Monday, August 17, 2015

Tips For Protecting And Restoring Your Identity

Modern technology has made our lives easier, but it has also made it easier for thieves to commit what the U.S. Postal Service has called the fastest-growing crime in America-identity theft. 

If you ever become a victim of identity theft, would you know what to do to help restore your name? There are many issues that may need to be addressed, such as:

A: Understanding your rights as a victim.

B: Filling out paperwork, including police reports.

C: Issuing a Fraud Alert to the three major credit bureaus, financial institutions and credit card companies, as well as the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Service.

D: Obtaining copies of your credit bureau reports and working with the three major credit bureaus to restore the accuracy of your credit history.

You can also get help if you become a victim. As this crime grows increasingly common, consumers, who spent up to 300 million hours trying to resolve problems created by identity theft in 2003 (Federal Trade Commission), are looking for options for dealing with the costs and hassles related to this problem. 

Some insurance companies, including Allstate Insurance Company, are offering identity restoration coverage. This type of coverage, often added for an additional fee to homeowners, renters and/or condominium insurance coverage, can provide customers access to identity restoration assistance and reimburse them for covered expenses incurred to help restore their identity.

While this coverage can help victims of identity theft recover their lives, it is still up to individuals to protect themselves. The following six tips can help make you less vulnerable to identity theft:

1. Don't carry unneeded credit cards.

2. Cancel all unused, lost or stolen credit card accounts immediately.

3. Keep Social Security cards, birth certificates and other personal documents in a secure lock box or safety deposit box. Don't carry them, or duplicates, in a wallet.

4. Check credit histories periodically and report any unauthorized activity. 

5. Keep careful track of all receipts. Store them in a safe place or destroy them before putting them in the trash.

6; Do not give out Social Security numbers or other information to any person or company unless you are familiar with them and you have initiated the conversation.

Top 5 ways To Improve Your Credit

Your credit rating is extremely important to your financial future, and those with a low credit rating will often find it difficult to get any sort of finance until their credit improves. This could affect your abilities to get anything from a credit card or loan to a mortgage or car finance, and as a nation that relies heavily on credit this could spell disaster for many. 

Your credit rating can be adversely affected in a number of ways. Most commonly is failure to make bill and finance repayments on time or defaulting on payments altogether. However, other factors such as association with those with bad credit or being the victim of identity theft can also affect your credit rating – as can a simple human or computer error by credit reporting agencies or agencies that register details with these companies. 

There are a number of ways in which you can help to improve your credit or maintain good credit. This includes: 

1. Always maintain timely repayments on bills and financial obligations, as this will help to maintain good credit. If you already have a tarnished credit history or rating make sure that you focus on making all of your repayments on time and for the amount s requested to try and start improving your credit. 

2. Keep a check on your credit report. This can easily be ordered from the credit reporting agencies. Monitoring this will enable you to check that no errors have been made that could be affecting your credit rating, and will enable you to identify any cases of fraudulent activity that could also be affecting your credit. 

3. If you already have poor credit consider taking out a credit card or loan that caters for those with bad credit. By taking out a bad credit loan or credit card, and making sure that you make the repayments on time and for the amounts requested, you can start to slowly bring your credit back up. 

4. Focus on paying off your debts. If you have a high level of debt then you run the risk of falling behind with repayments and adversely affecting your credit. By clearing the debt as quickly as possible you can reduce this risk. If you already have bad credit and are in debt, you could see improvements in your credit rating by clearing the debts as quickly as possible and ensuring that you pay at least the requested amounts on loans and bills each month. 

5. Look out for scams that offer fast solutions to repairing credit. These usually charge a fee and offer only a temporary reprieve by questioning any factors that may be affecting your credit. The best way to repair your credit is to be sensible and responsible about repaying your debts and paying your bills, and although it may take some time this is the most effective long term solution to credit repair.

Top 5 Reasons To Opt For An Internet Bank Account

Over recent years online banking has become increasingly popular, and many consumers have started to enjoy the benefits of banking online. There are many different reasons why people decide to opt for an online bank account, and in the space of around six years the number of consumers using online banking has more than doubled. Here are some of the top reasons for opting for online banking.

1. Convenience and ease. With online banking you do not have to even leave the house or pick up the phone in order to conduct your banking transactions. Thanks to the Internet you can now perform these transactions from the comfort and privacy of your own home, and at any time of the day or night, so there are no time constraints to worry about.

2. No queuing or rushing necessary. Many people with full time jobs have had to rely on their lunch hour to try and get to the bank and conduct a transaction in the past. Often this resulted in lengthy queues and rushing around, with little time to actually enjoy your break and have a bite to eat. With online banking this becomes a thing of the past.

3. Choice of transactions. With online banking you can perform most transaction that you would be able to perform by visiting the branch or calling the bank. This includes setting up or calling standing orders or direct debits, transferring cash, making bill payments, checking your statement, and even ordering a new check book or card. You can also apply for other services such as a credit card via the Internet.

4. Special offers and incentives. Often you will find that online banks offer special incentives and offers to those that open up a bank account or savings account with them, such as a sum of cash credited into the account once you have been a customers and met the necessary requirements for a specified amount of time.

5. Saving valuable time. In this day and age time is of the essence, and people simply don’t have much time to dedicate to their finances. With online banking you can conduct your transactions or check your statement at the touch of a button, saving you time and hassle when it comes to managing your bank account.

Top 10 Ways to Cut Spending

Do you run out of money before you run out of month?  Do you wonder where your money goes each month?  Do you struggle to find money to invest for retirement, emergencies and other financial goals?  Here are 10 tips to cut your spending and stretch your dollar to the max:

1.  Consider dropping your home telephone line.  Your cell phone is probably all you really need, and most likely it has free long distance.  You could save $30 or more per month by dropping your “land line”.
2.  Cut back on trips to Starbucks or other premium coffee shops.  Often called the “latte factor”, spending several dollars per day on luxuries like premium coffee can really add up.  For example, if you spend $4 for a cappuccino five times a week for 50 weeks out of the year (you’re on vacation the other two weeks), you would spend $1,000 in a year.  Try treating your trip to Starbucks as a treat instead of a habit.  You’ll save money and probably lose weight too!

