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Free credit reports

Have you inspected your credit record in the last year?  Do you know your credit score? If you did not know the answer to these questions, it is time to look into your credit history.

How to legally settle your personal credit card debt for pennies on the dollar : without filing bankruptcy
by Martha Maeda.
Ocala, Fla. : Atlantic Pub. Group, c2011.
Do you struggle each month to make minimum credit card payments? Are you 30, 60, or even 90 days late on several accounts? If so, you aren't alone. According to a January 2010 report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, there are 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers, and the average credit card debt per household is $15,519. In the last 12 months, 15 percent of American adults, or nearly 34 million people, have been late making a credit card payment, and 8 percent (18 million people) have missed a payment entirely, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. If these statistics hit home for you, don't turn to bankruptcy to solve your financial woes. This book will provide you with the tools to legally settle your credit card accounts - without ruining your financial situation for years to come. How to Legally Settle Your Personal Credit Card Debt for Pennies on the Dollar is for everyone who is unable to pay mounting minimum payments on their credit cards. You will learn everything you need to know about the basics of credit card debt, including interest rates, finance charges, minimum payments, and late fees. Discover what actually happens to your credit when you are late making your payments or stop making payments altogether and how long it takes before your credit cards debt is sold to a collection agency. This book will provide tips and strategies for negotiating with your original creditor and collection agencies and sample settlement letters you can use when working with creditors. Equip yourself with proven strategies for legally challenging the validity of your credit card debt and information on how to determine whether your rights are being violated under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You will find out the advantages of not filing bankruptcy and how to work with credit counselors and avoid debt-reduction scams. Once you have successfully settled your debt and avoided bankruptcy, you will learn how to avoid repeating these mistakes in the future by setting budgets, cutting costs, and lowering interest rates. Learn how the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, which went into effect in February 2010, affects you as a consumer. While these new rules do not absolve consumers of their obligations, they do mean that credit card companies can no longer retroactively increase rates, charge misleading late fees, or use over-limit fee traps. We have spent hundreds of hours interviewing top financial experts, bill collectors, and individuals just like you who were able to legally settle their credit card debt without resorting to bankruptcy. If you are tired of dodging phone calls from collectors or worrying about how missed payments have ruined your credit score, get yourself back to a more stable financial situation - one where credit card debt is a thing of the past.
     
The simple dollar : how one man wiped out his debts and achieved the life of his dreams
Trent Hamm.
Upper Saddle River, N.J. : FT Press, c2010.
Struggling with debt? Frustrated about work? Just not satisfied with life? “Trent Hamm set out to boost his happiness by freeing himself from debt. This account of how he succeeded, and how he was able to construct the life he’d always wanted, will inspire readers to put his ideas to work in their own lives.” –Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times best seller, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT “ The Simple Dollar paves the way to an uncluttered financial and richly rewarding life. Trent’s experiential advice prepares readers for the expected–and most importantly the unexpected–complexities of the modern economic world. Live debt free, mind the gap, and find a framework to get the secure and happy life you desire.” –Erin Rooney Doland, author of Unclutter Your Life in One Week and Editor-in-Chief, Unclutterer.com “If you feel like your finances are out of control, read The Simple Dollar . Trent Hamm burns with the unforgettable fire of someone who has gone from debt to wealth, and this book can inspire you to do the same.” –J.D. Roth, author of Your Money: The Missing Manual and editor of GetRichSlowly.org The Simple Dollar can change your life. Trent Hamm found himself drowning in consumer debt, working in a job he couldn’t stand& and figured out how to escape that debt and build the fulfilling career he’d always dreamt about, all at the same time. Hamm shared his experiences at TheSimpleDollar.com-and built it into one of America’s top personal finance websites. Now, The Simple Dollar is a book: packed with practical tips, tools, and lessons you can use to transform your life, too. This isn’t just “another” personal finance book: it’s profoundly motivating, empowering, practical, and 100% grounded in today’s American realities. Trent Hamm will show you how to rewrite the rules, creating healthier relationships with money& and with your loved ones, too. With his help, you can get out of debt, start moving forward, and build the strong personal community that offers true happiness-no matter what happens to the economy. Escape the plastic prison, and stop running to stand still 5 simple steps to eliminate credit card debt& and 5 more to start moving forward Shift your life’s balance towards more positive, stronger relationships Learn how to put the golden rule to work for you Discover the power of goals in a random world Then, learn how to overcome inertia, and transform goals into reality Navigate the treacherous boundaries between love and money Move towards deeper communication, greater honesty, and more courage
     
The road out of debt : bankruptcy and other solutions to your financial problems
Joan N. Feeney, Theodore W. Connolly.
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, c2010.
As more and more people find themselves facing financial difficulties-as a result of everything from the recent credit crisis to the bursting of the housing bubble-an increasing number of people are looking for reliable information to help them get back on the right track.
     
