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DebtSmart® Email Newsletter
December 14, 2005

Tools for financial success! A Free Email Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.

 
Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker

Hi,

Only a couple more weeks until the end of the year--wow! That was a fast year. You know, I say that every year. Not only that, but the holidays are really upon us now. It's time to finish all your shopping and planning before it's a mob scene in the malls.

Personally, I enjoy going to the mall during the holidays. Not to shop, but to watch others shop. I just enjoy being there and watching everyone scurry for all the gifts. I'm lucky in that my wife handles all that shopping, thus freeing me up to enjoy a soft vanilla cone at the local mall.

Best,
Scott

 
Balance transfer checks
by Scott Bilker

Scott

First of all, your site is great! I received a blank check from my credit card company that can be used for either cash or purchases. It is a low 3.99 percent rate for life of the loan. The balance on my credit card has a variable 8.99 percent rate. Would I be able to write a check out for the balance on the credit card, deposit it in my checking account, and then turn around and send a personal check to the credit card company for the balance total thus lowering the rate from 8.99 percent to the 3.99 percent. Thanks in advance.

MW

Finish reading article

 
Tell Congress to Support Credit Card Reforms this Holiday Season!
by Consumers Union

Every holiday, you get attractive, low interest credit card offers in the mail.

But what’s the catch? You sign up for a low interest rate, but it skyrockets. You are offered a minimum payment that will keep you in debt for decades. You mail the bill before it's due, but get hit with a late fee anyway. You never miss a payment on this card, but your interest rate goes up due to a missed payment on a different debt.

It shouldn't happen--but sometimes we have to look on the lighter side. Watch our light hearted holiday song/animation about credit card woes, and then take action!

Help stop credit card banks from taking advantage of consumers

 
"They raised my interest from 9.9% to 26.2%!"

Hi Scott,

Thank you! We are finally getting a better handle on our credit cards thanks to you and your books. For instance, I had a balance of $18,000 on a Capital One MC and was late by one day, and they raised my interest from 9.9% to 26.2%. That happened while I wasn't paying attention, unfortunately for 2-3 months.

When I called Capital One, they told me they could not reduce my rate, so I told them I could not afford to remain their customer and took your advice and transferred the balance to a 0% for the first six months offer.

Now, 6 weeks later, Capital One has sent an offer every week and recently offered a 2.99% for the life of the balance transfer offer. So I did transfer another credit card balance back to Capital One (a $17,900 balance!). A savings from the 11.7% it was at Citibank. The total savings for one year of interest (11.7% to 2.99%) is over $1500! And that's just one year.

Slowly, but surely, I'm learning that it's paying to pay attention and spend time required to take care of our large debt (my husband and I are self-employed). Now it's actually fun to be doing the books and I have a much better feeling about myself.

Many, many thanks for doing what you're doing.

Sincerely,
Kristine

Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books

 
Household Math™: Early mortgage payoff
by Scott Bilker

Assume a person is buying a $150,000 home at a rate of 7% interest on a 30-year loan, with the usual 20% down payment (so the loan would be $120,000). This person also has $20,000 in cash reserves. In which of these two scenarios would this person end up paying less money over the course of the loan?

Answer this problem

 
Reading the Fine Print in those Low-Rate Credit Card Offers
by Scott Bilker

Taking advantage of low-rate offers is almost always a good idea. That's where the bulk of interest savings are found when you're managing your debt. However, there may be hidden costs that need to be uncovered before deciding to accept a seemingly good deal. It is imperative that you read through and understand the entire low-rate offer. That includes the letter, the back of the letter, and every bit of the fine print.

I want to talk about the details you can expect to find in those low-rate credit card offer letters: the conditions that you need to consider to ensure you're going to get the better end of this offer. They are the details I always look at and note before jumping into any credit offer.

Finish reading article

 
DebtSmart® Help Center
by Scott Bilker

Hi,

Helping you with your debt is very important to me personally! If you've been reading my articles, you know that I always encourage self-help as a first step. However, being buried in debt can be very overwhelming, which is why you may want to explore other options.

One of those options is professional, ongoing help with credit counselors. I've started to check out certain companies personally so I can recommend the ones that are worth considering!

If you would like to speak with a representative from a...

Read more at the DebtSmart Help Center

 
I wasn't paying attention: Where does my money go and how can I get some back?
by Janet Hall

Tracking, planning, and "overhalling" your hard earned money can help you reach any financial goals that you have, help you in getting out of debt, and help you gain back control of your money, your future, and your life.

