Posts Tagged: ‘credit card debt’

The Dangers of Subprime Credit Cards

August 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

When someone has less than perfect credit and is looking to improve his or her credit score, it can be tempting to look to a subprime credit card. In fact, many consumers looking to start from scratch in rebuilding a low FICO score choose subprime credit cards as their preferred method of rebuilding credit. These credit cards, while they work for some, come with their own set of hidden dangers that should be understood before signing on the dotted line.

A subprime credit card is a credit card issued to individuals who carry a lower, substandard credit score or who have a very limited credit history. Normally, these cards have a higher interest rate than other types of credit cards granted to prime borrowers. In addition to the higher rates, these cards also come with extra fees, as well as lower credit limits.

It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of millennials have what is known as subprime credit, according to credit reporting agency, TransUnion. Of the over 16 million Americans who have credit scores lower than 600 have at least one credit card. Many of them have more than one card, each card holding a significant balance.

Many people are under the misconception that to rebuild credit, an individual needs to get a card and maintain a balance, while paying the minimum payments. When the advertisements pop up on these individual’s computer screens, promising a way to build credit through a subprime credit card, it can be very tempting to click on the ad and sign up right then. However, many of these individuals do not understand what the cons are to sign up for a subprime credit card, and they do not do their homework in researching the negative aspects before signing up for the card.

Hidden credit card fees are oftentimes where people get hit the hardest. Fees can even get as high as being 25 percent of what the available credit balance is on the very first day the card is used. At that rate, it can be nearly impossible for the consumer to catch up.

Subprime credit cards also tend to carry nonrefundable yearly costs. Of the unsecured subprime credit cards surveyed, all nine of them had some type of nonrefundable annual cost. On average, this cost is just a little over $150 on the first year the card is used. The annual percentage rate (APR) for these cards can range as high as 30 percent, which keeps the balance high, no matter how hard the cardholder tries at paying down the balance.

TransUnion reported that the average American who has a low credit score carries 2.5 credit cards. Of these individuals who were surveyed, approximately $300 of their income annually goes towards paying the high credit card fees that went along with those cards, not including the monthly interest that they pay on the balance held on each card.

Occasionally, a subprime credit card will have an annual fee that must be paid from the start. These credit card annual fees will appear on the card statements and can take up 25 percent of the cardholder’s credit line. Ideally, the credit utilization ration will be 10 percent, but for individuals with subprime credit, this number is impracticable.

It is for this reason that many credit advisors recommend that a secured credit card be used by someone just coming out of a bankruptcy or in a bad financial situation to rebuild credit. Unlike a subprime card, a secured card holds lower fees and less risk. Many secured cards offer a graduation program, meaning if the cardholder can establish a good payment history, eventually that person will move up to an unsecured credit card with a good rate. Examples of secured credit card programs include the Capital One Secured Mastercard and the Discover it Secured Card. Secured cards often require the cardholder pay an initial deposit through a connected bank account, or, if someone does not have a bank account, programs exist that allow for a secured card to be issued through an approval process and low annual fee.

It is important that the credit card not carry too high of a balance, and that the cardholder pay the minimum balance every month on time. Only use the card for small, manageable purchases, and keep an eye on the cardholder’s FICO score to monitor any changes in a positive or negative direction.

Click HERE to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

 

More Millennials Carry Credit Card Debt than Student Loan Debt

July 23, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Student loan debt has said to have been the biggest financial burden the Millennial generation will face, but more and more individuals in this generation say they are in fact, struggling with credit card debt. In fact, credit card debt – as opposed to student loan debt – is the most prevalent type of debt among the group.  According to a recent NBC News/GenForward survey, 46 percent of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 34 carry credit card debt. Approximately 36 percent of them carry student loan debt. The survey reported that around three out of four Millennials carried some type of debt. More than 75 percent of those surveyed said they carried at least one type of debt, including credit cards, student loans and car loans. Only one in five Millennials reported having a mortgage debt.

One-fourth of these Millennials who carry credit card debt have balances of more than $30,000. One-fourth say that their balances are below $10,000. Around 11 percent of those in this age group surveyed have over $100,000 in debt with 22 percent of them being debt free.

The survey found that Millennials with college degrees were more likely to have credit card debt with 56 percent reported graduating with credit card debt. Forty percent who held credit card debt did not have a college degree.

