Posts Tagged: ‘credit cards’

Life After Bankruptcy: Getting a Credit Card Again

October 25, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you have recently filed for bankruptcy, you may be wondering about the possibility of getting a new credit card. Before you apply for a credit card, it is important to make sure you have a stable job and the ability to pay your other bills such as rent and utilities.

If bad financial decisions led to your bankruptcy, you may want to avoid getting a credit card for a while. However, if unexpected events such as a divorce or a job loss led to your money problems, you may be able to handle a credit card again.

Below are three important things to consider before filling out a credit card application:

  1. Timing is everything. Your bankruptcy must be discharged before you can get a credit card. Lenders will deny a line of credit during a bankruptcy proceeding because the account can be included in the bankruptcy. It takes approximately three months for debts to be discharged after the initial filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy entails a three to five-year partial repayment plan and therefore takes much longer to be fully discharged.
  2. Weigh your options, good and bad. A recent bankruptcy will drag down your credit score for some time. As a result, you will likely receive credit card offerings from subprime lenders. Keep in mind that these credit cards typically come with higher interest rates and low limits. In addition, they typically require frequent fees that are much higher than most. A better option after a bankruptcy discharge is a secured credit card. This type of card is designed for consumers with bad or no credit. They are backed by a security you are required to put down. Secured cards have low limits and high interest rates but do not typically charge annual fees.
  3. Monitor your credit score. If you do get a secured card, do not spend more than 30 percent of the credit limit and pay off the balance every month. If you follow these two rules, your credit score should improve in time.

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If you have any 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.

Beware of Credit Card Skimming Scams at Gas Stations

October 25, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Consumer protection officials are warning consumers about a new form of high-tech theft that can affect all credit and debt card users. Scammers are using devices known as ‘skimmers’ at gas pumps to steal account information from debit and credit cards that are swiped. These devices are also commonly found at ATMs.

According to Mississippi state Attorney General, Jim Hood, the devices are difficult to detect and come in two forms: internal or external. The external devices fit over the actual card readers at the pumps. The internal devices are typically communication cables connected to a device that records data from the cards.

“These devices may go undetected for weeks, all the while gathering sensitive account information from unsuspecting consumers,” Hood said. “Consumers need to call their financial institutions immediately if they see any unauthorized activity on their accounts, and watch closely for signs of tampering when using gas pumps or ATMs.”

Authorities offer the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of card skimming:

  • Pick pumps close to the entrance of the gas station or convenience store. Skimmers usually target pumps that are not near the entrance.
  • Pay with cash.
  • If you’re using a debit card, choose the option to process the payment as credit so scammers do not have access to your PIN.
  • Lightly wiggle the card reader on the pump. External skimmers might feel loose and come off.
  • Ask gas stations and convenience stores what type of anti-skimming measures they have adopted.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, more than 250 skimmers were confiscated from gas pumps between July 2015 and July 2016. Approximately 100 consumers’ card numbers were stolen from each device and $1,000 stolen from each consumer.

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If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Credit Card Use Increasing Among Consumers with Low Credit Scores

August 30, 2016 Posted by kingcade

According to the latest quarterly report on household debt, credit cards are making a comeback in a big way.  In the second quarter, total household debt increased by $35 billion to $12.3 trillion. The two driving factors: auto loans and credit cards.

While auto loans have been on a steady incline for the past six years, rising credit-card balances are a new development. After the 2007 Great Recession, households cut back on credit-card use until 2014. This was also in part to financial institutions strengthening credit requirements for risky borrowers.

Since that time, card balances have risen by about $70 billion. From 2008 to 2013, total household debts dropped by more than $1.5 trillion. However, first student loan and auto loan balances began to rise, and then mortgages and finally credit cards.

The report reveals that credit cards are returning among individuals with low credit or subprime credit scores below 660. Among people with credit scores between 620 and 660, the share that had a credit card increased to 58.8% in 2015 from a low of 54.3% in 2013. Among those with scores below 620, the number of people with a credit card increased to 50% from a low of 45.6% two years ago. Both figures for 2015 are the highest since 2008.

These figures were generated from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel that analyzed millions of consumer credit reports from Equifax.

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If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Household Credit Card Debt Still on the Rise

August 5, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Financial experts believe the average household credit card debt will reach the “tipping point” of financial sustainability by the end of 2016. During the first quarter of 2016, Americans paid down approximately $26.8 billion in credit card debt; however, this is the lowest amount paid down in one quarter since 2008. By the end of 2015, credit card debt had reached $917.7 billion, up $71 billion from 2014. Analysts predict that national credit card debt will exceed $1 trillion dollars by the end of 2016.

A study conducted by CardHub found that the average American household’s credit card balance was more than $7,500. The amount is approximately $831 less than what the study considers the “tipping point” of financial sustainability.

Another study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet found that on average, people spend 12 to 18 percent more when they use a credit card, rather than cash.

The number of cards the average American uses is also on the rise. In 2015, data from Experian revealed that the average number of cards borrowers had was 2.24 cards per person, up from 2.18 cards per person in 2014.

One of the factors financial experts attribute to the rise in credit card debt is the lack of emergency funds. Many Americans are using credit cards for unexpected expenses without reducing their expenses, rather than using credit cards as a substitute for cash.

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If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Miami Ranked As One of the Worst Major U.S. Cities for Managing Money

July 28, 2016 Posted by kingcade

CreditCards.com recently ranked the nation’s cities in terms of money management by comparing credit scores and an index of U.S. Census Bureau data including: average income, education level, unemployment rate and the population ages of the 25 largest cities. According to the report, Miami ranked as one of the worst major cities in the country for managing their money. In fact, Miami came in 22nd. Tampa ranked 23rd on the list with Washington, D.C. at 24th and Baltimore at 25th. Los Angeles was ranked as the best city in the nation at money management, followed by Minneapolis as second and New York as third.

In order to rank the cities, the report focused on which city residents were paying their bills on time, keeping low credit card balances and not “over-applying” for credit, according to CreditCards.com senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. The original theory was that the older, richer and more educated residents would have higher credit scores, however, the data proved that factors such as cost of living, divorce rate and mobility level greatly impacted scores.

For example, although the Washington D.C. residents brought home a larger annual income than most cities, they also carried significantly higher credit card balances than other cities.

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If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.