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Are Prepaid Legal Services Worth It?

You bet your ass, they are! Let me explain. A few months ago a very old payday loan showed up on my Transunion credit report and in my mind, I'm thinking, no problem. I'll just dispute it and make it disappear like magic just like I always do. But this time it didn't work. Two months later I disputed it again but the credit bureau refused to remove it.

Suddenly, I realized that I had been paying $9.95 a month since 1999 for a prepaid legal service called ARAG. Now, ARAG has helped me in the past, most notably when a furniture company sued me unsuccessfully because ARAG Legal Services told me step by step what to do to defend myself and the case was dismissed less than 30 days after answering the summons.

Fast forward to today. I reached out to ARAG and requested that they send out a debt validation letter to the collection agency on my behalf and within a week I received a notification from Credit Karma informing me that the payday loan collection account had been removed! ARAG came through for me again!

In short, if you find yourself in similar situations every few months while you work on restoring your credit, I suggest that you arm yourself with ARAG or a similar company to help defend you in your time of need. Most prepaid legal services will provide the first hour at no charge. I've used ARAG at least 4 times and have never paid a cent beyond the $9.95 monthly fee.

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Credit Rebuilding: Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Over the weekend I decided to try my luck once again in the credit card lottery and to my surprise, I was instantly approved for an Overstock.com credit card with an initial credit limit of $550. It is stated that a credit score of about 620 is required for approval but there are always outliers.

This approval is especially satisfying because I had been denied the last time I applied which was about 3 years ago. What I've learned from this experience is that as long as you continue to make payments on time and pay your debt down, you will improve your credit standing by default without the need to do anything special.

The problem that most people have, including me, is that we get too anxious and want great credit today and not six months from now. We have a burning desire for instant gratification but that's just not how the credit industry works. With credit, slow and steady wins the race.

Hiring a reputable credit repair company will speed up the process but if you're patient, you can improve your credit organically just by consistently paying your bills on time. Now, it might take a bit longer depending on your current financial situation but the reality is that this time will pass anyway so you might as well just wait it out.

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How To Get Approved With Bad Credit

Getting approved with bad credit is difficult but not impossible. I've acquired unsecured credit cards numbering in the teens and the majority of them I was able to obtain with poor credit. At the time, my credit scores ranged between 530 and 580. The reason why I was able to get approved time and time again is that I went in with a plan and I did my research.

I'm a firm believer in user reviews. Before purchasing my truck, I read over 400 reviews and I would have read 1000 if there had been that many. I'm the same way with credit. There are resources available online that will tell you the minimum score needed to get approved for certain cards as well as which credit bureau the card company uses to make credit decisions.

This information is not 100% foolproof but it does give me a certain level of confidence when applying for credit. It also limits the risk of being denied and adding more credit inquiries, which are overrated by the way, but that's a story for another day.

I also review credit reports to see if I've already applied for a particular card so that I don't apply again too soon and risk another denial. I constantly check for changes in credit card finance companies since certain companies are known for offering easier credit approvals than others. The information is out there...you just have to be willing to go get it.

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Join The Bill Collectors Hate Me Group!

You are cordially invited to join the "Bill Collectors Hate Me Group" where members can discuss credit-related issues in an open forum environment so that other members can view the discussion and share their experiences in similar situations.

This group will feature articles that are exclusive to group members and will not be available on the general public blog. Group membership will ensure that you have access to all that "Bill Collectors Hate Me" has to offer. There is also a group chat for "real-time" answers to your questions.

In closing, I ask that you continue to share "Bill Collectors Hate Me" as much as you feel comfortable and I will continue providing you with the most useful credit-related content available on the web today. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Join the "Bill Collectors Hate Me Group" HERE!

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Affirm: Installment Loans Without the Red Tape!

Let me tell you about a little known company called Affirm. I first discovered Affirm while shopping at Wayfair online for a large TV stand for the new 55" flat screen that I ordered from Walmart online just a day or two prior.

During checkout, I was given the standard payment options plus a new one that I'd never seen before called Affirm. After doing a little research, I discovered that Affirm is a newer payment alternative that allows you to make purchases ranging from clothes to furniture and airline tickets without the use of a credit card.

Affirm offers easy payment plans of either 3, 6, or 12 months, with interest rates ranging from 10-30% depending on your level of credit. A minimum credit score of about 540 is usually enough to get you approved for at least a couple hundred dollars to get you started.