3.  Pay your mortgage payment bi-weekly instead of monthly.  You’ll pay less interest and pay off your mortgage faster.

4.  Carry cash instead of credit cards.  Psychologically it’s harder to spend cash than it is to use the credit card.  You’ll spend less and save on interest charges.

5.  Use the “envelope system” for groceries, dining out, entertainment, and other discretionary spending categories.  This will help you track how much you spend in these categories as well as prioritizing your spending.  

6.  Raise the deductible on your homeowners and auto insurance policies.  It’s not wise to file claims for small losses anyway (insurance companies love to raise rates after you file a claim), so a higher deductible will save you money now and in the future. 

7.  Buy regular gas instead of premium.  Most cars don’t need premium gasoline.  Also, take public transportation if it’s available in your area.  Take advantage of “park and ride” and carpooling options.

8.  Plan your purchases to avoid impulse buying.  Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick with it.  Studies show that impulse buying can add $10-50 to your grocery bill – ouch!

9.  Go to the library instead of the bookstore.  If you’re an avid reader, give yourself a book budget for books that you will want to keep, and go to the library for everything else.

10.  Take a vacation at home.  Check out all the local sites and happenings.  You’ll rediscover your hometown and save on travel and hotel costs.

These are just a handful of ways you can cut spending and stretch your dollars, but if you follow these tips you’ll discover you have more money at the end of each month to apply to other financial goals, such as saving for college, retirement or just for a rainy day.

Ways to Avoid Bankruptcy

There are several options available for you if you are in credit card debt and do not want to declare bankruptcy. One option is obtaining a debt consolidation loan and closing all existing credit lines. Debt consolidation is where you take a new unsecured loan and use the funds to pay off your outstanding debts.  All this does is revolve your debt so its not really a wise choice.

What an unsecured debt consolidation loan will do is consolidate all your unsecured debt and help you  avoid bankruptcy. This new money can save you hundreds of dollars per month if you choose to use your loan to pay off existing debt - especially high rate credit cards. Even if you don’t own a home, you could qualify for their debt consolidation loan.  But dont forget now you will have to pay this loan back.

Debt consolidation loans are repayable over a longer term at a relatively low interest rate. This means that the monthly repayments are lower. If the loan is secured on your property then the interest rate and payments may be even lower.

But you must compare the pros and of debt consolidation loans before taking the plunge. There are two options for consolidating debts – either you borrow money to pay off all your debts or seek assistance from a debt consolidation program. Which option will meet your needs has a lot to do with whether you can qualify for qualify for low mortgage rates on debt consolidation loans , and the total amount of debt you need to consolidate.

Borrowing for debt consolidation immediately eliminates multiple debt payments. All debt collection actions eliminated.  Seeking debt consolidation services immediately decreases your monthly payments. It also brings to a stop, and in some cases, eliminates some interest and fees.  All you do is pay ONE LOW monthly payment when choosing a credit counseling program.

Debt consolidation is an excellent tool that can help you manage and decrease your debt when you just can't seem to do it on your own. There is no way that you can completely fix bad credit without the ability to reduce debt and pay your bills on time. However, once your debt has reached a certain level, this can seem almost impossible to accomplish.

A credit counsellor can provide you with the option of enrolling in a debt management plan, which provides immediate relief and allows repayment of debts without the high fees and negative ramifications of bankruptcy.

However, your choice has to be based upon your financial situation, as well as fit in with your own sitiuation.  A debt consolidation program is the better choice of the ones given above.

What If You Lose Your Job?

Recently I almost lose my job. It is cause by some misunderstanding. Luckily the misunderstanding got resolved and I manage to retain my job now. I am not here to talk about what is causing that misunderstanding. But I wanted to talk about what is my backup plan if I were to really lose my job.

When I got the news that I will lose my job, the first thing that I can think of is, how am I going to pay my bills, daily expenses, house loan, insurans etc. Luckily from time to time, I had save some money for emergency purpose. I calculated that I can live without a job for at least 6 months. That made me feel relief a bit. Other than some money in my saving account, I have some money in the stock market and unit trust.

I also have some money in my house loan account. For you information my house loan account is the kind of flexible loan payment account. Whenever I pay more, the extra money will be used to reduce my loan principal outstanding. This will reduce the loan interest. But I can still withdraw that extra money out anytime if I need it. I thought this is a very good feature. Every months I will pay extra money to the loan account. I aim to settle the house in less than 5 years. So up to now, I have some decent amount of money in the account. It can be used as my backup emergency funds. At the same time it helps to reduce the interest on my housing loan.

Back to the main topic, I seriously think that we should have some backup funds for emergency purpose. Nowadays Most of people’s financial situation doesn’t even allow them to live for 1 single month if they lose their job. You may think this is not necessary, but wait till you get hit. Then you will know how tough it is. I would say we should have some emergency fund that allow us to live for at least 6 months if we lose our main income.

Is there more to life than money?

What is true wealth? What should you expect if you reach the end of the gold paved road  to financial freedom?

If you have a million dollars, will you be satisfied? What about 10 million? Is true wealth a numbers game or do other factors enter into the equation?

Ebenizer Scrooge of Dicken’s <i>The Christmas Carol</i> was very wealthy for his time, but before meeting the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, 
he lived a miserable life, too cheap to even heat his own apartment.

Meanwhile his clerk, with his many children, was portrayed as happy and loving - a great father.

Of course this is fiction, but is there any truth to the story? 

Many people will work incessantly trying to accumulate more and more wealth, but a trite joke is that their last words are never: “I wished I spent more time at 

For some people the only answer to the question; “What is true wealth?", is money pure and simple - the more money the better.

Others would be content to say that true wealth is having the peace of mind of being free of debt.

