Debt Management Credit Counseling Wins Broward County Task Force Award

Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (http://www.dmcconline.org), a nonprofit credit counseling organization (DMCC), named Member of the Year by the Broward Affordable Housing and Community Development Task Force. DMCC provides housing counseling services in Florida and New York, and debt repayment plans throughout the United States.

Read moreDebt Management Credit Counseling Wins Broward County Task Force Award

DMCC Releases Financial Education Website to Support Financial Literacy Month

To celebrate National Financial Literacy Month, Debt Management Credit Counseling (‘DMCC”) a nonprofit credit counseling organization, is releasing a new website, DMCC University (http://www.dmcccorp.org/edu), focusing on teaching financial literacy. Their goal is to provide consumers free ongoing education to improve their financial lives.

Read moreDMCC Releases Financial Education Website to Support Financial Literacy Month

DMCC Announces Annual Scholarship Award Winner for 2014

Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (“DMCC”) http://www.dmcconline.org, a nonprofit credit counseling organization, announces annual scholarship award to Florida Atlantic University Honors College student. DMCC has provided a scholarship award to a deserving college student for 14 consecutive years.

Read moreDMCC Announces Annual Scholarship Award Winner for 2014

DMCC Student Loan Repayment Program Featured on Hallmark Channel

The student loan repayment assistance program offered by Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (http://www.dmcconline.org), a nonprofit credit counseling organization (DMCC), was featured on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show. Harvey Warren, personal debt expert and author of Drop Debt: Surviving Credit Card Hell Without Bankruptcy, promoted low cost student loan programs from nonprofit consumer credit counseling agencies.

Read moreDMCC Student Loan Repayment Program Featured on Hallmark Channel

Beware of Student Loan Debt Relief Offers

If you’re among the millions of current or former students with debt, you’ve probably been tempted to click on an ad that says, “Obama Wants to Forgive Your Student Loans!” or “Erase Default Statuses in 4 – 6 Weeks!” or some equally enticing student loan debt relief offer … available only if you click or call NOW!

Many the companies behind these offers have sophisticated marketing tactics to target unsuspecting students, borrowers, parents, military service members, and their families. As the Student Loan Ombudsman for the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education, I hear about these pitches a lot. My strong advice: Before you pay somebody to help you with your student loans, do your homework.

It’s tempting to just say: Don’t do it. Walk away. Call your loan servicer instead. But there’s more you should know.

In my office we help student loan customers with problems they may face in managing and repaying their student loans. One of the topics that has been trending recently is about companies that promise student loan cancellation, forgiveness, credit repair, or dramatically lowered payments.

Based on the experience of the Ombudsman Group and the Student Loan Ombudsman Caucus, here are some specific things you should know before signing up with any student loan debt relief company.

Student loan debt relief companies charge fees for services that you can get for free.

You can apply for loan consolidation through www.studentloans.gov. The application is free, and there are no extra fees. Before applying, do your research onwww.studentaid.gov. On that site, you’ll find information on loan consolidation,requirements for loan forgiveness, repayment estimators to help you pick the right repayment plan to fit your income, loan servicer contacts, and other important information to help you manage your loan repayment. All for free! Recent research by a member of the Student Loan Ombudsman Caucus found some of these debt relief companies charging upfront consolidation fees as high as $999 or 1 percent of the loan balance (whichever is higher); “enrollment” or “subscription” fees up to $600; or monthly account “maintenance” fees as high as $50 per month. You already pay for these services through the monthly interest on your loans; why double-pay?

Keep your PIN to yourself

Student loan debt relief or credit repair companies may offer to manage your loan account, and to do so, they ask you to provide them with your federal student aid Personal Identification Number (PIN), or sign a Power of Attorney. Think about it: your PIN is the equivalent of your signature on any documents related to your student loan. If you give your PIN away, you give others the power to perform actions on your student loan on your behalf. Plus, regardless of who authorizes changes to your account, it’s your name on the promissory note. If that company fails to provide the appropriate updates to your loan servicer, you have to deal with the consequences.

Is Your Loan in Default?

If it is, you know that being in default on a student loan is bad news. Know this as well: you are a prime target for the marketing tactics of debt relief and credit repair companies. By being in default, you’ve already incurred added interest and you’re subject to collection costs. Don’t add on the additional fees charged by one of these companies to get your loan out of default.  Even if your loan is in default, loan consolidation is free. Getting on a loan rehabilitation plan is free. Find out how to get out of default.