When it comes to having a personal savings, 62 percent of Millennials owed more in debt than they had in a savings account. Only less than one-fourth had more in their savings account than owed in debt. Approximately one in three Millennials have less than $1,000 in savings. One-fourth of Millennials have no savings at all.

Entering the workforce with such a large amount of debt pushes young individuals to hold off on saving for the future, which leaves many of them unprepared in the event of an emergency. It also puts them at a slower start in preparing for retirement.

When asked if they would have trouble paying on an unexpected financial expense of $1,000 or more, two-thirds of them stated they would have a hard time meeting that obligation. Out of the group surveyed, those who were African-American or Latino would have the hardest time paying these obligations, although the difficulty was not exclusive to just these two groups.

If the Millennials were parents, around 48 percent of them reported that they would have a great deal of trouble in the event a financial crisis; for example, a job loss or medical emergency. Of the Millennials who did not have children, 39 percent of them reported this fact.

Credit card debt and student loan debt have caused a number of Millennials to postpone major life events like starting a family, purchasing a home and saving for retirement.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

 

Tips for Eliminating Credit Card Debt

July 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many people today. While having a credit card is not necessarily a bad thing, if you are unable to pay off the entire balance each month, the interest, fees and finance charges can accumulate quickly.  This can eventually cause your credit card balance to spiral out of control. It helps to know what steps to take to eliminate credit card debt before it becomes too big of a problem.

  1. Use all your resources.

One tip that helps in attacking credit card debt is to maximize all the resources available to you. It can take a lot of time and dedication, but it does get the job done. To be successful with the method of throwing all your resources at your debt, you need to do the following:

  • Rely on cash-only to pay for expenses. Make sure these expenses are essential in nature and not frivolous, causing you to waste more money rather than make progress.
  • Put together a list of all credit card debt, detailing the interest rate for each card and the minimum payment on each card.
  • Use the debt avalanche method to attack the debt. What this entails is the person chooses the card with the highest interest rate, and he or she uses all extra money that he or she has available at paying off that card. After that card is paid off, the money that was used to pay that card goes to the next one, and so on. The idea is the money that goes towards the card snowballs in size, helping to pay each one down quicker than the person would be able to do with just meeting monthly minimum payments.
  • Find extra money to pay towards credit cards by creating a realistic budget and sticking to it.
  1. Consider a Balance-Transfer Credit Card.

If the person has a good credit rating, it is possible that he or she could open a new credit card with a lower interest rate for the sole purpose of transferring the balance from a current card with a higher interest rate. Many cards offer promotions for zero-percent annual percentage rates (APRs) with no balance transfer fees during that limited time period. This idea may seem like a bad one since it encourages the person to rely on a credit card to pay off another credit card. However, it can be a good idea if the person has good credit and is dedicated to paying off the balance on the new card, once the old balance is transferred. It is also important that the card holder take advantage of the introductory period to make sure the interest rate stays low while the amount is paid off. Once the period is over, the interest rate could jump up, thus bringing the cardholder to square one.

  1. Credit Consolidation Loan

Another method that is possible to pay off credit card debt is through a credit card consolidation loan. These loans are also referred to as debt consolidation or personal loans. Many of them are unsecured, meaning the person does not need to have assets or collateral to cover the obligation. The interest rates on these loans are usually lower than what the credit card interest rates would be, which makes it a little easier for the borrower to pay back the loan and make progress rather than pay the minimum payment owed on the credit card. Another benefit is the loan allows the person to only make one monthly payment rather than several different minimum payments on various credit cards. It is possible the borrower will need a cosigner, depending on his or her credit score, to back up the loan.

  1. Debt Management Plan

Another option that is available to individuals struggling to pay off credit card debt is a debt management plan. Debt management plans line the debtor up with a credit counselor who works with that person to create a budget and a plan to pay back the debt. The counselor will also speak with the person’s creditors on behalf of that individual and can often negotiate down the debt amount or terms of repayment. It is important to find a quality company when choosing a debt management company. Do research before jumping into the first choice and ensure that the company is legitimate and not a scam. An average debt management plan can take anywhere from four to five years for a person to successfully clear his or her debt.

