Credit Blog

Here you'll find my latest podcasts and new articles. And, as always, I am happy to answer your credit questions!

Sep 03, 2015

7 Ways to Build Credit Without a Credit Card

Let’s say you know you want good credit, but you also know you do NOT want the most ubiquitous credit product around. No way do you want a credit card. Perhaps you follow a certain personal finance guru’s advice to avoid them. Or maybe you’ve gotten in trouble with them before and don’t want to take any chances with having one again. Whatever the reason, you don’t want to go the plastic route.

But is the road to good credit paved with anything else? Good credit will be important if you hope to someday borrow money for a car, a home, cover an unexpected medical bill, or even qualify to rent an apartment.

Luckily, it’s possible to get there without a credit card. You may already be doing it without knowing it.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 02, 2015

I Went to 6 Military Bases & Here Are Our Troops’ Biggest Money Worries

Imagine you’re stressed about your finances. Maybe you feel like you’re drowning in credit card debt. Or you’re trying to stretch a paycheck further and further each month, and it seems like it’s two steps forward, one step back. Or there was a billing snafu and now a debt collector is calling, threatening to ruin your credit.

It would be no surprise if that stress spilled over to your job, making you feel on on edge, anxious. You may not be sleeping well. But now imagine that in your case, your money troubles could cost you your job. Or worse, distraction could put you and your co-workers in danger.

For some members of our Armed Forces, this is exactly what they face when their finances aren’t in good shape.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Sep 01, 2015

Easy to Start Pet Businesses

It’s a staggering number. The American Pet Products Association estimates that pet owners will spend over $60 billion on their pets in 2015. Owners love their pets and don’t mind spending money on them. If you need extra income, or a new career, you can profit from pet ownership.

As the former owner of a pet grooming business, I know how profitable it can be. Most pet businesses require little or no education, are easy to learn, and only require three things: a love of animals, a strong desire to learn, and dependability. If you have those traits, a pet business might be your solution to extra income or permanent employment.

From experience, I can say that pet owners are always looking for reliable, trustworthy individuals to care for their pets. Those traits can be parlayed into different types of businesses. Selling pet products can boost income, too. If this sounds interesting, check out these ideas.

This article by Kelli Clevenger first appeared on The Dollar Stretcher and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 31, 2015

How I'm Rebuilding My Credit After Bankruptcy

Tracy M. (he asked we not share his full name) is rebuilding his credit for the second time. It’s a long haul but despite numerous obstacles — including six-figure student loan debt that has tripled due to fees and interest — he’s not giving up.

His experience with credit started in college when a furniture store offered his a credit line of about $1,800, which he says he maxed out with his first purchase. He made his payments on time, and when he paid the balance off, he was inundated with offers for credit cards. He accepted those he thought had reasonable interest rates (between 9% and 14% at the time).

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 28, 2015

Financial Paperwork and Information Your Elderly Parents Should Have On Hand

Your elderly parents need help keeping their financial paperwork in order. You want to help, but you don’t know what information you need to have and where it should be kept. And, you’re afraid that a mistake could be very costly in both time and money.

To help us understand how to help elderly parents with their financial paperwork, we contacted Dr. Cathleen V. Carr, BA mcl, MA, JD, Msc.D. She also holds a doctorate in regenerative medicine, is a lawyer, published author, lifetime caregiver, ordained minister, and the founder and Executive Director of CertifiedCare.

This article by Gary Foreman first appeared on The Dollar Stretcher and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 28, 2015

3 Small Business Loans That Don’t Require Good Credit

Starting and growing a business can be a risky proposition. Many owners go all in, using personal loans or credit cards to fund their start-ups. But what if you have bad credit? Can you still get funds to launch or expand your venture? The answer is “yes.” And, in fact, it’s easier than ever to get small business funding without a credit check, if you know where to look.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Garrett Sutton was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 27, 2015

We Bought a Car & My Wife Lost Her Job. Now What?

A reader reached out to us recently with a question that is the stuff of nightmares:

I bought my car last Wednesday brand new. I find out today my wife was getting furloughed and we won’t be able to afford the note, what options do I have?

When your financial resources change for the worse, buyer’s remorse is just about a given. Heaven knows you would not have made the same decision if only you had known what was about to happen. If you signed the contract though, you’re legally on the hook.

But that may not mean our reader is out of luck. If, by chance, he bought the car at Carmax, he almost certainly can return it. “There is no ‘cooling off’ period when you buy a new car,” explains Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. “This means that, unless you purchased the car from Carmax, which has a stated return policy, you are legally required to make all the payments in your contract.”

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 26, 2015

How I Raised My Credit Score 100 Points in 3 Months

After years of zero debt and paying off her credit cards every month, Kristen valued her high credit score. But that was before the tsunami of divorce and single parenthood made it all but impossible to maintain. Kristen had been out of the paid workforce when she was an at-home military parent living in Germany. Once in the States, she knew she needed to return to school to train for what she hoped would be a well-paying job.

But again, things did not go exactly according to plan. She had trouble finding work in her field as a graphic artist. She was working part time, “and I just fell behind.” Her student loans were in default, and she really didn’t see a way to turn things around without a dramatic new start. She decided to take the radical step of selling her car and donating most of her belongings. She mailed what she would need to her grandparents, and then she bought one-way tickets for her daughter and herself from her home in Nebraska to Louisiana, to live with them for a couple of months while she got on her feet.