Think you’ve been scammed?

If you’ve already signed a contract, seek advice to learn your options. Many state governments have an Office of Consumer Affairs or Consumer Protection either within or affiliated with, the Office of the State’s Attorney General. At the federal level, theFederal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)have the authority to act against companies that engage in deceptive or unfair practices. Click on the links to file your complaint with either of those agencies.

Contact your Loan Servicer

If you want to talk to someone, call your loan servicer or use your online account access to get more information.  They are your first source to get help with managing your loan repayment. The Department’s loan servicers are as concerned as I am at ensuring that you do not spend your hard-earned money to pay for something you can get for free. If you don’t know your servicer’s contact information, grab your PIN and log in to StudentAid.gov.

Joyce DeMoss is the Student Loan Ombudsman at Federal Student Aid. If you’ve tried to resolve your student loan issues without success, contact the Ombudsman. The Student Loan Ombudsman Caucus includes members at Direct Loan and FFELP program participating lenders, servicers, and guaranty agencies.

Nonprofit DMCC Providing Low Cost Student Loan Help

Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (http://www.dmcconline.org), a nonprofit credit counseling organization (DMCC), launches a simple to use online calculator to help borrowers quickly calculate federal student loan repayment options at no charge. The launch comes with a caution for students in debt trouble to be wary of profiteering debt relief companies charging high fees and urges borrows to seek low cost student loan help through nonprofit consumer credit counseling.

Read moreNonprofit DMCC Providing Low Cost Student Loan Help

Report Says Debt Settlement Companies May Leave Clients Worse Off

Using a settlement company to help you dig out from underneath burdensome debt may sound appealing, but it may leave you worse off than when you started, according to new research.

A report from the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit research group, finds that consumers who sign on with for-profit debt settlement companies find their debts grow about 20 percent on average before a settlement, with no guarantee that such a settlement will be reached.

“Our concern is that this is another way of taking advantage of people who are in dire straits to begin with,” said Ellen Harnick, senior policy counsel at the center and co-author of the report.

Debt settlement companies offer to substantially reduce the amount owed by negotiating with credit card companies and other creditors. But to use a settlement company’s services, a client generally must stop making payments on the debt. Instead, money is deposited in a dedicated account; the funds are used to pay creditors, and the settlement company, if and when a settlement is reached. (The fee is often a percentage of the debt, or a percentage of the amount saved by the settlement.) However, defaulting on a debt means additional interest and late fees accrue on the account. Some card companies will not deal with settlement companies, and may file a lawsuit when payments stop.

The higher balance, plus the debt settlement fees and potential taxes owed on amounts that are forgiven, can substantially whittle down any savings realized if a settlement is eventually reached, the report finds. Consumers must settle at least two-thirds of their debt to benefit from debt settlement, but many are unable to get that result, the report said. The average debt-settlement customer has six debts totaling $30,000.

Typically, consumers consider debt settlement as an alternative to filing for personal bankruptcy. But Edward C. Boltz, a bankruptcy lawyer in Durham, N.C., says he sees clients who have ended up seeking bankruptcy protection despite having gone through debt settlement. Settlement companies usually will negotiate credit card debt, but often may not include medical or tax debt in their services. So clients who have a broad mix of debt may not get the relief they need, Mr. Boltz said.

It is also difficult to determine the likelihood of success in obtaining a settlement. The new report cites research from the federal Government Accountability Office, which noted that the percentage of clients successfully completing a debt settlement program was in the “single digits.”

Federal rules that took effect in 2010 bar debt settlement companies from charging fees upfront; they may collect a fee only after a settlement is reached and a payment is made under the agreed-upon plan.

The report notes that the American Fair Credit Council, a trade group representing debt settlement companies, has said that success rates had improved since the new rules took effect. A council representative did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Data from Colorado, however, which regulates debt settlement companies that operate in the state, suggests any change in success rates since the upfront-fee rule took effect is “marginal,” the report said.

Here are some questions about debt settlement:

■ Will using a debt settlement company affect my credit score?

Yes, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When you stop paying your debts and your accounts become delinquent, that information is reported to the major credit rating agencies and can harm your credit score. The delinquency may remain on your credit report for seven years.

■ Is debt settlement the same as a debt management plan offered by credit counseling companies?