Another will say he is truly wealthy if he can lead the lifestyle he chooses regardless of cost.

Others might say true wealth is being healthy and surrounded by loving family and caring friends.

There are probably as many answers to this question as they are people to answer it.

You could live in a big house on the hill, have two Mercedes in the garage and a million in the bank and not enjoy life as much as the guy who works in the gas station and lives in a two room furnished apartment.

True wealth is what one perceives it to be. And if it were not so, we wouldn’t have policemen, firemen and soldiers who risk their lives protecting us rather than trying to work on Wall Street, making big bucks.

We wouldn’t have doctors who travel to third world countries, just to try to make some difference, rather than to stay at home with a thriving practice and a comfortable life.

We wouldn’t have all the volunteers this country has, who are ready and willing to help the sick, infirm or destitute – or who suddenly turn up at disaster scenes willing to do anything to help.

This country wouldn’t have the millions of people who  donate billions of dollars annually to the charities of their choice.

So even thought we concentrate on financial matters, it’s good to step back and realize there is more to true wealth than money.

I believe that having enough wealth to live a comfortable life makes lots of other things possible. 

I also believe that being in debt is merely transferring your wealth to your creditors. While it may make them, or their shareholders rich, it really contributes little to your true wealth.

So my answer will be adopted from Mr. Spock’s famous Vulcan greeting: “Live Debt Free and Prosper.”

Why is it so hard to get ahead?

My grandfather bought his house for $6,500. He had no retirement after 20+ years of working for the same employer. They gave him $100 each month in lieu of a retirement check. He saved more than $200,000 over the course of his life. My grandfather clearly had respect for money. Our culture today has lost sight of this respect. 

Today’s generation fears not that they won’t have something, but that they won’t have everything. Twenty-five percent to 50 percent of purchases are unplanned. What’s the big deal? The average American will retire with only $57,000 to live on.

Personal debt has increased by 123 percent. Do you know how long it takes to pay off your credit card if you pay only the minimal amount? 20 to 30 years! 

Most Americans severely overpay their taxes.

Care for a challenge?
Here’s my personal challenge : Track your expenses for one month. Set your expenses up in categories. Write down every penny you spend. If you don’t want to track your business expenses, do at least your personal expenses (date, what you spent, what you spent it on). This will help you get a really good grasp on how much you’re spending. 

I spoke with someone recently who has been selling stock to finance his lifestyle. That’s upside down. If you’re selling stuff to support your lifestyle, you’re upside down financially. Live on less than you make, save and invest with the difference. If you’re doing anything else, you’re upside down financially.

When Debt Mounts, Take Action To Prevent Foreclosure

If your bills are piling up and you're worried about losing your home, you're not alone. As rising foreclosure rates indicate, thousands of Americans are touched by foreclosure every year. But many could be prevented, if homeowners sought help sooner from their mortgage company or through a new toll-free, confidential hotline.

Unfortunately, according to a national poll recently funded by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, 53 percent of American homeowners would not contact their mortgage company for help if faced with delinquent payments.

Fortunately, many foreclosures could be prevented if homeowners called their mortgage company or the Foundation's toll-free hotline-(888) 995-HOPE-as soon as they recognize that they may have a problem paying their mortgage. The longer homeowners wait to call for help, the fewer options they have.

If you're a homeowner whose debt is continuing to grow and you're finding that you're having more and more difficulty paying your bills, consider taking the following action:

1. Take a close look at your bills-unopened envelopes or a steadily growing pile of bills from utility companies, your mortgage company, etc., are the most immediate signs you have a problem.

2. Open letters from your mortgage company and other creditors. Don't ignore these letters. 

3. Admit you have a problem and dedicate yourself to getting help. If you avoid your mortgage company and other creditors, you may lose your home, and you will damage your credit.

4. Don't take it on yourself. Call for help. Call your mortgage company to understand what your options are.

5. If you don't feel comfortable calling your mortgage company, call the Homeownership Preservation Foundation at (888) 995-HOPE to receive free advice from counselors who work for HUD-certified nonprofit agencies. 

6. BEWARE of phony counseling agencies (deal only with HUD-certified agencies), as well as offers in the mail or by phone that seem too good to be true.

7. Develop an action plan that focuses your resources on family essentials (shelter, food, health care, basic utilities, and transportation).

8. DO NOT sign any papers you don't understand. 

9. Determine if you have the cash flow to continue paying a mortgage or to refinance your current mortgage. This will help you determine if you should sell your home and find less expensive housing.

10. Set a long-term goal of getting and staying out of debt and ensuring steady cash flow.

You're Being Forced To Make Higher Payments

Consumers already burdened by higher energy costs are being saddled with another drain on their finances : higher minimum credit card payments. 

The higher minimum credit card payments are the result of January 2003 guidelines issued by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, regulates national banks and is concerned that many cardholders have credit card debts that will take decades to pay back. To prevent this problem, these regulatory agencies proposed that, by the end of 2005, credit card issuers establish reasonable periods for paying back balances, such as a seven- to ten-year payback or amortization period

Card issuers were supposed to adopt the raised minimum payments by the end of 2003. The federal regulatory agencies acted after years of seeing credit card issuers lower minimum payments because of "competitive pressures and a desire to preserve outstanding balances." Credit card lending consistently yields greater profits for large bank issuers than other services, Federal Reserve data show. But these profits could decrease if consumers pay off debt faster or default on payments, leading to debt write-offs.

The agencies expressed alarm that some banks were setting minimum credit card payments at levels that did not even cover interest. These were seen as predatory lending practices targeting low-income and financially naive consumers. The result was predictable: consumer debt load surged. Consumers were being encouraged to accumulate debts they could not service, resulting in high levels of default and bankruptcy. 

Before the new government guidelines were issued, many banks required only 2% of outstanding balance to be paid off each month. For example, take the case of a credit card with $10,000 of debt and an 18% interest rate. Almost 58 years would pass before this debt was completely paid off, assuming the cardholder stuck to the minimum payment each month, according to's credit card calculator. Total interest paid during that time would be almost three times the original debt, or $28,931. Now, the same cardholder paying 4% of outstanding balance each month would pay back the debt in a more reasonable 15 years and would pay only $5,916 in interest.