She found a job that used some of the skills she went back to school to acquire, and she purchased health insurance for herself and her daughter. And, with that glimmer of hope, she made some calls to see what she needed to do to get her student loans out of default (she now pays $5 a month on an income-based program, but she knows it will reset much higher). She’s not even chipping away at the $46,000 she owes, since the total grows while she makes minimal payments, but at least she’s no longer in default.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 25, 2015

How to Use the GI Bill to Pay for Your Kid’s College

Ingrid Bruns admits that she and her husband, Arch, probably didn’t save as much for their two daughters’ college educations as they should have. Though the couple is careful with their money (Ingrid became an Accredited Financial Counselor while living overseas as a military spouse, and now serves as director of Military Life Advice at USAA), college savings took a back seat to other savings goals, including the "forever home" they recently purchased.

"We both used personal savings and worked our way through college, so we assumed our kids would do the same," she says. But college costs have increased dramatically since she and her husband earned their degrees, and their approach simply isn't feasible for their daughters, one of whom is a college freshman and the other a junior.

But the Bruns family doesn't have to scramble as much as some, because they have one ace in the hole: the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Arch's career in the Air Force earned him benefits through this valuable program, and because he hasn’t used them himself, he was able to transfer them to his daughters.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Aug 24, 2015

10 $2 Lunches You Can Make For Your Kids

Need fast, easy and inexpensive ideas for your kid’s lunches? Here are ten meals for less than $2 each, created by Erin Chase, mom of four boys and founder of FiveDollarDinners.com; and Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini (also a mom).

Both say planning ahead is key. Take advantage of sales, and combine them with coupons whenever possible. By shopping smart and making lunches in batches, you can save money. As an added bonus, you’ll save time while making meals your kids will actually eat. Chase offers a free lunchbox ideas list on her website, and Pavini’s menu uses free downloadable coupons from Coupons.com to cut costs. You can even use a rewards credit card to purchase your groceries, pay it off in full, and treat yourself later for being such a great parent!

Get the recipes using the link below.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This article by Gerri Detweiler was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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Mar 25, 2015

My ebook Debt Collection Answers is now FREE!

I am super excited to announce that our ebook Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights is now free! Collection accounts wreak such havoc on people's financial lives, and sometimes scare the you-know-what out of them. My coauthor Mary Reed--who has been doing most of the heavy lifting on this project--wanted to help consumers fight back. And most of all we wanted to give them the information and resources to do so.

The ebook is on Smashwords which meas it can be downloaded in a almost every format: Kindle, Nook, Tablet, PC et. And more are coming soon!

Did I mention it is free? I hope you will download it today. When the new edition comes out the free offer will be very brief and then there will be a charge for it. So take advantage of this awesome resource today!

Download our ebook for free here!

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Feb 11, 2015

How to Get High Limit Credit Card Offers

A listener wants to get high limit credit cards offers - and 0% interest. Here's a surprising way he may pull that off!

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Dec 12, 2014

Medical Bills Ruin Millions of People's Credit

You may have seen the headlines this week highlighting a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about medical debt and credit reports. Among the findings:

- Half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt;

- One out of five credit reports contains overdue medical debt;

- 15 million consumers have only medical debt on their credit reports;

- Average reported medical debt is $579

I am thankful the CFPB is bringing this issue to the forefront, and can only add that it’s about time. Their findings were not surprising to me and many of my colleagues who have been writing about this issue for years. It’s not surprising to Rodney Anderson, a Texas mortgage broker who has been spearheading an effort in Congress to change the law regarding medical bills on credit reports. It’s not a surprise to Mark Rukavina or Jeanne Pinder, policy experts who are championing transparency in medical billing.

I have interviewed all of these experts previously on Talk Credit Radio and you will find their interviews on my medical debt podcast page linked to below.

You may also want to read this op-ed I wrote last year calling for a Fair Medical Billing Act, similar to the Fair Credit Billing Act that protects consumers in the case of unfair medical billing practices. The truth of the matter is that we currently have more rights when it comes to disputing a $10 credit card charge than we do when it comes to a $1000 medical bill.

I can’t emphasize how important this issue is to consumer’s ability to build and maintain strong credit rating. As it stands right now, one medical bill snafu can drop your credit score by 50, 75, 100 points or more.

I encourage you to listen to the podcasts on this topic and if this issue has affected you - or alarms you - contact your elected officials in Washington.

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Sep 28, 2014

Involunatarily Hospitalized: Do I Have to Pay?

John was recently hospitalized against his will, after he vented to a suicide hotline that put them on hold indefinitely. As a result, he is facing $2000 bill. He shared his story recently with me for the Credit.com blog. The story also ran on Yahoo! where there were over 1000 comments in just a few hours!

While John's story may seem unique, I've heard many complaints from people who have received what they believed to be unnecessary medical tests or treatment, sometimes against their protests. When they try to fight it, the bill may be sent to collections and their credit reports are damaged for seven years.

What do you think? Should John have to pay this bill? Have you been billed for medical services you believe were unwarranted? I'd love to hear your comments!

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Feb 13, 2014

How to Get Maximum Reward Points

My guest Brian Kelly caught the rewards points bug when he was only 13 years old and help a family trip to the Grand Cayman Islands using mostly reward

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