Life or debt 2010 : a new path to financial freedom
by Stacy W. Johnson.
New York : Pocket Books, 2010.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU NEVER HAD TO PAY OFF ANOTHER DEBT AGAIN? NO CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS! NO MORTGAGE PAYMENTS! NO AUTO LOAN PAYMENTS!If your answer is "free" or "secure" or even "happy," then this step-by-step guide to eliminating debt forever is the book for you. Stacy W. Johnson, the creator of the personal finance news series Money Talks, has already helped millions of people get out of debt, achieve financial freedom, and earn from wise investments. Now, just by reading this down-to-earth book filled with no-nonsense facts, you too can share the secrets of an amazing program that will allow you to regain control and win you financial freedom for the rest of your life.Practical worksheets (each with detailed examples) will help you figure out the real numbers you need to know: How much do you really earn? How much do you really owe? How do you create a personalized DEBT DESTROYER?And finally, when you are free of debt forever, learn the ultimate tool that will transform the rest of your life...how to convert your Debt Destroyer into a Money Machine that will keep you solvent and happy even after you retire.
     
Master your debt : slash your monthly payments and become debt free
Jordan E. Goodman with Bill Westrom.
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, c2010.
Strategies and tools to live debt freeThe world of borrowing and debt management has changed dramatically, leaving people confused about how best to secure their financial future. This book is the only guide with detailed advice to help you become debt free or master the debt you have, based on the latest laws and new government programs and policies implemented under the Obama administration.Is the information and advice on debt management different than in years past? Definitely. In this savvy, engaging guide, bestselling financial expert Jordan Goodman will tell you how to Win the mortgage game: avoid foreclosure, obtain the best refi, and modify your mortgage even if it is "under water" Clean up your credit report and dramatically boost your credit score Negotiate new terms and payments for burdensome medical bills, student loans, and credit cards Protect yourself from the devastation of identity theft Master the new credit card rules, and avoid the rate and fee traps Learn a revolutionary strategy that will help you become mortgage free in 5 to 7 years, change the way you pay all your bills, and save hundreds of thousands of dollarsMaster Your Debt recommends many pioneering strategies as it lays out an innovative plan for achieving the elusive goal of financial success. The book is filled with helpful web sites, toll free numbers, associations and government agencies, and vetted companies and services to help you implement this advice. In today's volatile economy, getting out of debt is the key to surviving and thriving, and author Jordan Goodman provides you with the strategies and tools to live debt free.
     

Lenders look at your credit history when you use your credit card, apply for a consumer loan, or purchase insurance.  It is one way they decide if you are a good credit risk.

Get access to your free credit report online at: 

www.annualcreditreport.com

Or

Call 1-877-322-8228

Or

Print form at:

www.ftc.gov/credit

and send to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA  30348

Credit bureaus, banks, and other lenders maintain a file that tracks all your credit transactions.  This file, your credit record, includes:

  • Personal information such as birth date, address, Social Security number, and age
  • Your outstanding debt
  • Past credit history 
  • Court judgments, liens and bankruptcy

In addition to personal information and past credit transactions, the credit record file includes your credit score.   The higher your score (closer to 800 the better) the more likely you are to get favorable credit rates.

It is to your benefit to monitor your credit report, looking for inaccuracies or possible identify theft. 

Missourians can get a free copy of this report once every twelve months from the three national credit-reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.   There may be a charge to include your credit score.

Carefully review your credit report

After receiving your credit report, review it closely looking for:

  • Misspellings of personal information especially name and address
  • More than one address in the report.  
  • Joint accounts that are unknown to you
  • Names of companies pulling your credit report that are unknown to you.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (2003) makes it the consumer's responsibility to notify the credit bureaus of inaccuracies and to work with them and creditors to get corrections made.

Remember what your credit reports says about you can decide how much you pay for that next car, home, or education loan.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff