Credit Counseling ? Congress Offers No Details in New Law
The recently passed Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act was hailed as a breakthrough in bankruptcy law. Passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed enthusiastically by President Bush, the law creates sweeping changes in debt law and will make it much more difficult for debtors to have their obligations swept away by the courts. A major requirement of the new law will require that anyone considering filing for bankruptcy to first undergo credit counseling. The idea is sound; anyone with problem debt can probably benefit from some discussions about money management. There's just one problem ? Congress failed to include any details in the bill about what, exactly, constitutes credit counseling.
The credit counseling industry, which includes for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations, has been through some hard times lately. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating some firms that have claimed to be nonprofit but were actually steering their clients into pricey debt consolidation plans run by for-profit affiliates. These high-profile cases have left a dark cloud hanging over the industry. With the new legislation set to take effect this October, many consumers have questions about the nature of the counseling requirements. Who will pay for it, and what sorts of fees are acceptable? The bill doesn't say whether the debtors themselves or their creditors will pay the counseling fees or how much the service should cost. The law only states that the fees must be "reasonable" and that the services should be available even if the debtor cannot afford to pay. The thought of being forced to provide counseling to customers who cannot pay has justifiably angered the counseling industry. Even nonprofit agencies have overhead and typically charge some sort of fee.
Who qualifies as a counselor? As "credit counselor" is a vague term with no real legal meaning, anyone might be able to place a sign on a building and call himself or herself a credit counselor. Is that what Congress had in mind? The US Trustee Program is in charge of making all of these determinations, and the department is said to be compiling a list of "approved" agencies. Presumably, the Trustees will also be examining these other issues and providing guidelines before the law takes effect. In the meantime, both debtors and counselors are concerned as thousands of Americans will be seeking advice for their debt problems come October. By then, with a little luck, consumers with problem debt will have some way of knowing whom they should call before filing for bankruptcy.
ęCopyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including End-Your-Debt.com, a site devoted to establishing credit, debt consolidation and credit counseling, and HomeEquityHelp.com, a site devoted to information regarding mortgages and home equity lines of credit.
Credit Counseling ? Six Tips to Avoid Counseling Scams
Credit counseling is a useful service for anyone with problem debt. A good counseling agency can provide advice regarding money management and debt consolidation. They can also help arrange a repayment plan with your creditors to help you get out of debt. A bad agency can charge excessive fees, pocket money that was intended to pay your bills, and steer you into greater debt than before. Predatory credit counseling has become a multibillion dollar industry, and with the recent passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, credit counseling will soon become mandatory for anyone filing for bankruptcy. How can you avoid becoming a victim of credit counseling scams? How can you choose a helpful and reputable credit counselor?
Negotiate Your Way Out Of Debt
Eliminating your debt is a daunting task. What can you do to get out of debt fast? Believe it or not, negotiation along with proper financial responsibility is your foothold out of the rat race. Learning how to eliminate your debt might be one of the most important life skills that you learn because it can bring you happiness and fulfillment. In order to successfully eliminate your debt, you must use a combination of self-control, proper negotiating skills, and some future planning.
