentation is generated to prove otherwise. Sometimes the simple use of a credit account is enough proof for the law to declare the debt shared by both husband and wife. If a married woman gets a credit card in her own name without her husband as a co-signer or joint account holder, the debt may be determined to belong to her alone. If the husband uses the credit card and signs a sales slip for it as an authorized user however, the law could declare that debt account to be a community debt that he shares with his wife.

Individual Debts

    Individual debts are usually those debts a man and woman had before getting married. As individual debts, Texas law does not normally hold the spouse liable for repayment. Debts can also be incurred as individual debts while a man and woman are married, as long as sufficient documentation is filed to support the claim of individual debt and there is no proof the spouse also used the debt, such as in the example of a husband using his wife's credit card.

Individual Proof

    Due to community property laws, Texas assumes that all assets and all debts that were acquired during the marriage are community assets and debts. This assumption is solidified by evidence of both parties using or accessing a debt account. In order to claim specific debts are individual debts, a husband or wife must provide adequate proof in the form of contracts or notarized statements.

Creditor's View

    Despite how debts are listed in the divorce decree, many creditors will still hold a husband responsible for his wife's debt in Texas because it is a community property state. The divorce settlement may declare specific debts the wife must pay for and specific debts the husband must pay for, but since the creditor was not part of that agreement process they are likely to go after both the husband and wife regardless.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How to Reopen Your Unemployment Case in Delaware

If you find a job while you are receiving unemployment benefits in Delaware, you must stop filing your weekly claim forms. When you do this, the unemployment claim is closed but can be reopened at any time during your benefit year, which is the 12-month period that starts when you file the initial claim. Anytime you stop filing your claim forms, regardless of the reason, your unemployment case is closed. Upon reopening the claim, you will begin to receive weekly claim forms again.



    Use the Delaware Department of Labor website to reopen your claim online (see Resources). You can reopen a claim online only if you have not had any employment since your claim was last open. An instance of when you would be eligible to use the online system is if you forgot to file a weekly claim form, which closed your entire claim. Then you would be eligible for reopening the claim online.


    Write down the dates you worked, the employer name, employer address and reason for separation for each job you held since your claim was last open.


    Take your recent job details with you to your local Delaware Department of Labor office location. As of May 2011, four offices exist in the state. Use the Delaware Department of Labor website to identify the location nearest you (see Resources). Once at your local office, ask to reopen your unemployment claim. You must present photo ID to verify your identity.

What Is Non-Interest-Bearing Debt?

What Is Non-Interest-Bearing Debt?

Non-interest-bearing debt is also referred to as "non-interest-bearing current liability" or NIBCL. It is, simply, debt that does not require any interest payments. Most debt people are familiar with is interest-bearing debt such as mortgages, bank loans and credit card balances. With these debts, the bank or financial institution that issues the credit charges you for providing the service of use of the money. This charge is called "interest."

Typical Interest-Bearing Debt

    Let's take a mortgage as an example of a common interest-bearing debt. You have a $500,000 mortgage to be paid off in 30 years with an interest rate of 4.5 percent. For this example, any extra taxes, fees or extra costs are not taken into account.

Bottom Line

    The bottom line is that after 30 years at 4.5 percent, you would actually pay $912,034.80 to the bank, a difference of $412,034.80 from the same loan with no interest.

Interest vs. Non-Interest

    You would pay $2,533.43 per month. A non-interest-bearing debt of $500,000 to be paid off in 30 years would mean the debtor would be paying a bit under $1,400 per month.

An Interest-Free Mortgage?

    Of course, there is no such thing as a mortgage without interest, except if a person is giving a private no-interest loan to another person.

Examples of NIBCL

    Examples of common NIBCL that people may encounter are current income taxes payable by the end of the year, unpaid taxes that are not increasing due to any type of penalty or interest and accounts payable that have no fees.

Real World Example

    To further clarify, if your company bought $50 of computer paper from a supplier, the supplier would send you a bill for $50. If your company couldn't pay it, it may set the bill aside. The supplier may send the bill again month after month, but the total amount would still remain $50. This $50 would be considered an NIBCL. If the supplier began to charge a fee for each month your bill was unpaid, this $50 would become an interest- or fee-bearing debt.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

5 Unwritten Credit Rules

Using credit can be convenient and even necessary at times. It allows you to make big purchases that you could otherwise not afford if you had to pay for them all at once. Using credit wisely means playing by the unwritten rules that your creditor may not always want you to know or at least freely reveal to you.

Just Ask

    The credit business is highly competitive. Numerous banks and finance companies are bidding to provide you with credit card and other loan services. If you feel the interest rates you are being charged are too much, call your creditors and ask them to lower your rates. If you are charged hidden fees, call them and ask them to drop the charges. If they refuse, threaten to take your business elsewhere. As a consumer, us leverage to get better credit conditions.

