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How to Stop Receiving Credit Card Offers in the Mail

How to Stop Receiving Credit Card Offers in the Mail

Pre-approved credit card offers are a pain to deal with. Many consumers have to sift through credit card offers to get to the important mail items that need to be handled accordingly. In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission has made it much easier to stop receiving credit card offers in the mail.

How Credit Card Offers Work

Banks and other lending institutions are always looking for ways to generate more business. Sending offers in the mail has been widely successful for them.

People receive credit card offers because banks pull their information from credit reports and other databases to see if they are qualified. Those who meet certain stipulations will be placed on a mailing list for future credit card advertising campaigns. Banks can find information about potential customers by purchasing lists from other companies or checking various databases.

Once the first credit card offer is sent out, banks will continue to send offers on a regular basis. In many cases, consumers receive two or more offers every week from the same bank.

Opt Out of Receiving Offers

The first method to try when you no longer want to receive offers in the mail is to call every bank and “opt out” of receiving the offers. Banks will normally put a phone number or website on the mail you receive where you can enter your information and remove yourself from the database.

If you receive a significant amount of pre-approved credit offers in the mail, this process can take weeks to complete, if not longer. Most consumers aren’t aware of all the banks that use their information for advertising purposes, so offers could still come trickling in, despite the number of phone calls made.

Call the Federal Trade Commission Phone Number

On the FTC website, consumers can access a phone number for the “Opt Out Pre-Screen” service. By calling this phone number, consumers have the option of removing themselves from credit card offers for five years or permanently. When using this process, you’ll need to give them some personal identifying information, including social security number, full name, address and more.

In addition to using the Federal Trade Commission for this purpose, consumers can call each of the credit reporting agencies: Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. Once the request has been received, allow 30 days for full implementation. If you still receive credit card offers in the mail after this time-frame, write a letter to the bank informing them of your current status on the list and notify the FTC about your situation.

Top 5 Lessons About Money To Learn Before You Hit 30

Top 5 Lessons About Money To Learn Before You Hit 30

If you want to have financial freedom one day, then there’s no time like the present to start taking better care of your money. Here are the five most important lessons you can learn about personal finance before you reach 30:

1. Don’t Spend Everything You Make

The average person will pay their bills every month and use the rest of their money for whatever fun they can afford, whether that’s evenings out, new clothes or something else entirely. Go that route and you’ll never save any money. Don’t get caught up in buying things you don’t need. Set aside a portion of your income every month to a savings account, and gradually increase the amount you save.

2. Use Credit Wisely

There’s nothing wrong with credit cards, they just get a bad rap because people don’t use them responsibly. Using a credit card for your expenses is actually a great way to accumulate cash back or reward points that earn you a return on your spending, and build up that ever-important credit rating. The key is paying off what you owe in full every month. Never spend money that you don’t have and you won’t fall into the credit card debt trap like so many others.

3. Figure Out Your Financial Goals

The best way to make your financial dreams a reality is to actually write them down and then plan how you can get there. Let’s say you want to pay off $20,000 in student loans. Write that as your goal, and then look for ways you can make extra money to put towards that. When you set a goal, it gives you something to work towards and keeps you motivated.

4. Save for Your Retirement

It’s easy to make retirement an afterthought when it’s several decades away, but that’s a foolish mistake. If you start saving for retirement now, the money you save will compound over time. Starting your retirement savings 5 or 10 years earlier can make a huge difference. See if your employer offers a retirement plan, because if they do, they’ll likely match what you contribute up to a certain amount. Take advantage of that and contribute as much as possible.

5. Plan for Financial Emergencies

What are you going to do if your car breaks down, or you lose your job? Ideally, you should have an emergency fund for exactly these types of situations. Without one, you’ll be stuck putting unexpected expenses on your credit cards and then paying interest on them. It’s good to have an emergency fund of at least $1,000 to start, and then building it up to about 3 to 6 months of living expenses.

