Posts Tagged: ‘Credit Score’

New Rule makes it Harder for Medical Debt to Impact your Credit Score

October 5, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Consumers are getting some good news when it comes to their credit scores.  A new set of rules have taken effect this week that will make it more difficult for medical debt to damage your credit score, it will also not hurt your chances of qualifying for new credit.

The three credit reporting agencies now have to wait 180 days before putting an unpaid medical bill onto your credit report.  Going back and forth with your insurance company over an outstanding medical bill?  Unpaid medical bills that later get paid by your insurance must be removed from your credit report as well.

This new rule builds additional time between patients and insurance companies to resolve such matters.  Up until this point, there was no grace period and medical debt could appear on your credit report as soon as it was reported as an unpaid debt.  Medical offices tend to do this on their own schedule, sometimes as early as 30 days, while insurers may take longer to fully process claims.

The new waiting period carves out time for patients, their doctors, and insurers to work through legitimate grievances, and makes it harder for unpaid bills to hurt your credit score.  It also allows much-needed time for those suffering from illness and injury to sort out who owes what.

Credit bureaus have taken steps to remove medical bill collections that are less than 180 days old.  One out of five credit reports contain overdue medical debt, according to a 2014 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That means 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt negatively affecting their credit.

If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the medical provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan.  If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay.  Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits.  Florida is one of these states.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney 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, 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.

What You Should Know before Closing out A Credit Card

July 19, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When closing out a credit card, the effects it can have on your credit score lie in the details.  Here are some important facts you need to know before closing out your card.

  1. Age Matters. The age of your credit card that is. The average age of your open accounts makes up 15 percent of your overall credit score. So if the card you are closing out has been open for a long time, it really is better to keep it open and pay it in full, otherwise your score will be negatively effected.
  2. Available Credit. Your credit utilization ratio is important. A low credit utilization ratio would be if you have $300 or less on a credit card that allows you to spend $1,000.  A high credit utilization ratio is if you have $993 in charges on a card that gives you a credit limit of $1,000.  Lenders do not like you to do this and your score will be penalized as a result.
  3. Automatic payments. If you have been using your credit card to make payments on your car insurance or electric bill each month automatically, make sure and update this information timely before closing out the card.  This way you can avoid getting hit with late fees and other penalties.
  4. Rewards. If you have accumulated reward points on your credit card, redeem them first before closing out the card.  Otherwise you will likely lose them.
  5. Verify. It can take up to a month or two before the account is closed, so keep that in mind. Mistakes on credit reports are also fairly common. In fact, a recent study revealed that one in five consumers have at least one error on their credit report. It is always a good idea to double-check your account has been completely closed out.

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.

Related Resources: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/12/10-things-to-know-before-closing-a-credit-card.html

Mark Your Calendars: Starting July 1, certain negative marks will vanish from credit reports

June 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Starting July 1, many people with tax liens, civil judgments and certain medical debts will see a boost to their credit scores.  The three largest credit bureaus- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, will no longer report a tax lien or civil judgment on a consumer’s credit report if it does not include the person’s name, address and either their social security number or date of birth.  Existing liens missing this information will also be expunged.

Consumer-friendly changes will also be made to the way medical debts are reported. According to the new rules, bureaus will not display medical collections until at least six months after the account became delinquent.  They will also remove any existing medical collections that insurance companies have paid or are paying for.  After the liens and judgments are expunged, some consumers can expect to see their credit score increase by as much as 40 points- enough to affect a loan approval or the terms.  The leading scoring company, FICO, estimated that out of 200 million “scorable” consumers, roughly 12 million will have a lien or judgment disappear from their report.

Starting July 1, the credit bureaus also will check lien and judgment data every 90 days to make sure the information is still accurate. These changes come as credit bureaus have been put under pressure from regulators and state attorneys general to improve the accuracy of credit reporting.  To confirm their data is correct, consumers should get a free copy of their credit report from each of the three bureaus once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

The Surprising Debts Holding Many Americans Back

June 15, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent survey, student loans and credit card bills are not the only debt holding many Americans back.  Credit Sesame, a site consumers can use to check their credit score, analyzed more than 5,000 user accounts and found they had significant amounts of debt from medical expenses, utility bills and cell phone charges.

Consumers whose medical debt had gone into collections had an average of three accounts, with a combined total of $3,670 in collections.  The average balance for customers who had cell phone bills in collections totaled $887 per account.  Customers whose utility bills were in collections owe $368 on average per account, the study concluded.

Not surprisingly, having those bills in collections hurt consumers’ credit scores.  The average credit score for someone whose medical debt is in collections is 552.  Those who have delinquent cell phone accounts have average scores of 550.  And those who have outstanding utility bills have a score of 542.

Lenders see applicants with lower credit scores as riskier than applicants with higher credit scores.  They oftentimes make you pay for this risk by charging a higher interest rate.  A poor credit score can affect your ability to rent an apartment, as landlords often check an applicant’s credit score before allowing you to sign a lease.

Utility companies may require you pay a deposit before setting up your service.  Even certain jobs and employers can discriminate against applicants who have a less than perfect credit report. Certain jobs, particularly those in upper management or the finance industry, require a good credit history.  Note: employers check your credit report and not your credit score.  They are not necessarily checking for bad credit, but for items that could affect your job performance.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

Related Resources:
https://www.thebalance.com/side-effects-of-bad-credit-960383

6 Credit Score Killers and How to Avoid Them

February 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

There are financial missteps you can make that are guaranteed to lower your credit score.  One of the biggest factors in determining your credit score is your past payment history, but there are other things you may be doing that can affect your score in a negative way.

  • A first missed payment. Per a FICO study, a single 30-day late payment can cause a good credit score of 780 to fall 90 to 110 points. An average score of 680, can fall by 60 to 80 points. You can avoid missing payments by setting up auto-pay from a linked checking account every month.  If auto pay makes you uneasy, you can set up automatic alerts that will remind you when your bill is due.
  • A maxed out credit card. Credit utilization is the second most important factor of credit scores, so reaching your card’s credit limit can be problematic. What’s worse, is if you have multiple cards you are doing this with. Remember, for optimal credit score results, it is recommended you keep the amount of debt you owe collectively and on individual cards below 30%, and ideally 10% of your credit limit.
  • An error. This happens more often than you might think.  A report from the Federal Trade Commission discovered that one in five Americans had an error on their credit reports.  Staying on top of your credit score and monitoring it for mistakes can help.
  • An account in collections. That medical bill you thought insurance covered or a utility bill you forgot to pay in college can drop your score 50 to 100 points (if it winds up on your credit report).  That account can legally stay there for up to seven years, plus 180 days from the date of your first missed payment. Keep an eye on your mail for any outstanding debts and resist the urge to ignore a call from a debt collector.
  • Applying for several credit cards or loans at a time. These credit inquiries account for 10% of your credit score.  Keep credit applications to a minimum.  Making several requests in a short period of time can cause your credit score to dip.
  • Closing out your old credit cards. Another component of your credit score, 15%, is the length of your credit history. Closing old credit cards, especially your oldest card, makes your credit history seem shorter than it really is.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

Related Resources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/5-big-credit-score-killers-110000016.html

https://www.thebalance.com/things-that-hurt-credit-score-960510