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Category Archives: Finance

Pay Off Credit Card Debt Quickly

• Collect Your Information – Gather your last pay stub and all your latest credit card statements. Write down the name of the creditor, balance, interest rate, due date, and the minimum payment for each card. Then add up all the minimum payments for each account. Based on your disposable income after you pay your mortgage, utilities, and other necessities; do you have enough money left over each month to make the minimum credit card payments? Also, write down how much interest you are paying monthly and annually. This is the amount of money that is being wasted.

• Make a Plan – Once you have a basic budget that includes your income and debts, you can then decide if you want to consolidate your debt, start to reduce your debt by paying off the cards with the highest interest rates first, or start by paying off the cards with the lowest balances first. Choose a plan you can stick to, no one knows your financial situation better than you do.

• Consolidate Your Debt – Turn your revolving debt into a term loan. If you close your credit cards after consolidating them, you will no longer have the ability to add to your debt. Also, part of your payments will be reducing the principal balance of your debt, unlike minimum credit card payments that are usually just paying the interest on the outstanding balance. Therefore, you will be paying down your debt and the consolidation loan should be paid off within a certain number of years. If you are financially capable, it would benefit you to make more than the minimum payment, thereby reducing the principal balance on the debt faster. If you decide to consolidate your credit card debt, take the time to thoroughly compare your options and shop for an interest rate that is lower than your credit card interest rates. Also, set up an automatic payment arrangement for your consolidation loan. This will prevent you from falling behind in the payment and potentially facing penalties and/or a higher interest rate.

• Debt Settlement – This is the program that is an alternative to bankruptcy. When you go through your finances, if you find out that your monthly payments exceed your financial ability, you will need to seek alternative options, such as: working with a financial institution to consolidation your credit, discuss your options with a bankruptcy attorney, or talk to the credit card companies directly to reduce the principal balances owed on your debt.

• Stop Charging – Once you make your plan to pay off your debt, you will need to be committed to stop charging on your credit cards and creating new debt until your finances are under control. Your plan will not work unless you reduce your spending.

Dealing With a Debt Collector

1. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Credit Reporting Act – Google it if necessary and print out. You have rights. Yes, a debt collector has every right to collect on a debt you legitimately owe, but there are rules and restrictions – formally known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) – that govern how they can go about their business. Under any circumstances to you have to tolerate abusive behavior. It’s not legal. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits this kind of conduct. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created for the sole purpose of protecting consumers from debt collector harassment by prohibiting certain debt collector behavior. If a debt collector exhibits such behavior, be sure to document the behavior. Keep a log of all harassment. Your next move is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You may request forms from the Federal Trade Commission, or you can write a letter yourself. Send it to 6th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20580, or visit them online. Be sure to include in your complaint the collection agency’s name and address, the name of the original creditor, the dates and times of all communications, the names of any witnesses, and copies of any other material (written communications, tapes of conversations, your debt collector harassment log, etc.)

2. Negotiate a Settlement On Your Terms, Not Theirs – Go over your income and expenses with a fine-tooth comb, figure out what you can afford, and only agree to pay a realistic amount. Payment plans are not always necessary and usually by the time your debt reaches third party collectors, it’s at last end before being written off. If you agree to a payment plan, you will likely pay more over time. Avoid this if you can. If you do agree to a payment plan, make sure you fully understand the total amount you will pay.

3. Zombie Debts Still Exist – A Zombie debt is an old debt that just won’t die. To piggyback off of Number 2, Collection accounts get resold all the time, and it’s not uncommon for someone to get a call about a debt that’s outside the statue of limitations or no longer owed. The latter is illegal, but the former may not be: The statue of limitations applies to how long a collector has to sue you over a debt, but, in many cases, they can still try to get you to pay. Do not pay it right away. Get the collector to validate the debt before even acknowledging that it exists. People unknowingly restart the clock on old debts by paying part or even agreeing over the phone that it’s yours. The key to defend yourself against Zombie Debts is to do your due diligence. Look at your credit reports to see if the debt is latched on. Dispute the debt, with the credit bureaus. Get all details necessary to fight it. That’s how you get it off your credit report.

4. Beware of Scammers – Always get the debt collector to identify themselves with their name, company, street address, telephone number and if your state licenses debt collectors, a professional license number,” according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has more tips for spotting a debt-collection scam on its website. By law, you are entitled to verification.