All of these lessons may be simple concepts, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow them. When you start living by these lessons before your thirties, you’re building good habits and putting yourself in position to achieve financial success.

How to Return a Product Ordered From Amazon

How to Return a Product Ordered From Amazon

Amazon can be a great way to find many items that you would not ordinarily find in your local town or city. It is also a way to find certain common items for a fraction of the price that it would cost in a department store or supermarket. However, what happens if you receive a product from Amazon and it is not what you expected? How do you return a purchase from Amazon?

Go to the Return Support System

Under the Return Support System, you will see a list of your recent purchases. Select the one that you want to return and click the appropriate button. The system may ask you how many of a particular item you want to return. Once you have selected the quantity, then you should click the button to continue.

Select a reason for your return

There are many reasons why a customer may want to return an item. If you are dissatisfied with the item or if it was not as expected, then you should click that appropriate drop down menu to continue. However, if the item that you received was not as described, then you should make sure to click that particular reason and explain everything in the comments box. In many cases, the seller may have to pay your return shipping if the item that was sent was either wrong or defective.

Adding additional information in the comments box

The Amazon system will ask if you want to add additional information. For example, you may want to exchange an item or let the seller know that you would be willing to accept a discount for a damaged or wrong item. You may also want to explain the actual damage or what type of item you received. The additional information box allows buyers to fully explain what occurred during the transaction and their desired outcome.

Items purchased by Amazon.com versus by a third party seller

In most cases, Amazon.com fully explains the return process and what will occur afterwards. If a third party seller sold the item, you may have to submit an online document for approval. During this time, the seller will review your request and decide if they will accept the return.

Once they accept the return, they will either send you a prepaid label or one with the return address but no attached postage. It will be your responsibility to purchase your own return postage. Once you have received that information, you can print out the label on your computer and attach it to an envelope. Make sure to place the return authorization in the package to prevent confusion.

What if a seller doesn’t respond?

In most cases, a seller must respond to your request within two to three business days. If they fail to do so, then the buyer has the opportunity to file an A-to-Z claim. This claim applies to most Amazon purchases and allows them to step in if the return process is not moving smoothly.

Returning an item purchased on Amazon can by simple as long as you follow the appropriate steps. If you are at all confused about the process, then you should visit Amazon for more information.

A Few Ways To Improve Your Money Skills

A Few Ways To Improve Your Money Skills

Money skills are something that every adult needs, but unfortunately, many people don’t have much knowledge on how to handle their finances. That’s one of the reasons that so many end up trapped in a cycle of debt. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a financial wizard. By developing a few key money skills, you can dramatically improve your financial situation in the short and long term.

Learn How to Write a Budget

The first step in reaching any financial goal, whether that’s saving money or getting out of debt, is figuring out your current situation. That means you need to know exactly how much income you have coming in every month, and where it’s going. Calculating your income typically isn’t too difficult. While expenses can vary, you should set a specific amount as your maximum for each expense category to encourage yourself not to go over budget.

Use Credit Responsibly

Some people avoid credit cards like the plague. Others use credit cards far too much and end up with a huge balance. Ideally, you want to fall in the middle of these two extremes.

Using credit cards is one of the fastest, most effective ways to improve your credit score. Through credit card reward programs, you can also get cash back or reward points on the money you spend. Both of these reasons make it smart to obtain and use a credit card. However, you should treat your credit card exactly like you would your debit card. Don’t buy anything unless you already have the money to pay for it. At the end of the month, pay your balance in full to avoid interest charges.

Develop the Ability to Save Money

Saving money may be simple, but it isn’t easy. It requires you to forgo the short-term pleasures of spending money on things that you want and instead think long term. The best way to do this is to get into the habit of taking a certain amount out of your income every time you get paid and putting it into a savings account. When you prioritize saving money this way, it’s much easier to turn that into a habit and continue doing it month after month.