Do Not Pay Minimum Amounts

    When you receive your credit statement, usually you will find an item titled "minimum amount due." There are no rules that say you cannot pay more than this amount. Paying only the minimum maximizes the profits of your creditor, while costing you the most money. By paying off your credit early, you reduce the amount of interest you pay on loans or credit cards.

Cut Your Spending

    If you are having trouble even making the minimum payment on your cards and other loans, it is time to stop spending and examine your budget. Using credit to maintain a certain standard of living is robbing your future to pay for your way of life today. At some point you will find you will be unable to meet your debt obligations unless you can find ways to live more cheaply.

Pay Off Your Balance Each Month

    Using a credit card to make small purchases can be convenient. You do not have to write a check or go to the bank and get cash to make everyday transactions. While your creditor would prefer you keep a running balance that you pay interest on, if you pay off your card each month you can avoid paying interest while still enjoying the card's convenience.

Keep Your Balances Low

    Most credit cards come with limits that establish how much money you can borrow from the lending company. Carrying high balances on your cards, however, can damage your credit rating even if you do not fall behind on your payments, according to CNN Money. Bad credit scores can cause your credit companies to charge you higher interest rates, so keeping your balances low can save money.

Is It a Good Idea to Pay Off Your Mortgage?

If you own a home, you may have been bombarded by so-called financial planners who have personal reasons for your paying off or not paying off your mortgage. For example, banks and other lenders want you to keep paying on your mortgage because it's, for the most part, reliable income for them. And real estate agents try to steer you toward an ever larger mortgage because that leads you to buy a more expensive house, which means that they will receive a higher commission. Then, there are the financial planners who want you to pay off your mortgage and put the money where they make a commission or a management fee. So, how do you decide?

With A Home Mortgage, You're Borrowing Cheap Money

    In most cases, the interest you pay on your home mortgage is not taxed by the IRS or the state in which you live. Therefore, if you are in the 30-percent tax bracket and you pay $10,000 in interest on your home mortgage, your taxes will be reduced by approximately 1/3 on both your federal and state tax returns, if you itemize your deductions. So, you are actually paying about $6,600 instead of $10,000 in interest. To express it another way, if your mortgage calls for a 5 percent rate, you are actually paying a rate of about 3.3 percent. So, the case for holding on to your home mortgage is strengthened by this calculation.

Payments Become Easier to Make

    When you first signed the mortgage on your house, like most people, you probably had a difficult time making the monthly mortgage payment. But, as your income rose, those payments became less of a problem. If you have lived in your home for a number of years, it probably has appreciated in value, making the loan payment even less significant. Instead of paying off that mortgage early, some people suggest that you invest your extra money each month.

If You Need Money, Remortgage

    If your home has appreciated significantly in value, you don't have to sell it to take advantage of its increased worth. Simply replace that mortgage with a larger one and take the cash. Remember, even though you will be paying more interest as a result of the increase, you will receive a larger tax break. If your home has decreased in value, of course, it makes little sense for you to pay off your loan on it, since it is ultimately the bank that will take the loss on the declining value if a sale is forced and not you -- unless you have paid your mortgage in full.

Look at Your Other Financial Obligations

    Make sure you are making the maximum contribution to your qualified retirement plan before you entertain thoughts about paying off your mortgage early. Consider other obligations, like paying off a car or your credit cards, before paying down your mortgage because you are paying much higher interest on them than you are paying on your mortgage.

Let Your Heart Guide You

    Regardless of the wisdom of holding onto your mortgage for as long as possible, if you would feel better not having to make you monthly mortgage payments because you own the roof over your head, pay off your home mortgage as quickly as you can.

Debt Settlement Programs in Kentucky

Debt settlements laws vary from state to state. There are a selection of reputable debt settlement programs in Kentucky to chose from for the needs of state residents.


    When selecting a program, it's best to chose a nonprofit and to make sure the program is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. The program should not charge you at all or only charge a nominal fee for its services. In most cases, you will make a lump payment monthly to the agency and the agency will pay your creditors the monthly amount it negotiated.


    Debt settlement is the process where debts such as credit card debt and medical bill payment is negotiated. Typically, the interest rate is lowered or a portion of the debt may be forgiven. Debt settlement should not be taken lightly because it can impact your credit rating.


    Programs that are accredited by the Better Business Bureau for Kentucky residents include Apprisen, In Charge Debt Solutions and Money Management International.

Does Paying off a Charged-off Account Affect Your Credit Score?

Charged-off accounts are harmful to credit scores. A charge off is a negative entry on a credit report because it shows the debtor failed to pay an account they had agreed to pay. After several months of trying to collect the debt, credit card companies and other creditors close delinquent accounts and list them with credit bureaus as charge offs. Paying a charged-off account does not remove the information from your credit reports --- and it may not affect the debtor's credit score.


