Is there any such thing as free checking? Any checking account will charge some fees for certain things, like if you overdraft the account. So what does free checking entail? There are checking accounts that will give you access to plenty of no-fee ATMs, won't require you to maintain a minimum balance or charge you a monthly fee. Some will pay you interest on your money and some will even give you money for opening an account. Do a little research and find the best checking account for you!
GET BANK READY
Are you in Chexsystems?
ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that collects data from banks and credit unions about checking and savings account activity.
ChexSystems uses this information to create consumer reports that the bank uses to screen bank account applicants
Being “in ChexSystems” generally means that a financial institution has reported that
the consumer has an outstanding debt and currently owes money for a bank account fee or transaction in the past 5 years.
Know Your Rights
This will help you to know what is allowed in debt collection practices and how to protect yourself.
GET OUT OF DEBT * REPAIR CREDIT * KNOW YOUR RIGHTS * CREATE A SPENDING PLAN * MANAGE YOUR MONEY * LEARN TO SAVE * MANAGE STUDENT LOANS * CHOOSE A BANK ACCOUNT *SET UP A BUDGET * FIND MONEY MANAGEMENT APPS
Getting Control of Your Money. What's in it for you?
Getting control of your finances can alleviate the stress of dealing with collection notices and phone calls. It can also give you access to credit when need money for an emergency.
Protect Yourself From Debt Collection Lawsuits
The link below will take you to a guide that provides information for consumers to understand how to communicate with a debt collector and to know what their rights are. It lays out options for what to do if faced with a debt collection lawsuit and steps to take to avoid legal action. There is also information about where to find legal help, the general process of responding to a lawsuit, your rights if you lose the case and how to file a complaint against a collector.
A New Path to Better Credit
Get Credit for Paying Your Bills! Now you can build by using Alternative Credit Reporting. You can build credit by making timely payments on your rent or utility bills. First you will need to establish an on time payment history then you can enroll with an Alternative Credit Reporting agency. I have listed one of the more popular agencies in detail below to give you an idea of how it works, but there are several you can enroll with.
PRBC is a consumer credit reporting agency that is similar to the other four U.S.credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis) in that it is an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) compliant national data repository. However, PRBC differs in a few distinct ways. Consumers are able to self-enroll and build a positive credit file based on alternative data, such as timely payments for bills such as rent, utilities, cable, telephone, and insurance that are not automatically reported to the other bureaus. PRBC is a registered Credit Reporting Agency and it is free to enroll. For more information go to https://www.prbc.com/
You can also self-report your timely payments with a site called Payment Reporting Builds Credit which allows consumers to self-report payments like rent, utilities, or electric bill.
WilliamPaid.com also reports rent payments.
Myths About Credit Scores
For Information About Your Rights to Protect Yourself
Update on the Changes to Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans
You were looking for a way to better your life and you decided to go to college. You filled out the application and on it was a place that asked if you would need a student loan to pay for your education. You checked yes and you were good to go. It all seemed so easy at the time didn't it? You might even have thought wouldn't have to pay it back until you could afford to. Student loan debt is the hardest debt to get rid of. If you do not pay it back the IRS can attach to your income tax return or your paycheck. There is no statute of limitations on student loan debt and no age limit. If you owe it now and don't pay it, you will owe it when you are 65. Fortunately there have been some changes that will allow some flexibility in the way you pay it back.
You can use the link below if you need information on the new repayment plans. Be aware that there are numerous scams going around and be very careful about who you talk to. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans
If You Are Disabled You May be Eligible for a Student Loan Disability Discharge.
To find out if you are eligible contact the Federal Student Aid office, a.k.a. the U.S. Department of Education. To begin, you'll need to contact the agency that handles your student loan, such as Sallie Mae or Great Lakes. You'll have to request a loan discharge form for Total and Permanent Disability. Most of those loan repayment originators have online forms that you can download on your personal computer, or you can request them over the phone. These forms have to be signed by you and your physician.
Initial Loan Discharge Application
A physician has to sign your application for loan forgiveness. Be sure that the physician states exactly what the disabling condition is. Just stating that an individual is disabled, without any detailed explanation, will only get a claim denied in rather short order, and then you'll have to start the process all over again. Have the primary care physician or specialist keep a copy of this form in your file, as the Federal Student Aid office may contact them for further information if needed. Applicants have 90 day from the date a physician signs the form to submit it to the U.S. Department of Education, FSA.
Once the U.S. Department of Education receives the form, it will be sent to a department that handles the Total and Permanent Disability requests. They review the requests and will ask for additional information from your physician (if needed), and in some cases, from the Social Security Administration.
Once the office of Total and Permanent disability receives your application, you'll receive a letter letting you know that your request is being processed. You will get a letter notifying you whether or not your application has been approved within 2-3 months. Your loan will be in a deferment status during this time.
The Department of Education is launching a new complaint site to improve the outcomes of problems borrowers are having with federal student loan balances, loan servicers and schools’ financial aid offices. You can also view the student loan Bill of Rights here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/10/fact-sheet-student-aid-bill-rights-taking-action-ensure-strong-consumer-
Discounts You Have to Ask For.
There are a lot of ways to save money that most of us don't take advantage of. The next time you need to buy something it might help to try some of the following ways to save money.
1. Ask if they price match - If you can find a better price someplace else, ask if the store will match that price.
2 Use coupons. - See the links below and on the resource page for coupon resources.
3 .You might be able to get discounts on Items with small defects that can easily be repaired.
4. Just Ask. It can't hurt to ask " Is that your best price?"
The following blogs will give you more tips for getting the most for your money.
You May Qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
EITC is for people who are income eligible. If you qualify, you could receive a substantial amount of money, depending on your filing status and number of qualifying children. So you could pay less federal tax or even get a refund. Check out the EITC Assistant at ww.irs.gov/eitc or call us at (800) 556-9300 to learn more.