COVID-19, Credit Card Debt

Credit Card Debt Falls 9 Percent Despite Decline in Economic Conditions

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit the country’s economy hard, but this fact does not seem to be reflected in the nation’s credit card debt According to statistics from credit reporting agency, Experian, credit card balances have declined at a record rate in 2020.  

Economic crises tend to lead to a change in consumer behavior. World War II pushed consumers to change their spending habits in ways they had not done before. The COVID-19 pandemic with forced lockdowns and widespread unemployment has likewise put things into perspective for American consumers, pushing them to change their spending habits, as well, including how they use their credit cards.  

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Personal Loan Debt Reported as the Fastest Growing Category of Consumer Debt

A new trend is being observed when it comes to consumer debt across the country. More often than before personal loans are being utilized by consumers looking to pay for unexpected or needed expenses. In fact, personal loan debt was reported as being the fastest growing category of consumer debt in 2018. Personal loans reached a record high of $291 billion as of the last quarter of 2018, according to a new study from credit reporting agency, Experian.

Experian compared lending figures from 2017 to 2018 and found an 11.9 increase in personal lending in the course of one year. In fact, the increase of consumers taking out personal loans was nearly double the growth rate of consumers taking out new credit cards. Between 2017 and 2018, an increase of 5.9 percent was seen in credit card applications while personal loans grew at the reported 11.9 percent. In comparison, car loans saw an increase of 4.3 percent while student loans saw a jump of only 5.8 percent and mortgages at 2.8 percent.

One reason for the increase of personal lending has been attributed to the similar increase of online lenders and other financial technology that makes it easier for someone to get these type of loans.  These loans require only a signature as a promise to pay. High interest personal loans are oftentimes a last resort for borrowers who are in financial trouble and lenders know it. The terms and conditions are not favorable to the borrower.  If the borrower wishes to pay off the loan early, there often exit fees and penalties that come as a result.

According to the study, currently 36.8 million outstanding personal loans exist in the United States. These loans vary depending on whether they are secured by collateral or were issued unsecured. Many consumers utilize personal loans as a means of consolidating debt, while others use personal loans to finance larger purchases. Regardless of their reasons, it is estimated that 10.8 percent of adults have at least one personal loan debt.

It is estimated that the average personal loan balance, as of the end of 2018, is $15,143 with an average monthly payment of $353. Personal loans tend to carry a higher interest rate, especially those that are unsecured, and the average annual percentage rate on a personal loan is currently 9.37 percent.

Of all the age categories surveyed, the Baby Boomer generation had the highest average personal loan balance owed of $19,403. Millennials carried an average balance of $12,574, while Generation Z held the lowest balance of $5,941.

The survey found that Washington had the highest average personal loan balance in the amount of $27,295. Washington was followed by South Dakota who had an average loan balance of $26,597, Oregon with a balance of $26,527, North Dakota with a balance of $26,281, and Montana who had an average balance of $24,725. Of all the states surveyed, New Mexico was the state that had the highest number of personal loans taken out per person in the state, with a rate of 1.7. Other states with similar rates included Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Of all the states surveyed, Hawaii was found to have the lowest average personal loan balance of $12,638. Other states with lower average balances included Kentucky, Illinois, and Georgia, as well as the District of Columbia.

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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.

 

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Two New Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

Credit scores play a major role in your ability to do many different things in life, ranging from getting a mortgage or car loan to being approved for renting an apartment. A good credit score can also secure a lower interest rate when you do receive financing for a large purchase. It pays to have a good credit score and rebuilding a damaged credit score can take time.

There are two new ways to boost your credit score. These new programs include the UltraFICO from Fair Issac, the creator of the FICO Score, and Experian Boost. These two new programs can potentially help you increase your score, especially if you have a limited credit history or have a lower credit score.

UltraFICO

The first of these scores, the UltraFICO was launched in January 2019 and is planned on being available to most lenders in the U.S. by mid-2019. The program is part of a joint venture with FICO, Experian and Finicity. UltraFICO allows FICO to look at a consumer’s bank and financial accounts to show lenders that you do have savings and the money available to make loan or credit payments if approved for financing.