    Charge-offs are a red flag to creditors who fear the debtor could walk away from other obligations as well. That makes it difficult for some debtors to gain credit at reasonable interest rates when recent charged-off accounts appear on their credit reports. Damage to credit scores from charge offs mostly occurs in the months leading up to the charge off. Creditors report each missed payment to major credit bureaus such as TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. A charge off usually occurs when the account holder falls behind on payments by four to six months. Missing that many payments in a row usually causes credit scores to fall if the debtor had good credit before the problems began.


    The debtor's credit score could take another hit after the charge off. Paying the charge off does not immediately reverse all the damage, however. Bankrate reports that credit scores usually do not change after a debtor pays a charged-off account. That is because charge offs remain on credit reports for seven years. Paying a charge off results in the account being updated to show it as a "paid charge off." Although that may not help credit scores, it does show the debtor eventually made good on the debt and thus helps the debtor's overall credit.

Pay for Deletion

    There is one way to remove charge offs from credit reports. Some creditors will agree to an arrangement called "pay for deletion." Under that scenario, the creditor agrees to delete charge offs from the credit reports if the debtor makes the payment in full. It is a legal process, but many creditors will not offer the arrangement. Removing any negative information from credit reports helps credit scores, but it is impossible for anyone to accurately predict how credit scores might improve when a charge off is removed.


    Debtors with charge offs on their credit reports should first check the report to find the date of the last activity on the account. Charge offs automatically expire from credit reports seven years after the date of last activity, such as a payment. A debtor with a charge off about to expire can choose to wait for it to roll off his credit reports. Paying the charge off is the next option. Allowing the charge off to simply expire and disappear from credit reports is usually the best option when trying to improve credit scores. Removing negative credit information helps credit scores. Paying the charge off could lead to a "paid charge off" remaining on credit reports and causing a further drag on credit scores.

How to Legally Get Out of an Internet Payday Loan

In times of need, an Internet payday loan may seem like an excellent idea. Unfortunately, these types of short term loans carry high finance fees, which can cause many customers to become late on payments, ending up in a vicious cycle of rollovers and more loans. You can legally get out of an Internet payday loan if you understand how the business works and do the proper research on your situation.



    Check the fine print on the Internet company's website to ensure that you were legally permitted to take out a loan with the company. Some states do not allow payday loan companies to operate within them, so the company you used may have violated the law. You can legally get out of a loan if this is the case. You can file a complaint with your state regulator online with Payday Loan Consumer. (See References 2)


    Speak to a lawyer about how to get out of the loan. They can go over your loan documents and find any loopholes that can get you legally out of the agreement. Speak to your local welfare office if you cannot afford a lawyer--they may point you in the direction of free or reduced legal aid.


    Consider debt consolidation. A debt consolidator can work with the payday loan company to help you repay your loan. They may also be able to negotiate a settlement for less money than what you originally owed.


    File for bankruptcy. This is a last resort effort and should only be used if you are so much in debt that you can never pay it back. Speak to a reputable bankruptcy lawyer who can guide you through the process of bankruptcy.


    Contact the Internet company and inform them that you will not be paying on the loan amount. You will receive calls and letters from the company wanting money, and you may be turned into a collections agency. A payday loan company can sue a borrower; however, they cannot collect money from any avenue except through garnishing the person's wages.


    Negotiate with a representative of the Internet payday loan company to see if they will write off the fees charged to your account if you pay off the loan in full. Some companies will be willing to work out an agreement if they can collect on any money owed to them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Get a Home Loan After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

You can be approved for a new home loan after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy -- but not right away. Mortgage companies will want to see that you have been rehabilitated by the bankruptcy experience and that you are again ready to take on significant new debt. Do that by creating small new credit accounts -- such as gas station cards or department store cards. Add other credit cards later and use them all responsibly by making small charges and paying the cards off in full each month.



    Order your credit report and score. Get a free copy of the report from Annual Credit Report, a website created to offer free credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Visit the website to view and print your report. Order your credit score separately, for a fee.


    Compare your credit score to generally accepted standards for being approved for a home loan -- generally 620 at a minimum and preferably 720 or higher. It's possible that mortgage lenders may hold you to an even higher standard because of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy.


    Improve your credit score, possibly, by correcting any errors on the report. Do this by writing a letter of complaint to the credit bureau at its address on the credit report. The MSN Money website reports that people emerging from bankruptcy are often surprised to see that their credit reports are listing accounts as open and past due -- even though the accounts were discharged through the bankruptcy. Write the credit bureau and insist that errors such as these be corrected.


