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Is there any such thing as free checking? Any checking account will charge some fees for certain things, like if you overdraft the account. So what does free checking entail? There are checking accounts that will give you access to plenty of no-fee ATMs, won't require you to maintain a minimum balance or charge you a monthly fee. Some will pay you interest on your money and some will even give you money for opening an account. Do a little research and find the best checking account for you!



Are you in Chexsystems?

ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that collects data from banks and credit unions about checking and savings account activity.

ChexSystems uses this information to create consumer reports that the bank uses to screen bank account applicants

Being “in ChexSystems” generally means that a financial institution has reported that

the consumer has an outstanding debt and currently owes money for a bank account fee or transaction in the past 5 years.

  • ChexSystems currently removes negative bank account records after 5 years.
  • You are entitled to a free copy of your report once every 12 months.
  • After requesting the report, you will receive a hard copy of the report in the mail in approximately 5 business days.
  • • If your are denied a bank account due to negative records on ChexSystems, you also have the right to receive a free report at that time. The financial institution is required to provide instructions on how you may request the free report. Today about 80% of all banks and credit unions in the United States use ChexSystems to verify new accounts. To request a copy of your report call: Call 1.800.428.9623

Know Your Rights

This will help you to know what is allowed in debt collection practices and how to protect yourself. 


Getting Control of Your Money. What's in it for you?

Getting control of your finances can alleviate the stress of dealing with collection notices and phone calls. It can also give you access to credit when need money for an crisis. then

 Protect Yourself From Debt Collection Lawsuits

Getting control of your finances can alleviate the stress of dealing with collection notices and phone calls. It can also give you access to credit when need money for an crisis. then

Protect Yourself From Debt Collection Lawsuits

The link below will take you to a guide that provides information for consumers to understand how to communicate with a debt collector and to know what their rights are. It lays out options for what to do if faced with a debt collection lawsuit and steps to take to avoid legal action. There is also information about where to find legal help, the general process of responding to a lawsuit, your rights if you lose the case and how to file a complaint against a collector.

A New Path to Better Credit

Get Credit for Paying Your Bills! Now you can build by using Alternative Credit Reporting. You can build credit by making timely payments on your rent or utility bills. First you will need to establish an on time payment history then you can enroll with an Alternative Credit Reporting agency. I have listed one of the more popular agencies in detail below to give you an idea of how it works, but there are several you can enroll with.

PRBC is a consumer credit reporting agency that is similar to the other four bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis) in that it is an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) compliant national data repository. However, PRBC differs in a few distinct ways. Consumers are able to self-enroll and build a positive credit file based on alternative data, such as timely payments for bills such as rent, utilities, cable, telephone, and insurance that are not automatically reported to the other bureaus. PRBC is a registered Credit Reporting Agency and it is free to enroll. For more information go to

You can also self-report your timely payments with a site called Payment Reporting Builds Credit which allows consumers to self-report payments like rent, utilities, or electric bill. also reports rent payments.

 Myths About Credit Scores      

  • 1. If you accept credit card offers there will be inquiries on your credit report that will affect your credit score. These are soft inquiries and soft inquiries don't affect your credit score. If you don’t want the offers coming. Call toll free (888) 5-OPT-OUT / (888) 567-8688), or visit to remove your name from the credit reporting agency lists. That will remove your name for five years. Other inquiries that are considered "soft" are those triggered by you or your employer. A hard inquiry is generated when creditors pull your report or score after you apply for credit and therefore, more risk.