Currently, the company only reports to Experian and all transactions are listed as installment loans which will look great on your credit report if you're rebuilding and happen to be lacking other forms of installment loans.

In the end, I decided to choose Affirm at checkout to purchase my TV stand with a purchase price of $225.71. I decided upon the 3-month plan which consisted of three equal payments of $79.02 including interest of $11.35, bringing my total purchase price to $237.06 out the door. I received my TV and stand on the same day and all was great in the world again!

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Is Filing Bankruptcy Really That Bad?

Despite the doom and gloom surrounding it, bankruptcy is not as uncommon as you might think. Due to its stigma, your best friend may have filed and you'd never even know it. Should you decide to go that route, bankruptcy could finally give you the fresh start you've been looking for.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you run out and file a BK, because if you're successful, it "WILL" set you back a bit. Bankruptcy is not as simple as just filing. You have to actually be approved by a judge in order to set the wheels in motion and have it finalized.

Although bankruptcy can stay on your credit reports up to 10 years, a reputable credit repair company can usually remove it sooner. Even if you do nothing, the bankruptcy only affects your credit buying power until it is discharged, which usually takes about 90-120 days.

Once you receive your discharge papers, you can buy a vehicle after 90 days or home after 2 years. In fact, you might find creditors eager to extend you credit because they know you can't file again for another 8 years. They're also counting on you to have learned your lesson, so it makes them feel better about taking a risk on you.

You'll soon find your mailbox stuffed with offers for credit cards almost daily. Before you get all excited, these will not be prime credit offers. They'll be the same high-interest rate offers you received before filing, but at least they'll give you a chance to start building up to something better.

In fact, a friend of mine had his bankruptcy recently discharged and was able to raise his credit score to just over 700 and he's less than two years post-discharge. With the right amount of focus and determination, I am confident that anyone else can do the same.

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Credit Rehab: Beyond The Ivory Tower

A lot of people have asked me why I apply for so much credit and the answer is simple. I apply for credit as a part of my research in order to find out what works and what doesn't. I then pass my findings on to my followers so that they can make an informed credit decision based on my results.

Of course, everyone's credit situation is different and there will always be outliers, but hopefully, my experiences will provide a baseline from which others can benefit. Much like the way in which my online research provides a baseline for me before I apply for credit.

Essentially, I am doing the research and absorbing all the credit inquiries and associated risks of being denied credit so that you don't have to. I will only recommend the credit opportunities that I feel will give you the very best opportunity of being approved.

My credit situation is far from perfect, but I've been successfully approved for well over 10 unsecured credit cards. I attribute this to putting in the necessary research required to improve my chances of credit approval and then I pass this information along to you.

I don't concern myself with the number of credit inquiries that I rack up because it's just part of the process...The price of doing business. I will go into much greater detail regarding credit inquiries in an upcoming article entitled: "Credit Inquiries are Overrated."

You see, I am no different from you. I am seeking credit improvement in the same way that you are. I am not one of those people that sits atop an ivory tower and preaches down to the lowly people below them who struggle with credit and are constantly judged because of it. I am not only one of you...I AM you!

You might also like: Bad Credit: Life's Dirty Little Secret

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Target REDcard for Easy Credit Approvals

Yesterday I was just sitting around thinking that I could really use another credit card to increase my available credit in order to improve my debt to credit ratio. After a brief google search for department store cards with easy credit approvals, I stumbled upon the Target REDcard.

After reviewing the card's description, I discovered that one of its perks was a 5% discount on any item purchased in-store or online, so I decided to apply. I was instantly approved with a "temporary credit limit" of $300 which I later found out was only a portion of my full credit limit which has yet to be disclosed.

I should also mention that upon setting up my online account, it revealed that I had been a valued customer since 2015. Perplexed, I had to think back and I realized that the Target REDcard is financed by TD Bank which is the same company that financed my Nordstrom Rack credit card that I got back in 2015. So it appears that TD Bank combines all its cards under the same umbrella.

So, if you've been thinking about applying for a Target REDcard but not quite sure if the risk was worth the hard credit pull, my research revealed that a FICO score of 615 is recommended but not a requirement for approval...You're just going to have to trust me on this one. If you think your FICO is somewhere in the ballpark, then I'd say go for it!

You might also like: Nordstrom Credit

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Subscribe To Bill Collectors Hate Me!!!

Thanks to Facebook's updated algorithm, even if a person follows my FB page, the majority will never see my posts on their news feeds. Subscriptions guarantee that every article is delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss another post.