Dawn Rivers Baker of WAHM & Mompreneur has a great series, Financial Management 101 in which she writes, "Managing cash flow is the simple matter of projecting cash receipts and needed cash outlays within a certain period of time - a week, a month, a quarter, a year - ..."

Finish reading article

 
Rating your credit card
by CardRatings.com

"CardRatings.com has been offering ratings of credit cards since 1998 and has been featured by Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports®, NPR, PBS, etc. Thanks to consumers like you, CardRatings.com has become the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers."

See how your credit cards are rated by CardRatings.com

 
How to protect yourself from becoming a victim of credit fraud
by Rebecca Lindsey

Do you often feel as though you must be on the lookout at every turn, because there are people out there just waiting to rip you off?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but...that might not be a bad idea.

The Federal Trade Commission released the results of a Consumer Fraud Survey. Astoundingly, it estimated that nearly 25 million Americans were victims of fraud in 2002.

The study indicated individuals with high levels of debt are more likely to be victims of fraud. Three of the top categories of fraud reported to the FTC related to credit, including credit-repair scams aimed at those carrying high debt loads or having bad credit. The most frequently reported type of consumer fraud: advance-fee loan scams, in which consumers pay a fee for a "guaranteed" loan or credit card.

Finish Reading Article

 
DISCLAIMER

The author(s), Press One Publishing, and DebtSmart.com shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this email newsletter and/or at the DebtSmart.com web site. The information, methods and techniques described may not work for you and no recommendation is made to follow the same course of action. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of all content contained herein. However, there may be mistakes; typographical, mathematical, or in content. This email newsletter and the DebtSmart.com web site have been created for your entertainment only. You must always seek the proper professional advice before taking any financial or legal action. You have been warned.

Copyright ©2005 Press One Publishing. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint, or host on your web site, without explicit permission. However, if you found this newsletter helpful, we grant you permission, and strongly encourage you, to e-mail it to a business associate or a friend. Thank you.

COOL QUOTE

" Borrowing money from a friend is like sex--it completely changes the relationship!"--George Castanza (Seinfeld)
Quotes from all previous newsletters
 

IN THIS ISSUE #113

Cool Quote
Credit and Debt Statistics
Letter from the publisher
Balance transfer checks
Tell Congress to Support Credit Card Reforms this Holiday Season!
"They raised my interest from 9.9% to 26.2%!"
Household Math™: Early mortgage payoff
Reading the fine print in those low-rate credit card offers
DebtSmart® Help Center
I wasn't paying attention: Where does my money go and how can I get some back?
Rating your credit card
How to protect yourself from becoming a victim of credit fraud
Voice Over IP Residential Plus Plan!
More credit, more options
DebtSmart® Resources
Subscribe/Disclaimer Information
Free DebtSmart® Column for in print publication, ezine, or web site
Advertising
Publisher: Scott Bilker
Editor: Larissa S. Bilker
Assistant Editor: Denise Troy

ISSN 1538-6740

 

U.S. Consumer Debt

U.S. consumer debt recently reached $2.2 trillion, double what it was about a decade ago. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the debt topped the $1 trillion mark for the first time in December 1994.
Credit and Debt Statistics Database
 
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Voice Over IP Residential Plus Plan!

Get the most out of your Broadband connection. Sign up today for the VoIPnetAdvantage's Residential Plus Plan and receive UNLIMITED calls throughout the U.S. and Canada all for the low price of $19.95 a month.

Read more about using the Internet for your phone service

 

More credit, more options
by Scott Bilker

Credit options are your weapon against the banks! The key to success is using your credit lines to save money--not to go crazy spending! (I know you won't go crazy spending because you're DebtSmart, but I had to mention that anyway.)

I've found a few more good credit deals that I want to bring to your attention. If you have high-rate debt, then you should apply online now and transfer your balances to some of these cards. (Or search through the entire list.)

Blue from American Express®
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 15 Months
APR: 10.99%

Pulaski Bank Visa®/MasterCard®
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 6 Months
APR: 7.99%

Citi® Platinum Select® Card
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: Up to 12 Months
APR: As low as 8.49%

Chase Platinum Visa®
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 12 Months
APR: 10.99%

Free Cash Rewards Platinum Visa® Card
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 12 Months
APR: 11.74%

Discover® Titanium Card
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 12 Months
APR: 9.99%

Universal Entertainment Platinum MasterCard® from Chase
Intro Rate: 0.00%
Time Period: 6 Months
APR: 12.99%

Search complete list of credit cards

 
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"The DebtSmart Email Newsletter is packed with cutting-edge strategies for solving credit problems. I highly recommend it."--Gerri Detweiler, radio host and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook




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