Monday, June 27, 2005


Credit Report – Check Yours Regularly…and for Free

Title: Credit Report – Check Yours Regularly…and for Free

Author: Charles Essmeier

In the twenty-first century, there are few documents that have a
greater impact on the lives of Americans then their credit
report. Credit rating determines one’s ability to buy a home, a
car, or to obtain a credit card or a job. Since these things are
important, it is equally important that the information be
accurate. The only way to be sure of that is to check the report
regularly. Prior to last fall, there were two ways to obtain a
copy of your credit report: to pay for one, or to obtain one for
free after being denied credit. Thanks to the Fair Credit
Reporting Act passed last year, Americans can now obtain a free
copy of their credit report from each of the three credit
reporting agencies once a year.

Due to anticipated heavy
response to the offer of free credit reports, the program has
been rolled out in stages. People living in the West and Midwest
are already eligible to apply for a copy of their report at As of June 1, 2005, those living in
the Southeast are now eligible, and on September 1, 2005, those
living in the Northeast will be eligible. All that is required
to receive a copy of your credit report is to answer a few
simple questions. Since it only takes a few minutes to do, there
is really no reason to put off checking your credit report, and
you may benefit tremendously by doing so.

The credit
score is a single, three digit number that represents an
individual’s credit worthiness, and that score is obtained
through a complex formula that takes into consideration a
person’s borrowing and spending habits and payment history. A
high score makes someone more eligible for loans and credit,
while a lower score may indicate that a person is a risk to
repay. While the information contained on a credit report is
generally accurate, incorrect information sometimes shows up on
credit reports, and incorrect information could result in
someone who being denied a loan for which they might otherwise
be qualified. Furthermore, a credit report check is the best way
to determine if you have been the victim of identity theft, an
increasingly popular crime that often goes unnoticed for a year
or more. If your identity is stolen, your credit rating can be
ruined and you can be burdened with thousands of dollars in
debt. The new bankruptcy law, which goes into effect in October
2005, draws no distinctions between debt incurred by an
individual and debt incurred through identity theft. This alone
should be reason enough to check your credit report

Since the law now allows individuals to obtain
one free report per agency per year, anyone who wants to keep a
close eye on their credit report can obtain a free report as
often as every four months. Since the credit report affects your
life in so many important ways, checking it regularly should
become a habit.

About the author:
©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the
owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational
Websites, including, a site devoted to debt consolidation and
credit counseling, and, a site
devoted to information regarding structured


How a Credit Card Can Be Your Friend

Title: How a Credit Card Can Be Your Friend

Author: Jim Hood

Article: How a Credit Card Can Be Your Friend

Copyright 2005, Jim Hood

We have all heard countless stories of people over their heads
with credit card debt-maxing out every card they own, then only
being able to afford the minimum monthly payment. High interest
payments shackle people to their debt for years, not to mention
the significant income drain the finance charges have on their

It is unfortunate that many Americans must live with this
reality, since with some financial discipline, this delimma is
avoidable. When a spending plan is developed and followed, a
credit card becomes no more dangerous than any other form of

When credit card bills are paid in full each month, credit card
fees and finance charges do not accumulate. With a little extra
bookkeeping from a spending plan, a credit card is transformed
from being a burden to a very rewarding financial partner-since
it provides the following advantages over other forms of payment:

· Rewards Programs. Many credit card companies offer loyalty
programs to reward those customers who use their cards more.
Rewards usually come in the form of points or cash. Depending on
the company, the points can be redeemed for things like
restaurant gift certificates, hotel stays, airfare, vacation
packages and more. Cash cards typically pay a 1% rebate on your
purchases, which makes for an extra $180 a year on monthly
spending of $1,500. This level of spending is easily achieved by
putting all your purchases on a credit card (including utility
bill payments). There are even cards that pay more than 1% for
particular types of purchases like groceries or gas, such as
Citi's Dividend Platinum Select card.

