Credit Smart





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 Credit Smart

Is an unsecured personal loan the best way to consolidate debt? -- Compare it to balance transfer and doing it yourself ... (See Personal loan)

Either yourself or with help, break the debt cycle -- Unpaid debt just leads to more unpaid debt, and the pattern has to be stopped ... (See Debt cycle)

Know closing date to maximize your interest-free grace period -- Do you hate paying credit card interest? Know your card account's closing date ... (See Grace)

Can I lose my house over credit card debt? -- Probably not, but ignoring debt will just make things worse ... (See Lose house)

Deep card debt jeopardizes hopes to fund children’s college -- Action must be taken to get a handle on $80,000 card debt before more loans get taken out for college-ready daughter ... (See Debt)

Know debt settlement companies' full cost -- You will trash your credit and may owe a larger tax bill ... (See Settlement)

Credit counselors don't report you to credit bureaus -- The agencies' debt management plans are credit-score neutral ... (See Report)

Staying on track after getting a debt consolidation loan -- Set up autopayments, put some of your gains in savings and keep credit card accounts open ... (See Loan)

Sticking to the long, slow credit rebuilding process -- After bankruptcy, garnishment, find a plan that works for you ... (See Rebuild)

Rebuilt credit, sleep better -- Barely making it? Seek financial help ... (See Rebuild)

Avoid using your IRA to pay card debt -- Wiping out your life's savings will create its own problems ... (See IRA)

Retired, with recent bankruptcy: Should you get a card? -- Proceed with caution and consider a secured card ... (See Retired)

Pay down card debt, if you can, before retirement -- If you have ample savings, you will come out ahead in the long run ... (See Retire)

On active military duty? You can't get 6 percent APR cap on cards -- Service members' legal protections apply to older debt ... (See Cap)

Making minimum payments versus closing a card account -- Getting the card out of delinquency, paying on time are the important things ... (See Delinquent)

Yes, rates will rise on closed accounts with balances -- An exception in the federal CARD Act lets issuers pass along Fed rate hikes, and those are coming ... (See Closed )

Deep in debt after college: Where to start? -- With multiple debts in default, but better job prospects, it's time to get a plan ... (See Debt)

Son made $6,000 in unauthorized card charges? Report it -- There may be legal consequences for your son, but if you don't, you'll be on the hook for his charges ... (See Unauthorized)

Consolidate debt into high-rate personal loan? Don't -- A 29 percent loan may be convenient, but the terms are terrible ... (See Condolidate)

What happens when you drop out of a debt management plan -- If you stop paying, the debt will not go away, but the benefits of the plan will ... (See DMP dropout)

Can't afford monthly card payment? Try these options -- There's no easy way to delete debt, but you do have choices ... (See Debt)

Keep credit utilization low when refinancing mortgage -- Even if you don't carry a balance, high card use can hurt ... (See Refinance)

Don't fall into the deferred-interest trap -- Pay late by a day and you face a huge penalty ... (See Deferred)

How to cancel a debt settlement contract -- You can escape, but you'll still have to deal with the debt ... (See Cancel)

Rolling card debt into a mortgage? Consider alternatives -- You risk your house when you convert debt from unsecured to secured ... (See Mortgage)

Card account keeps getting hacked. Close it? -- Canceling a card can impact credit score, but it may be necessary ... (See Hacked)

To escape from crummy cards, you need a plan -- Get basic good credit behavior down pat; worry about the nuances later ... (See Crummy)

Make sure loan consolidation improves your credit -- Consolidating your credit card debt into a single loan can help your credit or hurt it. It depends on your actions ... (See Debt)

Who must pay card debt of deceased husband? -- The state where you live determines who has to pay. ... (See Widow)

Card issuers can reduce your credit limit -- Banks monitor credit reports, and make adjustments if it sees signs of risk ... (See Limit)

Pay medical bill before debt goes into collections -- Complex medical billing makes it common for debts to slip past due ... (See Medical debt)

When medical bills lead to deep debt, tough choices follow -- Cut your costs, get credit counseling and accept that bankruptcy may be in your future ... (See Medical debt)

Struggling homeowner reliant on credit looks at raiding 401(k) -- With credit maxed out, car shot, raiding the 401(k) is tempting, but don't do it ... (See Help)

One day late, one dollar short means late fee -- Paying a bit little, a bit late, will trigger a fee ... (See Late fee)

What happens after a debt is charged off -- When the original lender gives up, collection efforts continue, with important consequences ... (See Debt)

Dealing with aggressive debt collector tactics -- A real debt collector must start by sending a validation of debt notice ... (See Debt)

Minimum payments won't cut debt on 16 cards -- If all you can afford is the minimum payments on your debt, you need a game-changer ... (See MInimums)

Risk of lien, garnishment during debt settlement -- If debt negotiations get nasty, you could be sued, so watch out for notices from the court ... (See Garnish)

Which 0-percent card should be paid off first? -- Priority should be given to the card with the closest expiring APR offer ... (See 0-percent)

Removing your name from a joint account after divorce -- You're still responsible if ex doesn't pay. If you're on good terms, and ex has good credit, a balance transfer would work ... (See Divorce)

Selling your home to pay off debt, fund college -- Shedding debt is good, but college costs add up fast and another home won't be cheap ... (See Home)

Credit card issuer can't garnish your Social Security check -- Contact the company and ask about a hardship program ... (See Garnish)

Don't close accounts after paying card debt -- Using a cash-out refi to pay off card debt? Great. Closing the card accounts after? Not great at all ... (See Close)

How to tell if a debt is too old to collect -- Time determines whether a debt can legally be collected, and you have to know the starting and ending dates ... (See Too old)

Big balance transfers may run into limits -- Zero-percent loans are great, but you might not be able to transfer all your debt to one ... (See Balance)

After divorce, ex dies with card debt; am I responsible? -- It's unlikely, but check divorce decree, credit reports ... (See Debt)

Pay off all card debt? Or leave a small balance? -- If you want to keep the card, use it; inactivity can cause it to be closed ... (See Pay off)

Settlement options on an old card debt -- A "paid in full" notation on your credit report will be helpful ... (See Settle)

If buying a home soon, handle old debt with care -- Have a strategy: How you deal with creditors can clean up your credit -- or send up red flags to mortgage lenders ... (See Home buy)

Don't rush to pay very old debt in collections -- After many years, it may be uncollectible due to its age ... (See Old debt)

Paying off multiple 0-percent cards, all with balances -- One good thing: The math is easy since you don't have interest to worry about ... (See 0-percent)