In recent years, banks have also raised the charges for cash advances, late payments or spending over the credit limit, helping push more consumers further into debt. These latest changes target credit card holders who don't pay their bills in full at the end of each month. A 2005 survey by the American Bankers Association (ABA) showed that 43% of consumers carry a balance on their cards.

Nearly three years after regulators said minimum monthly payments should let cardholders pay off debt in a "reasonable period of time," most banks finally acted. The majority of the top 10 credit card issuers raised their minimum payments in 2005, in most cases, during the last quarter.

Regulators encouraged banks to adjust their minimum payments by the end of 2005. The banks' delayed response to the January 2003 guidelines caused consumers to be hit with higher credit card bills during the 2005 Christmas season. The increase was combined with a new bankruptcy law which has made it more difficult to erase debt with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. More consumers are now allowed to declare only Chapter 13, which forces them to repay their debts on a fixed schedule. 

Banks say the delay was caused by the time it took to update systems in accordance with the regulators' instructions. "These are not simple changes," stated Alan Elias, a spokesman for Washington Mutual. Still, most banks were in compliance at the end of 2005.

Contrary to some rumors, regulators did not require minimum payments to be raised by a fixed amount. However, they said payments should cover fees and finance charges, plus 1% of principal. Some card holders are seeing their minimum payment double, to 4% of the balance from 2%. On a $10,000 balance, payment could rise from $200 to $400.

In the long run, the change is healthy for consumers, since it forces them to pay off credit cards more quickly. Until now, some of the banks charged minimums which did not even cover the interest owed, so debt would just keep growing, resulting in more indebtedness by consumers. But initially, consumers not prepared for the higher payments can experience financial hardship, especially those with lower incomes.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Benefits of Re-Financing

There are a number of benefits which may be associated with re-financing a home. While there are some situations where re-financing is not the right decision, there are a host of benefits which can be gained from re-financing under favorable conditions. Some of these benefits include lower monthly payments, debt consolidation and the ability to utilize the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who are considering re-financing should consider each of these options with their current financial situation to determine whether or not they wish to re-finance their home. 

Lower Monthly Payments

For many homeowners the possibility of lower monthly payments is a very appealing benefit of re-financing. Many homeowners live paycheck to paycheck and for these homeowners finding an opportunity to increase their savings can be a monumental feat. Homeowners who are able to negotiate lower interest rates when they re-finance their home will likely see the benefit of lower monthly mortgage payments resulting from the decision to re-finance.

Each month homeowners submit a mortgage payment. This payment is typically used to repay a portion of the interest as well as a portion of the principle on the loan. Homeowners who are able to refinance their loan at a lower interest rate may see a decrease in the amount they are paying in both interest and principle. This may be due to the lower interest rate as well as the lower remaining balance. When a home is re-financed, a second mortgage is taken out to repay the first mortgage. If the existing mortgage was already a few years old, it is likely the homeowner already had some equity and had paid off some of the previous principle balance. This enables the homeowner to take out a smaller mortgage when they re-finance their home because they are repaying a smaller debt than the original purchase price of the home. 

Debt Consolidation

Some homeowners begin to investigate re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation. This is especially true for homeowners who have high interest debts such as credit card debts. A debt consolidation loan enables the homeowner to use the existing equity in their home as collateral to secure a low interest loan which is large enough to repay the existing balance on the home as well as a number of other debts such as credit card debt, car loans, student loans or any other debts the homeowner may have. 

When re-financing is done of the purpose of debt consolidation there is not always an overall increase in savings. Those who are seeking to consolidate their debts are often struggling with their monthly payments and are seeking an option which makes it easier for the homeowner to manage their monthly bills. 

Additionally, debt consolidation can also simplify the process of paying monthly bills. Homeowners who are apprehensive about participating in monthly bill pay programs may be overwhelmed by the amount of bills they have to pay each month. Even if the value of these bills is not worrisome just the act of writing several checks each month and ensuring they are sent, on time, to the correct location can be overwhelming. For this reason, many homeowners often re-finance their mortgage to minimize the amount of payments they are making each month. 

Using the Existing Equity in the Home

Another popular reason for re-financing is to use the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who have a considerable amount of equity in their home may find they are able to cash out some of this equity for other purposes. This may include making improvements to the home, starting a business, taking a dream vacation or pursuing a higher degree of education. The homeowner is not limited in how they can use the equity in their home and may re-finance a home equity line of credit which can be used for any purpose imaginable. A home equity line of credit is different from a loan because the funds are not disbursed all at once. Rather the funds are made available to the homeowner and the homeowner can withdraw these finds at anytime during the draw period. 

Does It Pay to Re-Finance?

This is a question many homeowners may have when they are considering re-financing their home. Unfortunately the answer to this question is a rather complex one and the answer is not always the same. There are some standard situations where a homeowner might investigate the possibility of re-financing. These situations include when interest rates drop, when the homeowner’s credit score improves and when the homeowner has a significant change in their financial situation. While a re-finance may not necessarily be warranted in all of these situations, it is certainly worth at least investigating. 

Drops in the Interest Rate

Drops in interest rates often send homeowners scrambling to re-finance. However the homeowner should carefully consider the rate drop before making the decision to re-finance. It is important to note that a homeowner pays closing costs each time they re-finance. These closings costs may include application fees, origination fees, appraisal fees and a variety of other costs and may add up quite quickly. Due to this fee, each homeowner should carefully evaluate their financial situation to determine whether or not the re-financing will be worthwhile. In general the closing fees should not exceed the overall savings and the amount of time the homeowner is required to retain the property to recoup these costs should not be longer than the homeowner plans to retain the property. 