Grow Your Money

There are plenty of low-risk opportunities to grow your money. While a savings account will earn you a small amount of interest, you can earn more through other options.

You can put a certain amount of money in a CD, which will offer a higher interest rate than a savings account but also require that you keep the money in that CD for a certain amount of time. If your employer offers a retirement plan, you should contribute as much as possible to that. You could also look into investing your money in low-risk indexes that provide a consistent return.

You’re never too young or too old to start learning money skills. Start with the basics and then build on them once you’re on a solid financial footing.

When is it Time to Refinance a Home?

When is it Time to Refinance a Home?

Refinancing a home is a great way to put extra money in your pocket or pay for additional, unexpected expenses. One of the great benefits of home ownership is the ability to withdraw cash from the equity of your property when you need it the most.

Refinancing a home should not be taken lightly. Careful consideration should be paid into determining if you can repay the refinance loan, if the need for the money outweighs the additional debt payment you’ll add every month, and decide if you’ll be in the home on a long term basis.

The Basics of a Home Refinance Loan

A home refinance loan is similar to a regular mortgage. Consumers may notice many of the same fees associated with closing the loan, much of the same paperwork, and more.

When you refinance your home, your taking out a new mortgage and combining it with the current mortgage. If there is money left over from the new loan after the current mortgage is paid off, that money is paid to the borrower. Many homeowners take out home refinance loans because they’ve realized their credit has improved significantly since taking out the old loan, and they want to take advantage of a lower interest rate.

One of the other key benefits of refinancing a home is that borrowers might actually get to choose if they want to extend the term of their mortgage or reduce the repayment term (from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage, for example). Doing this will depend on how much your home is currently worth and how many years are left on your current mortgage.

When is it Time to Refinance a Home?

There are a number of different instances when it would be wise to refinance your home.

If the economy is unstable and your interest rates continue to climb, refinancing your home might lower your monthly payment. Consumers can also switch from one type of mortgage to another if they feel it would be better for them.

Other reasons that would make it a good time to refinance a home is paying for home renovations or a child’s college tuition. When you refinance for these reasons, you’ll take out what is known as cash-out refinancing, and involves borrowing money from the equity you currently have in your home when the value of your home is greater than the amount you owe on your current mortgage. Any additional funds left over after you’ve paid off your current mortgage will go directly to you.

Knowing whether or not it’s a good time to refinance a home is tricky. Do some research on the current market climate, find out how much your home is worth and consult with a mortgage broker before applying for a home refinance loan.

Where to Find the Best Credit Card Offers

Where to Find the Best Credit Card Offers

A quick Google search for the “best credit card offers” yields 146,000,000 results. You get spam credit card offers in the mail constantly, and nearly every major bank offers some sort of too good to be true deal. With the massive number of offers flooding the market, where should you look for the greatest credit card deals that meet your unique needs?

The first step toward finding the best credit card offer involves learning where you stand. You need to know how lenders perceive your credit worthiness to determine what types of offers are available to you. A free credit score report can be generated once a year at annualcreditreport.com or by using services like Credit Karma.

Next, consider the reasons you are looking for a credit card. Determining your long-term or short-term goals can help you balance your needs with the rewards being offered by various companies. If you think you will carry a balance on the card, then a low-interest rate card is ideal. On the other hand, if you plan on paying your balance each moth, then a rewards-based or no-fee card is a better option. Be sure to include any special needs you may have. For example, if you travel frequently, then you will want to look for a credit card that is widely accepted.

Once you know where you stand and why you want a credit card, you can use this information to find the best credit card offers. You can quickly eliminate all offers that do not match up to your needs and focus on comparing the remaining options. The best places to find credit card offers are online comparison sites, card issuer’s websites and your personal mailbox.

