One of the most difficult things for many a homeowner during the recession following the recent financial crisis is that through job loss, or through underemployment, foreclosure might be imminent. In order to help those who are in danger of foreclosure due to income loss, the government is offering the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP). This program is limited, though. You only have until July 22 to get your preliminary application in, so you need to act fast!
You know that your consumer profile is used by financial services providers to make a number of decisions about you. Before I could get satellite TV service, I had to submit to a credit check. Employers increasingly want a peek at your credit report, and insurers often use your credit as one of the criteria in determining your premiums. But your credit history isn’t the only thing that others are interested in. Consumer behavior — and how to protect against risks — is becoming a major concern of many financial services companies. Which is why banks are increasing their efforts to learn more about you.Continue Reading
I like to travel, but sometimes a vacation just isn’t practical. After all, a vacation can require quite a bit of planning — and expense. You have to plan airfare (or pay for gas when you take a road trip), pay for hotel stays, and arrange for food. All of this can become overwhelming as well as costly. If you want to go on a trip, but know that a full-on vacation isn’t practical, you can plan a staycation.
Here are some ideas for frugal staycations:Continue Reading
Recently, Citi experienced a data breach that exposed credit card numbers and contact information of about 1% of its customers. When you consider CitiGroup has tens of millions of customers, you realize that’s a pretty big number. Citi says that it is contacting those who were impacted, but that could take a while. Meanwhile, if you have a Citi account, you might want to consider how to protect yourself.
What Should You Watch Out For?
If there is some good news in this, it’s that, by law, your liability for fraudulent credit card purchases is $50. (With debit purchases, many issuers offer limited protection, but you usually have to notify the issuer within two days if you want liability limited to $50. If you take too long, you could find your checking account drained — and no recourse.) However, it’s often better not to wait until a fraudulent purchase is made; you can call and ask for a new account number and a replacement card.
One of the issues that has received a lot of attention lately is that of employers checking the credit of job applicants.
Supposedly, an employer can only look at your credit report — and only a version that is meant for employers to see.
Employers are supposed to get your permission before checking your credit report, and they are expected to stay away from your credit score. (There are some anecdotes involving employers who check credit scores, but credit bureaus claim they don’t knowingly give scores out to employers.) Many people are upset that employers are asking to see your credit report, while others contend that it is a necessity for some jobs.
What happens if employers start checking credit scores?Continue Reading
Not too long ago, the U.S. reached its debt ceiling. The amount of money the U.S. can borrow from others is determined by law, and Congress has to approve borrowing beyond a certain point. In the past, the debt ceiling has always been raised to accommodate the growing debt in the U.S. Indeed, in the past, both parties have been mostly content to raise the debt ceiling. Now, though, there is a battle brewing as Republicans refuse to vote to raise the debt ceiling. That means that the U.S. won’t be able to borrow money in order to meet its obligations.
Ever since the financial crisis in 2008, and the resultant recession, there has been a renewed interest in canceling credit cards and getting out of debt. Additionally, the upswing in fees from many credit card issuers has prompted some to want to cancel credit cards in order to avoid those fees. Many card issuers are instituting annual fees, leading even the most responsible and conscientious card users to feel the costs of credit card spending.
However, just because it’s tempting to cancel your credit card, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Before you cancel your card, consider the effect that a cancellation could have on your credit score.Continue Reading