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Top 5 ways to Handle Credit Issues During COVID-19 in Arizona

This week, 5.245 million new jobless claims were filed in the United States, which means that 22 million people have lost their jobs in the past month. In a few weeks, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 18% due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arizona is no exception.  With so many people out of work, the current circumstances will have a domino effect as individuals and businesses are struggling to stay current with payments. When the paychecks stop, credit issues start piling up. 5 Tips for Minimizing the Impact of Credit Issues More than ever, it is essential for consumers to be proactive in protecting their finances during the Coronavirus pandemic. These economic conditions will affect the financial situation of countless Americans, but you can be proactive in mitigating the overall impact these credit issues have on your family. Here are a few tips to help in your time of need: Avoid Late Payments if Possible: Even if cash flow is tight, do everything you can to at least make the minimum debt payments on your outstanding balances. You might not be in a position to make much progress on debt paydown, but it is important to stay current with the minimums as much as possible. Talk to Your Lenders: Many lenders and financial institutions have policies in place to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is best to be proactive in exploring your options before you miss a payment. Call your lender to discuss hardship options, such as a temporary reduction in interest rates or payment amounts. Some lenders are offering forbearance or...

How to know when you have been screwed out of that loan payment deferral promised to you by your lender

COVID 19 has affected everyone, including your creditors.  However, many lenders, to be nice or to maintain good public relations, have offered to defer your mortgage payments or credit card debts, due to them from consumers such as you, for several months.  While they may avoid dunning you for your payment for the next several months, you must know effect this should have on your credit report. If your lender agrees to defer your payments…. You should review your credit report, ideally, every month, to make sure that your lender follows through on its promise.  If it does, its trade line on each of your credit reports to which it reports, should reflect: Monthly payment – $0 Status – Current Past due balance – $0 If any of these fields, on a deferred balance is reporting anything different, then you have been screwed by your lender.  Prospective creditors do not mind deferred payments.  They do mind past due balances and current statues that are late.  Moreover, a creditor reporting a monthly payment due when you are in deferral is patently lying to prospective creditors about what you owe at that time.  If you are in a deferral with your lender, you owe no monthly payment. Yes…..even the big banks and credit reporting agencies get it wrong. If you have never had trouble with your bank or a credit reporting agency, then you have not crossed over onto the dark side.  We are a credit repair law firm and we have literally seen thousands and thousands of credit reports that have been improperly damaged by large banks and creditors and...
Why Arizona Consumers Should Avoid Cash Advances on Credit Cards

Why Arizona Consumers Should Avoid Cash Advances on Credit Cards

Cash advances on credit cards don’t work like normal purchases. These transactions come with different rules and interest rates, and they get expensive quickly. Relying on credit card cash advances to cover expenses is a bad habit. It can easily lead to heavy fees, very high balances, and lower credit scores. Why Credit Card Cash Advances Cost Arizonians too Much Money Unless you read the fine print on your user agreements, you may think that using your credit card to get cash is the same as swiping it to buy shoes. Chances are, it isn’t. Most credit card issuers charge higher interest rates for cash advances. Also, these interest rates kick in immediately, with no grace period granted. On average, interest rates on credit card cash advances are around 23.68%, even for cardholders with good credit. Also, borrowing cash on your credit card normally comes with a fee. Most Minnesotans are charged $10 or five percent of the cash amount borrowed. Unfortunately, borrowers pay the more expensive of the two. For example, if you only need $40, you’ll pay the $10 fee. However, you if need a $600 cash advance, you’ll owe the issuer $630. When you add possible ATM fees into the equation, credit card cash advances don’t make much sense financially. This is especially true for Minnesota consumers who routinely use them. Depending on your needs, you may consider taking out a small personal loan or borrowing money from a family member as better options. Ideally, though, you should limit your spending and fit your expenses to your income. Treating your savings as a necessary expense is...
Tips for Arizona Consumers who are Pulling their Credit Reports for the First Time

