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Freedom Debt Relief - Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility And Disclosure Act

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At this point, you may realize how
burdensome credit card debt can affect
your finances. According to a 2007 survey conducted by Cardweb.com, the average
credit card debt load is nearly $9,900. Based
on an online poll of slightly more than 55,000
consumers, 61% said they carry over debt each month on their credit cards and an astonishing 13% of the same group said they carry total credit card balances in excess of $25,000.

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Freedom Debt Relief - Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility And Disclosure Act

  1. 1. Volume 4 #6 C.A.R.D. Act Benefits Consumers FDR Client Reminders • Spare Change Save Money at Resale Shops Inspiring Thoughts • It Pays to Stay Healthy Welcome to the Freedom Debt Relief monthly newsletter! As part of our ongoing goal to enhance our services, we will be sending you a monthly newsletter filled with interesting articles and helpful financial tips and 1-800-655-6303 advice. We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you find the enclosed information helpful as you continue on the road to financial freedom. C.A.R.D. Act acquire a balance before you make any significant purchases. The C.A.R.D. Act would prohibit card companies from charging fees that amount to more than half of the credit line. Also, if the Benefits Consumers fees being charged to the card, amount to more than one-quarter of the credit line, cardholders would be allowed to pay these fees over a one- year period. A t this point, you may realize how default will not exist in the future due to the Enhance credit card disclosures burdensome credit card debt can affect C.A.R.D. Act. Presently, a survey conducted by and statements. Reading the fine print of a your finances. According to a 2007 Consumer Action indicates that nearly half of credit card disclosure can be a tedious task. The survey conducted by Cardweb.com, the average U.S. banks use universal default, enabling them average consumer may think it is easier to simply credit card debt load is nearly $9,900. Based to legally raise credit cardholders’ interest rates as pay the minimum payment and wait until next on an online poll of slightly more than 55,000 high as 40%. month. The C.A.R.D. Act would require issuers consumers, 61% said they carry over debt each to give consumers a clear estimate of how long month on their credit cards and an astonishing Payments need to be allocated it would take to pay off the balance and the 13% of the same group said they carry total more fairly. Oftentimes, consumers transfer amount of interest that would accrue if they only credit card balances in excess of $25,000. balances because they are enticed by the low make the minimum payment each month. If a Recently, Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of introductory rates such as 0% or 2.9%. Reading cardholder’s interest rate increases for any reason, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, the fine print in the credit card agreement this new legislation will also require lenders to and Urban Affairs, introduced The Credit Card indicates that these rates in most cases, only give consumers a 45 day notice. Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act pertain to the transferred balance, not to new (C.A.R.D. Act), which is a proposed legislation purchases. Credit card companies *** that will target abusive practices in the credit have been known to apply During the upcoming card industry. Below are some specific aspects monthly payments only to the months, this newsletter that this legislation intends to cover. transferred balance, which results will offer updates on in more finance charges on the new the C.A.R.D. Act as Eliminate universal default. This purchases. The C.A.R.D. Act would information becomes practice involves raising rates when creditors establish a more fair allocation available on the status detect a problem on your credit report with any system. of this new legislation. lender. For example, you may have missed a Although you may have payment with Credit Card A and have a perfect Ban excessive fees for already been a victim history with Credit Card B. Unfortunately, of abusive credit card sub-prime cards. Some credit Credit Card B can still raise your interest rate practices, lawmakers seem card companies target consumers due to a blemish on your credit report with the to realize the need to with poor credit histories and offer other lender. In 2007, Citibank was the first address these issues so that them cards with astronomical credit card company that put an end to universal future consumers will not interest rates and approval fees. default. Also, legislators outlawed this practice in be easily burdened with Upon approval of the card, issuers the state of New York last summer. As you can debt. commonly charge the fees on these see, progress is being made and perhaps universal new accounts. Therefore, you Other Credit Card Reforms Needed Various consumer groups such as the National a financial literacy course. Also, consumers under Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and Demos (www. the age of 21 would have to choose to receive demos.org), applaud the recent proposal of the solicitations instead of having consumer reporting C.A.R.D. Act. Below are a few other reforms that agencies automatically send them. Congress is considering to put in the proposal as a result of input from consumers and advocacy groups. Outlaw repeat over-limit fees. These fees are only allowed to be charged once during a billing period. Eliminate aggressive lending to young consumers: Applicants under the age of 21 may be required to Limit penalty interest rates. If a consumer fails to obtain a signature of a parent or guardian. Young make a payment on time, issuers can only increase people may have to provide proof that they completed the interest rate to 7% above the previous rate.