Benefits of a Debt Consolidation Loan
There are many benefits in choosing a Debt Consolidation Loan, some of which are listed below:
Debt consolidation ? Options for Reducing Credit Card Costs
Americans are using credit cards more than at any time in history, and credit card companies are reaping record profits. One of the reasons that the credit card industry is so profitable is that so many of us use our credit cards unwisely.If you have good credit, you can get a credit card with a reasonable interest rate; say 10% or so. You can keep that rate by paying your bill on time. On the other hand, if you pay your bills late or fail to pay in full, then you will have to pay late fees and interest. Late fees often range between $15 and $29; some card issuers may charge even more. Adding to the pain of paying late fees, however, is the likely change in interest rates on your card if you pay late. A late payment may trigger a substantial increase in the interest rate on your card, and that "reasonable" interest rate of 10% may suddenly rise to 20% or even 25%!It's hard to pay off your credit card balance when you have late fees and 25% interest, so this is something you definitely want to avoid. If you usually pay on time, and you pay late once and are charged a late fee, ask your credit company if they will waive the fee. They will often do it ? once. Some will not do it at all, but it is always worth taking the time to ask. If they are unwilling to help you, then you may be better off shopping around for a better credit card deal elsewhere. You can often save money by transferring your balance to a lower interest credit card, if you have one. Competition has been fierce during the last few years among credit card companies, and it is fairly common to receive "promotional" rates of less than 5% if you transfer your balance to another card. Be sure to read the fine print, however. Those low rates usually apply only to transferred balances, and not to new charges placed on the card. There is usually a time limit associated with the promotional rate, and higher rates may apply at the end of the time limit, perhaps even retroactively!In summary, if you want to minimize your credit card costs, try the following: Shop around for a credit card with a low interest rate.Pay your bills on time. A good way to do this is to pay online. That way, you won't have to worry about your check being delayed in the mail.Transfer balances from high interest rate cards to cards with lower rates.Use your cards wisely. If you can pay cash, do it.A few simple steps can save you a fortune in interest charges and late fees.
Debt Management - Debt Management Fees
Debt management fees can vary vastly from one company to another. Knowing what to look for and ask when seeking help through debt management will leave you better off by not making the mistake of working with an unscrupulous agency that charges excessive upfront fees or can't disclose or won't disclose why they have structured their fees as they have.
Finding the Consolidation Loans that You Need
Consolidation loans can be very useful in a number of circumstances? they can be used to consolidate multiple loans at a single institution, to eliminate debts and combine them into a single monthly payment, and even refinance old loans into a single loan with a lower interest rate.
Debt Consolidation ? Consolidate Your Student Loans Now!
The Federal student loan program has benefited thousands of college students in the forty years since it was introduced. Interest rates for the program have historically been quite competitive, and the program has allowed many people to acquire a college education who otherwise might not have been able to afford one.
Debt Consolidation: A Way Out?
When you are living paycheck to paycheck and it seems everyone is getting a piece of the pie except for you, debt consolidation may help you free up a little bit of cash each month. Debt consolidation is usually a great option if you are paying several minimum payments per month on high interest credit cards or loans. If you are behind on any payments, debt consolidation may save your credit, or at least clean it up a bit.
The first but definitely not the easiest thought that comes to most people when they are neck-deep in debt is to file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy seems to be the last straw left in the deluge of unpaid bills and abusive creditor calls. The situation is somewhat like this. You buy whatever catches your fancy and you thank yourself you had the blessed credit cards. It's good as long as you are spending.
Debt consolidation ? More Options for Reducing Credit Card Costs
Borrowing money against your credit cards has always been among the most expensive ways to borrow money, and when you fail to pay your bill in full each month, borrowing is exactly what you're doing. You're not alone; the average American household now carries more than $8000 in credit card debt. It's easier to accumulate credit card debt than other types of debt for the following reasons:They're easy to use. It's far easier to borrow spend money on a credit card, even thousands of dollars at a time, than it is to go to the bank and secure a loan. Convenience can easily lead to overindulgence.The interest rates are higher than for other types of debt. The interest rate on your mortgage may be 6%. The interest rate on your credit card may be 25%. That adds up in a hurry, especially if you are carrying a balance.There is no set repayment schedule requiring you to pay back a set amount each month. The only requirement is that you pay at least 2% of your outstanding balance. Many people pay exactly that, and no more, causing the interest to accumulate quicklyCredit card lenders tend not to be very forgiving. If you make a late payment, you could end up with a late fee of as much as $39 in addition to having your interest rate increase.Many credit cards come with annual fees, which can add to your debt, especially if you don't pay them in full. Then you end up paying interest on the annual fee!There are number of solutions available. All they require is a bit of time and diligence. Besides shopping around for the card with the best rate and doing a bit of debt consolidation to place all of your credit card debt on the lowest interest card you own, you might also consider the following:Ask your lender to waive your annual fee. The competitive nature of the credit card business means that your lender will often waive these fees just for the asking. They would usually rather waive your fee rather than lose you as a customer. It costs nothing to ask. If they do waive the fee, add the fee amount to your next payment.Pay more than the monthly minimum payment. The minimum payment may soon go to 4%, which may place many borrowers who currently pay only the 2% minimum in a bind. Get in the habit of paying more each month, or pay your bill in full, if you can.Did you get a large tax refund? Send it to your credit card company. Sure, it would be nice to spend it on a new TV, but if you spend it on a TV while carrying a balance on your credit card at 25%, you are effectively paying 25% interest on your TV.Use your debit card instead of a credit card. They have the same convenience and ease of use, but few of the drawbacks.Paying off the national average of $8000 in credit card debt can take a lifetime if you only make the minimum payments. That is a trap that you should make a concerted effort to avoid and by taking a few simple steps, you can keep your debt to a minimum.