Tips for Arizona Consumers who are Pulling their Credit Reports for the First Time

It’s important for Arizona consumers who want to build and maintain a good credit score to regularly pull and check their credit reports. This will allow you to catch suspicious activity that could indicate identity theft and find errors that might bring down your credit score. If you’ve never checked your credit reports, don’t worry. Now is a good time to start. It won’t cost you anything to request copies of your credit reports from each of the three major reporting bureaus. It’s also fairly simple to make these requests, but there are a few things you should know if you’re pulling your credit reports for the first time. How Arizonians can Simplify the Process for Pulling Credit Reports There is a federal statute known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. It grants you a free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus every 12 months. If you have looked at your credit reports in a while, or if it’s your first time pulling them, it’s best to request all three at once. You can go to TransUnion.com, Experian.com, and Equifax.com and request a credit report from each bureau individually. There are online forms on each credit bureau’s website. Or, you can get their addresses and write letters requesting physical copies of your credit reports through the mail. Of course, the most convenient way to get copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax is to go to www.annualcreditreport.com and fill out the easy online form offered here. Credit Report Pulling Prep-Work If you choose to fill out an online...
Arizona Consumers who are Worried about Credit Card Debt should ask themselves these 6 Questions

Arizona Consumers who are Worried about Credit Card Debt should ask themselves these 6 Questions

For Arizona residents who suspect that they might be in over their heads with credit card debt, there are some sure signs for which to look. The fact that you’re concerned, however, is a good sign. It means that you aren’t living in denial of a potential problem. Yet, before panicking, ask yourself these six questions. You can then determine whether or not your credit card debt is out of control. Early recognition of the problem may prevent financial trouble and credit score damage. Six Questions to Help Arizonians Identify a Credit Card Debt Crisis Any Arizona consumer who has ever experienced problems with credit card debt can tell you that problems can sneak up on you. It may seem that everything is going fine. But if your spending increases and your payments don’t, debt starts to accumulate. For Arizonians who have a nagging suspicion that they are not managing their credit cards as well as they should, here are the six important questions to ask. Your honest answers may help you salvage your credit score before it’s too late. If your credit score has dropped, now is the time to check your credit reports. Are your balances just going up and up every month? Ideally, you should be paying your credit card balances off every month. This is the only way to avoid interest charges and debt accumulation. If you’re not paying your monthly credit card bills in full, you should at least whittle down the balances. Growing balances, on the other hand, are a sign of overspending. Are any of your credit cards maxed out? Arizona consumers...
Why Arizona Consumers should be Concerned about what Happens on the Dark Web

Why Arizona Consumers should be Concerned about what Happens on the Dark Web

Most Arizona consumers have at least heard about the Dark Web, but they may not know exactly what it is or why it exists. Of course, it isn’t a real place. The Dark Web is a term that describes the part of the internet that is inaccessible to most internet users. If you’re an average Arizona consumer, Dark Web activity should give you cause for concern. Why? This is where hackers go to sell stolen personal identifiable information (PII) online. If you are the victim of a single identity thief or a large-scale data breach, it’s likely that your data will show up on the Dark Web. Here, a fraudster can simply purchase it the way you might buy a toaster on Amazon. That’s pretty scary, huh? A Quick Rundown for Arizonians about the Differences between the Dark Web and the Deep Web Here is a fact that most Arizona consumers will find surprising: Over 90% of the internet is known as the Deep Web. This just means that a huge chunk of the internet isn’t searched by search engines, and most of the Deep Web is pretty innocent. Actually, it’s mostly made up of things like school websites, internal business pages, and database entries that are searchable within a site. For example, if you have access to your son or daughter’s school lunch menus or bus schedules, this information is probably part of the Deep Web. However, you can still get to it because you were given access, but it isn’t publicly searchable. What is publicly searchable on the internet? Any web address that starts with “www,” which...