Home Equity

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The equity in your house is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you still owe on the home. As you keep paying on your mortgage, your equity increases. If you sell your house in the first few years after you buy it, you may not have any equity in your house. Also, if the value of your house goes down, you will have less equity in your house.


Credit Repair Companies

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You can benefit from hiring a credit repair company to fix your credit score. Having a higher credit score can help you get a lower interest rate on mortgages and loans. This can make the cost of credit repair worth it. The credit repair company should gather your information, send out letters and do follow-up. They should also be familiar with federal laws, including:

• Fair Credit Reporting Act
• Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
• Fair Credit Billing Act


Credit Freeze

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If you have had identity theft, you may want to do a credit freeze. But be careful because if you will be applying for a loan soon, the credit freeze will create obstacles. To do a credit freeze:

1. Contact each credit bureau separately and request a credit freeze.
2. You must contact each credit bureau – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

The freeze will remain in place until you contact each credit bureau and ask for the freeze to be removed.


Student Loan Complaints

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In its 2016 report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau listed complaints it received from consumers about student loans. About 2/3 of the complaints were related to the lender or servicer: making payments, getting information about the loan, managing the account. Borrowers complained that their payments were misapplied and that there was inaccurate accounting of their payments.


FICO® Score

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A FICO ® Score is a credit score that is created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. The credit score is based only on items in your credit report. The FICO ® score does not consider: your race, marital status, age, your salary, occupation, where you live. Most lenders will use your FICO ® Score when they decide if they will give you a loan. If you want good credit, try to have your FICO ® score be above 650.


Co-Signers

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If you have been asked to co-sign on a loan, there are things to think about. How well do you know this person and why are you co-signing? If you are a parent co-signing for your child’s car or student loan, you may feel like it is for the right reasons. You are trying to make sure your child has a car to get to work or school, or to make sure they can get a college degree. But, if you are co-signing for a friend’s car loan because they have bad credit, this may not be a good reason. Do you understand that you are responsible for the full amount of the loan? This is the legal principle of joint and several liability.


Truth in Lending Act

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The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) protects you from inaccurate and unfair credit card and other lending practices. Under TILA, you have a 3 day right of rescission, so you can back out of your agreement within 3 days. The TILA also has rules related to mortgages and student loans.


Credit Score

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What is a credit score? A credit score is a number that will predict your payment behavior when you use credit. Banks, car loan companies, mortgage companies and other lenders use this number when they decide if they will give you a loan. There is no one method of coming up with your credit score. Different companies use different methods.


Debts Being Sold Online

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Debts are being sold online through small internet marketplaces, sometimes through social media. These debt portfolios are selling debts for pennies on the dollar, and some for even one-tenth of a penny per dollar. Sometimes they have unencrypted personal information, including names, social security numbers, account numbers and dates of birth. Some of these debts are being sold for as little as $1 to $2. Most of this debt is at least 5 years old. The majority of the debts being sold online are payday loans and credit card debts.


Paying Down Your Debts – Two Methods

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There are two methods of paying down your debt – debt avalanche and debt snowball. With debt avalanche, you pay off the debts with the higher interest rates. You pay off your debt faster and pay less interest to banks and lenders. With the debt snowball method, you don’t look at the interest rates. You pay the smaller debts first and then move on to the bigger debts. The debt snowball method uses behavior modification so that you get used to paying down your debts and can eventually pay down all of your debts.


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