  1. File for Bankruptcy

If none of these options work or if the debt is simply too much, bankruptcy may be the best option. Chapter 7 is the fastest form of consumer bankruptcy and forgives most unsecured debts like credit card debt, medical bills and personal loans.  There are certain qualifications a consumer must meet in regards to income, assets and expenses to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is determined by the bankruptcy means test.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2018/06/26/credit-card-debt-5-cost-effective-ways-you-can-erase/714014002/

 

Miami Residents Carry Second Highest Credit Card Debt Balance in the Country

July 5, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many people and breaking the cycle can be even more of a challenge. While no one specific timeline works for every person when it comes to paying off credit card debt, it can take years of dedication and regular payments above the minimum to finally pay off a credit card. According to a recent study, it takes the average Florida resident around two years to get out of credit card debt.

The study published by CreditCards.com reported that people living in the Miami metro area, which includes both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, carry the second-highest credit card debt balances in the country, second to San Antonio, Texas. Texas was reported as being a state with three of the five cities that reportedly had the highest credit card debt.

According to the study, Florida residents holding this much credit card debt would need an estimated 21 months to pay off the current card balance. Those living in San Antonio were reported as only needing one more month, meaning 22 months, to bring the balance to zero.

The CreditCards.com study reviewed median income across the country to average credit card debt by taking data that was provided through the credit reporting company, Experian. The data looked at high debt burdens when the balance on the card was significantly high as compared to the residents’ income being reported as average or below average.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, San Francisco, a well-known area for residents living with higher-than-average income, was reported as having the lowest-reported credit card debt. The average San Francisco resident can pay off his or her debt in 13 months. The reason that debt can be paid off so quickly is the average San Francisco resident earns enough income to pay off this debt comfortably.

Other cities that reported lower debt burdens included Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The report indicated that the size of the debt was not so much the problem in the Miami area but rather the debt-to-income ratio. \South Florida residents are taking on more credit card debt than they have the income to handle.

The CreditCard.com study is not the first one that had reported that many Miami-area residents suffer from low income and high financial obligations. An additional report recently shows that Miami residents paid the highest proportions of their income on rent than any other area in the nation. In fact, it has been reported that the Miami-area is one of the least affordable places to live in the nation.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Debt Collectors’ Dialing Strategies Come Under Scrutiny in State Supreme Court Ruling

June 28, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A recent Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling has given consumers more protection from creditors seeking payment on outstanding debts while leaving some questions unanswered for creditors. The court has ruled in Armata v. Target Corporation, that creditors are not exempt from rules that limit contact with consumers who owe them money.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

In this case, the consumer, Debra Armata, incurred debt through her Target-brand debit card, and this debt became more than 30 days past due. Target then began to collect on the debt and contacted Armata using a predictive dialer. These devices transfer the cardholders who do answer the phone to a live representative about 95 percent of the time with the other five percent of the time leading the person to a recorded message.  There are no voicemails left if the person does not answer the phone.

Under Massachusetts law, debt collection laws limit how many times a creditor can try to contact a consumer telephonically to collect on a debt, limiting these calls to two every seven days. However, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General, any unsuccessful attempts by the creditor do not constitute initiation of communication if the creditor was “truly unable” to reach the debtor or leave a message.

Target did not argue that it contacted the plaintiff more than two times in seven days. However, the company argued it did not initiate communications because it uses an auto dialer and does not leave voicemails if no one answers. The company stated it was exempt from these regulations for this reason as it was “truly unable” to reach Armata.

The Court disputed this argument stating that Target was trying to create too large of a loophole that would essentially allow any creditor to avoid the limits imposed by state law by using auto dialing technology. It would leave debtors unprotected from these continuous communications.

The attorney general’s term “truly unable” was better defined in the opinion. One example given by the court was if the person did not answer the phone and did not set up his or her voicemail. If that situation occurred or the person’s voicemail was full, or phone disconnected, then the company would qualify as being “truly unable” to reach the consumer.

The court also clarified that creditors who use automatic dialers or those who voluntarily decide to not leave voicemail messages, such as Target, are subject to the state’s regulations.

Target had also argued that the company was not able to leave voicemail messages because doing this would risk violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The court pointed out that the company did not fall within the restrictions of the FDCPA, since that law covers third-party debt collection agencies and not the actual creditors themselves, such as Target.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.