Credit Score Improvements

When the homeowner’s credit scores improve, considering re-financing is warranted. Lenders are in the business of making money and are more likely to offer favorable rates to those with good credit than they are to offer these rates to those with poor credit. As a result those with poor credit are likely to be offered terms such as high interest rates or adjustable rate mortgages. Homeowners who are dealing with these circumstances may investigate re-financing as their credit improves. The good thing about credit scores is mistakes and blemishes are eventually erased from the record. As a result, homeowners who make an honest effort to repair their credit by making payments in a timely fashion may find themselves in a position of improved credit in the future.

When credit scores are higher, lenders are willing to offer lower interest rates. For this reason homeowners should consider the option or re-financing when their credit score begins to show marked improvement. During this process the homeowner can determine whether or not re-financing under these conditions is worthwhile. 

Changed Financial Situations

Homeowners should also consider re-financing when there is a considerable change in their financial situation. This may include a large raise as well as the loss of a job or a change in careers resulting in a considerable loss of pay. In either case, re-financing may be a viable solution. Homeowners who are making considerably more money might consider re-financing to pay off their debts earlier. Conversely, those who find themselves unable to fulfill their monthly financial obligations might turn to re-financing as a way of extending the debt which will lower the monthly payments. This may result in the homeowner paying more money in the long run because they are stretching their debt over a longer pay period but it might be necessary in times of need. In these cases a lower monthly payment may be worth paying more in the long run. 

Checking Mortgage Rates Online

Homeowners who are planning to re-finance their home may find the Internet to be a very worthwhile resource. The Internet is useful because it can give the homeowner a wealth of information as well as the ability to compare different rates from different lenders at their convenience. While these options have made re-financing a more convenient process there is more potential for danger. However, homeowners who exercise a small amount of common sense in using the Internet for re-financing often find they are not at any additional risk. 

Comparison Shop at Your Convenience

One of the most popular advantages to researching re-financing online is the ability to comparison shop at the homeowner’s convenience. This is important because many homeowners work long hours and often find they are not able to meet with lenders during regular business hours because of job restraints. The Internet, however, is open 24 hours a day and allows homeowners to research their options, make important calculations or receive online quotes at any time of the day through the use of automated systems. 

Homeowners can also take their time comparing the quotes they receive from these lenders online instead of feeling pressured to provide an immediate response. While homeowners may have some additional time available to them, these same homeowners should realize they do need to act relatively quickly to lock in estimates they receive as interest rates are often time sensitive in nature and cannot be guaranteed for long periods of time. 

Use Only Reliable Resources

Homeowners who are using the Internet to research re-financing options and obtain quotes should carefully consider their sources when making important decisions regarding the subject of re-financing. Homeowners who stick with well known lenders and established websites will not likely encounter problems but those who select a new lender may be surprised by the results of the re-financing attempt.

Homeowners who are unsure about the reliability of a particular resource or lender should do additional research on the company. One of the easiest ways to do this is to consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB may be able to provide the homeowner with valuable information regarding the number of previous complaints against the company. A company who has a large number of unresolved complaints should be considered an unreliable company. However, homeowners should not assume companies without a significant number of complaints are reputable unless the company has been in existence for a number of years and is a member of the BBB. 

Homeowners should also take care not to be fooled by fancy web design. A website which looks very professional is not necessarily a website which is accurate and informative. Many skilled website designers can create websites which are both attractive and professional looking. These website designers can also optimize a website for particular mortgage related keywords so users find the page easily when searching for these terms but this does not necessarily make the website designer knowledgeable about the subject to re-financing.  

Confirm Loan Terms in Person before Committing

While shopping for re-financing options online is certainly easy and convenient, homeowners should consider completing the application process either in person or over the phone instead of relying on an automated system. While the Internet is good for research purposes, homeowners can take advantage of face to face meetings or telephone conferences to ask all of their relevant questions. Asking all of these questions will help the homeowner to ensure he fully understand the loan terms as well as all of his available options.

Completing the re-financing process in person or over the phone can also prevent the homeowner from being surprised by any elements of the mortgage re-finance. This may include additional fees which are tacked on during the processing of the application, rates which are only available in certain situations or other elements of the re-financing agreement which could significantly impact the homeowner’s decision making process. 

Unsecured debt consolidation loans

Bankruptcy is an ugly word, but a very real possibility to many people struggling to pay a laundry list of bills that never seem to end. At times, that pile of bills seems impossible to deal with, a mountain you’ll never get out from under without taking drastic measures. But bankruptcy isn’t the only alternative to a life chained to the never-ending cycle of bills, late fees and more bills.

Think about consolidating your debt in a single loan, a form of refinancing that helps you put your finances back in your control and your life back in order. But refinancing is for people who own a home, right? What if you don’t have a home, or you don’t want to risk losing it by putting it up for collateral? That’s where an unsecured debt consolidation loan comes into play.

Unsecured debt consolidation loans do not require collateral. You can pay off all your other creditors and keep your house – or lack thereof – out of it. Lenders are able to stay in business by covering their risk with higher interest rates than they offer on secured loans.

But this can still translate into lower monthly payments for you, especially if your credit cards carry high interest rates to begin with and you’ve fallen into the trap of paying late and accruing late payment fees. Those disappear when you pay off that debt with the moneys from your are competitive and you may be able to negotiate a better interest rate. It helps to have a good unsecured debt consolidation loan. And don’t forget, shopping around always pays off; lenders credit score since lenders do look at your credit and employment history when they consider you for a loan.

If you shop around, negotiate, and still find that the interest rate is not going to make enough of a difference in your monthly payment to make life comfortable again, consider choosing a long-term loan. While you will generally end up paying out a greater total amount by the end of the loan, lengthening the life of your unsecured debt consolidation loan will lower your average monthly payment. That right there could make all the difference in the world.

Unpaid or slow-paid bills wreaking havoc on your credit score? Some lenders will consider you despite your credit history. A good employment history proves stability, and even if you don’t have the best employment history there are, again, lenders who will offer unsecured debt consolidation loans to almost anyone. While the interest rates are higher and the limits to what they’ll loan are lower, your credit score will improve when you get the loan, and having all those creditors paid off will do nothing but increase your credit score.