FICO anticipates that this program will benefit approximately seven out of ten consumers whose financial accounts can show a history of good savings and financial behavior. Even consumers who do not have a FICO score currently could still be eligible to receive an UltraFICO score.

This score could be more beneficial to someone who has a rather large bank balance but a limited credit history. So long as the consumer can show he or she can save money responsibly, the fact that he or she has not applied for credit much in the past will not hurt them with the UltraFICO score.

One point to keep in mind is UltraFICO is only available for loans or credit cards that are applied for with a lender who uses Experian. If the lender uses Equifax or TransUnion, the borrower will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity. Before applying for the loan or credit, as the company which credit bureau they use to review new applicants. If the company says they do not use Experian, it may be advisable to use another institution if you believe the UltraFICO score will help you.

Experian Boost

Another program is set to be released in the early months of 2019, known as Experian Boost. The Experian Boost program is different from UltraFICO in that it allows lenders to review the borrower’s financial history through their bank accounts, specifically related to utility bill payments. The key is not to see that a consumer has a sizeable savings but rather a demonstrated, good history of paying his or her utility payments in a timely manner over a set span of time. Also, unlike the UltraFICO score, the data found through this review is added automatically and directly to your Experian credit report. The borrower must opt in to allow his or her utility information to be visible in the Experian credit report, and if the results are positive, they will be posted immediately to the borrower’s Experian score. Borrowers are allowed to sign up for early access to the program.

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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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Americans are Dying with an Average of $62K of Debt

According to data released in December 2016 by Credit.com, approximately 73 percent of consumers have outstanding debt when they die. On average, those consumers carried a total of $61,554, including mortgage debt. Excluding mortgages, the average balance was $12,875.

The data was collected by Experian’s FileOne database, which includes 220 consumers. Out of the 73 percent of consumers who had debt when they died, approximately 68 percent had credit card balances. The second most common kind of debt was mortgage debt at 37 percent, followed by auto loans at 25 percent, personal loans at 12 percent and student loans at six percent.

Most debt is eligible for cancellation after the borrower dies, such as federal student loan debt. However, the deceased person’s estate becomes responsible for most debt. If someone has enough assets to cover their debts, the creditors get paid and beneficiaries receive whatever remains. If there are not enough assets to satisfy debts, creditors lose out. In most cases, family members do not become responsible for the debt.

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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 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, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Consumer Credit Scores to Exclude Some Debt and Liens Starting July 1st

The nation’s three largest credit-reporting agencies will soon exclude tax liens and some civil debts from their reports. The change by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will take effect July 1st. According to the Consumer Data Industry Association, it is part of a plan to ensure that consumer identifications in the data are accurate and current.

The provision is likely to improve millions of American’s credit scores. If reports on those tax liens and civil debts do not include the consumers’ names, addresses and Social Security number, they will not be reported.  Additionally, the records will not be included without courthouse visits to obtain newly filed and updated public records at least every 90 days.

However, there are some controversies surrounding the changes. Although they are likely to help consumers appear more credit-worthy, the updated policies could potentially make loan-screening more difficult for lenders.

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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 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.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tips to Improve your Credit Score

Having a low credit score can cost you.  If you have a credit score of 620 or below, this is considered to be “bad credit.”  Lenders or credit card issuers, if they are willing to extend you credit at all, are likely to charge you a higher interest rate.  You may also have to pay a utility deposit when starting or renewing service, something people with good credit do not have to pay.  Having a bad credit score can even effect how much you pay for car insurance.

Now onto the good news- there are things you can do to improve your credit score.  Following these easy steps will help push your score in the right direction.