Credit counseling agencies — which are often nonprofit organizations partly funded by credit card companies — obtain upfront agreements with creditors that allow a debt to be paid off over three to five years. Typically, the creditor agrees to a lower interest rate and waives penalty fees, but does not eliminate any of the principal owed. This option still requires that significant monthly payments be made, however, so not everyone may qualify. The Justice Department maintains a list of credit counseling agencies that are approved to provide pre-bankruptcy counseling on its website.

■ Are there any other options if I can’t pay my debt?

The Center for Responsible Lending suggests that you try to talk with your creditors yourself, especially if you have not become delinquent yet. Some companies have programs to reduce your principal or lower your interest rate if you can document a hardship, like losing a job.

If you cannot see any way to pay your debts, you may file for personal bankruptcy protection — a serious step that discharges your debt but impairs your credit rating and your ability to borrow for seven to 10 years, depending on the type of filing.

To view this article at The New York Times click  HERE

Protecting Your Credit During the Summer Travel Season

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals – ACCPros – offers tips on maintaining your credit rating and protecting your identity from thieves during the summer travel season.

Falmouth, ME (PRWEB) June 02, 2014

During the summer it’s nice to relax and unwind, but don’t be too lax about maintaining your credit rating and protecting your identity from thieves.

According to AAA, more than 36 million Americans hit the road during the Memorial Day holiday weekend alone, kicking off the unofficial start to the summer travel season.

Millions more are expected to go on vacation for the rest of the summer.

“If you’re not careful, while you’re out having fun on vacation, poor planning and failing to protect yourself from identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit,” says Judy Sorensen, President of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros).

ACCPros would like to remind travelers not only to maintain their credit rating while on vacation but also to guard against identity theft.

Here are a few tips:

1 – Set a budget

A great way to protect and maintain your overall credit rating is to create and stick to a proper budget.

Before you go away on vacation, create a realistic budget. Will you be driving or flying to your destination? Will you be staying with friends and/or family or will you stay in hotels? Will you eat out every single night and if so, how much will you spend? How much will you allocate to spending on theme park tickets, museums, tours, sightseeing and other entertainment?

You also need to plan for those little things that will add-up to potentially budget busting expenses. It is hard to account for miscellaneous costs like parking, tips, snacks, gas and incidentals.

Remember that once the vacation is over, it’s back to reality and you will have your routine day-to-day bills to contend with.

2- Watch your credit usage

Planning to use a credit card to pay for your vacation? If so, what credit card will you use and how much is your current balance on that card? The last thing you want to do is max out a credit card to pay for your vacation. In determining your credit score the credit bureaus take into consideration the amount of unused credit you have on your credit cards. A maxed out credit card means you have less available credit and can lower your credit score significantly.

This is referred to as credit card utilization – the percentage of credit you’ve charged versus your total credit line. It bears repeating how important a factor this is in determining your credit score. Ideally, your target should be to use no more than 10% of your available credit on any given credit card and to keep your overall credit utilization below 30%.

3 – Avoid missing payments

Make sure that your bills get paid while you are away. You don’t want to find yourself running around some foreign town trying to find an Internet café so that you can try to login to your credit card account to make a payment.

What if a purchase is declined because you are past due on your account and that is the card you were relying on to pay for your vacation? What if you return from an extended vacation and discover a shut off notice from your gas, electric or water utility?

These vacation downers can be avoided by simply planning ahead and setting up automatic payments through your bank, credit card company or utility.

4 -Secure your mail and packages

You probably already know that you can place your mail on hold with the U.S. Postal Service while you are away. Simply go to holdmail.usps.com to initiate hold mail for up to 30 days in advance of your trip. Companies like FedEx and UPS offer hold for pick-up services, allowing consumers to have their packages delivered to the carriers’ pick-up location.

The reason you should have your mail held is so that identity thieves don’t drive up and steal mail from your mailbox and gain access to sensitive information such as credit card statements, checks, credit offers and the like.

5 – Suspend subscriptions

Nothing screams “we’re away on vacation” louder than a pile of uncollected newspapers and flyers sitting in your driveway. Be sure to suspend your newspaper subscriptions or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect these for you while you are away. Again, you don’t want crooks to realize that you’re not home.

6 – Use cyber security alerts

It is a good idea to set-up alerts on all of your credit cards and bank accounts. Most credit card issuers will send you a text or email alert every time your credit card is used.

