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Archive for the ‘Personal Finance’ Category

Beware of Errors in Your Credit Report

Posted on September 29th, 2011 | admin

 

Credit Report

Most people have heard that errors can occur in their credit reports but they may be unaware of how often they actually do happen. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group, released a survey which indicates that eight out of every ten credit reports contained errors. They weren’t minor errors either. One out of every four reports had errors that were serious enough that they would have prevented the borrower from getting a loan or credit.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is currently looking into the problem of errors in individual credit reports. This Bureau which was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act is looking at the possibility of having to oversee the main credit bureaus. If this happens consumers will have stronger weapons to fight back against errors in their credit reports. The U.S. Public Interest Group is in favor of some type of supervision of the credit bureaus, and credit scoring companies. Brian Imus with the Group recently stated that their research has found that almost one fourth of the credit reports surveyed had serious errors. “Despite the fact that errors can harm your credit and lower your credit score, the bureaus have never once been held accountable for their mistakes,” Imus said.

What you can do

“We are recommending that consumers check their credit reports because both the companies and the regulators are falling down on the job,” said Ed Mierzwinksi with the Public Interest Group. Start the process by requesting reports from all three credit bureaus. You are entitled to one free report annually but if you need to check on a more frequent basis  just pay the nominal fee for your report. You need to request reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Checking the report

When you get the report first check the personal information provided in the report including your name, address, birth date, Social Security number for any errors. The next section to check is the credit data which supplies information such as tax liens, court judgments, collection proceedings, and credit inquiries. One of the main things to check in both the personal and credit data sections is for signs of identity theft. Look for credit cards or loans that are fraudulent – that you did not apply for.

If you find errors take action

If you do find an error in your credit report it is up to you to do something about it. Get all the evidence you can including canceled pay checks or bank statements, credit card bills and then submit a dispute to the credit reporting agency. Be sure to include as much detail as you can find. You can either mail the information by certified mail or you can file online at the credit bureau website. Disputes must be investigated within 30 days. Begin here for information about how to repair your credit.

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The Ever-Changing Business of Credit

Posted on August 28th, 2011 | admin

The world constantly shifts between times of economic prosperity and drought, and this has an effect on all aspects of finance, from government, investment banks and lenders, to the individual consumers and their spending habits. While all of these sectors have different scope, they are intrinsically linked, and as a result, the state of a country’s economy, alongside the global economy will ultimately affect you.

This is demonstrated by money and credit, which is as dynamic as the economy that supports the lending policies that many of us rely on.  Over the last few years, the state of the country has changed the way lenders behave, and they are far pickier with offering credit. Lenders have been hit by the financial crisis as much as anyone else, and for their own safety against this, they have been opting to improve their profit margins by restricting who they give credit to.

Lenders, organisations and companies are now desperate to deleverage, to minimise the risk involved with owing debt in such an unstable time. This slows down the economy, and the reduced spending again restricts the availability of credit, in turn causing the consumer to behave in the same way. Consumers who were able to obtain credit easily before, are finding they can no longer do so, and so the importance for them is now with paying outstanding debts, and to increase savings.  Even consumers with good credit and finances are delaying large expenditures in favour of this.

Adapting to New Credit Models

With these significant changes in the market of credit cards, what are the best practises to ensure you can still gain credit, and keep your finances buoyant in the face of economic uncertainty? It all depends where you stand. Lenders are far less likely to give you a loan or credit cards if your score is not sufficient, since they cannot currently deal with the high risks involved. Unfortunately this adds to the cycle of decreased consumer spending, and may in the long term serve to make the problem worse. Because of this, if you stand well with your finances, your are encouraged to keep using your credit cards as much as you ever have.

The Best Places to Look for Credit

There are options available, which have surfaced only recently as a result of economic tension, to help those who want to use credit but are finding it difficult to obtain. Credit cards offered by major lenders such as Orchard Bank, Capital One and HSBC are offering offers for those with limited, fair or bad credit, which help you rebuild your credit report quickly, with similar offers and rewards on purchases and balance transfers.

