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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Got Bad Credit and Need a Car Loan?

David Maillie

Credit scores have been averaging lower and lower these days as many Americans are finding they have either spent far too much or over extended themselves too far. Maybe there were a few late payments that were unavoidable due to an unplanned medical emergency. Or maybe house repairs, tuition hikes, etc whatever the reason you have some negatives on your credit score and these can seriously affect your ability to obtain credit and a car loan. They can even impact other things like your ability to obtain a higher paying job (prospective employers routinely screen employees and for a higher paying job this usually includes a credit check).

This article is about fixing this blemish or blemishes from your credit report, but I have to warn you it will take time, credit cannot be fixed overnight. . There is no immediate credit fix that is legally available. You have to understand that just as it takes time to ruin your credit it takes even more time to repair it.

The first step is to get your credit report with its score. It is best if you can obtain the report from all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans-union). Call your local car dealers and ask as to which bureau their lenders pay more attention to (this is good to know as certain bureaus have more influence in certain areas of the country than others). Once you know this you know which report to pay more attention to. Then go online and find the contact info for the respective credit bureau and get your report (it is usually only $10 to $30 for a report or two).

Read through the credit report and note the negatives. There may be some bad accounts that you forgot or did not even know you had. Some may not even belong. If there are any that are incorrect, over aged (beyond 7 years for most accounts) or similar, write a letter to the corresponding credit bureau and question the erroneous items. The bureau must within 30 days find out if the account is listed in error or not. If it is in error than the item must be removed and then a free, new and updated report will be sent to you showing that the item has been removed.

After reviewing your credit if there are no errors, then you should target the negative accounts and contact the creditors and try and reestablish the accounts and get back in good graces with the creditors. This will take time, but most creditors will be willing to work with you. Learn to write out all your bills on time. If you are married and your spouse is better at writing out the bills than maybe trade like you would wash the dishes, do the clothes or watch the kids while they write out the bills. Whatever it takes make sure they get done on time.

Yes there are negatives on credit reports that come from unexpected emergencies and such and having bad credit does not necessarily mean you are a bad person. Regardless the reason you can contact your creditors and try and work something out. Even if they refuse, you tried and are the better person for it.

There are also numerous free or low price consumer debt repair companies that can help you (especially when creditors refuse to be helpful), just make sure you do not end up with a scam. Check the company with your local Better Business Bureau and also look into non for profit companies. Many professional or retirement organizations like the AARP provide these services to their members free of charge.

So there you have it, a good primer on how to fix your credit report and score so you can get a good car loan and get on with your life. A bad credit score or some unplanned emergency expenses doesn't have to mean a death sentence to your financial life. Take action and start improving your credit and your life.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tax Information and Help

Featured Article by

Ryan Machara

Here's a quick overview of a few of your free tax help options:

*The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

*The Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program (TCE)

*Free tax help for Military personnel and their families

The VITA and TCE Programs are comprised of volunteers who are trained to help with your tax concerns like Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Credit for the Elderly and Child Tax Credit. If you qualify for any of these, or other special credits, your VITA or TCE counselor can let you know. Besides help with preparing your tax return, most of these free tax counselors also offer electronic filing, also known as e-filing, of your taxes free of charge. If you choose to utilize the e-filing method, you will receive your tax return in about half the time required to process paper returns. Another way to speed up delivery of your valuable tax return is to take advantage of the direct deposit option. Funds are usually deposited into your bank account within days versus weeks or even months it can take for paper filing methods and mailed checks.

The VITA tax help program is widely available to households with low to moderate income levels. If your yearly income is $39,000 or less, you automatically qualify. The VITA volunteers are sponsored by local and national organizations and are certified to provide tax help and to prepare basic tax returns in cities and communities across the country.

VITA is generally widely available in community centers, public libraries, public schools, malls, shopping centers and many other convenient locations to better serve your tax needs. Most VITA locations offer free e-filing, so feel free to take advantage of this fast, easy and reliable way to speed up the preparation and delivery of your tax return. Call their toll-free number 1-800-829-1040 if you need assistance locating the nearest VITA site.

