Income Driven Repayment and Federal Student Loans

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Known as IDR’s, Income Driven Repayment plans are available for federal student loans. Payments on the student loans are based on income and family size, and are not based on the amount of the loan. If you are unemployed or have low wages, your payments could be as low as zero dollars per month. Some borrowers can also get interest subsidies and eventual loan forgiveness.


Reading Your Credit Report

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Your credit report will have your information listed in the following way:

1) Identifying information about you – name, social security number, previous addresses
2) Trade lines – mortgages, credit cards, car payments
3) Credit inquiries
4) Court information (bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgments) and collections accounts
5) Closed accounts, paid accounts and negative accounts


Store Credit Cards

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According to a December 2016 report by creditcards.com, retail credit cards (store credit cards) have higher interest rates and skimpier sign-up offers. The average APR on store credit cards has risen to 23.84 percent. Half of store credit cards have an APR of over 25 percent. But regular credit cards have an average APR of 15.18 percent. Why do store credit cards have such a high interest rate? Two of the reasons are: lower credit limits and high-risk applicants.


Credit Card Debt

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The average credit card debt in the US for 2016 was $5,700. The average credit card debt in Indiana for 2016 was $5,288. 38.1% of all households carry some sort of credit card debt. Households with the lowest net worth (zero or negative) hold an average of $10,308 in credit card debt. Average credit card debt rose in the last decade from $5,048 to $7,697. This means the average American today holds 52% more debt today than they did a decade ago.


Vantage Score®

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VantageScore® has gained popularity as a developer of credit scores. Their model is able to be consistent through all 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). They do not lower their credit standards. More than 8 billion credit scores were used with this company in a one-year period. The 3 credit bureaus are the only licensees of their credit score model. This company can be a useful tool in monitoring your credit score.


Paternity

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Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and child. There are various ways to establish paternity, including a paternity affidavit or court order. Paternity can also be presumed if the child was born during the marriage. See IC 31-14 for laws on establishing paternity in Indiana.


Costly Overdraft Protection

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In January of 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued TCF National Bank for tricking consumers into getting expensive overdraft protection. Banks are not allowed to charge you overdraft fees on ATM transactions and one-time debit card transactions unless they get your consent first. The lawsuit states that TCF was violating the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and the Consumer Protection Act.


Fraudulent Credit Card Charges

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According to TransUnion, there are certain things thieves will do with your stolen credit card information:
1) buy gift cards, 2) pay for online services, and 3) pay for video game credits. They also create counterfeit cards and buy jewelry, electronics and other high-priced items. To relax after their fraudulent activities, they like to charge late-night snacks, energy drinks and luxury hotel suites.


Average Credit Score Increased in 2016

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The average credit score went up by 4 percent in 2016 as compared with 2015. The average credit score is now 673. This is based on Experian’s “State of Credit Report.” The average consumer has $39,216 in debt. Here is the average credit score by generation:
Silent Generation: 730, Baby Boomers: 700, Generation X: 655, Generation Y: 634, Generation Z: 631.


Retail Credit Card Debt to Rise in 2017

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In November of 2016, TransUnion reported that retail credit card debt will increase in 2017. This is partially due to the spike in private label credit cards that get issued during the holiday season (store credit cards). In December, there will be a 2x jump in store credit cards in the following categories: online stores, discount retailers and jewelry stores.


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