  2. 2. which prevents blood clots, could cost anywhere between $382-$541. Costs for generic drugs may also differ. The price range for the drug alendronate (for osteoporosis) was $124 to $306. Overall, the study revealed that Costco was the cheapest for the four drugs, followed by AARP. com and Wal-Mart. The prices at major store chains such as Rite-Aid and Walgreens could also vary depending on the geographical location. Client Reminders New regulations require financial Visit us on the web! Did you institutions and creditors to have identity theft prevention know that you can view your account Spare Change: programs. Financial institutions and inforamtion online? We have recently creditors are now required to develop and enhanced our web site for our clients. Go implement written identity theft prevention to www.freedomdebtrelief.com and click News, financial tips, and other programs under the new “Red Flags Rules,” on the tab “Current Clients.” Then, near which is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit the bottom of the page under the heading information regarding personal Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003. Under “Existing Client Login for Account financial freedom these Rules, financial institutions and creditors Information” click on the button, “Click with covered accounts must have identity theft Here.” Enter your e-mail address, and prevention programs in place by November Some gas stations ban plastic. then follow the instructions to create a According to a recent article in USA Today, 1, 2008, to identify, detect, and respond to password and validate your information. many gas station owners are refusing to accept patterns, practices, or specific activities that You will now be able to view this credit cards due to the increasing surcharges could indicate identity theft. information online! and interchange fees merchants are required to pay on credit card transactions. Many gas Consumer understanding of stations encourage customers to pay with cash by credit scores only slightly Tax Debt? If you owe money to the offering discounts or free products. In order to improves. Although consumer IRS and would like information on help merchants, VISA is restructuring consumer understanding of credit scores has improved how to reduce your tax debts, please interchange for transactions at automated fuel over the past year, it remains poor, according contact our sister company, Freedom dispensers and service stations. Interchange to the latest credit score survey commissioned Tax Relief at 1-800-455-6TAX. Our tax for Visa consumer debit cards will be capped at by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) attorneys and tax specialists are eager to $0.95 per transaction. This fall, Visa will also and Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu). Less immediately start helping you resolve implement Real-Time Clearing, which means than one-third of Americans understand that your tax troubles. In addition, existing that transactions will be processed immediately credit scores indicate risk of not repaying a loan. FDR clients are eligible for a $100 referral instead of at the end of the day. This can Many Americans fail to understand that one’s bonus if they refer someone to Freedom significantly reduce the hold times that financial credit score reflects only how they use credit. Tax Relief. institutions place on cardholders’ accounts. Gas Significant percentages erroneously believe that stations will send a final transaction amount credit scores are influenced by income (74%), American Consumers Union within hours - if not minutes - of a cardholder’s age (40%), marital status (38%), the state purchase. Current fuel-payment processing can in which they live (29%), level of education FDR has a partnership with the take up to two days or more. These changes can (29%), and ethnicity (15%). While more than American Consumers Union in order to lower costs for oil companies and service stations three-quarters (78%) correctly understand that provide additional support to our clients and can be passed onto consumers at the pump. making a monthly payment more than 30 days with respect to creditor harassment. late lowers one’s score, less than three-fifths All FDR clients are automatically (59%) know that maxing out a credit card by Shop around for prescription given membership into the American drugs. For consumers who pay for all or using the entire credit line also lowers scores. Consumers Union, and are given the full most of their prescription drugs out of pocket, Large majorities correctly understand that they use and support of the advocacy group, a new price study by Consumer Reports finds can learn their credit scores if they are denied at no additional charge. This is a terrific that it pays to shop around. Not only do prices a mortgage loan (72%) or declined for a credit benefit for our clients and we are happy vary from store to store for the same drug, but card (65%). But, an even larger majority, to be able to provide this service to our the fluctuations can be dramatic, sometimes (79%), incorrectly believe that credit scores clients at our expense. You can visit them more than $100 for the same prescription. can be obtained for free once a year. (Only online at www.myacu.org. Consumer Reports placed more than 500 calls credit reports can be obtained annually for to 163 pharmacies nationwide to gauge price free.) Those who obtain their scores know more *** differences among four prescription drugs. For about credit scores than those who have not. example, prices ran from $29 to $85 for the drug For a free copy of your credit report, visit www. Customer Service Phone No: Levoxyl (for treating hypothyroidism). Plavix, annualcreditreport.com. 1-800-655-6303 Tax-Free Days: Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs: 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. PST Visit the web site of the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) located at www.taxadmin.org and click on the link at Fri: 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST the top of the page entitled “2008 State Sales Tax Holidays.” Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PST Many states are waiving sales tax for back-to- school shopping. E-mail: support@freedomdebtrelief.com
  3. 3. Save Money at Resale Shops M any consumers know that you can find price. If you are an avid reader, this store may good deals on pre-owned items at flea be a good alternative to the pricey bookstores markets, Ebay, Craigslist, and various that sell only new items. Half Price Books also classified ads. In recent years, many franchise gives you cash for your used books, CDs, movies, specialty resale shops have emerged on the retail etc. According to this store’s web site (www. market. These stores allow shoppers to shop for halfpricebooks.com), associates will make an offer specific specialized goods and also may give you on every one of your items. cash for your unwanted items. Below are some descriptions and web sites that have a growing CD Warehouse: This resale store number of locations across the nation. buys, sells, and trades used CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, games, and vinyl records. The amount Once Upon a Child: With more than of cash you receive for CDs depends on the 230 stores nationwide, Once Upon a Child buys current inventory of the individual store. The and sells gently-used children’s toys, furniture, CD Warehouse also provides a great way to Inspiring Thoughts and clothing. Most parents know that kids unload the music that you no longer listen to outgrow everything very fast. Therefore, this or have converted to MP3 format. Music buffs A hundredload of worry will not pay an resale shop can save families money on items that can also find interesting and rare tunes for a low ounce of debt. ~George Herbert children use for a short time. Those bags full of price. Visit www.cdwarehouse.com for more gently-used clothes that children wore for a few information. This franchise also operates under At this time, the idea of your debt may months could also earn parents some extra cash. the names of Disc Go Round, CD Exchange, and consume every one of your thoughts and For more information, visit www.ouac.com. Music Trader. emotions. If you attempt to think about something else, you receive a call from a rude collector and your worries and uncertainties Computer Plato’s Closet: This become the forefront of your mind. Renaissance: Keeping store has a similar concept to This daily stress can really make you lose sight up with the latest computer Once Upon a Child, except it of the unique person that you have become. technology can be a costly is geared towards teens. Plato’s Your favorite pastimes, interests, and hobbies endeavor. Computer Renaissance Closet, a franchise resale shop may seem like a nostalgic distant memory. It offers consumers refurbished name that buys and sells gently-used almost seems like your sole purpose is to pay off brand computers and also custom teen apparel, specializes in debt. builds new computers. When designer brands such as Express Although this intense dedication to pay off it comes time to upgrade your and Abercrombie & Fitch. debt is extremely noble, try not to forget the system, you may be able to receive trade-in value In addition to purchasing stylish clothes for a meaningful aspects of life and the person that for your equipment and apply it to the cost of fraction of the cost, your teen can also get cash you have become. Despite your financial crisis, a new computer. For more details, visit www. for clothes that they do not wear anymore. Visit you still have your friends and family and compren.com. www.platoscloset.com for a store near you. you can still recall positive memories that you shared with them. You are still allowed to play Play It Again Sports: Participating ReTool: Household tools can be a surprise your favorite CD, read an intriguing novel, or in school or community sports produces expense because some people may only buy them watch your favorite sitcom when you want to positive results for your child. However, parents relax. Small pleasures such as these may be the when they absolutely need them while others like diversions that we need, especially on difficult are sometimes burdened with bills for costly to tackle various home improvement projects as days. When the pressures of our money situation equipment and transportation fees. Play It Again a hobby. ReTool offers an array of new and used become unbearable, relaxing occasionally may Sports allows you to turn in your used sporting tools which includes everything from table saws give us strength and perseverance to accomplish goods for credit towards new purchases. This to nails. All used tools are inspected to ensure our goals. store also gives