5. Do Not Fall For The “Just Pay Something” Trap – Once you pay anything, especially giving payment over the phone. You are back to restarting the clock as debt gets bumped right up on your credit report based on how least or more often you pay. Always ask the collector to send you something in writing. Debt collectors must investigate a debt so long as you file a dispute in writing within 30 days of their initial contact – and they’re to cease contact until they verify (again in writing) that you owe the amount in question.

Corporate Credit Cards Work

Corporate credit cards are different from both personal and small business credit cards. These are offered only be a few issuers. Generally, such accounts are established by businesses by utilizing a banking relationship or through a deal negotiated directly with a card issuer. In order to develop such kind of relationship, the company’s credit will be considered.

Companies may give their employees with corporate credit cards for the payment of business-related expenses, which are often travel-relation. Though it is often issued in the company’s name, be aware that it can also display the name of the employee cardholder.

They are categorized into 2 – individual payment cards and company payment cards. Those who opt for individual payment cards, they will be the ones responsible for submitting their own expense report. Also, they will be paying the issuer directly for any charges. On the other hand, the employer will pick up the tab for all company-sanctioned changes with the company-payment cards. But for any personal or unapproved charges, the employee will still pay the issuer directly.

Tips When Using These Cards

Be aware of your company’s policies – Cardholders must familiarize themselves with the reporting and spending rules provided by their employers. Also, they must educate themselves about the policies specific to their position or department. They need to know the types and limits on making charges. It is highly recommended that cardholders must attend training sessions and be updated on the policies.

Learn how to avoid pitfalls – There are indeed a lot of pitfalls cardholders must avoid. These will include the unapproved charges that can end up hitting your wallet and combining personal expenses with business spending that may put you on a collision course with the management.

Use your common sense – The lack of simple common sense is indeed among the biggest dangers from having corporate credit cards. Prior to swiping it, ask yourself if such expense is directly related to your job.

Always secure your card – Be sure to keep your card in a safe place to avoid theft or loss. Immediately after noticing that you have lost it, report it to the authorities. This will help prevent fraudulent charges. Cardholders must be aware that when they have lost their card, they can be provided with a new card or new account number immediately during emergency cases.

Hiring A Debt Collector

Every state has its own regulations that cover how debt collection is done and how the agencies work. It is important to ensure that you select a firm that adheres to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Moreover, the firm should be bonded and licensed to work in the locality.

Sometimes the firms use very uncouth means to collect the debts. This may raise legal cases if the debtor feels that the agency has acted in bad faith. The insurance ensures that you are not held liable for hiring the agency to collect the debts. Ensure you pick a firm that has a valid errors and omission insurance. It will act as your protection if you are dragged to court.

Once you have a list of a few companies, take time to compare their costs. Different agencies use different formulas to come up with their rates. Some charge a small flat rate mostly associated with pre-collection activities. You are then charged a contingency fee that is part of the amount collected. The charge is about 20{9198332639182e13dab42b9ea1f4c116af819992db0fa97f6ccd85a5ba1453c0} to 30{9198332639182e13dab42b9ea1f4c116af819992db0fa97f6ccd85a5ba1453c0} of the amount collected. Pick a company that offers a no collection no fee model.

Some debtors tend to run away with your cash and ignore your calls. Some even skip town. If this is your situation, ask if the agency you are using has a skip tracing service. This service enables the debt collector track the defaulting client even when they have not left any forwarding address.

Redefining Reimbursements

Over the past few years there have been a lot of buzz about going paperless in offices, home and on-field workplaces. A bunch of reasons might have reached your ears about going paperless; like saving the environment, saving money for your company, hassle free procedures et al. However, another important approach, which remains unnoticed,is increased productivity. Remember the time, you used to keep all your receipts in a shoebox? They were stacked up at one place, but were they organized? They were not in any planned order and finding a specific one at the drop of a hat was a myth. It is time to change that.

Information as we know continues to grow at an astonishing rate, as is the technology that is used to create, store and share it. The clients, customers and public demands easy access to data and in order to achieve that, a collaborative effort is required to distinguish, sort and prioritize information, data and management tools. While Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are taken into account, the digitization of expense management is required for saving time, high productivity and employee satisfaction. In a recent study by University of Michigan, it was found- paperless management enhances customer service, reduces cost, and improves speed, efficiency and productivity among employees in the workplace. In addition to that, government agencies and organizations in Australia are moving towards virtual business processes and digital record management to inculcate the true essence of the era of digitization.

