General articles discussing everything one needs to know about debt relief and how it ties into your personal finance situation.
Debt settlement is usually only half the process when it comes to rebuilding your life after you’ve accumulated many debts. After you’ve been helped in settling with your creditor it should leave you with the task of planning out a way to avoid accumulating an excessive amount of debt again. There are many resources available online that could help you manage and save, instead of spend, your hard-earned dollars, which could leave you a much more financially healthy and happy person.
Even choosing a savings account could be an important step since it could mean a difference of thousands of dollars in interest over time. One of the most popular banks, Bank of America, typically offers a 0.05% interest rate on their regular savings account. For every $100 dollars you put in this type of account you will make a measly $0.05 each year. Alternatively, there are many accounts that offer 2% returns, which is $2.00 for every $100 you put in their savings accounts – 40 times the amount that’s typically offered at Bank of America.
Here is a list of 11 sites available to possibly help you (more…)
One concern you may have after debt settlement is how your credit was affected. You should expect to have some type of negative impact to your credit, even if it’s just a recording of the settlement process on your credit report. There are a few ways to check your credit report and credit score for free. Use these methods after debt settlement if you want to see where you stand.
Free Annual Credit Report
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act was passed in 2003 and gives you the right to view your credit report for free once every twelve months – one from each major credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Get this free credit report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. The website also contains instructions on how to order your annual credit report by mail and by phone.
Free Report and Score When You’re Denied
For years, it’s been the law that you can get a free credit report within 60 days after you’re turned down for a credit card or loan because of (more…)
Often we are our own worst enemy, even with debt settlement negotiations. What you do inside and outside of the negotiations could hurt your ability to get an acceptable settlement amount. Make sure you don’t do any of these things to sabotage your debt settlement negotiations.
Don’t tell your creditors how much money you have in your settlement account. Your creditors most likely won’t care that you’re trying to settle debts with other customers. They usually only care about the balance you owe them. If you reveal that you have access to more money than what you’re offering in a settlement, they’ll expect you to use that money for their debt. When you’re negotiating, you should make sure not to talk about how much money you have available.
Don’t put financial details on the internet. More debt collectors are using social networking sites to investigate people who owe them money. They can even pose as people you know and add you to their friends list to view your tweets and status updates. So, make sure you keep financial details, especially about purchases or income, off the internet. If you reveal that you’ve made a big purchase or received your tax refund, the collector may (more…)
When you’re trying to decide whether you should go through with debt settlement or file bankruptcy, one big factor should play into your decision. That is the number of debts you have.
People have different debt situations and different tolerance for side-effects in dealing with debt. People considering debt settlement often also consider bankruptcy and vise versa and often choose one over the other because of the result they’re seeking.
Debt Settlement for Fewer Accounts
If you only have just one or two bad debts you need help with, debt settlement might be a better solution and here’s why. Bankruptcy has long-lasting consequences. It stays on your credit report up to ten years. It’s on public record forever. Creditors, lenders, and employers may ask if you’ve ever filed bankruptcy and you could be guilty of fraud if you say you haven’t filed bankruptcy when you actually have. You don’t face the (more…)
Anything that seems too good to be true probably comes with some type of catch. That’s exactly how things work with an advance fee loan. If you’re looking for money to pay a debt settlement offer or a loan to consolidate your debt, an advance fee loan will seem like a godsend. But, pay attention because these scams don’t always call themselves “advance fee loan.” You’ll have to learn the signs to avoid the trouble.
What is an Advance Fee Loan?
An advance fee loan is a type of loan that requires you to pay an advance fee or down payment on the loan before you actually receive the proceeds from the loan. They often guarantee approval regardless of credit history and sometimes even before you’ve made an application. What makes these loans a scam is that you typically never actually receive a loan. You pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars upfront and the loan never happens. The company disappears and you’re out of your hard-earned money.
How to Recognize a Scam
The companies offering these advance fee “loans” don’t call them advance fee loans; that would be much too obvious. Instead, you’ll have to look for other clues that the loan isn’t legitimate.
