How to Use this Resource

We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

How Much Should I Spend on my Credit Card?

Credit cards can give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to your finances. When you get a credit card, you have the freedom to make purchases even when you don’t have any cash on hand. As long as you always spend within your means and make payments on time, your credit accounts can help build a well rounded credit history and reflect positively on your overall financial health.

Most consumers know that every credit account has a spending limit. If you exceed this limit, purchases may be declined. This doesn’t mean that you want to spend just up to your limit every month. If you consistently max out your credit cards, or come close to doing so, it will negatively affect your credit and lenders will see you as a high risk borrower. As well, if balances are not paid off at the end of the month, interest is charged on the remaining balance, plus all new charges.

How much credit do I have?

The easiest way to see your credit limit is to log in to your online account or check the monthly statements that you receive in the mail. You should see the available credit on the account clearly listed.

How much credit should I use?

Keep your credit utilization ratio low to continue making the most of your credit accounts. Ideally, you don’t want to spend more than 30% of your available credit. This means that if your account has a $1,000 credit limit, you should avoid spending more than $300 each month.

If your available credit is fairly low and you’re having a difficult time keeping your spending below 30%, consider making multiple payments per month to keep your balance down. Credit companies typically report balances to the bureaus at the end of the month. When it’s reported, you want your usage to be above 0%, but below 30%. This shows that you’re a responsible borrower.

Can I increase the amount of credit that I have?

If you regularly use more than 30% of your available credit, it might be a good idea to see if the creditor is willing to increase your limit. The creditor will probably need to perform a hard inquiry to assess your creditworthiness. Hard inquiries temporarily have a negative effect on your credit.

Creditors are often willing to increase your limit if you make payments on time and in full each month, or if you’ve had an increase in income.

You could also consider opening another credit card. Each individual account has its own set limit, so opening a new account will give you an additional 30% of the new account’s limit. Keep in mind that opening another account also requires a hard inquiry on behalf of the creditor. For this reason, it’s best to choose between opening a new account or requesting that an existing creditor increase your limit. This way, you avoid two hard inquiries.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of contact that collectors have made with you.

How to Monitor Your Credit

Your credit history plays an important role in your ability to get approved for new lines of credit, whether it’s a new credit card, a personal loan, or another type of borrowing agreement. It also affects your ability to rent an apartment, or possibly be hired or promoted in your job.

Review Credit Reports & Dispute Errors

Do not wait until you’re ready to apply for a loan to check your credit. Monitor your credit reports regularly to see that your information is accurately reported.  If there is an error, send written disputes to the credit bureau.  You do not want to be denied for a loan because of someone else’s error. Credit applications are considered hard inquiries on your credit file, and denials could result in lowering your credit score.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting privacy and accuracy problems. Contact Us for a free consultation to discuss errors on your credit reports.

Tips on Purchasing a Car

The decision to purchase a new vehicle is exciting. Whether it’s your first car purchase or not, the freedom of mobility and independence is invaluable. You can go anywhere, whenever you like.

But cars are expensive. Buying a vehicle that suits your needs and your budget can be a challenge. Often, the vehicle that you would like to drive may not be the one that you can afford. Become an educated buyer.

Buying a car is a two step process

Continue reading Tips on Purchasing a Car

Credit Report Listings with Negative Impact

Your credit report plays a critical role in your overall financial health. The information that it contains will affect your ability to get new lines of credit for auto or personal loans, rent an apartment, and sometimes even get a job or promotion. It’s important to understand all of the information on your report and what types of negative listings may appear.

Every person’s credit report has the following:

  • Personal information.  Your name, current and previous addresses, social security number, date of birth, and possibly current and previous employers.
  • Credit accounts.  Current and previous credit accounts including details such as payment history, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and current balance. Auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and any other type of credit accounts in your name will be listed.
  • Inquiries. Hard inquiries are listed on your report when there is an application for new credit, and may remain on your report for up to two years. Several hard inquiries, which may be viewed by a lender as high risk, may lower your credit score and impact your ability to be approved for credit.  Soft inquiries are listed by companies offering to promote a special product or service and do not hold negative weight on your report.
  • Negative listings and public records. Late payments, debt, accounts in collection, repossessions, accounts in default, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and judgments are all listed on your credit report. Negative information can stay on your report for up to seven years and will lower your credit score. It may make it more difficult to get approved for new credit, or could result in higher interest rates on any loans or credit.