It has also been proven over time that smart phones and cloud based application services can be used to their maximum potential and help to make cumbersome processes easier. With the latest mobile applications, that online automate expense management procedure, it easy to capture receipts or expenditure data. Take a simple snapshot of the receipt, send it for approval and your work is done. With this, it is much simpler to apply for reimbursements, review and approve these reports as well as tackle dishonest claims.

Well, even though you are almost finished reading this, that employee mentioned at the start of this article, is still struggling to find his bill and the manager isn’t sorted with the stack of receipts yet. Think again, do you want to be one of them? Go paperless and get yourself a digital and hassle free solution.

Debt Settlement

The theoretical aspect

As soon as you agree to a debt settlement program, many of the settlement firms will advise you to stop making the credit card payments monthly. Taking such a step will enable you to save money. Once you have enough money, the debt settlement firm will negotiate with your credit card company. It will offer them a one-time and a large payment that will settle your debt.

It is believed that many of the debt settlement firms claim that the one-time payment is much less that the original payment that you owe. They even state that will ensure that you no longer get bothered through endless calls from the creditor or the collection agency. But the downside is that people incur much debt, and debt settlement does not look good at all.

The reality

If you agree to the following debt settlement plan, then you would know the real picture. For instance, you have 10,000 dollars in debt and that it takes three years for you to save enough to reach a settlement. This usually amounts to the half of the amount you owe, but your total debt would have doubled.

By the time you save half of your original debt, which is 5000 dollars; the debt will become 20,000 dollars respectively. In this regard, to reach a settlement will mean that you should have half of the new amount which is 10,000 dollars.

Disadvantages

Fees can be substantially high: Several of the debt settlement companies not only charge an upfront fee but a percentage of the total debt as well.

Your credit score can get affected: It happens that the credit score gets dropped because of partial or late payments. This occurs because you do not make payment for some time as part of your debt settlement. On the other side, the financial experts believe that settling of the debt for less against the full credit card payment also hurts the credit card score considerably.

Introduction To Credit Counseling

It is a practical approach to tackling all kinds of debt and these agencies offer solutions based on the credit situation of the consumer. People should understand that there cannot be a general solution to everyone’s debt issues as each individual is different. Hence, credit counseling agencies or companies can assist people on an individual basis, based on their ability to make payments, total available financial assets, total amount of debt, annual income and so on. The credit counseling agencies are present in countries around the globe and it is easy to approach any of these agencies when one is in need of their services.

How does credit counseling work?

It works for most people as they get to find practical solutions to their debt issues, which they can adhere to. Besides, they help the people in negotiating with the creditors and reaching settlement agreements, which make it possible for the borrowers to consolidate and reduce their total debt in due course of time. Also, the credit counseling agencies can assist the borrowers in applying for loans (both secured & unsecured), which can help them in clearing the debt amounts in a short period of time.

The agency can let people make realistic monthly budget which they can easily adhere to. People who take the help of these agencies can realize their financial goals and manage their money in an efficient and effective manner. In the end, people can find a balance between their expenses and income, and wisely use their available credit, so that they can achieve their goal of getting relief from debt and be financially stable.

Advantages of credit counseling services

  • People can achieve better understanding of their credit standing and financial situation;
  • They can arrange for the borrowers to make a single payment every month;
  • They can also assist in lowering the interest rates of the borrowers;
  • People do not have to face the calls of collection agencies and will not have to negotiate with the creditors on their own;
  • People will also be assisted in getting loans.

There are quite a few credit counseling agencies available in the market but not all of them are genuine. If you are looking for the services of a genuine debt relief agency, then you can opt for a reliable credit counseling or debt relief counseling service, which can help you with all kinds of debt management and relief solutions.

Choosing Money Transfer Provider

The costs of transactions

Sometimes the exchange rate could be favorable but then, the costs per transaction may be high. This is not an ideal scenario for many. You need to consider just how much you will be charged as the commission or the transfer fees before a transfer can be effected. One way to make it less hectic is to consolidate the smaller payments into only one. This lowers costs. There are providers that have better rates and yet others waive the fees altogether when a large payment is made.

Convenience

Some of the companies offer a very easy way to signup, others take so much time. There are online providers that offer their services 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. You, however, need to see the delivery and payment methods that are offered so as to ensure that all your needs are satisfied. Check for features like mobile wallet options.