If you bills are getting the best of you to the point that you’re actually considering bankruptcy, stop. Gather up those credit card bills, utility bills, department store card bills, medical bills and any other bill that’s costing you sleep at night. Look into an unsecured debt consolidation loan and see how easy it can be to save your credit and peace of mind. 

Second Mortgages

An individual’s home is the biggest asset that one has at his disposal. A home to back you up when you need a loan is one of the greatest advantages of home ownership. In recent years, there has been a major boom in the amount of people looking to use their homes as a way to get access to extra money when they need it most. One of the best ways to do this is through a second mortgage.

Second mortgage loans are loans that are made in addition to the first mortgage, and it is usually based on the amount of equity that the borrower uses to build into his home. Usually it’s required to fund home renovations. Since the borrower has already been through the process once, the underwriting that is required to get a second mortgage is much simpler than it was the first time around when the borrower had taken the first loan. The cost of the transactions involved will be lower when the borrower applies for the loan second time. This usually happens for the fact that interest rates on the second mortgage are a bit higher than they were on the first one. But then, there are some positive points too. For example, the fact that the interest paid on the loan may be tax deductible. In most cases the interest is 100% fully deductible as long as the combined loan to value of the 1st and 2nd mortgage does not exceed the value of the home.
On a second mortgage, one borrows a fixed sum of money against the home equity, and pays it back after a specific time. The amount borrowed will be combined with the amount the borrower still owes on his first mortgage. But there are a few things that one should keep in mind. First of all, one should not take a second mortgage on his home unless one has made payments on the original mortgage balance for a good amount of time. One may be able to get a second mortgage if one does not have much equity, but then the loan rates will be much higher, and the amount that one can borrow much lower. It will essentially be a waste of time and money.

A second mortgage is a loan that is secured by the equity in ones home. While obtaining a second mortgage loan the lender places a lien on the borrowers’ house. This lien will be recorded in 2nd position after the primary or 1st mortgage lender's lien, hence the term second mortgage. Second mortgages aren't for everyone. Borrowing more than 80% of the home's value will subject the borrower to private mortgage insurance. The monthly payments should also be a factor. If one refinances in the future, he will have to pay off the 2nd mortgage.

Loan proceeds from a second mortgage loan can be used for just about anything. Many consumers take out 2nd mortgage loans to consolidate debt, do home improvements or pay for their children’s college education. Whatever one decides to do with the loan proceeds it is important to remember that if one defaults on then payment then he can lose his home. So one would want to make sure that he is taking the loan out for a worthwhile purpose

Thus we see that a second home loan can be of great help to the borrowers, although the borrower must take steps to ensure that he does not squander away the advantages of second mortgage.

Refinance Home Loans

There are several reasons that people may look to refinance home loans.  Probably the most common is to take advantage of lowered interest rates.  Some of the other reasons people refinance home loans is to pay off high priced credit cards, make home improvements, and rebuild credit rating that has taken a turn for the worse. 

What is involved when borrowers look to refinance home loans?  When you refinance you normally just pay off the old mortgage and sign a new mortgage.  Now this will also mean most of the same costs you had when you signed the original mortgage.  Depending upon your State or the terms of your mortgage you may pay a penalty for paying the note off early.

Individuals who refinance home loans look at several things before doing so.  Look for a company that may be willing to waive the normal fees.  These include such things as an application fee, legal fees and appraisal fees.  This are all normally associated with closing fees on a new mortgage.  This could save thousands of dollars.  It would give you a higher monthly payment but this could be still acceptable with a small rate decrease.
How long do you plan on staying in your home?   If the answer is just a few months the monthly savings may not have time to catch up to the costs involved if you were not able to secure a loan from a company who will refinance home loans but will not waive fees involved.  What are the new rates?  As a rule try and find a rate that is minimum 2 points below your current mortgage rate.

Some who refinance home loans do so with the intention of building equity in their home faster.  Now with this type of loan your month cost will be higher even with a lower rate.  The benefit is you build equity faster and pay less interest over the length of the mortgage.  If you wanted to refinance a 30 year mortgage to a 15 but the cost was to high you may want to check about a 20 year mortgage to still be able to take advantage of the lower rates.

The last important point to remember with companies who refinance home loans.  Try and get a guarantee on the rate so that it is locked in during closing.  This will keep the rate the same even if it should go up prior to your closing.  You could even try and see if they will agree to a rate decrease if that should occur before closing.  The refinance of home loans is competitive enough that if a company will not do either of those option.  You may want to check with another company.  The ultimate goal is to reduce your payments or to increase the equity of your home in a shorter time.

Home Equity Line of Credit

Owning a house is the Greatest American Dream. Additionally, having a house to save you from monetary needs adds up to the benefits of owning the greatest American dream.

You have tightened your belt during the time you are saving for your house. Now, that you have enough equity in that property, you may loosen up a bit by making use of your equity through Home Equity Line of Credit. 

Home Equity Line of Credit or HELOC, can help you in myriad of financial necessities. It can help you have a fund when you need it and for whatever purpose you may need it.

Although, you should be careful because putting your house as collateral may cause you to loose your house if you fail to pay your debt. This should make you think many times before you embark on taking money through home equity line of credit.

However, if your purpose of taking out money by means of home equity line of credit is to pay for medical bills or children’s college education, these expenses are inevitable.  Thus, taking out money by means of home equity line of credit can be your best bet.

Additionally, if you want to consolidate your debt, HELOC or home equity line of credit may also be beneficial. This is because compared to credit cards and other unsecured credit facilities, the interest rate in a home equity line of credit is somewhat smaller. Another benefit of this means of taking out money is that consumer credits interests are tax deductible.

However, having said the benefits you may have from acquiring a credit through home equity line of credit, you may also need to look at the possible consequences if you fail to pay your debt.

The most important consideration is the possibility of loosing your house to pay off the debt. 

