Can Minor Debts Land You In Prison?

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The Equivalent of Debtors’ Prison

Is there such a thing as a modern-day debtors’ prison? Not literally, as
debtors’ prisons were outlawed by Congress in 1833. However, a recent ACLU
report on the criminalization of private debt points out that some private debt
collectors are creating the equivalent of debtors’ prison via the courts.

The ACLU found instances of debtors being arrested for debts as small as
$28. Once incarcerated, the debtor may be stuck in jail for days trying to
arrange bail, missing work and family obligations. Jobs may be lost, and the
warrants and arrests may show up on future background checks – making it
difficult to get a new job or go back to school.

While these tactics may be technically legal, the result is often a
punishment far greater than the crime.

It’s Not Just “Deadbeats”

The ACLU report breaks the stereotype of the deadbeat willfully tr…

Video: Can You Be Fired From Your Job If You Have A Low Credit Score?

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Can your current and prospective employers use your credit score to hire and fire you? Does this really happen? Watch our exclusive video above to learn your rights and how you can prepare for such situations.

Maintaining your credit score can prevent many negative outcomes. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Free Credit Freezes And More Credit Changes You Need To Know

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Credit Reporting Changes

On Thursday, May 24, President Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – the administration’s first step in dismantling the Dodd-Frank regulations enacted in the wake of the housing crisis and the Great Recession.

Many of the Act’s provisions are targeted at bank regulations, affecting consumers indirectly. However, certain changes directly relate to one of your most critical tools as a consumer – your credit report, and the steps you can take to protect it.

Improved Fraud Alerts

Fraud alerts notify lenders that someone else may try to apply for credit in your name. Lenders must then take reasonable steps to verify the identity of anyone requesting credit in your name. To take pre-emptive action, you can file an initial fraud alert with one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). The bureau that receives the filing will notify the …

Americans’ Biggest Money Mistakes

MoneyTips

You’ve made some life decisions that you’ve regretted, and some of those decisions surely involve money. What sort of money mistakes have you made?

Don’t be shy about admitting your financial mistakes. According to the latest version of Finder.com’s annual America’s Biggest Money Mistakes survey, you have 192 million fellow Americans to keep you company. More than three-quarters (78.3%) of respondents claimed to have made a money mistake in their lifetime. We’re surprised that number isn’t closer to 100%!

As Finder.com Consumer Advocate Jennifer McDermott says, “It’s understandable that so many have made a money mistake in our lifetime – we’re only human! However, while a slip-up doesn’t need to derail our entire financial wellbeing, it’s important to recognize the triggers to make better choices in the future.”

What’s the most cited financial mistake? By far, the winner …

10 Worst States To Live In With A Bad Credit Score

MoneyTips

What’s worse than a bad credit score? Having bad credit and living in a state where bad credit makes life even more difficult.

RewardExpert, a rewards optimization site, compared factors such as cost of living, usury laws, and the overall financial health of a state to determine how bad credit affects life in each state. Their findings suggest that you avoid the following states if your credit is substandard.

1. Washington – High prices in all categories and poor protections against predatory lending practices make Washington the most difficult state for consumers with bad credit.

2. Tennessee – The Volunteer State combines a high maximum allowable usury rate and poor rankings in all other categories to earn the status of second-worst state for residents with poor credit.

3. South Carolina – Prices are generally high in South Carolina, with housing and educational costs among the highest in th…

Get Money Back From Western Union Scams

MoneyTips

Western Union has served as a reliable method for rapidly sending money over long distances since the late 1800s. Once known for telegraphs, it currently offers services to more than 200 countries across the globe. Unfortunately, Western Union is frequently used by scammers, thanks to convenience, speed, and limited means of recovery for fraudulent transactions. According to a recent settlement, Western Union had not been doing enough to protect consumers from these scammers.

Between January 2004 and August 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that Western Union received over 550,000 money transfer complaints regarding popular scamming schemes, such as fake family emergency requests, fraudulent lottery winnings, or prize awards requiring upfront fees. Internal Western Union reports raised concerns about fraud committed by their own agents, but these concerns were not properly …

10 Best States To Live In With A Bad Credit Score

MoneyTips

It’s no fun having a bad credit score. You pay higher interest rates for your credit – if you can get credit at all. You have little room for financial error. A small, unexpected bill can cause big problems.

At least your hardships may not be as bad if you live in certain states.

RewardExpert, a site that helps users optimize credit and debit card reward programs, examined factors that affect residents with poor credit – such as typical expenses, usury laws to limit predatory lending, and the status of debt collectors – and how those factors vary in each state.

Where is bad credit more tolerable? Consumers with bad credit should avoid the coasts and stick to the Midwest – not surprising, given the typically high costs of living in coastal areas.

Here are the top ten states to live in when your credit score is low.

1. Iowa – Iowa tops the list by doing well in all categories. Iowa is tied for the lowest maximum usury …

Video: The Big Mistake This Instagram Star Made With Her Credit Score

MoneyTips

You learned reading, writing and arithmetic in school, but did you learn anything about credit? Watch award-winning wellness author Nikki Sharp share with MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia the credit score insights she wishes she’d been taught at school.

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

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Hit A Seven-Year High

MoneyTips

It Will Cost You More to Buy A Home

The housing market topped a new threshold over the past week. Buoyed by a strong economy and a series of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates reached 4.61% – the highest number since May of 2011.

Rates crossed the 4% threshold in the week of January 11 and they have been on a relatively steady rise since then. If this pace continues, we’ll hit 5% before the year is out.

Should rising interest rates deter you from buying a home? Not necessarily, but it may cause you to re-think your definition of an affordable home.

How Much More?

To see the effect of higher interest rates, consider this example. Let’s assume you’re buying a $200,000 house with a 20% down payment. Your monthly principal and interest payment will be $764 at 4% interest, $821 at the current 4.61%, and $859 at 5%. For the $160,000 you are borrowing, the difference between 4% an…