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Sunday, November 06, 2011

National Financial Capability Challenge Runs from March 12 to April 13, 2012‏

On March 12, 2012 the Financial Capability Challenge kicks off, and will run until April 13, 2012. The Challenge, which is conducted by the Department of the Treasury in partnership with the Department of Education, offers high school students all over the country the opportunity to test their financial smarts. Last spring, over 84,000 high school students from over 1,600 schools participated in the Challenge. Let’s work together to increase the number of teachers and students participating in the Challenge and to improve the number of perfect scores! The 2011 Challenge saw 563 students receive perfect scores, with a national average score of 69%.

Financial knowledge is increasingly critical for young people, because a strong foundation of knowledge is important to good financial decision-making throughout their life. We hope that the Challenge encourages teachers to incorporate financial education into their classrooms, and will engage students in learning about personal finance. As high school students prepare to tackle the process of financing a college education or an automobile purchase, or even paying rent for their first apartment, they are often encountering concepts like interest rates on loans for the first time and the importance of good credit scores. By participating in the Challenge, students encounter and test their knowledge of these concepts before they face these decisions. The transition from high school to college is a teachable moment for personal finance, as topics take on real life relevancy. For example, two million enrolled college students eligible for Pell Grants did not apply for Federal aid, leaving money on the table [1] and two-thirds of students taking private loans did not exhaust more affordable, flexible Federal aid first. [2]

As in previous years, an easy to use educator toolkit is available, with lesson plans focusing on the core concepts of spending, saving, borrowing, and protecting against risk. We hope educators will be able to use this toolkit to create a curriculum that best suits the needs of their students. The classroom offers an excellent opportunity to expose students to financial education as a practical application of the concepts they cover in classes such as math or social studies. High school teachers in any subject area are encouraged to participate to help prepare their students for future financial independence.

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[1]U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008).The Condition of Education 2008. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008031.pdf

[2]The Institute for College Access and Success.“Statement on College Board’s Trend Report.” (2009). http://www.ticas.org/files/pub/CB_statement_2009.pdf

Source: US Department of the Treasury

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Banks May Be Adding Debit Usage Fees

My June 23, 2011 interview at 9am on Fox 10 News with Diane Ryan

Banks May Be Adding Debit Usage Fees: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

Monday, March 08, 2010

Credit Card Payment Warnings

I just received my most recently available credit card statement from my bank, USAA Federal Savings Bank, and was pleased to see the following additional consumer information (my personal amount removed) on this month's statement:

Late Payment Warning: If we do not receive your minimum payment by the date listed above, you may have to pay a $35.00 late fee.

Minimum Payment Warning: If you make only the minimum payment each period, you will pay more in interest and it will take you longer to pay off your balance. For example:

If you make no additional charges using this card and each month you pay ... Only the minimum payment $###.00 - You will pay off the balance shown on this statement in about ... ## years. And you will end up paying an estimated total of $##,###.00

If you make no additional charges using this card and each month you pay ... $###.00 - You will pay off the balance shown on this statement in about ... # years. And you will end up paying an estimated total of $##,###.00 (Savings = $##,###.00).

If you would like information about credit counseling services, call 1-800-531-1291.


I trust this is the direction other credit card issuers will follow in further informing holders of their credit cards.

Source: USAA Federal Savings Bank

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Credit Card Interest Rate Changes (FAQ's)

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) I received from one of my credit card companies, USAA. I hope this helps those that have questions about the new credit card changes:

Q: Was this change based on my credit score, or was my credit report affected?

A: No, these adjustments were not based on your individual credit score, and your report was not affected.


Q: What is the "Prime Rate"?

A: Prime Rate is the most widely usd benchmark in setting credit card rates. It generally changes when the fed funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve Board, goes up or down.


Q: What is the "margin"?

A: This is the amount we add to the Prime Rate to determine your account's interest rate. The magin is calculated aed on your credit record and other factors.


Q: Could my rate go up in the future?

A: Yes, your variable rate is indexed to the Prime Rate, so if the Prime Rate increases or decreases, your rate will adjust accordingly.


Q: Did you raise any fees?

A: No fees or other charges were raised. While other card companies are adding new fees at this time, we're maintaining our low-fee, high-value USAA credit card.


Q: Can I opt out of this change?

A: You cannot opt out of this change. However, remember that only new transactions after April 30, 2010, are affected by this change.


Source: USAA Federal Savings Bank

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Credit Card Changes

I have followed-up on your instructions and got the three credit reports. After I contacted the reporting bureaus with the discrepancies, and contacting the institutions/negative listings to get the eroneous info corrected, I got the discrepancies deleted from my credit reports. (a previous address was used for a business that I had nothing to do with, I thought I was signing-up for frequent-flyer miles with AirTran and was issued a credit card and was charged fees, for a card I never applied for, activated or used, and a cell phone in Puerto Rico I never applied for or ever used.)

My one credit card(BofA) has canceled me, saying I dont meet their criteria? Is charging me 26.4% interest and will not lower the rate even though I have never missed a payment. I'm living off SS disability and making minimum payments with a balance of 38 hundred. How do I negotiate a settlement with them to put an end to this, because at this rate I will be paying forever. This is the only issue I am dealing with, since I have no other cc and no other debts? Today the new credit card changes go into effect, how will this affect me?

Source: Beryl Berry

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

High Yield Checking Accounts

Consider opening up a checking account in one of the following credit unions:

Each pays over 6%.

Certain restrictions MAY apply.

(Arkansas) - United Federal Credit Union - 6.01%,
(Kansas) - Golden Plains Credit Union (6.01%),
(Michigan...) - United Federal Credit Union (6.01%),
(North Carolina) - United Federal Credit Union (6.01%),
(North Dakota) - United Federal Credit Union (6.01%),
(Ohio) - United Federal Credit Union (6.01%),
(Oklahoma) - United Federal Credit Union (6.01%)

If you are going to park your money somewhere, you might as well get something for it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Account “Users”

If you open an individual account, you may authorize another person to use it. If you name your spouse as the authorized user, a creditor who reports the credit history to a credit bureau must report it in your spouse’s name as well as in yours (if the account was opened after June 1, 1977). A creditor also may report the credit history in the name of any other authorized user.