One of the first clues is that you’re guaranteed approval without ever making an application, having your credit checked, or (more…)
If you have debt, chances are you’ll have to deal with a debt collector at some point, at least until you pay off the debt. Even if you’ve hired a debt settlement company to help you negotiate down your debt, debt collectors may still contact you for payment. Here are some tips for dealing with debt collectors, even when they get rude.
Keep a record of your conversations with debt collectors. You should avoid talking to debt collectors unless you’re at a place that you can take notes on the conversation. The collection agency will enter notes in their computer system, so you should have details about the call, too. At a minimum, you should note who called you, the date and time of the call, the debt they called about, what you said in the conversation and what the collector said. If the debt collector threatens or harasses you, make a note of it.
Write to collectors asking them not to call you if you don’t want these phone calls. If you prefer not to talk to the collector about that debt, especially if a settlement company is handling the account, you can send a written request that you not be contacted about the debt. Send the letter via (more…)
When you’re dealing with creditors and debt collectors, it’s often better to make your requests and statements in writing. Many laws that protect consumer rights require you to send written communication. Sending letters, especially via certified mail with return receipt requested, gives you a paper trail that may be beneficial when businesses don’t comply with the law.
Debt Validation Letter
When debt collectors contact you about a debt and you’re not sure the debt is legitimate, you can request validation. The collector has to investigate your request and send you “competent proof” that the debt is yours and that they’re allowed to collect that debt. This means they need to send something from the original creditor that proves you actually owe that debt. While the collector is obtaining the requested proof, they can’t contact you about that debt.
Cease and Desist Letter
If you want debt collectors to stop contacting you about a debt, you can send a written request not be contacted. A cease and desist letter doesn’t have to be fancy, just request that you not be contacted again. The cease and desist letter only works for that particular debt collector. If a new collector starts collecting on that debt, you’ll have to (more…)
While there are many different kinds of debt, all debts can generally be put in two categories – secured and unsecured. Knowing the difference between these two types of debt is crucial in debt settlement.
Most credit card debt is unsecured debt. These are debts that are not secured with a piece of collateral. If you default on an unsecured debt, the creditor can’t take anything you own without first going to court, winning a lawsuit, and then getting the judge to allow them to take an asset. Until then, the creditor’s collection tactics are limited to typically phone calls, letters, updates to your credit report, and possibly a lawsuit. Signature loans and medical bills are other types of unsecured debts.
Unsecured debts are typically easier to settle than secured debts because creditors have limited options in getting money from you. If you file bankruptcy, the creditor would likely get nothing, so faced with that alternative, many creditors would (more…)
As you come up with a plan for settling your debts, you should consider whether debts are passed the statute of limitations. Debts that haven’t been touched for several years may be too old for collectors to force you to pay. If you can manage to ignore these debts, you may choose to leave them out of your debt settlement plan.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Basically, the statute of limitations on debt is the amount of time anyone can ask the court to force you to pay a debt. The clock starts ticking on the last date you made some type of activity on the account. Activity could mean a payment, a charge, or sometimes even acknowledging that you owe the debt. The last date of activity on an account isn’t always the same as the date of activity that appears on your credit report. For example, a payment agreement on an account wouldn’t appear on your credit report, but would affect the statute of limitations.
It’s up to you to keep accurate records and to prove the statute of limitations has run out if a creditor or collector does take you to court over a debt. If you’re sued and you believe the statute of limitations has expired, make sure you show up at your court hearing and show the judge the proof (more…)
Debt can affect many aspects of your life, but the last place you want to feel those effects are with the job. After all, if you lose your job, you won’t have any money to pay your debt. And if you lack money to pay your debt, options like credit counseling and debt settlement are out of the question. You may have to file bankruptcy then.
You Won’t Be Fired Just For Having Debt
In general, you can’t be fired for having too much debt, but it could affect your ability to get certain positions within the company. Some employers check your credit history before giving you a job or promotion to top-level management. Having too much debt could be viewed as an inability to manage and could cost you a promotion. If you’re applying for a job that deals with large amounts of money, your debt loan could cost you the job. Employers may think that if you can’t manage your own money well, you can’t manage the company’s money either.
Is Debt Affecting Your Job Performance?
If your debt begins to affect the way you do your job, your employer may have to let you go. For example, if you’re stressed about your debt and can’t handle the pressure of your job, you may miss important deadlines, be rude to customers (more…)