Online credit card comparison sites are the most efficient way to compare hundreds of cards side-by-side. Each website has unique criteria they use to sift through the deals. Consumerreports.org, for example, has a comparison tool that allows you to input your monthly expenses and compares the amount of cash back you would receive with various credit card offers. Nerdwallet.com compares over 1,700 credit cards based on various criteria such as rewards, travel, cash back, fees, monthly spending and credit score. Other comparison sites include credit.com, bankrate.com and indexcreditcards.com. These websites provide a valuable service, but keep in mind that in many cases sites are offered financial rewards for promoting certain cards over others.

Another place to find the best credit card offers is on the card issuer’s websites. Most card issuers advertise their best deals online, and some companies provide tips and comparing options to assist you in your search. Top companies often send their best promotions through the mail to eligible customers, so don’t automatically discount the offers that wind up in your mailbox.

Knowledge and research are the two keys to finding the perfect credit card to suit your needs. The best places to research credit card offers include online comparison sites, bank websites and your mailbox. The entire process can seem overwhelming at first with all the lucrative offers, but with these guidelines, you can find your perfect match.

Selling Your Structured Settlement Annuity for Cash

Selling Your Structured Settlement Annuity for Cash

Obtaining a structured settlement is a financial option that is used to provide routine, tax-free payments to recipients over an extended period of time. Instead of dealing with the stress of a large lump sum of money, the receiver is fully protected from irresponsible spending with their annuity. Unfortunately, there may come a time in a person’s life when their structured settlement is not cutting it anymore. You might have experienced an emergency situation where you need a lump sum of cash immediately or have unpaid bills that are piling up. In these cases, you can sell your structured settlement annuity for quick cash.

How to Sell Your Structured Settlement

The process of selling your structured annuity isn’t difficult, but it can be a time-consuming process that takes months to finalize. You will first need to determine how much you want to sell within the annuity according to the specific amount you’ll need. You will then need to go before a judge who will grant you permission to sell back this amount.

Choosing a company that buys out structured settlements is quite easy because there are so many available. You need to check with the Better Business Bureau to check the reputability of any company you’re going to use. Ideally, the company should have an A+ rating with the BBB and have few customer complaints. The funding firm needs to provide their clients with a competitive rate, allowing them to get the money they need without spending more than they can afford. Funding companies that buy out structured settlements charge a fee for giving you cash upfront. The fee can range from eight percent of the total amount you’re asking for to 30 percent, depending on the company you’re using.

The Cash-Out Process

Cashing out your annuity involves paperwork and a little patience. Once you’ve found the right company, you’ll need to send in specific forms that detail your settlement, the amount you’ll need and personal identification information. On average, it takes recipients about 45 days from start to finish to receive their lump sum of cash.

As part of the Tax Relief Act, you will not owe tax on your structured settlement cash-out as you would when receiving regular monthly payments. This is a beneficial aspect to cashing out because you won’t deal with a hefty federal and state tax that has to be paid upon receipt of your money.

The Bottom Line

Selling out a structured settlement provides you with a quick sum of cash you might need for emergencies, bills and other expenses. While you’ll find the process to be relatively easy and tax-free, it is not without its downfalls. The rate you’ll pay the funding company to give you a large sum of cash takes away from what you would otherwise receive when getting regular payments. If you are still confused as to whether or not cashing out is the right option for you, speak with a legal financial advisor to obtain more information regarding your unique situation.

More Resources On Structured Settlements

  • Structured Settlements

  • Tips for Finding the Best Boat Loans

    Tips for Finding the Best Boat Loans

    Purchasing a boat is a big investment, requiring most buyers to take out a loan. Whether you choose to go through a traditional bank or private lender, you need to look at interest rates and contract agreements to ensure that you’re signing on a deal that will be worthwhile in the long run.

    What You’ll Need to Take out a Boat Loan

    Taking out a boat loan is similar to getting a mortgage on a home. Your credit score will be a deciding factor when applying for the loan. For individuals with poor or no credit, you’ll either be denied the loan completely or get a high interest rate. Interest rates can vary from 3 percent to a whopping 20 percent depending on both your credit score and lender. To apply for the loan, you’ll need bank information, salary data and personal identification paperwork.