It is thus recommendable that while you are considering the flexibility of a credit line, if you need a lump sum fund, you may consider taking out a Home Equity Loan instead. This is because in a home equity loan, you pay the interest and part of the principal debt regularly. 

This is in contrast to the variable interest rate that applies in a home equity line of credit. Additionally, in a home equity credit line, your payments balloons at the end when you need to pay the principal amount of debt. 

The flexibility of the home equity line of credit extends up to paying only the interests and paying the entire principal loan at the end of the term.

This makes it quite hard, and if you are not ready for such balloon payment, the risk of loosing your house is intrinsic in this case.

This is the reason why financial experts recommend that before you sign any contract that puts your house as collateral, you may need to scrutinize yourself a bit. 

  • Will you need the money lump sum? Ask about Home Equity Loan.
  • Do you need fund periodically? Ask about Home Equity Line of Credit.

Consider also asking for payments terms, interest rates and what conditions will make the lender consider you in default. These questions once answered may help you realize if putting your house as collateral is the best solution to your monetary needs. 

There are other credit facilities, for this reason, you may need to do your research first before deciding.

Various debt management websites can help you understand the eccentricities of financial management that will help you avoid loosing your most precious asset.

Car loan with no credit

The present market activity has brought to you an opportunity to apply for a car loan also having no credit history. It is no more difficult to face the deal for you. You can have your dream car so easily and you don’t need to worry for not having any credit report as a proof of your good or in case any bad score. The most important step in this case is to open a checking account. Your regular bill payments can be counted as your credit score with respective checking account. That will work for representing your minimum credit history. If possible before making any deal you can open a credit card account but that is not very necessary.

As you have no credit history as such it is very important to settle your payment procedure with little higher amount of down payment. That will decrease the risk of loan and moreover you will be getting comparatively lower rates. Remember that for the reason of not having any credit history you will not get treated with good credit history rather to some extent it will seem that you have bad credit history. But don’t get confused about that; it will not hamper your purchase procedure rather if you desperately make high down payment you will definitely gain lower rate of interest to be paid for your obtained loan.

There are various lenders in the market. You try to make a shop around through the market and in this way you can have an idea how to deal with and how to meet low cost to buy your car. The lenders offer various types of finance packages and a have close look into that and ask for quote from all the lenders as much as possible. That will make your dealing easier. Your no credit history will affect any more if you are able to meet the best car finance. Fix your goal with no quick approach rather try to make an evaluation of all terms and conditions you are being offered and also the charges and interest rates you have to pay. You should also have a clear idea of your monthly payment. Make a suitable judgment over that and decide whether it is affordable for you or not. Don’t forget that it a golden chance for you to prepare a good credit scores which will help you in any future dealing very actively.

After selecting the suitable and affordable deal you have to perform some paper works. Fill them accordingly and get approved for getting the loan for buying the car. In this way you can find it no more big deal to have car finance even with no credit history. Again if you find it not suitable for your financial capacity go for refinancing which will take few years and use the rest of the period in making regular payments for your purchased car. So don’t get late and be forward; may be you can have your dream car within next few days and this time it will definitely make you to have a positive approach although having no credit history. Be active and don’t miss the chance to build your good credit history with this car loan.

Bad Credit Home Equity Line of Credit

Bad credit can increase the difficulty that a homeowner encounters when seeking a home equity line of credit. Bad credit can be the reason for a poor credit score.

What is a credit score? The credit score varies between the values of 300 and 850. The credit score is the creation of the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders who arrange for a home equity line of credit use the credit score in order to set the interest rate that will be charged the homeowner.

Homeowners with a low credit score will need to pay higher interest payments. A score above 700 is assurance of good interest rates. The credit score also serves as an indicator of whether or not a lender should accept a homeowner’s application for credit. Decisions on credit limits for the homeowner are likewise based on the homeowner’s credit score.

The credit score is a function of the homeowner’s past line of credit. In the U.S., three different agencies keep a record of each consumer’s line of credit. Those agencies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. If a homeowner with a low credit score wants to raise that score, then the homeowner must contact each of those three agencies.

The effort to overcome a record of bad credit and to raise a credit score requires the contesting of false claims that money is owed. If the homeowner can prove that the claim for money is spurious then the homeowner has an opportunity to raise his credit score. This action should be taken if the homeowner who plans to seek a home equity line of credit has a score less than 640. Such a score would be a sign of bad credit.

The contesting of a credit score is not like a shot in the dark. A survey of credit reports in the U.S. showed that 80% of such reports contained mistakes. Thus, a homeowner could have good reason to question the credit score that is being used to determine the interest rate on a home equity line of credit.

The credit score for a couple, a pair that are joint homeowners, is based on three credit scores from the person with the most sizable income. This is the score that the homeowner needs to make correct. Such correction may require a written statement to each of the above-mentioned agencies. Those agencies will then contact the homeowner and indicate if more information is necessary. If the homeowner is lucky, then the credit score will be increased and the interest rate for the desired home equity line of credit will be lowered.

Once the homeowner has a good credit score then he will want to avoid slipping back into that region of bad credit. This means that the homeowners must avoid the sort of spending that carries them to the borders of their credit limits.   

Bad Credit Home Loans

A "bad credit home loan" is a loan that one can get despite having a bad credit rating. Many lenders offer a bad credit home loan knowing fully that their loan is secure, since it is taken on mortgage of your home.

A bad credit home loan is an instrument of opportunity for those who have bad credit rating and would like drop out of their debt and start on the road to good credit building. By availing of a bad credit home loan you can lower your monthly payments by consolidating all your debts and also enjoy a lower interest rate on the current debt. The consolidation and paying off your current debts by availing of a bad credit home loan is a major step towards credit repair. Moreover, if you can keep up the payments on your second home loan for about six months to a year, you will see a remarkable change in your credit score.

