Video: The Difference Between Debt Settlement And Debt Consolidation

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Any way you can save on your debt payments is worth it, right? Not if it damages your credit so that you struggle to get loans or credit cards in the future! Watch our exclusive video above to see MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia explain the important difference between credit card debt settlement and debt consolidation.

If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, join MoneyTips and use our free Debt Optimizer tool.

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Between A Scam And A Fraud Place – SMiShing Is Big Criminal Business

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Internet scam artists are moving beyond your email inbox to target your text messages as well. “SMiShing,” also known as SMS Phishing, continues to loot information from busy and unaware consumers despite its relative maturity as a scam method.

Here’s what you should know about SMiShing and how to protect yourself:

SMiShing occurs when a fraudster leverages the text capability of most handheld devices to contact a potential fraud victim. SMS text messages in this context are designed to stun, threaten or trick a victim into submission so that they click on or respond to the information contained in the fraudsters “SMiSh text.”

Fraudulent text messages may direct the user to call a certain number for further assistance. They often contain hyperlinks that inject malware directly onto the victim’s cell phone, enabling the fraudster to take over the phone and all its contents. Ransomware could be a common element of this attack as fraudsters attempt to rans…

9 Alternatives To Payday Loans

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You have an important bill to pay and not enough money to pay for it. A payday loan might be the solution to your problem – if you don’t mind paying very high interest rates. It’s not uncommon for payday loans to have APRs above 100%.

Is there a better alternative? We can think of at least nine.

1. Credit Cards – Credit cards are not a long-term answer for debt, but the interest rate is still considerably lower than the rates of payday loans. They may be a better choice for a short-term debt you can pay off relatively quickly. If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.

2. Negotiation with the Lender – You might be negotiating from a greater position of strength than you think. Lenders may be willing to work with you to alter your payment plan, or even defer a payment if you’ve had a good credit history. If you’re going to negotiate, do it …

Your Low Credit Score Could Cost You $45,000

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Your credit score is one of the primary items that lenders check when they consider loaning you money. A lower score means greater risk, and lenders will charge you a higher interest rate because of that difference – but how much could it cost you over the lifetime of a loan?

According to a new study from LendingTree, if you have only fair credit instead of very good credit, the difference can cost you over $45,000.

LendingTree analyzed loan data from their database to assess the costs of a lower credit score as applied to five different sources of borrowing (credit card debt, personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and mortgages). Interest was calculated based on the average loan amount for each type of credit. Combined, the loans totaled $310,263 – dominated by the average mortgage loan of $234,437.

At interest rates available with very good credit (740-799), the total interest payment over the lifetime of all five credit sources was $212,498. At t…

How To Negotiate With A Collection Agency

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Do you have a bill that has been turned over to a collection agency? Of course, you’ll want to make things right as well as remove the negative effect on your credit score. But what if you can’t afford to pay the bill in full? Why not try to negotiate with the debt collector? They likely bought the debt at a significant discount and may be more willing to accept a deal – and then you are on the path to a clearer mind and a better credit score.

If you decide to negotiate, make sure that you are prepared to follow through properly. Don’t try to shortcut by paying third parties to do it for you. Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride agrees, noting, “Don’t fall for this idea that another company’s going to be able to resolve this for you if you just pay them some fee.” McBride suggests sticking with the creditor or collection agency that owns the debt, since the current debt owner is the only one that can verify to the credit bureau that the debt has been paid.

5 Steps To Take Before Retirement

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Are you planning to retire within the next 10 to 15 years?If so, are you ready to take retirement preparedness to the next level?

Retirement is no longer an abstract concept when you reach your 50s. It’s important to take a closer look at your financial plans now, while you have time to make any corrections. Consider these five steps to ensure the retirement of your dreams – or at least avoid the retirement of your nightmares.

1. Outline Your Retirement Goals – What do you really want to do when you retire? Buy a retirement home on the beach? Travel abroad? Start an expensive hobby? It’s time to figure out how to pay for those goals.

Lay out your primary retirement goals and estimate the major expenses associated with them. Place those expenses on a timeline spread throughout your retirement. You now have an estimate of how your cash flow needs will change because of your retirement plans.

2. Rethink Your Expenses –

Video: Do Americans Understand Their Credit Scores?

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Who has the better credit score – Oprah Winfrey or Donald Trump? We asked Americans from all walks of life this and other credit-related questions when MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia took to the streets of Santa Monica, CA.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Credit-Builder Loans 101

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Applying for credit for the first time is a bit like applying for your first job. People are hesitant to hire you because you don’t have any job experience, and you can’t get any job experience because nobody will hire you. In the case of credit applications, creditors are leery of extending credit if they don’t have any evidence that you will pay your bills on time.

Credit-builder loans are designed to help those with little or no credit history to build their credit. Loan amounts are relatively small (typically between $500 – $1500) to minimize the lender’s risk. The lender reports your activity to the credit bureaus, thus establishing your credit history.

There are three basic types of credit-builder loan:

  • Standard Secured – The amount of your loan is backed by money that you already have in a savings account. That collateral is frozen, and …

Trump Changing Use Of Credit Scores In Home Loans

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Are you having trouble getting a home loan because you have no suitable credit history? Has your credit activity been dormant for a long enough time that lenders can’t properly evaluate your risk?

The FICO credit-scoring standard used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requires that potential borrowers have a credit account open for at least six months to be able to assess credit risk properly. Without that background, you are “credit invisible.” You may be responsible with money and pay rent, utilities, and cell phone bills on time – but those aren’t considered in evaluating mortgage loan applications.

According to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), approximately 26 million people are considered to be credit invisible. Nearly 19 million people are similarly shut out of mortgages because they have “stale credit” – their credit history hasn’t had enough rece…