Friday, June 27, 2014

101 Reasons Why Credit Unions are Awesome

Here are 101 reasons to consider a banking relationship with one of the 6,800 credit unions in the US. Keep in mind that not all credit unions operate the same. Some are way more awesome while others are working hard to be awesome. Either way decide for yourself and hope this list can make you ask the question, “Is it time to make the switch?”

101 Reasons Why Credit Unions are Awesome

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Get a Free Credit Score

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gave consumers access to free annual credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies through a centralized source,, in 2003. A free credit score has never been a right.

Numerous sites promise "free" scores, but in reality they sign people up for a fee-based credit monitoring product. The score costs nothing only if the consumer cancels the order before the end of the trial period.
Several sites will give you a free credit score or score estimate, such as the FICO Score Estimator at Score estimators, which provide a score range, may rely on answers to questions about your credit situation or come from credit report information, while actual scores are computed from credit report data.
None of the free scores and estimates available deliver actual FICO scores, the most commonly used score by lenders. The free scores and estimates do, however, give you an idea of where your credit rating stands.
"At the end of the day, an 'excellent' on one model is 97 percent of the time going to be an 'excellent' on another model," says Ken Lin, CEO of San Francisco-based Credit Karma, a site that provides free TransRisk scores from Transunion.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Surprise! Young Adults Have Smartened Up About Debt

Pete Brosens hangs out with his girlfriend Amber in his dorm room at the KDR fraternity house across from Columbia University  in New York City. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News
Credit cards, with their high interest rates and exorbitant fees, have often trapped college students and other young adults in debt spirals that can be almost impossible to escape from.

However, the latest generation to hit young adulthood has learned some lessons that their older peers didn't -- and that's helping many of them avoid the credit-card trap.

Young adults have gotten a lot smarter about using
credit cards, according to the most recent data from credit-score company Fair Isaac and its FICO Banking Analytics blog. Outstanding credit-card debt has fallen by nearly a third during the past five years, with the average outstanding balance among those 18 to 29 now standing at just $2,087 compared to $3,073 back in late 2007.

Moreover, a rising number of young adults don't even have credit cards at all.

In 2005, only about 9 percent of young adults went without a credit card, but that figure has jumped to about 16 percent, about double the rate among those 30 to 39 who don't have any credit cards.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Simple Steps: Managing Debt

Being in debt can be one of the most overwhelming financial challenges you'll ever face. That's one reason that Americans have worked so hard to break themselves of their debt habit, with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York having reported recently that debt levels have fallen by $1.45 trillion since the third quarter of 2008. In particular, credit-card debt is down more than 20 percent over that time frame, reflecting the priority of getting high-interest-rate debt paid down fastest.

Even if you have a lot of debt, don't panic! You can get your outstanding loans under control if you take a long-term view and start taking baby steps toward better managing your debt. Start out with these three simple tips:

1. Order your credit report from, which is the free website set up under federal law to provide copies of credit reports to all Americans. You can get one free report every year from each of the three main credit-reporting agencies, and the report will tell you what loans and cards you have outstanding, how much you owe, and your payment history, including any late payments or delinquent accounts.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

4 Tips to Help 20-Somethings Manage Their Debt

Caucasian woman reading papers at laptop
Debt can be a heavy burden on anyone, no matter what their age, but increasingly, young adults are starting out deeper in the hole. A recent report from credit-score provider FICO shows that student loan debt has climbed dramatically for those ages 18 to 29, with average debt rising by almost $5,000 from 2007 to 2012.

The good news, though, is that young adults are taking steps to get their overall debt under control, reducing their balances on credit cards and their debt levels for mortgages, auto loans, and other types of debt. With 16 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds having no credit cards, young adults are getting the message that managing debt early on is essential to overall financial health.

With the goal of managing debt levels firmly in mind, let's take a look at four things you should do to manage your debt prudently and successfully.

1. Get a Handle On What You Owe.

In managing debt, the first challenge is figuring out all of what you owe. By pulling a free copy of your credit report from, you'll get a list of loans and credit-card accounts that major credit bureaus think you have outstanding, along with contact information to track down any unexpected creditors that might appear on the list.