Additionally, most banks will allow you to have an alert sent every time there is activity in your bank account such as when a payment sent, a deposit is made, or a debit card transaction goes through. Set these alerts up and monitor your email or texts while you are on vacation to avoid potential fraud. Make sure you know how to reach your bank via phone or email when you are travelling out of state or out of the country.

7- Contact your credit card issuer(s)

You may want to let your credit card issuer(s) know you will be traveling. Credit card issuers are always watching for signs of fraudulent use. Letting them know you will be out of town and will be using your card will ensure there are no hitches when you need your card.

8 – Practice Internet safety

While traveling think twice about using Internet cafes and other Internet Service Providers (ISP) to access your bank or credit card accounts online. Remember, an Internet Service Provide has the ability to monitor everything that you do online. The ISP may be a legitimate business that does everything in their power to ensure that your privacy is protected. On the other hand, the ISP may have employed a number of rogue workers, would be hackers and others that would gladly find a way to tap into your accounts and make you a victim of identity theft.

About ACCPros

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros, is the credit counseling industry’s newest and fastest growing trade association. ACCPros distinguishes itself from other associations by placing an emphasis on ethics and compliance and focusing on best practices, quality service, education, training, and professional ethics. ACCPros member agencies can be a great resource for consumers seeking help managing their debt. Call the toll-free ACCPros Locator Line at 800-635-0553 to speak with a certified credit counselor at an agency licensed/registered in your state

Money Saving Tip

If you need to cut down on your expenses, it’s time to try coupon clippings!

A solid coupon strategy can help you save up to 30 percent off your bills, says Brad Wilson, founder of BradsDeals.com.  

If you are new to the coupon world, here are some tips:

1. Stick to coupons for things you really use. Trying another brand is fine. Buying something you know you won’t or shouldn’t eat is a waste.

Americans tend to throw out about 27 percent of consumable food, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While this includes grocery stores and restaurants, the family refrigerator is also a culprit. One quick way to slice into your food bill is to buy only what you need.

2. Pick a couple of favorite coupon sites and hit them regularly. Issuers offer “10 times the coupons available on manufacturers’ Web sites,” says Stephanie Nelson, who runs CouponMom.com.

Be sure to hit them early in the month, because sometimes manufacturers instruct the issuers to cap the number of coupons they distribute, says Steven Boal, CEO and founder of Coupons.com. Get there early and you get first pick. And don’t be afraid to check back several times a week to see if any new coupons are added. “New offers come in and out almost every day,” Boal says.

3. Target the manufacturer sites of your favorite brands. It takes a little more time than just visiting several coupon issuers. But this is a great way to find coupons for the products that you regularly use.

And if you’re willing to provide your e-mail and/or snail mail addresses, you can often receive additional coupons, Nelson says.

4. Layer coupons with store specials and sales. “Combine every possible savings opportunity,” says Nelson, whose site summarizes weekly specials in the local grocery stores. “That’s strategic shopping,” she says. And it helps to know which stores sell various items at the cheapest base price.

It’s also a good idea to find out if any of your favorite stores will match their competitors’ offers.

5. Visit store sites. “A lot of people don’t realize that all supermarkets have Web sites,” says Lisa Lee Freeman, editor in chief of ShopSmart magazine. Shoppers can use these sites to find out about weekly specials, as well as store coupons.

Ditto for drug stores and big-box retailers. Many times you can combine those store coupons with manufacturer coupons to save even more on one item, Nelson says.

6. Join the store’s loyalty card program. The card gets users a discount on certain items at checkout. The trade-off: The store tracks what you buy. In return, the retailer will mail or e-mail you coupons for products that you regularly use or even for generic items, like fresh fruits or vegetables, Nelson says.

7. Opt in for mailed offers, newsletters and offers for special deals. Want some additional coupons from manufacturers or issuers? Sign up and you shall receive.

But read the site’s privacy policy. You want to know what information it collects, whether it shares your personal data and with whom.

“Sign up for everything,” says coupon clipper Jamie Howard, who estimates she saves 30 percent weekly with coupons. “For me, it’s worth the effort.”

And while the discounts and offers are great, if the spam becomes too much, “I unsubscribe immediately,” she says.

A favorite clippers’ trick: Use a separate e-mail address just for coupon offers, Freeman says. That way, if that address gets spammed, your personal e-mail address is still protected.