The TCE Program is widely available to the elderly in need of tax help. If you are age 60 or older, you automatically qualify for the TCE Program's assistance. TCE volunteers are usually retired individuals who are associated with a non-profit organization that receives grants from the IRS to operate. These volunteers are trained to provide free tax help and income tax return information, preparation and filing.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is part of the TCE program, sponsored by the IRS. With nearly 7,500 AARP Tax-Aide sites nation wide, a certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer is readily available to help you with all of your tax help and preparation needs.

The VITA Program also has a very strong military presence. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) is comprised of program coordinators for all branches of the U.S. Military. The AFTC is the primary outreach channel utilized by the IRS to connect with the United States Military personnel and their families.

All tax help provided by VITA, TCE and TCE via the AARP is provided to you free of charge if you qualify.

Here is a list of items you need to bring with you to have your taxes properly prepared:

*Wage and earning statements (for example W-2, W-2G, 1099-R)

*Photo ID or other proof of identification

*Social Security cards for yourself and any dependents

*Birth dates for you and any dependents

*Interest and dividend statements you may have

*A copy of the previous year's Federal and State Returns

*Required information regarding day care (for example total paid for day care expenses and the tax id number for your day care provider)

If you plan to take advantage of e-filing or if you're married filing jointly, both spouses must be available to sign the prepared tax documents.

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About the Author :
Ryan is an expert with tax problems! Please visit OnlineShoppingProductReviews for more information.

Buying Term Life Insurance

Featured Article by

Ryan Machara

If you are the breadwinner for your family or you provide a significant portion of your family's income that they can't live without it is important that you purchase life insurance. This ensures that your family will be financially taken care of in the event something unfortunate happens to you. While you can purchase whole life coverage that lasts until you die, many individuals and families are better off purchasing term life insurance.

Term life insurance provides coverage to individuals in the event something tragic happens. However, this coverage only lasts you for a specific time period as opposed to providing insurance for your entire life.

For example, you can purchase a term life policy that lasts until your children are out of the house or until you reach retirement. This is perfect for individuals and families who need coverage while working or raising children but don't see it as necessary after the age of 65.

The fact that you can set the time period of your term is one reason many people choose to use it over whole life insurance. Individuals and families don't necessarily need life insurance after children are out of the house or they have reached retirement. A term life policy allows them to set up their coverage to cut off at a specific age or point.

Of course the shorter term you have the less it costs. This is a major reason why people opt to purchase term life insurance over the coverage that protects for an entire life. Twenty-years of term life may cover raising your children, while individuals with whole life may have it for more than 60 years. It is less expensive to purchase insurance for twenty years than it is for 60, thus many opt for term insurance in order to save money.

Another benefit of buying a term life plan is the opportunity to invest. The lower premiums demanded by a term policy allow individuals and families the opportunity to put additional funds into investments. Many times these investments provide more money than what life insurance, both term and whole, pay out when someone dies. However this doesn't mean you can afford to only invest your money and not use it to purchase good coverage. It takes many years for investments to build up and be profitable, whereas something could happen to you or your loved ones tomorrow.

One of the best ways to protect you and your family from the financial burdens that can result due to the death of a family member is by purchasing life insurance. While there are different types, term life often proves most beneficial for individuals and families. It not only provides you with security when you need it most, but it is often the most affordable option for families on a budget. While no one ever wants to plan for the unexpected death of a loved one, doing so can ensure a financial burden doesn't remain after their gone.

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About the Author :
Ryan is an expert with life insurance! Please visit OnlineShoppingProductReviews for more information.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Identity Theft


Mohd Sabri Mohammad

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, victimizing over 10 million people a year and costing billions of dollars. Identity theft can happen anywhere to anyone. In line at the store, online at home or when you're buying your morning coffee. If your identity is stolen, you can spend hundreds of hours cleaning up your credit and struggling to get back your good name. That's because stolen identities are used up to 30 times, with most victims only discovering the theft after they've been turned down for a loan or contacted by a collection agency. You may already be a victim, many times over, and not even know it.