Currencies needed

Not all the companies will operate in all countries and even offer all currencies. When you have to send money to areas that are remote where currencies are not popular, you may have to deal with delays. It is important you check that the currencies that you need are actually offered before you settle for a specific provider.

How reliable and safe is the foreign exchange provider?

You need to assess the reliability of the company. Consider how long they have been in business. Consider the amount that has already been transferred and what others think about the services that they have provided so far. Security of the platform also has to be considered. This allows you to think more clearly and make the most informed decision.

Tracking the transactions

There are providers that allow you to track your transactions and create some alerts through emails. In this way, you can easily get the status of any order that has been placed. You can have some email updates sent and this helps in businesses. You lower risk of fraud this way.

Pay For Delete

It occurs much less frequently than those forum posters make it sound like! According to Allie Johnson at CreditCards.com, only about 10{9198332639182e13dab42b9ea1f4c116af819992db0fa97f6ccd85a5ba1453c0} of collection agencies will agree to a Pay For Delete. So for every successful story of a Pay For Delete there are nine other stories of rejection.

Why such a small percentage of success? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of the credit bureaus and the collection agencies. The collection agencies are paid members of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). All members of the credit bureaus promise contractually to report accurate credit information. Whether positive or negative data.

If you were a member of a credit bureau and you were considering loaning money to someone, wouldn’t you want to know the whole story about the person wanting to borrow your money?

The credit bureaus expect 100{9198332639182e13dab42b9ea1f4c116af819992db0fa97f6ccd85a5ba1453c0} honest reporting from their members. When a collection agency deletes negative information falsely (technically a Pay For Delete is a lie) it risks its membership being terminated by the credit bureaus. No collection agency wants that to happen.

Then why do some Pay For Deletes occur? The agency needs to collect money to remain in business. They either are splitting whatever they collect with the original creditor (an assigned debt) or they paid money and bought the debt from the original creditor (a purchased debt). In either case money needs to come in to keep the doors open!

So if you have a large debt (say $2000), the agency might risk an angry call from the credit bureaus if you were to pay them $1000. After all, cash talks! But if you have a $100 debt, it is doubtful that any agency would risk its membership if you offer $50 for the Pay For Delete.

Your chance for a successful Pay For Delete can increase if you can prove that you never got the bill. For example if you have a medical bill which was mailed to an old address and you can prove you were at a new address when the bills were sent out, then there is a legitimate reason for the collection agency to delete your account from the credit bureaus once you pay.

Pay For Delete was a popular trade many years ago but is very rarely accepted today. Collection agencies and creditors are required to remove inaccurate data from credit reports. But they are not required to remove accurate, negative data from credit reports.

Company Liquidation

There are two major types of company liquidation. The first type is known as voluntary liquidation where this decision is taken by the shareholders or directors and the dissolution is carried out. If the members of the board decide to make this choice, they have to get most of the votes prior to proceeding. In the same way, if the shareholders want to go this route, they all have to do so prior to taking action.

Voluntary liquidation

Here it is important to keep in mind that voluntary company liquidation can be CVL or MVL if the company is insolvent. Members Voluntary Liquidation is done so as to carry out the termination of the company in an orderly fashion. In other words, it can be started if the business shareholders feel that the directors are not taking actions that are against their interests. For instance, the products or services of the business may not be attracting potential customers for some reasons. As a matter of fact, VL Is the best solution as far as avoiding the second type of liquidation is concerned. In this type, the court is not involved and the matter is solved outside of the court. The creditors are paid off in full by selling the company assets.

Compulsory liquidation

Another type is known as compulsory liquidation where the process is started by the creditors. The reason may be that the company fails to pay to the creditors. What happens is that the creditors get a court order in order to get the company dissolved. The cost of the court matters is born by the creditors. However, once the process is completed, they are the first party that gets paid. So, the extra cost is worth the reward.

Creditors that want company liquidation go to the court in order to get the assets of the business sold. This happens when the creditors feel that the directors of the company are not cooperative as far as paying debts is concerned. In most cases, the company is not forced to liquidate as the directors pay off debts due to the fear of losing the company.

Provisional liquidation

This is another type where the purpose is to preserve the assets of the company that may be at risk. For this purpose, a good liquidator is appointed in order to protect the financial position of the business. On the other side, the petition of liquidation is taken into consideration by the court of law.