Subscribers will receive special offers that may not be available to non-subscribers. This could include things like unpublished articles, advanced announcements or early releases of creative materials.

Signing up is easy. Simply enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now" box and click on submit. Now, just wait until you receive a confirmation email and once you confirm, whenever a new article is posted, you'll be the first to know!

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You might also like: Pre-Order Your "FREE" Credit Repair Guide!

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Pre-Order Your FREE Credit Repair Guide!

My "D.I.Y. Credit Repair Guide" (The Blueprint) will give you step by step instructions on how to dispute derogatory items and have them removed from your credit reports. It will also go over a brief history of credit repair and how the process has changed over the years.

My guide will dispel all the myths associated with credit repair in regards to what can and cannot be removed. Everything can be removed...even if the debt legitimately belongs to you. I have no doubt that my credit repair guide will assist you in removing derogatories from all three credit reports but it will only work to the level of time and commitment that you are willing to put into it.

This guide will be available for a limited time by email request only. You may pre-order your copy by using the "Subscribe Now" form. Once I have received a satisfactory amount of requests, I will distribute the guide to all subscribers in a single deployment. Your email address will not be visible.

Beyond the guide distribution, you will receive notification emails letting you know whenever a new article has been posted to the blog so that you don't have to keep checking back every day. You will also be notified of any special offers in the future.

This guide is available by email request only...SUBSCRIBE NOW!!!

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Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers

People on the brink of credit improvement but not quite there yet, often find themselves faced with a dilemma. Do you accept the first pre-approved credit card offer that comes your way regardless of interest and fees, or do you hold out and wait for something better to come along?

I know that having someone willing to take a chance on you and extend an offer for new credit makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but be careful. Offers like this can sometimes have negative strings attached such as high-interest rates and maintenance fees.

Some companies will make an offer for credit but only if you agree to pay a yearly maintenance fee that's usually broken down into 12 equal monthly payments. This is the equivalent to petty theft! You're already being gouged with high-interest rates, and now they want to charge you monthly for the privilege to do so? It doesn't make sense.

Look, paying a higher interest rate is to be expected because we already know you have bad credit...but the amount of interest you pay should have an automatic cutoff point. Here's what I mean. A person with poor credit should expect to pay an interest rate somewhere between 23-29%. That's a given, and you do it until your credit improves enough to do better.

But if you receive an offer for credit and it's touting 36% interest or worse, tear it up and toss it in the trash. You can do better. Don't let these creditors prey upon you. It's hard enough to pay debts down while trying to rebuild credit but it's next to impossible to pay down debt if most of your payments are going to the interest rather than the principal. Just say NO!

You might also like: Pre-Approved Visa: Merrick Bank

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Prism: A Money Management Tool

Every now and then we all forget to pay a bill or two if it is not sitting on a desk right in front of us. Now, on the surface this seems like no big deal, right? You're late a couple of days or in the worst-case scenario, you forget about the bill completely until the following month.

Now, that's where your troubles begin because once you become 30 days late, your creditors can tack on a hefty late fee which is often times larger than your monthly payment for the bill itself! Believe me, I've been down that road more times than I care to remember!

I've always had good intentions but when you have monthly bills numbering in the teens, you're bound to overlook, misplace or forget to pay one or two of them. This can cause late fees to skyrocket and cost you money that could have been used to pay down other outstanding debt.

It's a hard lesson that has cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fees over the years until I stumbled upon a great money management app called Prism. Prism was not the first app that I've used to manage my money but it is without a doubt the best.

I have highlighted a few of Prism's key features below:

1. Prism will notify you a few days in advance to let you know that a payment is coming due. Prism will send a second reminder on the due date if you have not paid your bill to date. This may not seem like a big deal but it has saved me hundreds of dollars in late fees which has indirectly contributed to improving my credit because I have stopped being late.

2. Once you have entered all your bills and payment options into Prism, you can pay each bill individually as they come due or pay them all on the same day through the app! Bill payments through Prism are 100% free and will usually post the same day or in 2-3 business days, depending on your biller.

3. There's no need to keep track of paper bills, account numbers or multiple passwords for all your online accounts because they remain stored securely within the Prism app. Prism's simple, clean design lets you know at a glance the exact amount you owe at any given time for a single bill or all bills combined. I am convinced that Prism is a "game changer" in the field of money management.