Return to Thrifty Spending Issue 106

Thrifty Spending Issue 106

FEATURE ARTICLE:  Use Budgeting to Reduce Your Debt

Many Americans live their daily lives without a budget, possibly why the average American household is  over $8,000 in credit card debt. People in these difficult financial situations often say that the reason they have fallen upon hard times is because they do not make enough money. More money does not always solve the problem; more money often leads to more problems. The real solution to financial problems is planning, or budgeting.

READ MORE

 

MONEY SAVING TIP:   If you need to cut down on your expenses, it’s time to try coupon clippings!

A solid coupon strategy can help you save up to 30 percent off your bills, says Brad Wilson, founder of BradsDeals.com

READ MORE

 

DID YOU KNOW…there are four risky places to swipe your debit card?

Would you give a thief direct access to your banking accounts? Unfortunately, you may be doing just that by regularly using your debit card.

READ MORE

Did you know…

…there are four risky places to swipe your debit card?

  1. Outdoor ATMs. A great place for skimming to occur. Skimming is the practice of capturing a bank customer’s card information by running it through a machine that reads the card’s magnetic strip.  To avoid the risk of a skimming device, use an ATM inside a bank, retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well lit place.
  2. Gas stations. Another great place for a skimming device as the pumps have minimal supervision. All a thief needs is a lap top and antenna to steal your debit card information and pin number.  Avoid swiping your debit card at the pump. Use cash or a credit card next time you fill up.
  1. The Web. Debit cards are a convenient way to buy products online. The consumer could have malware on their computers o it could be at their endpoint that the data gets compromised. There’s always the possibility of somebody is eavesdropping on their communication via the wireless network. Use a credit card for online purchases so that you have the protection of your creditor against fraud.
  1. Restaurants. Any place where your debit card is out of sight, it can increase the chances of fraud. The same threat is apparent when ordering for delivery and using your debit card to pay for the food over the telephone.  Avoid this and take the extra safety step to get cash or use a protected method of payment such as a credit card.

Remember thieves are skilled and know all the tricks. They may only use your debit card for small transactions that may go unrecognizable for a while. Review your banking transactions daily to avoid becoming a victim.

 

Return to Thrifty Spending Issue 106

Feature Article

Use Budgeting to Reduce Your Debt

Many Americans live their daily lives without a budget, possibly why the average American household is  over $8,000 in credit card debt. People in these difficult financial situations often say that the reason they have fallen upon hard times is because they do not make enough money. More money does not always solve the problem; more money often leads to more problems. The real solution to financial problems is planning, or budgeting.

With a little knowledge and effort, anyone can begin creating a budget to reduce their overall debt.

First, stop adding debt upon debt. It’s of the upmost importance that you quit accruing debt immediately. Use cash for your purchases, not your credit cards. If you can’t pay cash, you don’t buy it. Period.

Next, figure out how much you pay per month total for all of your expenses. This includes rent/mortgage, car payments, car/home insurance, utilities, credit card debt, other personal loan debt, food, gas, Internet, cable television, clothes, eating out, and entertainment – everything.

Now, determine your total income. Subtract this total from your monthly income total. Where do you stand? Are you comfortably in the positive, or barely? Or are you in the negative?

If you’re barely in the positive, or if you’re in the negative, it’s time to reduce your overall expenses.

What can you get rid of? Eliminate extraneous expenses. Also, shop around for better telephone rates, cell phone rates, and insurance rates. Make changes where you can.

Phone your credit card companies and try to get your interest rates reduced; sometimes they’re even willing to negate past due and over the limit fees. Consider contacting a non-profit credit counseling company. Debt consolidation or debt settlement might be a consideration for your situation. Your goal here is to reduce your overall debt from your credit lenders.

If you shift your focus from short term to a long term point of view, you will find that you will eliminate many of your wasteful spending habits. Furthermore, you may find that you are saving money for a rainy day, possibly even investing. Once your financial maturity reaches this point, you will no longer fall prey to life’s unexpected expenses. This is the only way to reach financial independence.

Return to Thrifty Spending Issue 106

DMCC Supporting Financial Literacy Education at Port Saint Lucie Centennial High School

Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp (http://www.dmcconline.org) supporting financial literacy program at South Florida High School for eighth consecutive year. Florida educators in high schools and colleges are encouraged to take advantage of this service by contacting the DMCC Education Department.