There are many websites which help compare the best deals, so you can decide which is best for you. It is easier than you might think to improve your credit score, and after a year or so of successful credit building you are able to transfer to better credit cards so you can continue improving your financial stability.

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Top Credit Cards in Tough Times

Posted on August 28th, 2011 | admin

The global economy is such that many people are facing financial difficulties, and over the last 5 years, many people have opted for loans and other credit options which have caused more harm than good. While interest rates have fallen, making repayments easier to handle, the combination of high unemployment, a poor housing market, inflation, the rising costs for commodities like gas, and the weakening dollar have all combined to put many people under financial stress.

Getting a financial foothold means that, you need preferably a good credit history, with credit options giving you far more freedom of purchase and spending power. If you are new to the process of building capital and do not have a credit history, or if you are faced with mounting debts, then building or rebuilding a good credit is crucial for your future prosperity. There are many credit cards currently available which have this in mind.

Important Advice for Credit Builders and Rebuilders

If you are going to apply for a credit card, then there are many credit cards available which are specifically designed for those worst off, in the interests of helping people gain good credit for the future. However, you can only succeed in using these cards if you are careful.

If you are new to credit, then it is important to understand the implications of not paying your balance on time each month, and also the implications of not paying off what you spend each month in full. If you already have bad credit, then you probably already know the implications.

If you want to apply for a credit card simply to build up a good credit history, and if you already have cash flow, then it is beneficial to pay off your balance in full each month. Entry level credit cards are designed for users with no proven capital, and so the risks to the issuer are greater. As a result, APR can be as high as 30%, and so if you are not paying off your balance in full each month, this interest compounded will mean that you end up having to pay off far more than you originally spent.

In general you should approach your card at first as not necessarily a means for boosting your purchasing freedom, but as a device simply to build credit; use the card to make small routine payments like shopping each month, which can be paid off readily. Indeed, you may not be given high spending power initially, since most credit cards for bad or limited credit will only offer very small credit limits, usually $300-$500. Be sensible and timely with your payments, and don’t apply for a credit card because you are looking to make a large purchase.

This advice, along with the many excellent sites available which compare credit cards for a bad credit or no credit history, will ensure that when you apply for a credit card, you will be successful, and begin on the road of future credit prosperity.

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Creating a Budget Plan

Posted on August 9th, 2010 | admin

Tips For Creating a Budget Plan

In an age where consumer spending is high and there’s a constant flux of new products on the market, knowing how to budget properly is the key to financial stability. Set long-term financial goals and implement short-term strategies to put you back in control of your wallet. If you’re budgeting for an event, the basic concepts still apply.

Steps to budgeting properly

Create a personal spending plan

1 Learn how and where you spend your money. Stopping for a beer after work and renting a couple of movies on a Friday night doesn’t seem like much, but every expense adds up. Get a small notebook and write down every penny you spend for a few weeks, to start seeing your spending patterns and what your expenses actually are (rather than what you think they are).

2 Create an ongoing spreadsheet listing what you spend, where and when. This will help you track patterns and inconsistencies.

3 Rank your spending priorities from the essentials (food, utilities, mortgage payments, medical costs) to the nice-to-haves (home improvement, vacations) and the luxuries (new car, high-end gadgets, designer clothes). Use what you learned from tracking your expenses to prioritize your spending.

4 Factor fixed expenses into your budget, such as your mortgage, tuition or car payment, food costs and tuba lessons. Include annual expenses such as insurance payments and taxes.

5 Pay fixed expenses and bills first and live on what’s left. Save up for what you want rather than buying it and then paying it back-with interest.

Budget for an event

1 Get an estimated head count of attendees and determine how much money you have available to spend.

2 Split the event into components (food, alcohol, entertainment, security, decorations) and prioritize them. Call around and get a range of options and prices for each component.

3 Compare those prices with what you have to spend: If there’s a big discrepancy, start slashing low-priority items. Make a cake instead of buying one; hire a DJ rather than a band.

4 Continue paring back until your expenses equal your budget. If you simply can’t reconcile the two, make additional cuts or increase the budget and find ways to bring money in.