You might also like: Prism Money

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Gettington Credit: An Updated Review

Last month I wrote a post entitled: "Gettington: Credit As Easy As 1-2-3." In the post, I explained how I came upon them by accident while browsing the Credit Karma website. As Credit Karma is known to do, they recommended that I apply for Gettington Credit because they felt that based on my current credit score, I had a great chance of being approved.

As it turns out, they were right. I was instantly approved online for Gettington Credit in January 2019 with a starting credit limit of $400.00. Fast forward to May 2019, just four months later and Gettington notified me that my credit limit has just been increased to $800.00. I was more than excited because what I initially thought was a good credit decision suddenly turned into a great one!

Since I had no way of knowing that my credit limit would double in just 4 months of minimal usage, I thought it was important that I provided an updated review just in case you were still undecided about whether to apply. I hope this update has made your decision easier. Please post a comment below and share your experience with Gettington!

You might also like: Gettington: Credit As Easy As 1-2-3

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Does Paying Collections Improve Your Credit?

At one time I took a very hard stance of never paying a collection account because no benefit was gained by it. It would not improve your credit nor would it make it worse. You'd just be out of a little cash. As time has passed, I have softened my stance quite a bit with regards to paying past due collection accounts and now I’d say it just depends.

The decision to pay or not pay depends on two key factors:

1. The first factor is: How old is the debt? If the debt is very near the 7-year point of which it is scheduled to fall off your reports organically, then I would say do nothing and just let it fall off. If it’s a new collection and you’ve still got a ways to go, then I would make my decision to pay or not pay based on factor #2.

2. The second factor is: How much do you owe? If you owe smaller cable or electric bills of $100 or so, then I would suggest that you go ahead and pay them. It makes no sense having an unpaid collection showing for such a small amount. If the debt is significantly larger, I’d leave it be and focus on your current bills that are active and in good standing. Creditors put more weight on how you're paying your bills now, vs how you paid them years ago. Focus on the now.

You might also like: Collections Most Wanted

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Pre-qualify for Capital One Credit Cards

One of the many great things I like about Capital One is that you can fill out a simple online prequalification form to see if you qualify for any of their many credit card offerings.

Prequalifying does not count against you as a hard inquiry so they do not hurt your credit score in any way by applying for credit using this method.

The form requires about 60 seconds of basic identification such as your name, address and social security number along with your annual salary and monthly rent or mortgage payment.

By prequalifying, you can know in just seconds which cards, if any, that you qualify for and feel confident about applying for them without fear of rejection.

I have personally used this method to apply for all three of my Capital One credit cards and each time that I prequalified, I was approved for the card that I selected.

To prequalify now, click here.

Please post a comment below and share your experience with Capital One!

You might also like: Capital One Credit Card Offers

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Which Credit Cards Offer High Credit Limits?

Capital One offers some of the fastest growing credit limits in the industry. It doesn't matter if your initial credit limit starts out low or high. Capital One will automatically increase it in five-month increments as long as you continue to make on-time payments.

Capital One will also increase your credit limit by phone or online request from your profile page. The request process is simple. They simply ask for your annual salary, your monthly rent amount, and your requested credit limit. Now you just hit the submit button and you'll have an answer within 60 seconds.

So if you are looking for a card that offers generous credit limit increases and generally easy credit approvals as a whole, then look no further than Capital One. They have been all that I could ever ask for in a credit card company.

You might also like: Capital One Credit Card Offers

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Should you carry credit card balances?

Over the years I have found that several people have different opinions on this subject and I can certainly see both sides of the coin. After reading this article I'm sure you'll agree with my final analysis and see yourself in one of the two categories. So let's begin.

People with a habit of being a bit "frugal", tend to use their credit cards for the purpose of credit building and cash back rewards. These people choose to pay their credit cards off in full each month. They believe in making their credit cards work for them.

Others like myself, don't mind carrying a balance and paying on them each month. I just make sure to pay a few dollars more than the minimum amount due on each card in an effort to decrease the balance as much as I can, as soon as I can.

People who choose to pay their bills off every month have generally been doing so from day one, so their balances never have a chance to balloon out of control. These people usually have "excellent" credit scores.

In contrast, people who carry monthly card balances are accustomed to doing so from day one, so they repeat this habit again and again because that's what they've always done. These people usually struggle to reach or keep even a "good" credit score.

When comparing myself to others, all of my conservative friends have excellent credit scores while all my non-conservative friends do not. What this tells me is that our state of finances usually mimics our personalities.

