Joshua Heckathorn's blog

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How Charge-Offs and Collections for the Same Debt Appear on Credit Reports

[credit bureaus You have the dreaded double whammy on your credit reports—a charge-off and collection for the same old debt.  But how did this happen? Frankly, the whole process can be quite confusing to most consumers, which is why I've done my best to break it down into the following six simple steps.  While your situation might be a little bit different, my experience has been that 90% of the time this is exactly how it all plays out.

Ask Creditnet: Is 0% Credit Utilization Better Than 10%?

Dear Creditnet: I know that my credit utilization ratio makes up a large part of my FICO credit score.  I've also read that it's important to keep my ratio under 30%, or preferably at 10% or less. My question is would it be better to keep my credit utilization ratio at 0% or 10%?  If I pay my balance off every week and my credit utilization is reported at 0%, is that hurting my FICO scores?

Date of First Delinquency (DOFD) and Why It Matters

 We always see increased activity in our Credit Talk Forum as the new year begins.  It makes complete sense since the start of a new year often brings a renewed sense of urgency to get your financial house in order. And for a lot of people these days, the number one thing on their mind is cleaning up their credit reports and getting their credit scores back to an acceptable level so they can purchase a new home, car, or get their foot in the door for a new job.  So how do most people start the process? They typically begin researching online, joining forums, pulling free credit reports, and wondering "when will these old debts I've been trying to ignore for all these years actually go away?"  This is a question I've seen and answered in our forum at least a dozen times this month, so I thought it would be a good idea to quickly address it here on the blog as well.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 Bonus Now a "Limited Time Offer"?

In May of 2011 the Sapphire Preferred® Card began offering 50,000 bonus points to new cardholders who spent $3,000 within the first 3 months. Chase has been running this same promotion ever since, but the strange thing is we recently received notice that the wording "Limited Time Offer" must be inserted into their marketing copy. I'm not exactly sure what the reasoning is for the change or if this promotion will end very soon, but what I can say is I've actually been surprised the deal has been running for so long. Most deals like this don't last for almost a year, so I wouldn't count on it lasting much longer in 2012. In fact, word on the street is that it may get pulled sometime before the 2nd quarter. So why should you care?

Ask Creditnet: I'm a Disabled Vet - Who Can Help Me Fix My Credit Problems?

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Dear Creditnet: I am a disabled veteran who ran into a lot of financial trouble and really messed up my credit reports. Long story short, I basically went crazy and stopped paying my bills because I thought I was going to die every day. Now, my actions just haunt me every day with horrible credit.

I am married with two children and one on the way, and I am nervous that my bad credit is bringing my family down. My wife has good credit and a great job so I feel like I am the only one holding us back. Please, is there an agency or someone who can help me fix my credit problems?

Richard Cordray is In: Watch Out Payday Lenders!

Richard Cordray President Obama took the opportunity yesterday, while lawmakers were on recess, to appoint Richard Cordray as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) first director.  The move is sure to ruffle a lot of feathers among Republicans in Washington D.C., but apparently Obama was sick and tired of watching the CFPB sit on the sidelines making suggestions that no one was obligated to listen to. They'll be a lot of partisan bickering regarding Obama's actions over the next few weeks, but I don't think most Americans really care about that.  The fact is Cordray is in, and he's probably not going anywhere for awhile.

Discover More Card Launches No Balance Transfer Fee Deal

The Discover More Card - $0 Balance Transfer Fee deal is back! We saw this promotion go live in 2011 around the same time, but it really didn't last that long. And like last year, this deal is once again hitting the marketplace for a limited amount of time. So, if the holiday credit card bills are already rolling in and you're afraid you might have to carry a balance on one of your cards for a few months before paying it off in full, you might want to check out this offer right away and save yourself some money on interest.  With no annual fee, 0% interest and no balance transfer fee, the card really does offer the opportunity to get a completely free loan from Discover for the next 12 months. In addition to the $0 balance transfer fee, here are some of the other highlights of the Discover More Card:

10 Ways to Destroy Your Credit in 2012

I think I might vomit if I have to read one more "10 steps to financial freedom in 2012" blog post. They all say the same things.  Make a budget, track every penny you spend, build an emergency fund...blah, blah, blah! Don't get me wrong.  Those are each important parts of personal finance, but aren't you bored of reading the same old stuff?  I certainly am.  So I'd like to take a different spin on things for my first post of 2012. Want to destroy your credit this year?  Here's 10 ways to make it happen:

Dash to Goodwill Before Ringing in 2012

[caption id="attachment_5920" align="alignleft" width="500" caption=" "]happy new year 2012Photo by Creativity103[/caption]

You probably have a list of 50 things to do today as you prepare to ring in 2012 with friends and family, but I'll bet most of them will cost you money.  Here's a quick task to add to your New Year's Eve list that will actually save you some money in 2012.

To save on your 2011 tax bill, take an hour this afternoon and rummage through your closets for old clothes, toys, and household items that are just taking up valuable space.  If you come across something and it hasn't been used in 6 months, get rid of it.  Don't try to talk yourself into keeping it around because there's the slight chance you might need it at some point in the future.

Trust me, if you haven't used that old t-shirt you won at the state fair 3 years ago, you're never going to need it.  Donate it to someone who will, and earn yourself a little tax break.

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