Consumers Know Little About Credit Reporting


A recent survey by Credit Takeoff revealed that although the majority of the 500 American respondents prioritize having a good credit score, many have a poor understanding of how credit scores and credit reporting work.

Only 28% Are Very Knowledgeable About How Their Credit Score is Calculated

The results of the survey suggest that Americans don’t have a solid understanding of how credit scores are calculated. Only 28% of respondents report being very knowledgeable on the subject, while 49% are somewhat knowledgeable. Twenty-three percent admitted to not being very knowledgeable about how their credit scores are calculated.

Even so, the vast majority of respondents (87%) agree that having a good credit score is important to them. Eighty percent know they can check their credit score for free, and 78% have checked theirs in the last twelve months. Further,…

10 Things To Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen


You reach into your pocket or purse, but your wallet isn’t where it belongs. With a sinking feeling, you realize that your wallet is lost, and likely stolen. What do you do now?

Avoid the urge to panic and think of where it may have been taken or lost – but don’t search too long before you begin to take action. If your wallet really has been stolen, the thief is probably headed to the nearest ATM to tap your account or going online to rack up charges on your credit cards. Take a deep breath, and then follow these ten steps to limit the damage.

1. Contact All Your Card Issuers – For each bank account you have, contact your bank immediately to let them know of the stolen ATM card. They will issue you a new card and cancel the old account. You must act quickly to be able to limit fraudulent charges and dispute any that occur.

Similarly, contact all of your credit card issuers to cancel the accounts and get new cards issued. Your liability …

We Paid $113 Billion In Credit Card Fees And Interest Last Year


America’s debt load continues to rise. According to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Federal Reserve, our collective debt is $13.54 trillion as of Q4 2018.

While the vast majority is mortgage debt, credit card debt topped a trillion dollars recently, and we’re compounding the problem by paying more in interest and fees on our credit card accounts.

According to MagnifyMoney, Americans paid $113.3 billion in credit card interest and fees in 2018. That’s a 12% increase over the $101 billion paid in 2017 and a 49% increase from the $76.3 billion paid in 2013. Credit card interest and fees are expected to top $122 billion in 2019.

Increased average annual percentage rates (APRs) on credit cards are partly to blame. Federal Reserve data shows that the average interest rate hit 16.86% in 201…

Would Credit Card Interest Capped At 15% Help Or Hurt You?


Lower APRs for You

According to, the average annual percentage rate (APR) across all credit cards is 17.73%. How does your card’s APR stack up? Could you benefit from a credit card interest rate cap of 15%?

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) say yes, recently releasing a plan to cap credit card APRs at 15%. Any credit card cap legislation is unlikely to pass under the current political climate, but Congressional progressives are letting Americans know what to expect should they win control of Congress and the White House in 2020.

Would a 15% APR cap help or hurt your situation? If you’re in the group of struggling consumers that progressives are trying to help, it could go either way.

Savings Are Available

According to ValuePenguin, the average credit card debt for households that carr…

Millennials Have Lowest Credit Scores Of Any Generation


Millennials have had a difficult time establishing financial security. Many of them came of age during the housing crisis and subsequent recession, saddled with excessive student loan debt and a shrinking job market. The slow recovery from the Great Recession kept Millennials at a disadvantage – and a new study from Experian shows that they are still feeling the aftereffects.

Experian’s data shows that Millennials have the lowest average FICO credit score of all generations that have had significant time to build a credit score. Millennials had an average FICO score of 665 on the 300-850 scale – the upper end of the fair credit range (580-669). That’s a similar score to Generation Z (ages 18-22), who have had limited time to build a credit history of any kind.

Millennial credit scores lag far behind the average scores of the Silent G…

44% Of Adults Are Identity Theft Victims


You’ve heard about identity theft, but just how widespread is it? Our exclusive MoneyTips survey revealed that nearly half of adult Americans are identity theft victims.

We surveyed 509 Americans in November to learn that nearly 2 in 3 Americans had either lost or had stolen their wallets, purses, pocketbooks or money clips (we’ll use ‘wallet’ from now on to represent these four accessories). We then asked all of the respondents:

44% (223) of those surveyed said they had fallen victim to identity theft. 17% blamed their wallet’s disappearance, while the rest attributed it to other reasons. Among those whose wallets vanished, 47% reported they were an identity theft victim, compared to only 38% of those who never had their wallet disappear.

The hi…

38% Of Perfect Credit Scores Held By Lower Or Middle Class


Is credit score perfection possible? Yes, according to recent data from the credit reporting agency Experian. America’s average credit score on the 300-850 FICO scale is 701, but 1.2% of all consumers have a perfect 850.

Experian pored over data from the fourth quarter of 2018 to look for common threads in perfect credit score profiles. Do you need lots of money, a few credit cards, or no debts? In order – no, no, and no.

Credit scores are all about using credit regularly and managing it well. Primary factors in calculating your credit score are on-time payments and credit utilization – how much credit you use compared to your limits, both overall and individual accounts. Your income is irrelevant.

Seniors With RV Payments They Can’t Afford


By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Recreational Vehicle (RV) loans last typically for 10-15 years and sometimes up to twenty years. Often a medical condition or simply a change in lifestyle makes the RV no longer necessary. Sometimes a high RV payment can become simply unaffordable. What are the solutions for seniors with an RV they no longer need or with an unaffordable RV payment?

If you have equity in your RV, meaning it is worth more than what is owed, you can sell it, pay off the loan, and pocket the difference. Or you can sell the RV for what it is worth and cover the difference owed to the bank, so the bank will release the title to the new purchaser. However, often more is owed on the vehicle than the amount it would sell for and many seniors can’t afford to make up the difference. I have been an attorney for over forty years and am the Executive Director of HELPS, a national charitable nonprofit law firm that helps seniors …

1 Out Of 3 Americans Don’t Use A Budget


Do as I say, not as I do. Do you ever fall into that trap? New research from suggests that you might have that attitude when it comes to budgets. recently surveyed the budgeting habits and attitudes of Americans and found a wide discrepancy in following through on budgeting beliefs. A huge majority (93%) of respondents agreed that everyone needs a budget, with 97% of women and 90% of men agreeing – yet only two-thirds of respondents actually do maintain a budget.

The remaining 7% agreed that some people need to budget – for example, if you have limited income, are a big spender, or have a lot of debt – but they didn’t feel that budgets should be universal.

Why do budgeters budget? Most want to do a better job managing their money (34%), or budget because they’ve always done so (25%). Another 13% budget out of necessity to get out of debt. Other budgeting reasons centered on saving for wealth building and/or retirement, or budgeting as …