5 Add money to your kitty by asking for contributions, splitting costs with other people, having volunteers take on critical tasks, or bringing in revenue from outside sources.

Creating a budget really comes down to doing more with less. It is always the first step in coming up with a debt reduction solution that is realistic and one that you can actually work with. Cutting business expenses has to be a on-going process that requires each employees dedication. Look at it this way if you have 10 emplyees and each one of them can come up with a cost saving idea that equals $100 dollars for that particular event, you just reduced you costs by $1000 dollars. Even if you paid them a bonus of $100 dollars you still saved the company a good chunk of change.
Budgeting Tip

Review your credit card statements for hidden service fees that you didn’t expect. Make a list of all fees you are paying on your credit cards and maybe consider applying for a new credit card. To find a money saving credit card offer, read our credit card reviews to seek a card with lower (or no) annual service fee. Consider factors such as the rewards programs, do you actually benefit from the rewards?
Remember that typically rewards cards have a hefty annual fee attached. If you aren’t using the rewards, you can save some money by looking for a lower interest rate credit card to save even more.

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Low Interest Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Posted on August 4th, 2010 | admin

The best deals on low interest balance transfer credit cards are those that offer an introductory 0% APR which is the first thing you should take into account when you are transferring a balance from another card especially if you are carrying a high balance owing. The second thing you need to consider if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off your entire balance within 0% balance transfer period is the ongoing interest rate which will typically vary depending you your credit score, the better your credit score is the lower the ongoing APR will be.

Another consideration you need to take into account when you are looking for low interest balance transfer credit cards is if the card offers you additional incentives such as cash back rewards for your credit card spending.

Let’s take a look at the best low interest balance transfer cards to apply for

Pick #1 – Low Interest with Cash Back Rewards

Here is the best low interest cash back credit card offer on the market because not only do you get 0% for 12 months you also get:

Discover® More Card

Hurry and take advantage of this offer before it’s gone because it’s rare to find credit card rewards with low interest like this!

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for full 12 months, than the Regular APR
  • 5% Cashback Bonus® in categories that change like travel, gas, groceries, restaurants, home improvement stores and more
  • Up to 1% unlimited Cashback Bonus® on all other purchases
  • Apply Now!

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    Prepaid Credit Cards

    Posted on June 17th, 2010 | admin

    Stay Out of Debt with Prepaid Credit Cards

    Prepaid credit cards are mainly for people with bad credit but because we live in a time where you have to use a credit card at a parking meter, we are moving closer and closer to a truly cashless society and that means you can not live without plastic in your wallet. This means that people that want to avoid getting deep into credit card debt and don’t have a credit card are being forced into a position where it’s no longer possible to get by without one, if you are one of those wise people that wants to stay out of debt but realize you are going to need a card then prepaid credit cards are the perfect option for you.
    Prepaid credit cards are essentially the same thing as a debit card however they are issued by Visa or MasterCard and can be used exactly the same way as a regular unsecured credit card.

    I have talked about the biggest advantage of having a prepaid credit card is the fact you can never get yourself deep into credit card debt because you simply don’t have a line of credit, the only credit card spending you can do is what you have paid in advance.

    The downside of prepaid credit cards is you typically can’t build or establish your credit rating because in order to build your credit rating you actually need a line of credit.

    If you have no credit or bad credit and you want to get a credit card to establish a credit history then you should apply for a secured credit card. The difference between a secured credit card and a prepaid card is a secured credit card issuer will provide you with a line of credit however the issuer will take a security deposit which you don’t have access to and the amount of the deposit will be the same amount your line of credit is for.

    For example let’s say you wanted a credit card with a $1,000 credit limit, when you apply for a secured credit card they will take a $1,000 deposit and that deposit is not used to pay your credit card bills. The deposit is held by the bank in the event you fail to pay your bill.

    If you applied that same $1,000 to a prepaid credit card, you will be able to spend the $1,000 you deposit on the card and you will be able to use your card until your account balance is zero. Once you’ve spent the funding on a prepaid credit card you can’t use it again until you make another deposit.