Most popular options available on bad credit home loans are cash out mortgage refinance and home equity loans. Both options allow you to cash in on the equity already paid into your home mortgage and use it to get yourself out of debt. It’s best to deal with a mortgage company online to avoid bank associate’s talk around and skepticism. Its also easier to compare various offers form different lenders to make sure you are not being cheated. Please keep in mind the following while filling up forms for online mortgage:

a.        Make sure you read the articles on online mortgage at the bad credit home loan lender’s websites. By this you can educate yourself on various types of financing and be informed and up to date on fees and current lending rates
b.        While applying for online quotes, do not opt for a generic estimate which is based on you monthly income and bills, fill out detailed information whereupon you can get a real accurate quote.
c.        Try and get to the total bad credit home loan cost i.e. including the closing fees, application fees, any other charges, interest charged, amortization and loan fees etc.
d.        After applying, do not forget to keep all records received from the lender and follow up with weekly phone calls to make sure things are moving on time.
e.        After completion of bad credit home loan, plan to refinance in about three years, by which you should be back in good credit, if you have kept up regular repayments. This will help in reducing your short time debt and maximize your future credit rating.

Use your bad credit home loan to the maximum advantage to get your credit rating back in line. This will help you plan a secure future for you and your family.

Building New Credit Habits

Repairing your credit entails getting rid of the
negative credit report information and catching up on
your overdue bills. This could raise your credit score
but might not be enough to make you credit worthy
again. However, to raise your credit score high enough
to entitle you to a loan, you have to rebuild your
credits. Doing so would only prove that you have the
capability to handle credit responsibility.

Although it might be difficult to start, but once you
achieve that momentum you need, you will be sashaying
to a good credit score. You can always begin by
developing the required credit habits.

The Do’s of Using Your Credit Card Wisely

Although many people are born without the skill it
requires to use credit cards, it is important to learn
the rules of the game. All you need to do is to
remember simple do’s and don’ts of credit card usage
and in time, you would welcome healthy spending habits
in your financial life.

The first thing you do want to ever do is to use your
credit card to make your everyday purchases,
especially food, gas and clothing. It is bad enough
not to have cash-on-hand but buying simple everyday
items can develop into a habit wherein you may tend to
substitute a credit card with cash. It is always
advisable not to take your credit card out of your
wallet for everyday purchases but instead use your
cash or a debit card.

The next thing you do not want to do is develop a
habit of making minimum-only payments. If you make
minimum payments each month, you are only increasing
the length of time it will take for you to pay off
your debt. Additionally, it will also increase the
amount of interest you could end up paying.

If you are one of those people who usually buy things
that are way off budget, remember not to use your
credit card to buy things you cannot afford. One way
to get into debt is living off borrowed money. You
might end up waking one day realizing you are so much
indebt that you wish to return your expensive
purchases back to wherever you bought them from.

The Do’s of Using Your Credit Card Wisely

Learn how to make correct decisions when it comes to
buying items you need against those you simply want.
Everybody knows what a "need" is and what a "want" is.
Remember not to substitute need from the want and vice
versa. If you are using your credit card wisely, it
only means that you are being responsible in
recognizing what things you need and which you only

Next, always let your creditor know in advance if you
would not be able to pay your monthly payment on time.
Since most creditors offer assistance with your
payment if you give them a heads up, it is important
not to simply forget about the payment for no reason
at all. You can do this by simply calling your
creditor, explain the situation and ask if they allow
late fees to be waived.

Lastly, do not exceed with your credit limit. The
safest is to stay within at most 30% of your credit
limit. Because the major part of your credit score
reflects on the quantity of debt you actually have, it
is important to keep your balance low in order to
preserve a good credit standing.

Credit Repair the Do-It-Yourself Way

Negative remarks on your credit report can cost
serious money. You do not have to despair though,
since it is never too late to become credit worthy
again. However, always remember that credit repair do
not happen overnight. It requires serious dedication
and perseverance to start in a clean slate once more.

How to Get Started

You should know what the three credit bureaus are and
what they are saying about you. Since creditors do not
have to report to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all
together, they generally only report to one or some to
which they are subscribed to. This only means that
each report from each bureau is slightly different
from one another.

The first thing you need to do is to order your credit
report. Remember to order it from each bureau because
you would only waste time and money if you only order
a credit report from one bureau. The cost of the
credit report might vary from state to state though it
is estimated that the cost of your credit report is
around $9.

However, you are entitled to a free copy of your
credit report from the agency if you have been denied
of employment or credit due to your credit report. You
can ask the company to provide you with the name of
the credit bureau, telephone number and address.

Once you get a hold of your credit report, examine it
carefully. Since the credit bureaus create your credit
report basing on the information they receive on your
creditors, they are never verified. It is your job to
maintain your credit report a good reflection of you.
Be on the lookout for errors on typing, incomplete
information, and outdated and inaccurate histories of
your account. After examining the report correctly,
list all the errors you want to dispute and the
reasons why.

Since bad reports cost money, remember to be thorough.
You have two choices, which is to either complete the
argument form supplied with your credit report or
write a letter. It is also recommended to send a
photocopy of your report with the errors circled to
the credit bureau who supplied the report.
Additionally, do not forget to include supporting
documents with your report.

After sending the documents and report, do not forget
to keep copies of all the forms and the date you sent
it. Normally, the bureau will investigate the dispute
in the span of thirty days prior to receiving your
letter. More so, any item that is proved to be
inaccurate is removed.

Stability in Your Credit Life

Another way to repair your credit is to show that you
can still work on adding positive information and
stability in your credit life. Even if you have the
credit, there can be a time when you get denied of
credit due to insufficient credit file. There are
several creditors that do not report your credit
history to the credit bureaus. What you can do is to
try asking the grantors to report the information of
your account and the history of your monthly payment
to the credit-reporting agency.

You can also try building a solid credit history
through the use of secured credit cards. These kinds
of credit cards are offered to those with no credit or
in the process of repairing their credit.
Additionally, it is advised to open a savings account
in your bank. Doing so, would show your creditors that
you are trying to save and that you are reserving
money to pay off your debts.