cash for used fitness equipment. they are functional. This store will also buy your Dealing with stress effectively can also prevent View them on the web at www.playitagainsports. unwanted tools or give you credit to trade anger and bitterness. As most of us know, life com. up to a different model. Find a involves good and bad experiences. Instead of location near you at dwelling on the negative, think of your current www.re-tool.com. Half Price Books: By the name of this situation as a learning experience. store, it is easy to assume that it carries a wide Do not automatically assume that enjoying variety of used books. However, they also stock yourself requires a significant amount of money. pre-owned music, movies, and games. It is true that it may not be realistic to book a Most items are at least half off lavish vacation or make a weekly appointment of the publisher’s at an upscale spa. As mentioned previously, original simple activities such as listening to music and reading can be relaxing. You also may want to Frugal Green Tip explore what your local community has to offer. Summertime is a great time for free concerts and walks in the park. Taking the kids to the According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of the playground or going out for an ice cream cone energy used to power electronics in the home is consumed can also give you a break from thinking about while the products are turned off. Consider unplugging items debt. such as microwaves and cell phone chargers when not in use.
  4. 4. Avoid diet products that seem too favorite music. Check out fitness videos from your local library or look in thrift stores for low- good to be true. You may have seen cost workout DVDs. Again, consult a medical commercials on television or magazines that professional before starting an exercise routine. claim you can lose weight while you sleep or lose 30 pounds in a month. However, in-depth Develop healthy habits. If joining a gym studies conducted by the FTC found that 55% or buying exercise equipment does not fit into of weight-loss ads contain false or unsupported your budget or your schedule, consider changing claims. During the past decade, the FTC has simple aspects of your daily lifestyle. For filed more than 100 cases against weight loss instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator manufacturers that make deceiving or bogus at work. Also, prepare meals at home and bring promises. Realistically, healthy dieting usually your lunch to work instead of dining out. You involves losing no more than one or two pounds have the ability to read ingredients and control per week as a result of lifestyle changes, exercise, It Pays to Stay Healthy your portions. Visiting restaurants and fast food and better food choices. The FTC recommends joints on a frequent basis can really deplete your that you research a diet product thoroughly M food budget. before wasting any money on gimmicks that any Americans aspire to lose weight simply do not work. If you have purchased a by following fad diets or buying Find a support system that works diet product that you feel did not live up to its gimmicks that promise unrealistic promises, you may file a claim with the FTC at for you. Achieving major goals such as losing results. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov. weight is often easier when you have a support (FTC) reports that Americans spend $38 billion system. According to a study by the Agricultural on weight loss products each year. If you want Discover low-cost ways to exercise. Research Service (ARS), nutritional scientists to lose weight, but not money, here are some Joining a gym or health club concluded that dieters who have the thoughts to keep in mind as you search for the may provide modern exercise help of a support group may experience best way to shed unwanted pounds. equipment. However, before less stress than those who go at it alone. enrolling, make sure you can Therefore, many people pay to join Consult a physician for dieting afford the membership fees and organized support groups. Although advice. Before beginning any diet regimen, seek that the facility offers hours that these programs may work for some the guidance of a doctor. Everyone has a different fit into your schedule. You may dieters, the fees may be quite hefty and metabolism and health concerns. A medical also consider other less expensive the company may try to persuade you professional may advise you on the proper way ways to exercise and stay in shape. to purchase their brand name pre- to lose weight and still obtain the nutrients and For example, walk or jog in a packaged food. An alternative could be vitamins that you need. park with family members or do to organize your own support group floor exercises while playing your among your family and friends. The Freedom Debt Relief newsletter is published by The Premier Institute for Financial Freedom. While articles in this newsletter are factual and accurate, they are not intended to replace the advice of professional financial, accounting, and/or legal advisers. As with all decisions regarding your finances, the advice, techniques, ideas and suggestions offered herein should be followed under the supervision of the appropriate competent professional. 1875 South Grant Street Suite 400 San Mateo, CA 94402 Phone: (800) 655-6303 FAX: (650) 897-8800

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