· Perpetual 0% Loan. When you use a credit card, you are using
the bank's money to pay the store instead of yours-for free.
While you're waiting for your statement to arrive, your money
can continue to work for you in an interest- bearing account,
such as ING Direct's Orange Savings. Unlike a debit card that
continually reduces your account balance, using a credit card
preserves your entire bank account balance for earning interest
until your statement's due date. That's an extra $35.25 a year
based on a $1,500 balance at today's rate of 2.35%*.

· Fraud Protection. If your credit card number is used
fraudulently, by law your maximum liability is $50. This is not
true of a debit card. A perpetrator can easily use your debit
card as "credit" transaction in retail stores or online. This
type of transaction does not require a PIN number to be entered,
and is especially dangerous since a thief can clean out your
entire bank account in short order.

· Loss Protection. Unlike cash which is gone for good if lost, a
credit card can be replaced within days of reporting it to the
issuing bank. In the meantime, you're protected against
unauthorized use by anyone who finds the lost card.

· Warranty Coverage. Many MasterCard credit cards warrant your
purchases above and beyond that offered by the product's
manufacturer. Your purchases made with one of these cards get an
extra level of protection for free. See MasterCard's website
( for the full scoop on their coverage

· Purchase Protection. Another benefit MasterCard offers on most
of their cards. With their Purchase Assurance plan, your
purchases are automatically insured against damage or theft for
the first 90 days, also at no additional cost to you.

With all of these benefits over other forms of payment, credit
cards can easily become your favorite way to pay. Instead of
dreading your credit card bill each month, it can become a
pleasant reminder of your money mastery.

About the author:
Jim Hood is a senior contributing editor at the Discount
Shopping Service Guide, where he reviews credit card offers and
writes about money-saving strategies for shopping online. His
credit card offer reviews can be found at: ==>

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Debt Consolidation Solutions

Debt Consolidation Solutions
By Tim Gorman

Millions of Americans are finding it hard to pay their bills and dig themselves out of debt. Many are turning to debt consolidation for help. While the biggest problem seems to be credit card debt, other debts such as; tax debts, medical bills, student loans and personal loans can all be included in a debt consolidation plan.

Debt consolidation is a simple process that can be done over the Internet. A person needs to search for a lender that is listed in the Better Business Bureau. It is also recommended to find a lender that is part of a non-profit organization. After a lender is picked, an application is filled out with personal information as well as debt amounts, account numbers and present monthly payment amounts. A debt specialist will then give you feedback on what your 1, new monthly payment would be and how long until your debts are paid. If both parties accept the debt consolidation plan, a signature will be required to get started.

The lender will deal with the creditors. In most cases the lender will get the creditors to lower the interest rate and in some cases even lower the amount owed.

The creditor will benefit from debt consolidation because they know they will be receiving money from this lender. From their standpoint, they would rather get some money than have the debtor file for bankruptcy and get nothing.

The lender is also benefiting from the donations that the non-profit organization receives for their services.

The debtor receives the greatest benefits from debt consolidation. They now have one monthly payment, which is smaller than their combined payments were before. They will get their debt paid faster due to the fact that (A) they cannot use their credit cards at this point. The creditors have closed their accounts, but left them in good standing. (B) The interest rates have been lowered; therefore the debt will be paid off faster. Another benefit from debt consolidation is that you can reestablish your credit without having blemishes on your credit report.

Timothy Gorman is a successful webmaster and publisher of He provides more debt relief, consolidation and free debt consolidation information that you can research in your pajamas on his website.

Article Source:


Check Out

A useful resource I use to look up interest rates is I am not affliated with them but find them an excellent resource for comparing rates. As they led me to ING Direct.


Student Loan Rates Rise 7/1/05

Make sure you have your student loans locked in by 7/1/2005. Rates will increase for the first time since 2000. The best advice I have to consolidate your student loans into a low monthly payment. Consult a company like Sallie Mae before it's to late. Having several outstanding student loans at different rates makes life more stressful. Consolidate your loans and lock in a low interest rate for the duration of your loan. All it takes is a little initiative.

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