Todd Ossenfort's "The Credit Guy" columns appear Saturdays on CreditCards.com. Ossenfort has been chief operating officer for Pioneer Credit Counseling since 1998. Pioneer Credit Counseling is a nationwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA) since 1997. Ossenfort was elected as a vice president of the FCCA in 1999 and served in that capacity until June 2003 when he was elected as a trustee. He continues to serve as a trustee, and he chairs the FCAA Compliance Committee.
Ossenfort lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, with his wife Laca and has three grown children. He is very active in his local community and served two terms as a Ward 2 city councilman for Rapid City.
Todd Ossenfort's "The Credit Guy" columns on CreditCards.com.
Can I get refund for suspicious card charges 1 year later? -- If you catch unauthorized card charges after a year, your bank might help you. If they were recurring charges you forgot, you might be out of luck. ... (See Suspicious card charges)
How to restore credit after maxing out cards -- Reaching a 100 percent utilization due to maxed-out cards can hurt your credit score. To give it a boost, pay off balances and rein in spending. ... (See Maxed-out cards and credit score)
Will my minimum payment decrease if I pay down card debt? -- It is wise to pay down credit card debt to reduce interest charges. Want to lower the interest you pay further? Pay more than the monthly minimum. ... (See Credit card minimum payment)
I paid off my card but stopped using it; will it be canceled? -- Some creditors might cancel your card due to inactivity, which could affect your credit score. A simple fix? Use your card for everyday purchases. ... (See Canceled credit card due to inactivity)
Q&A: If I file bankruptcy, will my spouse be liable for my debt? -- Married and living in a community property state? Your spouse might be affected if you file bankruptcy, but you may have other debt-relief options. ... (See Bankruptcy's effect on spouse)
Can 'right to offset' be applied to written-off card debt? -- Banks ordinarily have the right to take funds from a customer's account to satisfy a default on another account from the same customer. The exception? credit card debt. ... (See Right to offset and credit card debt)
Lost your job? What to do if you can't keep up with card payments -- Trying to keep paying down card debt while unemployed may seem an impossible task, but the consequences of delinquency can be dire both on your credit and your job search. ... (See Can't pay card due to unemployment)
Q&A: Will closing old, annual-fee card hit my score? -- Closing an old, unused, annual-fee card can hurt your score if it's the oldest account on your credit report and/or you keep a high balance on other cards. In that case, consider asking your issuer downgrading the account to a no-fee card. ... (See Closing old annual-fee card)
Q&A: Should I close high-limit, zero-balance cards I don't use? -- If you have several credit cards with high limits and no balance, which you hardly use, you might consider closing one of them, especially if it has an annual fee. Just make sure to keep your oldest cards open. ... (See Unused cards with high credit limit)
Q&A: What to do if merchant details on card statement are unfamiliar -- Finding charges inaccurately reported on credit card statements can be annoying, but disputing them can be cumbersome. Keeping receipts and tracking expenses can help you figure out legitimate expenses without having to initiate a chargeback. ... (See Merchant details)
Q&A: Can I transfer my own credit card to my partner's name? -- Have an authorized user who charges on your card more than you do? While you can't transfer the card to his name, you still have options, such as transferring any debt he may owe to a new or existing card in his name. ... (See Transfer card to partner's name)
Q&A: Applying for multiple credit cards at the same time is a bad idea -- Multiple hard inquiries, generated when you apply for several cards, can hurt your credit score. Research your options and apply for the one card that best suits your needs, and for which the odds are greatest that you will be approved. ... (See Multiple card applications)
Q&A: Applying for a second card? Keep the first one open -- If you're applying for a second card, don't close the first one. It could boost your credit score. ... (See Second credit card)
Q&A: Can I be sued over card debt beyond the statute of limitations? -- Even if your card debt is beyond the statute of limitations and may be uncollectable, you can be sued. Know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and seek legal advice. ... (See Debt)
Q&A: How using a 'debt relief firm' may affect credit score -- Paying down debt through either debt settlement or a debt management plan may have a different impact on your score – and determine your access to credit in the future ... (See Relief)
Q&A: Buying a new car? Don't take out personal loan to pay off card -- If you're planning to buy a new car, hold off on applying for a personal loan to pay off credit card debt. It will ding your credit score on two fronts ... (See Loan)
Q&A: Removing myself from credit card I share with my ex -- Removing yourself from a credit card that you've shared with your ex for many years can have mixed effects on your score, depending on the account's standing and payment history ... (See Ex)
Q&A: What to do if you suspect someone opened a card in your name -- If you suspect someone opened a credit card in your name, check your credit reports first. Then you have several options to address the possible consequences of identity theft ... (See ID theft)
Three errors that could cause a 100-point score drop -- Reckless activity on joint credit cards can affect negatively all account holders' scores, regardless of who overspent. ... (See Score drop)
On disability, can't pay card debt: Is garnishment a possibility? -- Disability income is exempt from garnishment by federal law, except in a few cases. But if you receive funds from another source, those might be subject to garnishment. ... (See Disability)
Being authorized user on a maxed-out card: Does it help or hurt score? -- Removing yourself as authorized user from a nearly maxed-out card can have mixed effects on your score, but you should do it and start building credit on your own ... (See User)
Q&A: If I get married, will spouse be responsible for my old card debt? -- If you have old credit card debt, your spouse won't be responsible for it, but a frank conversation about finances with your soon-to-be spouse might be in order ... (See Married)
Q&A: Should I take offer to settle my card debt? -- Taking a settlement offer for a delinquent card might sound like a good option, but it will damage your score. Try to find a way to pay your debt in full instead ... (See Settlement)
Easy ways to use cards to boost score, get a home loan -- Pay bills in full and on time, keep credit utilization low to get best lending terms ... (See Score)
Pay as you charge to boost credit score -- Making several payments throughout the month to keep credit utilization low is a wise strategy to build credit with a low-limit credit card. ... (See Payments)
How quickly can I raise my score after years of inactivity? -- Raising your credit score after years of credit inactivity takes time and consistency. Start by opening a new credit card and using it for daily expenses, like groceries and gas ... (See Inactivity)
Can late payment on one card cause APR hike on another? -- The Credit Card Act of 2009 banned the practice of universal default, but there are some loopholes ... (See Rate hike)
4 options to tackle credit card debt in retirement -- A good credit counselor can help you find the best possible path out of overwhelming credit card debt -- including a debt management plan or even filing bankruptcy. ... (See Debt)
Will I be declined for an installment loan with a fair credit score? -- An installment loan with a low APR could help you pay down high-interest card debt, but it could also damage your score if you are declined. Consider transferring balance to an existing 0-percent card instead. ... (See Loan)
Cancel new card to minimize impact on score -- If you applied for a card offer received in the mail and shortly after you changed your mind, time is of the essence to close the account in order to avoid hurting your score. ... (See New card)
Planning to buy a house soon? Keep unused cards open -- Don't let the issuer close it, especially if you are planning to make significant purchases in the near future. ... (See House)
Side gig can be best debt-payoff option -- Taking on a part-time job to pay down thousands of dollars in credit card debt is smart; make the best of it by carefully considering your payment options. ... (See Side gig)
Ask The Credit Guy: Should I do credit rehab myself? -- Credit counselor Todd Ossenfort, aka The Credit Guy, answers a reader's question about whether it's wise to embark on do-it-yourself credit repair. ... (more)
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