Debt Consolidation when You Find Yourself Overwhelmed with Bills, Bills, and More Bills
Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed with bills, bills, bills. Going to the mailbox only to find yet another late payment notice may have become a daily trauma. Your spending patterns and lack of budgeting has brought you to this point, and you know it is no one's fault but your own. Yet, what can you do about it? Bankruptcy? Give up? Perhaps you've looked at a copy of your credit report and realize you are in much, much too deep. Depression may be beginning to take over your life. Don't despair any longer; there are solutions to help you!
Shocking Facts - What Debt Settlement Companies Dont Tell You
If you're thinking about using a debt consolidation or debt settlement service to help you get out of debt faster and save money on your monthly payments, make sure you do your homework before choosing a company. There are definitely shams and scams out there.
7 Ways to Consolidate Your Debt
If you are in debt, you have several options available to you in your quest to consolidate your balances and thereby reducing your monthly payments or paying off your loan faster. Let's look at 7 of the most popular and effective ways for you to consolidate your debt.
Credit Card Purgatory - A 7 Step Comprehensive Plan to Get and Stay out of Credit Card Hell
Does this Sound like You? There are 100 shopping Days left until Christmas and your Credit Card Balance is Higher now then it was in the beginning of the year. You may have thought of using your home and getting a debt consolidation loan, A Debt Consolidation Loan without a solid Long Term financial plan is a Recipe for Disaster. A One way ticket to Credit Card Purgatory
Consolidate Debt to Help Get You Out of the Quagmire
Will you agree with me if I tell you that, the key to financial success is to live within your means? This is an old belief that modern day income earners have completely forgotten. This is because it is now extremely easy to get into financial trouble. Credit card, store cards and other loans are easy to acquire. However, you will agree with me when I say that they are very hard to pay, you may end up living a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of life if you will not fix the situation immediately.
Debt Consolidation: Why And How This Strategy Often Backfires!
Debt consolidation solutions, has found that as good as it sounds, debt consolidation loans rarely save you any money.
Bad Credit Debt Consolidation Loan
Nowadays, many people can get into a bad credit situation if they do not keep track of their income and expenditure. Many young executives suddenly find that they are being offered credit cards by various companies. Those who are sensible will find a credit card that suits their needs, sign up, keep track of their purchases, pay off their credit card bills in full each month, and ignore offers from other companies.
What You Need to Know About Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is often a last resort for people who are in extreme debt and trying to avoid bankruptcy. Many people who are not in danger of bankruptcy, but have debt on high interest credit cards may also choose to consolidate their debt. Debt consolidation is defined as the process of organizing loans and debts into one low-interest loan that can be paid off regularly. Consolidating debt can help someone avoid bankruptcy, and help them manage their money more wisely. Debt consolidation is also convenient because it becomes easier to keep track of debt and one is only required to pay off one loan rather than several debts. In order to consolidate one's debt, collateral must be given. The collateral is usually the home, or a vehicle.
What Is A Debt Consolidation Program?
Debt consolidation programs are devised to get you out of debt in the quickest and most inexpensive manner possible. When you sign up with a debt consolidation manager they will work with your creditors to combine all your debt and lower your monthly payments. It is a debt settlement arrangement that works by lowering your interest rates and forgiving your late fees thereby lowering your monthly payments.
10 Pointers on College Loan Consolidation
Should I consolidate my college loans or not?
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