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14

Jul 2018

Another Family Wastes Thousands with Freedom Debt Relief

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

Another Fairfax County Family Wastes Thousands with Freedom Debt Relief.

I filed a bankruptcy case this week for Alexander and Alina yesterday.
 
They had been enrolled with Freedom Debt Relief for over five years–the longest enrollment I ever heard of. And according to Freedom Debt Relief, they had only four monthly payments to go until everything was settled.
 
So why were they coming to see me? During that same five and a half years, they had two cars repossessed, and their townhouse went to foreclosure. Trying to “resolve” your credit cards when you can’t make the car payment is NOT a good idea.
 
But one other thing hit me. Although Freedom Debt Relief said all but one of the cards has been settled and paid, their credit report was very different. The Experian credit report showed only one card as settled, and the other five were still reporting monthly as late.
 
So whatever “settlement” Freedom Debt Relief did, it did NOT include getting the creditors to report paid in settlement on the debts. Seeing that credit report brought my low opinion of Freedom Debt Relief even lower.
 
(True story except I changed the names of Alexander and Alina.)

 

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07

May 2018

After Bankruptcy, get a credit card

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

After bankruptcy, get a credit card. Get a couple.

Getting back to good credit is one of the five ways bankruptcy gives you a new start. The bankruptcy itself helps quite a bit, because the old debts stop chasing you. But to really improve your credit score you have to get and use two or three after bankruptcy credit cards every month. Using credit responsibly leads to a higher credit score, than just having no debt.

Graph showing after bankruptcy credit cards

Getting an after bankruptcy credit card, using it, and paying in full, is a good way to improve your credit.

I reccomend getting about three after bankruptcy credit cards, using them each month to charge something you need, like gasoline or groceries, and paying them in full.

About the time of your bankruptcy discharge, you will get some after bankruptcy credit card offers in the mail. But you should compare those with offers you might find on the internet. I think bankrate.com is a good place to shop for credit cards for people with bad credit. (Right after bankruptcy you are a person with bad credit; if you follow these steps, you soon won’t be.)

When deciding what card to apply for, keep in mind that you are planning to pay the card in full every month. That means you really do NOT care what the interest rate is. You won’t be paying interest because you’ll be paying it off each month. What you want to low or no application fee; and low or no annual fee.

If you can only get approved for one card as soon as the bankruptcy is discharged, that’s ok. Using that first after bankruptcy credit card for a few months, charging and paying off, charging and paying off, will raise your score. So better offers will come your way.   

Here’s a sample of a credit card offer one of my clients got in the mail, about six weeks after her Chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged.                             

 

 

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26

Apr 2018

After Bankruptcy, check your credit score

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

After Bankruptcy, check your credit score

Most people have a credit score of about 620 a couple months after bankruptcy.  That’s from a study by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, a few years ago. (I saved the complete study here.)  And here’s the full size Chart that shows how scores recover.

Credit score bounces back after filing bankruptcy. From Federal Reserve.

Study shows how credit score bounces back after filing bankruptcy.

 

What’s your after bankruptcy credit score?  One free place to check is Lendingtree. Here.    

Now I can’t guarantee that your score will be 620.  But, if I handled your bankruptcy case and your score is NOT what it should be, follow these instructions and send me your credit report.  We’ll see if there’s something hitting your credit that shouldn’t be there.  

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA BANKRUPTCY LAW OFFICES