It has been reported that about 8.3 million US adults fell victim to identity theft.

Based on U.S. population age 18 and over of 222.94 million as of July 1, 2005. ( (visited August 15, 2006)).

See full 2006 Identity Theft Survey Report HERE prepared for the Federal Trade Commission.

In a widely publicized account, Michelle Brown, a victim of identity fraud, testified before a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on Identity Theft. Ms. Brown testified that: "over a year and a half from January 1998 through July 1999, one individual impersonated me to procure over $50,000 in goods and services. Not only did she damage my credit, but she escalated her crimes to a level that I never truly expected: she engaged in drug trafficking. The crime resulted in my erroneous arrest record, a warrant out for my arrest, and eventually, a prison record when she was booked under my name as an inmate in the Chicago Federal Prison."

You can read her full verbal testimony HERE (item #12)

In Australia, identity theft was estimated to be worth between AUS$1billion and AUS$4 billion per annum in 2001 and in the United Kingdom the Home Office reported that identity fraud costs the UK economy £1.7 billion.

There are just so many ways to steal identity without you even realizing it. Some even appear very genuine. Look at the example below taken from ITRC’s website.

Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft. The ITRC provides consumer and victim support as well as public education. The ITRC also advises governmental agencies, legislators, law enforcement, and businesses about the evolving and growing problem of identity theft.

This scam poses as a message from Navy Federal Credit Union asking you to go to a website in order to receive a "message" that is in your Navy Federal Credit Union Inbox. It even has a banner taken from the Navy Federal Credit Union website.

WARNING : DO NOT CLICK ON THE BANNER of the Navy Federal Credit Union.
Example of scam on identity theft

Learn more about identity theft at:

United States Department of Justice
The President’s Task Force on Identity Theft
Federal Trade Commission

Learn more about how to secure you identity here: LifeLock

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to Choose a Checking Account that Will Fulfill All Your Needs

Featured Article by

Gregg Hall

Checking accounts have been around for many years. In the old days the customer was issued a letter of credit by their bank and allowed to write their own check based on that. This was convenient for people who traveled a lot and didn't want to carry cash. The principal is still the same. You deposit your money in a bank and they issue blank checks to access the money in your account.

There are many different types of checking accounts they are based on the amount of money you are willing to deposit, how much you will withdraw, and fee. The most common type for the average consumer is a household account. With this type of account there is a minimum balance to carry, usually five dollars to one hundred dollars. There are also extra features depending on your bank. Some banks offer free checking with a minimum balance and even free check blanks. There are some that have check cashing security, so if you write a check for over the amount of your balance the bank will deposit the money in your account so the check doesn't bounce.

Then there are business accounts. On this type of account the bank usually charges a fee because the amounts of money that are moving through the accounts are large. They will take daily deposits and put them in the account for companies that are money handling. And they will issue checks that require more than one signature if it is needed. They will also allow a list of authorized people who can sign on the checks and have access to the account.

There are also corporate accounts these are much larger, usually moving even bigger sums of money. Many corporations have computer programs that will allow them to write checks to pay their accounts payable and to write payroll checks. And if the system is hooked in with the bank they can keep an update of the account at all times.

Choosing a bank to use for your checking and savings can be difficult and confusing because there are so many out there. There are some of the features you should look for when researching banks. One thing is convenience, how close is it to your home or job. The second is what kind of benefits are offered. You should get the list of benefits in writing so you can challenge any odd fees on your statement after you have started.

The third is interest, many banks now pay interest to the money in checking accounts and you should shop for the best rate especially if you keep large sums in your account. Another benefit is a small life insurance policy. These policies held by the bank are usually for the amounts between five and ten thousand. They also give the customer the opportunity to upgrade this policy if they wish.

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About the Author :
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as checking account alternatives at