    Loans from Banks

    Typical banks will sometimes offer boat loans to clients who are purchasing marine equipment. If the bank has a marine lending department, you’ll need to go through them to apply for borrowed money. Non-specialized loan officers may not approve your case because they are used to putting out loans for individuals, homes and businesses. If denied a boat loan, you could try taking out a personal loan to pay for the purchase. However, personal loans may only be obtainable up to $20,000, so this option isn’t viable if you’re buying equipment over this amount.

    Marine Lenders

    Traditional boat loans offer interest rates and terms that are similar to what you’d find with mortgage refinancing. Depending on the specific type of boat you’re buying, you may even qualify for essential tax breaks that you would get when refinancing your home’s mortgage. Marine lenders offer the largest range of options with comparable rates that make buying a boat affordable and easy. You might find a lender who approves your loan despite your bad credit or another lender who gives a loan for an atypical aquatic purchase.

    Dealer-Sourced Loans

    The dealer you purchased the boat from may offer their own financing provided through national and local lenders. When you’re purchasing the boat and applying for the loan in the same visit, this saves you time and hassle. The dealer will put all of the necessary paperwork through to approve your loan. Oftentimes, approval takes just a few minutes once your credit score has been scanned. Be wary of high interest rates associated with these loans, as dealers won’t normally look for the best rates.

    The Bottom Line

    With these three loan options, you should find a lender and rate that fits your budget. Because boats can be a niche area of expertise, don’t expect every bank or loan lender to approve your case. Most boat loans are approved for five to ten years, making repayment a lengthy and financially grueling process. Getting the best rate and term agreement makes repayment of the loan easier for you and provides you with a boat you won’t regret buying.

    Fixing Credit Yourself vs Hiring a Credit Repair Service

    Fixing Credit Yourself vs Hiring a Credit Repair Service

    Thousands of Americans are struggling with poor credit histories. Whether these problems stemmed from a job loss, excessive medicals bills or simply poor judgement at a younger age, credit problems are often just a part of life. Being able to fix a poor credit history is extremely important to leading a happy and successful life. Without a solid credit score and report, you’ll have a difficult time renting an apartment, buying a home or even landing your dream job.

    Consumers normally have only two options when they set out to repair their credit: Hire a credit repair service or simply fixing their credit themselves. The option you choose will likely depend on how much you know about credit and how much time you can dedicate to educating yourself and fixing the problem.

    Using a Credit Repair Service

    There are numerous credit repair services that offer to assist consumers across the country. When looking into which companies can actually help you, due diligence is essential because many don’t have the expertise to experience to get the job done right.

    A credit repair service can help repair your damaged credit by removing negative items that can’t be verified. They also have extensive experience dealing with various lenders, giving them the advantage if they need to negotiate a lower payment amount or simply want to negotiate a settlement to pay off a debt in full.

    In most cases, a credit repair service works the best if you’re looking to have errors removed from your credit report. Consumers are also expected to a pay a minimal fee for this service. Check out this creditrepair.com review for example.

    Fixing Credit Yourself

    While fixing credit yourself sounds like a daunting task, the process is actually quite simple.

    If you find items on your credit report that are errors, head to the credit report agency website (Trans Union, Equifax or Experian). The agency will require that you fill out a short form and submit any evidence regarding the error. Once completed, the agency will contact the lender in question and ask them about the report. If no response is received within 30 days, the item is removed.

    Bad credit that is caused by late payments or charge offs can be fixed as well however, you’ll likely need to negotiate some type of settlement with the lender before the item is removed from your report. In many cases, the lender will refuse to remove it even after payment has been made.

    Which Option is best for You

    Whether you decide to fix the credit report yourself or hire a credit repair service, always remember that many credit scores can only be fixed with time and responsible credit usage. Repair services that offer to magically fix credit reports within 30 days will not be able to deliver on this promise and should be avoided at all cost.

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