Posts Tagged ‘LaToya Irby’

When Five Days Late Equals Thirty Days Late

American Express apparently starts counting the days you’re past due from the date your billing statement is printed instead of the date your payment is due. This policy seems to fly in the face of the CARD act rules which state that credit card companies must give you at least 21 days from the time you receive your bill to make your payment.

One reason they might be getting away with this is because, according to Latoya Irby:

Fortunately, this is just an issue of phrasing and doesn’t impact late payment penalties or credit bureau reporting. It can just scare you into thinking your balance is seriously delinquent when it’s only mildly delinquent.

Another reason might be that American Express is a “charge” card rather than a credit card. There may be loopholes in the law that allow this.

Still, this policy smacks of operating in bad faith and, really, I do not see how a company can expect payment on the day the bill is printed when you haven’t even had a chance to receive your bill!

Perhaps AMEX customers ought to complain to the FTC.  American Express is clearly violating the spirit of the CARD Act, which aims to restore fairness to credit card company policies.

The Debt Snowball: How To Pay Off Your Credit Cards Fast

debt

 

This is to be used only if you have steady income and you are not more than 60 days behind on your credit card payments. If you are more than 60 days delinquent on one or more credit cards, or you simply don’t have enough income to meet your obligations, consider credit counseling or bankruptcy.

Once you have your budget set up and you know how much money you have coming in and you know where it is going, you can try the debt snowball method to pay off your credit card balances faster. My husband and I have used this method ourselves and in six months, we had paid off four credit cards, so it definitely does work.

The debt snowball method, endorsed by personal finance gurus like David Ramsey, works like this: you pick your smallest credit card and pay as much as you can on it, while just making the minimum payments on the rest. Then once that card is paid off, pick the next smallest and do the same thing, all up the line until you’ve paid off all of your debt.

How much extra should you apply to your targeted debt? As much as your budget  comfortably allows, but it should be at least twice the minimum payment. Why? Because the minimum payment is mostly interest. Anything you pay in addition to the minimum will be applied to principle and allow you to pay it down more quickly. As you pay off your debts, add their old minimum payments into the payment on the debt you’re targeting.  In this way, as your debts shrink away, the payments you’re making will "snowball" into larger and larger payments. By the time you’re tackling your largest debts, your payments will be quite large, more than enough to attack the principle very quickly. Since you’re using money you’ve already allocated out of your budget, you won’t feel any further pinch while at the same time paying off what you owe.

There is some disagreement among financial experts as to whether tackling the debts carrying the highest interest rate or the smallest debts first is best. Advocates like About.com’s LaToya Irby say that it is better to pay off the debts with the highest interest rate and the math is on her side. Over time, the longer you carry high interest rate debt, the more you will pay. On the other hand,  the leading proponents of snowballing from smallest to largest balances like David Ramsey say that the satisfaction gained from seeing results soonest helps people stay motivated to stay on the snowball plan.

Speaking from personal experience, I lean towards tackling the smallest debts first, not only because, as David Ramsey says, it gives you the emotional satisfaction of success that keeps you motivated to continue, it also just makes sense: paying off smaller debts leaves you with more money with which to tackle the larger debts. Yes, over the long run, the debts with the highest interest rate will cost you more money, but at the end of the day,you will end up debt free, and the small kudos points gained from actually seeing those smaller debts disappear is invaluable.

Pay A Buck For A Paper Statement? Watch Out For More “Creative Fees” From Banks

credit fees In December 2009, CreditCards.com reported that Alliance Data Systems, the credit card issuer for many large retailers, would begin charging $1 to those who elected to receive their billing statements in the mail as opposed to online.

Beyond the fact that this fee is frankly a junk fee, regardless of what the banks want to say about it,  as LaToya Irby notes on About.com, customers who elect to receive their statements online might miss the important warnings about the cost of their credit unless they also download their statements in PDF format.

Is this an attempt by the credit card companies to mute the impact of having to inform consumers of the true cost of credit? It might be. It  might also be a way to mute the impact of the new law on the banks’  income statements.  It is estimated that the new law will cost banks $50 billion in lost revenue.

You see, over the last thirty years the slow and steady erosion of regulation on financial institutions has made it possible for the financial services industry to grow into the behemoth that it is today.  It just became very profitable to keep people in debt.

The banks don’t want to give those profits up. What’s more, they’ve had plenty of notice from the Federal government about the effects of the new law….nine months to be precise. So, they’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure that they continue to rake in those big profits. While the new legislation does plug in some of the regulatory holes, it had made some new ones and you can be sure the banking industry knows exactly where they are.

News From The Alternate Universe of the Delusional

duh_can About.com’s LaToya Irby needs a serious reality check concerning her recent article, “How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck” .

She talks about how living paycheck to paycheck is bad and places you at risk for getting into debt, as if this is suddenly a new revelation and if people would start paying attention, well, things would get better for them.  She  then comes up with some nonsensical solutions and platitudes that help no one and do not resonate during these times of high unemployment, cut hours, and high living expenses.

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