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Does Credit Karma Increase Your Credit Score?

Credit Karma does not increase your credit score directly, but it can assist you in navigating your finances in such a way that you can increase your credit score over time.

By using Credit Karma you will be able to view your credit score to get a good idea of where you stand. They will also offer you tips and suggestions on things you can do to improve your credit.

Keep in mind that the scores that Credit Karma provides are not FICO scores. Their scores are based on the Vantage credit scoring system which is not used by the majority of lenders. The FICO score is the lenders scoring system of choice.

With that said, your Vantage score is usually within the range of your FICO score and in some cases, your FICO might actually be higher. Due to the subtle variables between the two, it's hard to say with 100% certainty either way, so just keep that in mind when viewing scores on Credit Karma.

Please post a comment below and share your experience with Credit Karma!

You might also like: Comenity Bank 4 EZ Credit Approvals

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Gettington: Credit As Easy As 1-2-3

I want to tell you about a great little company that specializes in easy credit approvals and offers a variety of products from small appliances, to clothing, to furniture and electronics. You can find all these things and more at Gettington Credit.

I happened upon them by accident while visiting Credit Karma who indicated that I had a great chance of approval so I went ahead and applied. Somewhat surprised, I was instantly approved for a $400 credit limit. It's not much, but I'll take it.

I've had the account for about 3 weeks and have ordered a couple of small items that I've always wanted to purchase but just never thought about when I had spare cash to spend. Both items were delivered quickly and with no issues whatsoever.

An added bonus about Gettington is that they report to all three major credit bureaus which are always a welcomed bonus, but a word of caution...they will email blast you to death until you opt out of receiving them.

Oh and one more thing. Their prices are slightly higher than what you would expect to pay for items at a retail store but that's to be expected since they are basically handing out credit to just about anyone who's willing to ask for it. Please post a comment below and share your experience with Gettington!

You might also like: Gettington Credit: An Updated Review

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Clicky Web Analytics: A Review

I am somewhat new to “Clicky” but so far I am very impressed with this lightweight but powerful website analytics app. Clicky is one of the more popular analytics apps available and in my opinion, outshines most of the competition. I find it to be a viable alternative to Google Analytics.

Clicky Web Analytics does similar things as Google Analytics, but does them with a much cleaner, more streamlined look and feel. You won’t find multilayered data stacked on top of data that is hard to navigate and keep track of where you are and then struggle to remember how to get back to where you've been.

Google Analytics is like a maze within a maze. I find it to be much too bloated for the average person to navigate easily without getting frustrated and repeatedly getting lost. It's still a quality product but I think the learning curve will be a bit steep for most users to reap the full benefits of its offerings.

Not so, with Clicky. Within a day or so, you’ll find yourself zooming through stats like a pro. The data is laid out clearly and simply, making navigation to all your vital web statistics a breeze.
Clicky comes in both free and paid versions. All signups begin with a free trial of the paid version that lasts for 21 days. After your trial ends, your plan automatically converts to the free version.

Although the paid version has a lot more bells and whistles, for my simple day to day needs, I don’t consider them to be worth paying extra for, but perhaps you will. Give it a spin and try it out for yourself. Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.

UPDATE 5/1/19: I have recently upgraded to the paid pro version and I love it!

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Unreal Mobile: Unlimited Service For $10 a Month!

Unreal Mobile is the latest iteration of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) which rent the towers of larger, more well known cellular companies such as Sprint, Verizon and AT&T but at a significantly lower price.

Unreal Mobile is touted as a premium cellular phone service that was developed by the makers of Freedompop but that's where the similarities end. Customer service has greatly improved over its former predecessor. The sound is crystal clear on both ends and I have yet to experience a dropped call. Just great service at an excellent price.

I am currently paying just $10 a month for 1 Gig of high-speed 4G LTE data and when that runs out, I have unlimited 2G data. With LTE I have no usage limitations but once it throttles down to 2G, watching videos can be a challenge unless I'm connected to a wireless network but all other features work just fine.

Unreal Mobile sells compatible refurbished phones on their website for your convenience or you may bring your own device (BYOD) which is what I chose to do. My Samsung S6 works great on their network and I have had no issues. Overall, I am very pleased with Unreal Mobile's quality and value and I am quite certain that you will be too!

Please post a comment below and share your experience with Unreal Mobile!

You might also like: FreedomPop Mobile

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