“Many CCCS clients simply need guidance with common financial issues, and we are here to help.”
50 Ways to Pinch Pennies.
Call today for more information about CCCS programs. (970)229-0695 or (800)424-CCCS
Answers to your most common questions.
How do I obtain copies of my credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies?
Information on your credit report can affect your ability to get a job, a mortgage, a loan, a credit card or insurance. CCCS recommends consumers request a copy of their credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies once a year. By law, every Colorado resident is entitled to one free yearly credit report from each agency. There is also no charge if you have been denied credit, employment, and/or insurance in the last 60 days. As of December 1, 2004, residents of eleven western states, including Colorado, can access all three of their credit reports for free by going to one source. Use one of the methods below to access your credit reports:Online: www.annualcreditreport.com
By mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Start by getting copies of your credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies. Review them for accuracy. Dispute any items that are incorrect. Start now to make regular monthly payments on your debts; you want to show a consistent history with no missed payments. By doing this you will be developing a good payment record.
I have a number of credit cards that I don’t use. Will it hurt my credit if I close these credit card accounts?
While closing accounts may seem like a good choice, be careful when doing so. Your credit score looks at the difference between the credit you have available to you and the amount of credit you are using. If you shut down accounts, your total available credit actually gets smaller, making your unpaid balances a larger portion of your total available credit, which could hurt your score. The credit score also takes into consideration the length of your credit history. If you close older accounts it could make your credit history look younger than it actually is, which can hurt your score. If you want to improve your credit score it is better to pay down your credit card debt instead of closing accounts.
I’ve heard about home equity loans where I can borrow the value of my home. Is that a good way to pay off my credit cards at a lower interest rate?
You are turning home equity, an asset, into debt. Be careful. You’re replacing unsecured debt with debt backed by your home. If you are unable to make payments, you could lose your home.
Once you pay off your credit cards by using your home equity, will you stop using your credit cards? If you continue using them, will you pay the balances in full monthly? If so, great. However, if you start running up balances again, you’ll have more debt than before and will fall behind in reaching two goals; owning your home free and clear, and reducing your debt load.
Just pay something:
Is it true that if I pay $1 every month to each of my creditors, that they can’t do anything to me?
Not true. This is one of those “urban legends” that circulate. Every loan agreement has payment requirements. If you do not pay as agreed, you can incur a number of costs as well as face collection action.
If you are having trouble making payments, seek help. Options include working out a hardship plan directly with your creditors, seeking help from a counseling service, or seeking legal advice.
Are creditors allowed to call people at work?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers. Collectors may not call you at work if your tell them not to. You also can write the collection agency, telling them to stop contacting you.
Check before shifting:
Is it a good idea to transfer balances to a lower-interest-rate credit card?
In general it’s always a good idea to lower your interest costs. But make sure the rate on the new card isn’t a temporary, introductory rate. It could be a teaser rate that will jump to a high rate in a few months. Also, if you switch, be sure to close the old account. That way you won’t be tempted to charge on that card again.
Where can I get help:
How can I evaluate credit counseling providers? There are several listed in the phone book.
Review their services against some guidelines, such as:
- Is their agency accredited? By whom?
- Are their counselors certified? By whom?
- Are they licensed in states where it is required?
- Can they meet with you face to face if needed?
- Do they provide counseling and education workshops?
- Can they work with all your unsecured creditors?
- Are they not-for-profit?
- Are client deposit accounts audited annually?
- Do they have a board of volunteer trustees?
- Can they provide proof of director and office, errors and omissions, and employee dishonesty insurance?