Read moreDMCC Supporting Financial Literacy Education at Port Saint Lucie Centennial High School

How Military Members Can Avoid Illegal, Unfair Debt Collection Efforts

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals – ACCPros – Offers Tips for Servicemembers With Student Loans and Other Debts

Falmouth, ME (PRWEB) May 02, 2014

Members of the military face a host of enemies abroad: everything from terrorists and suicide bombers to inhospitable land and severe weather conditions.

Unfortunately, back at home, many U.S. servicemembers and their families must square off against a different kind of enemy: financial services firms and bill collectors that use aggressive, often illegal practices when trying to collect debts.

“The list of financial abuses that military families face is downright appalling,” says Judy Sorensen, president of theAssociation of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros. “On a daily basis, many deal with harassing phone calls from debt collectors, predatory lending traps and wrongful foreclosures on their homes, not to mention widespread problems with student loans. This is the last thing our service men and women need after they’ve been out fighting for our safety and freedoms.”

To help combat these problems, Sorensen and the experts at ACCPros offer four tips to military members facing financial difficulties, especially with student loans.

Tip#1: Know your legal rights

“Part of the problem is that many U.S. servicemembers simply don’t know that they have various military protections to help them in areas such as their mortgages and student loans,” says Sorensen.

For example, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003, military members and their families are supposed to be protected from housing evictions. The Act also includes a stay of all court proceedings a bill collector might attempt, and a cap on loan interest rates, including a 6% ceiling on student loans.

Separately, the Military Lending Act caps payday loans and title loans at 36%.

Sorensen notes, however, that some payday lenders use loopholes to get around payday loan caps. She recently wrote about this abuse in an article on Credit.com.

Tip #2: Report abuses to the authorities

It’s not in your best interest to be silent about financial misconduct by any company with which you might do business. So Sorensen urges military members to report wrongful doing to the authorities, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In April, the CFPB issued a report highlighting everything from dubious default judgments to wrongful debt collection activity against military members. The report concluded that more needs to be done to ensure that members of the U.S. armed forces receive the full protection of the law concerning their financial affairs.

That’s one reason the CFPB does track complaints. In fact, the agency says it received 14,100 complaints filed by military consumers between July 2011 and February 2014. Also, the number of complaints the CFPB received rose by 148% from 2012 to 2013. And the agency does act on these concerns.

For instance, the CFPB and other federal agencies are now investigating Sallie Mae over its handling of students loans held by military members. The CFPB says it is examining “unfair or deceptive” practices that violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and allegations of discriminatory lending and payment-processing issues.

“Statistics show that four out of 10 U.S. service men and women are now repaying student loans, and the average amount borrowed is about $26,000, so this is a major issue that must be addressed,” Sorensen says.

Tip #3: Utilize the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, individuals employed by the military for a decade, or those who’ve been in specific public service jobs for the last 10 years, can have their federal student loans completely discharged.

Some of the public service jobs that qualify for this student loan relief are: police officers and firefighters, emergency management workers, and specialists in public health, including nurses and healthcare practitioners.

Tip #4: Understand how to get a student loan discharge

Those who received National Direct Student Loans and Perkins Loans can get partial cancellation or a discharge of their loan based on their military service in they served for a full year in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area.

So if you qualify for loan cancellation, Sorensen suggests supplying a copy of your DD214 (discharge form) and a letter requesting a discharge to your loan servicer.

About ACCPros

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros, is the credit counseling industry’s newest and fastest growing trade association. ACCPros hopes to distinguish itself from other associations by placing an emphasis on ethics and compliance and focusing on best practices, quality service, education, training, and professional ethics. ACCPros member agencies can be a great resource for consumers seeking help managing their debt. Call the toll-free ACCPros Locator Line at 800-635-0553 to speak with a certified credit counselor at an agency licensed/registered in your state.

 

Ref:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/accpros_servicemembers/military_debt_collection/prweb11819370.htm

Thrifty Spending Issue 105

FEATURE ARTICLE:  Are you buying a lemon?

Buying a vehicle can be both a stressful and rewarding experience, especially if you plan on purchasing a used vehicle. Even if you get great financing and find the exact car you want with all the extras, there is still a chance that the car may not be as reliable as you hoped.  To avoid any future headaches, and empty bank accounts, be sure to do all of your homework first.

READ MORE

 

MONEY SAVING TIP:   Get your credit score up!