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    Best Real Estate Agent in Brockville

    Posted on May 25th, 2010 | admin

    Find out who the best real estate agent in Brockville is here (coming soon…)

    The founders of Webmark Strategies are forming a limited partnership with the best real estate agent in Brockville to make sure you get rock bottom pricing as a buyer and a fast deal for sellers.

    Just like every other part of the province of Ontario the Brockville real estate market has been hit hard by tough economic times so we’re partnering with only one real estate agent in Brockville that’s committed to delivering top notch service.

    Brockville Real Estate Buyers

    If you’re in the position to buy a home right now, meaning you’ve got a down-payment and you’re pre-approved with your bank or a mortgage brokerage company then you are lucky because it’s an excellent time to get great deals on real estate here in Brockville.

    Brockville Real Estate Sellers

    If you are trying to sell your home right now, I know you want to get top dollar but you need to realize that you’re going to need to be willing to move on your price if you need to make the sale of your home happen.

    Yes, because of tough economic times you’ll need to be willing to go the extra mile to sell your home.

    Tips for selling your home:

    Remove any clutter in your house
    Get your floors professional cleaned
    Hire a landscaper to give your home curb appeal

    Basically make sure your home stands out in the mind of the buyer

    Want to be Featured as the Best Real Estate Agent in Brockville?

    To generate sales it in today’s cut-throat real estate market you absolutely must get found on the internet, the majority of people today lookup real estate agents in Brockville using search engines if you’re not found on the first page then you’re missing out on tons of prospective clients.

    The good news is Webmark strategies is here to help raise your profile online so when people are searching for homes in Brockville they keep seeing you and when that happens the client will perceive you as the best real estate agent in Brockville.

    Remember we’ll be working together in an exclusive partnership to help only ONE lucky Brockville real estate agent and the other realtors will know within a month which realtor partnered with us because their pages will be vanishing from the top ten search engine results.

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    Best Realtor in Brockville

    Posted on May 25th, 2010 | admin

    Who is the Best Realtor in Brockville?

    Only ONE Realtor Will Be Featured Here – This Could Be You!

    Best Realtor in Brockville

    To make it in today’s real estate market you need to get found online, most people today search for real estate agents in Brockville using search engines and when those prospective clients are searching you’re going to need to be found.

    Colin McDougall and Karen Brown, co-founders of Webmark Strategies are busy dominating the Brockville Real Estate and surrounding areas and you’ve now got the opportunity to be featured as the best realtor in Brockville.

    We’ll be working with ONLY one real estate agent in Brockville to get clients calling you to show properties and get new listings on the market.

    There are thousand of people every month search for a real estate agent in Brockville and as I’ve already mentioned you’ll have the opportunity to form a strategic partnership with Webmark Strategies and you’ll get exclusive service for ranking high in the search engines for real estate related terms for Brockville, Prescott, Gananoque and all other surrounding areas.

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    Brockville Housing

    Posted on May 25th, 2010 | admin

    This is your interactive opportunity to find affordable Brockville housing whether you looking for a community housing registry or a nice downtown King St.W. apartment. If you’re looking for social housing you’ll need to know that you might have to because there is a “position community housing” rule in place so you’ll need to get your name in front of the community housing coordinator as soon as possible to get rent that is geared to income.

    But let’s say you are going to St. Lawerence College and just need a room for rent in the area code K6V or anywhere in the Leeds & Grenville area whether it be for a short term rental while attending St. Lawerence College or a if you are looking to settle in long term Brockville housing unit on a Pearl St. E. you’re going to get the best market rent in all areas of Brockville including midtown Central Avenue West

    But if you are looking to buy or sell Brockville real estate, you’ll be excited to review the realtors featured on our “Brockville Real Estate” page because of the Crediteria housing department commitment to helping people whether buying or selling to get the best deal and make the sale that works for both the buyer and the seller.

    Make sure you bookmark this page right now because it doesn’t matter what size Brockville housing you are looking for you’re going to get the most reputable and honest companies made available to you here for Brockville housing for renters, buyers and sellers.

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