    Meet with a nonprofit credit counselor to create a plan for being approved for a home loan. The plan could include strategies for improving your credit score, if necessary, or eliminating new debt that you have incurred since the Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Get a referral for a reputable nonprofit counselor from a bank or credit union -- or see the same agency that counseled you during your required Chapter 13 pre- and post-filing counseling.


    Show that you have established sound credit habits by paying your rent or mortgage payment on time for at least 12 consecutive months over a two-year period. Pay all credit accounts on time while avoiding more than two past-due payments over the two-year period. Avoid any additional negative information from being added to your credit report, such as a new charge-off, collection account or judgment.


    Apply for a new mortgage after at least a two-year waiting period following the Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, a nonprofit housing counseling agency, reports that mortgages backed by Fannie Mae require the waiting period. Mortgage companies can set their own lending standards, but the Fannie Mae guideline establishes a standard.

Debt Counseling & Bill Consolidation Help

Debt Counseling & Bill Consolidation Help

There are times when personal debt gets out of control. It can be overwhelming and frustrating. There are agencies that can provide some relief, but there are also companies out there looking to take advantage of desperate people. Care should be taken to find a trustworthy, reputable organization when attempting to find help.

Debt Consolidation

    The way that debt consolidation works can be somewhat deceptive. The debt consolidation company tells you it can reduce your debt burden by lowering your payments. This might sound great, at first. But, when you look at the overall picture, you realize there's more here than meets the eye. In many cases, the monthly debt payment amount is lower and the interest rate is lower. So, how could this be a bad thing? The length of time for the debt consolidation loan is longer -- which means that even though you're paying less each month and at a lower rate, by extending the length of time to pay off the debt, you're going to pay more in the long run.

Consolidation Loans

    In some cases, consolidation loans work. To accomplish this, you need to get a loan and pay off all your debts with that loan. In most cases, you can get the loan at a lower interest rate than the loans you are currently paying. This is especially true with credit cards. The interest rate on credit cards is usually several times higher than the interest rate on a loan from a bank.


    It's important to understand that many people get bill consolidation loans and still wind up in debt. Sometimes, they are even deeper in debt. This is because they haven't managed to change their mindset. Spending patterns are a part of the way we think, and if you continue to make the same mistakes, you're only going to find yourself in debt once again.


    In order to make sure that you are not being taken advantage of, it's important to know there are credit counseling organizations that charge little or nothing. They receive their funding from either the credit companies (who are looking to get some of their money back) or from private sources. However, agencies such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling can actually be working against your best interests. This is because these credit counselors, despite being recommended by the government, actually work for the creditors and may not work on behalf of the consumer. Finding the right debt counseling agency can be difficult. Before deciding upon one, make sure you do your research. Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints against the company. Try to find people you know who have had successful dealings with a debt counseling agency and go online to find information out on any company that you are considering.

How to Cancel a Verizon Wireless Bill Payment

Verizon allows customers to pay a wireless bill using a checking or credit account. When you schedule a payment, it can come out of the account on the same day or you can schedule it to come out on a specific day as a one-time payment, or as a monthly automatic withdrawal through Verizon's Auto Bill Pay service. Many different reasons exist for cancelling a payment such as funds availability issues or an incorrect scheduled payment amount. Whatever your reason or the payment method used, you can cancel the payment one of three ways as long as Verizon hasn't already withdrawn the monies.



    Log in to your My Verizon account at least four business days before the scheduled bill payment date. Select "Auto Bill Pay" from the options, click "Suspend" and follow the on-screen instructions to cancel the Verizon wireless bill payment.


    Contact Verizon to cancel the payment through customer service. If you don't know your local Verizon wireless phone number, go to the Verizon Set Your Location Web page, enter your ZIP code or select your state from the drop-down menu, then click the "Set Location" button to get a contact number.


    Call or visit the financial institution that maintains the account Verizon is withdrawing the payment from and request a stop payment before the money is withdrawn.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Effect of Economy on Accounting Information

A national or global economy may be reflected in the development of accounting information systems (AIS), especially their use and impact. AIS were developed to record, validate, and summarize financial processes within an enterprise. The economy -- general trade in goods and services in a market -- has transformed, and continues to transform, the accounting systems of companies.


    The AIS of many companies continue to transfer accounting personnel responsibilities to computers as the shift of the economy pushes further into the global marketplace. It is no longer prudent for a company to place its resources in just managing its own financial transactions; it is now necessary to track and manage the flow of information within the company and without to stay ahead in the market.


    Shared databases connect the various departments of accounting within a company, providing a cohesive perspective from which all finance personnel can operate. Shared databases also pick up any duplicate or inconsistent information and resolve them.


    Accounting is becoming an information service department as the collective data provided by the finance department and AIS help the company predict the future monetary needs of the company and make decisions accordingly. Technology continues to change the fundamental applications of company accounting departments toward informatics.