If you have good credit and you are planning to purchase a car or home, it  is well worth the wait and effort to raise your credit rating. It should only take a few months to correct your score and it could save you big money.

 

READ MORE

 

DID YOU KNOW…Fewer than 10% of all U.S. citizens nearing retirement have sufficient investment or retirement income to maintain their current lifestyle. 

Do you want to be in your sixties and still worried about how you’ll pay your bills in the coming years? Start saving for retirement as soon as possible to help ensure you’ll have the funds you need to afford that dream house.

 

READ MORE

Thrifty Spending Issue 104

FEATURE ARTICLE:  Scammers now accepting Green Dot MoneyPaks

Dinah Keck didn’t realize the caller was a crook. The caller told the 70-year old, who lives near Ann Arbor, Mich., that she had won $3.5 million dollars in a lottery.

All she had to do was pay $3,500 to cover administrative fees and taxes and the check would be on its way. Those payments would be made via Green Dot MoneyPaks – $1,300 upfront and then $200 a month.

Keck went to the store, bought the MoneyPaks and gave the “award company” the PIN codes to access $1,500.

READ MORE

 

MONEY SAVING TIP:  Mail order subscriptions

 

Going to the drugstore for prescription pills? Heading out to shop for dog food? Ugh. Do yourself a favor and handle some of your common purchases with a mail order subscription. Not only can you substitute a trip to the pharmacy with a nap, you can also save money.

READ MORE

 

DID YOU KNOW…you can actually get a free college education at a handful of schools?

For example, Berea College in Berea, Ky., covers the full $20,900 tuition for all students, out of a combination of grants, scholarships and work-study.

READ MORE

 

Thrifty Spending Issue 103

FEATURE ARTICLE:  What to do with your tax refund Expecting a hefty tax refund this year? You may have visions of plasma televisions and Hawaiian vacations. But with the economy locked in recession and the unemployment rate at a 25-year high, there might be more practical ways to spend the extra cash.

READ MORE

 

MONEY SAVING TIP:  The ExtraBucks Rewards at CVS can be overwhelming when you first sign up, but it is one of those loyalty cards that pays off.

READ MORE

 

DID YOU KNOW…offers to repair your credit can be a rip off?

Credit repair agencies enjoy soliciting their special industry knowledge and insights, and people often assume these firms can do things that individuals can’t.

READ MORE

SafeIDLock Your Credit

In a matter of minutes, your identity could be stolen and you could face a long road of financial problems. This is actually easy to avoid with SafeIDLock. If you have already experienced identity theft, SafeIDLock will help you restore your identity.

Part of DMCC’s mission is to educate consumers on how to improve their credit and provide a prosperous financial future for themselves and their families.  One of the ways DMCC does this is by reviewing consumer’s credit reports. At times, our clients are surprised to find unknown credit lines on their reports. Some of our clients have had to struggle correcting their credit reports after being victims of identity theft. SafeIDLock helps eliminate all of this.   They will protect your identity by monitoring public and private networks and alert you of any suspicious activity associated with your name.  You will also be given access to monitor your own Experian credit report and view your credit score 24/7.

Be proactive and contact DMCC (866-618-3328) to speak to one of our certified credit counselors. They will discuss with you the plan available through SafeIDLock, so you can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. It is safe and effective.

Check for a recall before purchasing that car!

An auto recall means that a specific vehicle may not meet safety, operating or emissions standards. Recalls can be issued by the either the manufacturer or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the Recalls website, which is provided for consumers by the government. Recalls are covered by the manufacturer at a same-make dealership free of charge.

Purchasing a car, even a used model, is the second largest investment we usually make so it is important to do some research before you purchase a vehicle. If you plan a vehicle purchase go to the National Highway Safety Administration website, (NHTSA) http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Recalls+&+Defects  and do some investigation.  Try and visit the site every few months as recalls happen frequently and could happen during your vehicle ownership.

Before making that purchase contact a DMCC Certified Credit Counselor and consider a budget review. Knowing how much you can afford before you buy will help you make an affordable choice.

DMCC is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization committed to educating consumers on financial issues and providing personal assistance to consumers who have become overextended with debt.  Education is provided free of charge to consumers, as well as personal counseling to identify the best options for the repayment of their debt. To speak to a certified credit counselor, call toll-free 866-618-3328 or email contact@dmcconline.org. DMCC is located at 3310 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064.