  • Watch your credit card balances.  A major factor in your credit score is how much revolving credit you have versus how much you are using.  The smaller the percentage, the better your credit rating.  The ideal amount is 30 percent or lower.
  • Eliminate small credit card balances.  When you have small balances on credit cards, pay them off.  Charging $50 on one card and $100 on another instead of using the same card (preferably one with a good interest rate) can hurt your credit score.
  • Leave “old debt” on your report. Some people believe that old debt on their credit report is a bad thing.  Good debt- such as a home or car you recently paid off – is actually good for your credit.  Do not close out old accounts where you have had a solid repayment history.
  • Use your calendar.  If you are shopping for a home, car or student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short period of time. Every time you apply for new credit, it can cause a small dip in your credit score, which can last up to a year.
  • Pay your bills on time. If you are planning a major purchase (like a home or car), one of the biggest factors in having a good credit score is simply making on-time payments month after month. Saving up money for a major purchase is smart; just don’t neglect your bills.  This can even extend to outstanding library books.  If the original creditor, such as the library, does not report it to the bureaus, they may eventually call in a collections agency to recoup the unpaid bill.
  • Avoid risk. One of the best ways to improve your credit score it to avoid purchases that might lower it.  This could include taking out cash advances, using cards at businesses that could cause future money stress, etc.
  • Do not obsess. If you are getting ready to make a big purchase, pull a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one of each of your three credit bureau reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for FREE every year through AnnualCreditReport.com. While the score you receive may not be the exact one the lender uses, it will grade you on many of the same criteria. If you are denied credit, the lender has to show you the credit score used in their decision making, thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/7-simple-ways-improve-credit-score-1.aspx

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Credit Reports More Accurately Reporting Debts Discharged in Bankruptcy

As a result of a class-action lawsuit settlement, the three major credit-reporting bureaus have made efforts to properly update credit reports after consumers have filed for bankruptcy. When you file for personal bankruptcy protection and you have debts that are discharged as a result, your credit report is supposed to be updated to show that you no longer have those debts to pay. Although the bureaus are working to ensure consumers’ credit reports are more accurate, consumers should be aware that their discharged debts will not immediately disappear from their credit reports. Prior to the class-action lawsuit, the bureaus were frequently failing to update consumers’ reports, making it hard for them to be approved for credit after filing for bankruptcy. An incorrect credit report not only incorrectly reflects their debt-to-income ratio, but it also makes it hard for consumers to improve their credit score.

The class-action lawsuit started as multiple lawsuits in 2005 and 2006. The case said that the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, were issuing credit reports stating that consumers were delinquent on loans and other forms of debt that had been eliminated through bankruptcy. Some plaintiffs in the case claimed that the three credit bureaus did not look into the errors, even after they had filed a complaint. Although the lawsuit was thrown out in the appeals court, improvements to the bureaus’ bankruptcy reporting procedures were already underway. A $45 million financial settlement in the suit was approved by the trial court, but later thrown out by the appeals court because the court claimed some plaintiffs in the case stood to benefit more than others.

Click here to read more about credit reports more accurately reporting debts discharged in bankruptcy.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

New Credit Scoring System, ‘The Extended View’ Released to Aid the Poorest of Consumers

“The Extended View” launched by Experian is a new credit scoring system that has the potential to bring as many as 64 million Americans without a credit score, back into the lending fold. The new system will help the poorest of consumers, taking into account the traditional credit scoring system. The Extended View will look at factors such as rental payment history, payday loan repayment history, missed child support payments, financial histories and public records. The scale will be similar to the one used by VantageScore which ranges from 401 – 900.
The president of Experian Consumer Information Services reported that approximately 15 lenders, both large and small were already considering using The Extended View scoring system. The lenders range anywhere from banks and auto lenders- to telephone and utility providers. Studies show that the number of ‘underbanked’ Americans will grow in the coming years, which is most likely the reason lenders are considering the new system. The system will allow a lender to request an “Extended View” score if the consumer has no traditional credit score.
To read more on this story visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/experian-new-credit-score-extended-view_n_1596943.html
If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced 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, P.A. at www.miamibankruptcy.com