  • 2.“Closing accounts will increase your score" - This is a hard-to-kill-off myth. Closing accounts typically won't help your score and could possibly damage it, says Trey Loughran, president of personal information solutions at Equifax. The results can shorten your credit history or change the rate of use of your available credit. Having more available credit that is not being used keeps your utlization rate low. If you have four accounts with $1,000 in allowable credit, and have balances of $100 only on two accounts, your rate of useage doubles if you close the other two accounts. However, some consumers with credit problems think that opening many accounts will be proof that they can handle credit. Actually, it has the opposite effect says Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. Too many accounts is a "It's a sign of risk." Your credit score can suffer as a result. What lenders will see is a boatload of new, hard inquiries on your credit report. Those inquiries will deduct from your credit score, lenders will worry that you desperately need access to credit to make ends meet.
  • 3. Paying off delinquencies will restore your credit score. - Nope. It will help, but don't expect a supersized boost. That's because the delinquency will stay on your report, even if it has a zero balance. The amount of time derogatory information such as late payments, collection accounts, charged-off accounts, tax liens and judgments stay on your credit report depends on the state. See below for link to New Hampshire statute of limitations.
  • ( ) A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can linger on your report from seven to 10 years, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain on your credit report for 10 years."Don't expect your score to recover to what it was before the incident. "The more important part is the incident An open credit account in good standing boosts it more. That's because an open account shows you're consistently handling credit wisely. A closed account only shows good payment behavior in the past and becomes less and less predictive of future habits. Your credit score takes into account how much available credit you're using.
  • 4 .Paying before the due date will help your score. Paying a credit card balance in full 10 days or one day ahead of the due date won't improve your score. That strategy doesn't work because the balance of the account has already been reported to the credit agency, says Ulzheimer. However, if you pay the balance in full before the statement closing date, which appears on your statement, then your report will post a zero balance for that account. 


Update on the Changes to Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans  

You were looking for a way to better your life and you decided to go to college. You filled out the application and on it was a place that asked if you would need a student loan to pay for your education. You checked yes and you were good to go. It all seemed so easy at the time didn't it? You might even have thought wouldn't have to pay it back until you could afford to. Student loan debt is the hardest debt to get rid of. If you do not pay it back the IRS can attach to your income tax return or your paycheck. There is no statute of limitations on student loan debt and no age limit. If you owe it now and don't pay it, you will owe it when you are 65. Fortunately there have been some changes that will allow some flexibility in the way you pay it back.

You can use the link below if you need information on the new repayment plans. Be aware that there are numerous scams going around and be very careful about who you talk to. 

If You Are Disabled You May be Eligible for a Student Loan Disability Discharge.

 To find out if you are eligible contact the Federal Student Aid office, a.k.a. the U.S. Department of Education. To begin, you'll need to contact the agency that handles your student loan, such as Sallie Mae or Great Lakes. You'll have to request a loan discharge form for Total and Permanent Disability. Most of those loan repayment originators have online forms that you can download on your personal computer, or you can request them over the phone. These forms have to be signed by you and your physician.

Initial Loan Discharge Application

A physician has to sign your application for loan forgiveness. Be sure that the physician states exactly what the disabling condition is. Just stating that an individual is disabled, without any detailed explanation, will only get a claim denied in rather short order, and then you'll have to start the process all over again. Have the primary care physician or specialist keep a copy of this form in your file, as the Federal Student Aid office may contact them for further information if needed. Applicants have 90 day from the date a physician signs the form to submit it to the U.S. Department of Education, FSA.

Once the U.S. Department of Education receives the form, it will be sent to a department that handles the Total and Permanent Disability requests. They review the requests and will ask for additional information from your physician (if needed), and in some cases, from the Social Security Administration.

Once the office of Total and Permanent disability receives your application, you'll receive a letter letting you know that your request is being processed. You will get a letter notifying you whether or not your application has been approved within 2-3 months. Your loan will be in a deferment status during this time.

The Department of Education is launching a new complaint site to improve the outcomes of problems borrowers are having with federal student loan balances, loan servicers and schools’ financial aid offices. You can also view the student loan Bill of Rights here:

Discounts You Have to Ask For.

There are a lot of ways to save money that most of us don't take advantage of. The next time you need to buy something it might help to try some of the following ways to save money.

1. Ask if they price match - If you can find a better price someplace else, ask if the store will match that price.

2 Use coupons. - See the links below and on the resource page for coupon resources.

3 .You might be able to get discounts on Items with small defects that can easily be repaired.

4. Just Ask. It can't hurt to ask " Is that your best price?"

The following blogs will give you more tips for getting the most for your money.

You May Qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

EITC is for people who are income eligible. If you qualify, you could receive a substantial amount of money, depending on your filing status and number of qualifying children. So you could pay less federal tax or even get a refund. Check out the EITC Assistant at or call us at (800) 556-9300 to learn more.