Posts Tagged: ‘credit cards’

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.

Americans Underreport Credit Card Debt by $415 Billion

February 29, 2016 Posted by kingcade

A recent study conducted by NerdWallet showed that consumers are underreporting their credit card debt. In December 2013, lenders reported approximately $683 billion in outstanding credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. However, Americans only reported having $268 billion in credit card debt.

The $415 billion discrepancy in reported credit card debt was far greater than any other type of debt, including student loans and mortgage debt. The reasoning is likely due to the stigma surrounding credit card debt, according to NerdWallet.

According to the study, 70 percent of Americans think credit card debt has a more negative stigma attached to it than any other type of debt. Mortgage and student loan debt is often considered “good” debt and credit card debt is considered “bad” debt. As a result, consumers may be underreporting credit card debt because they are ashamed of the amount of credit card debt they have. The survey also found that 35 percent of Americans would be embarrassed to tell others they have credit card debt, significantly more than any other type of debt.

How to pay off your credit card debt

Credit cards typically have the highest interest rates among other types of debt, therefore it is important to pay them off as quickly as possible. The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly how much you owe. You can do this by logging into your credit card account’s website. While you are logged in, note the balance, interest rate, minimum payment and due date.

Once you have determined how much you owe with each credit card account, make the account with the highest interest rate your top priority. Pay any extra that you can each month on that account. Once it is paid off, move on to the account with the second highest interest rate, and continue paying off each account by the highest interest rates.

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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, 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