What you can do about negative listings

Negative listings on your credit report are frustrating, especially if you’re making an effort to improve your financial situation.  Take steps to pay down debt over time.

-Monitor your credit reports
-Dispute errors with the credit bureau and credit furnisher
-Pay your bills in full and on time
-Make a budget and stick to it

These positive actions will help improve your credit and show that you’re on the right track, even while the negative listings remain.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of car repossession, credit reporting errors and unfair debt collection practices.  Contact Us for a free consultation to determine whether your consumer rights were violated.

Check Your Credit Score Before Submitting New Applications

Before you applying for new credit or a job, or submitting a lease application for a new home or apartment, check your credit reports and score. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report every twelve months by writing to the credit bureaus – Transunion, Experian and Equifax.

How to Obtain your Credit Score

Your credit score, which is a number that tells a lender how likely you are to pay credit back on time and is based on your credit history, can be obtained in various ways.

  1. Purchase your score from the credit reporting companies, like FICO.
  2. Many credit cards companies have started to include an offer to obtain credit scores in monthly statements. Check with your credit card issuer to see if your score is available.
  3. A credit counselor may also be able to give you your score.
  4. There are a number of websites that offer free credit scores, but be sure to read the fine print before you sign up. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:
    “Many services and websites advertise a “free credit score.” Some sites may be funded through advertising and not charge a fee. Other sites may require that you sign up for a credit monitoring service with a monthly subscription fee in order to get your “free” score. These services are often advertised as “free” trials, but if you don’t cancel within the specified period (often as short as one week), you could be on the hook for a monthly fee. Before you sign up to try one of these services, be sure you know what you are signing up for and how much it really costs.”

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents victims of credit reporting problems. Whether you are facing loan denials, lowered credit limits, increased interest rates, the consumer protection laws may provide protections. Contact Us today to discuss your credit report problems and find out how we can help.  There is no cost for the legal evaluation.

What to Do if You’re Denied a Loan

Loans are commonly used for expenses like car purchases, home improvements, medical bills, and weddings. They can also be used to consolidate debt or pay off credit card bills at a lower interest rate. Loans with reasonable interest rates can provide a means to purchase an item and pay for it over time.

But what happens if you’re denied for that car loan, or a bank loan that was to help with an unexpected expense? Review the following steps which may help provide a solution.

  1. Figure out why you were denied

A loan application could be denied for a number of reasons. It’s important to understand the bank’s reason for not approving your application. It’s possible that your income doesn’t meet the required amount or your employment history is inconsistent.

Loan applications may also be denied due to incorrect information on the application itself, or errors on the applicant’s credit report. You should verify that your identifying information like social security number and birth date are correct on the application. Check your credit report to make sure all information is accurate and dispute anything that is incorrect.

Banks also look at your debt to income ratio when you apply for a loan. If you already have significant debt, it will be more difficult to secure a loan. Your overall credit is also an important factor. If you have a history of late payments or negative listings on your credit report, the bank may deny your application.

 2. Submit an application with a different bank

If one bank denies your application, you can try applying with another. It’s generally best to apply with your own bank before trying a different one, but banks have different criteria and guidelines for loan approval. You may be able to secure a loan with another institution.

3. Consider getting a guarantor or co-signer

If you’re not able to secure a loan on your own, whether due to poor credit or insufficient income, a co-signer might be a good option. When a guarantor signs onto a loan, he or she agrees to take on financial responsibility if the borrower is unable to make payments. This helps the bank ensure that the loan will be paid back.

4. Pay down debt

If your debt to income ratio is the issue, take some time to create some attainable goals to pay down your debt. Banks typically want your debt to income ratio below 35% to approve another loan.

5. Review your budget and credit profile

Sometimes a loan denial is a sign that you need to reassess your finances and make some changes. Each time you apply for a loan, the lender performs a hard inquiry to pull your credit information. Hard inquiries can temporarily hurt your credit. Take a break from loan applications for now and work on improving your credit, paying down debt, and tracking your expenses.

6. Seek legal advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm representing people with credit reporting errors, wrongful car repossessions, contact from debt collectors and unwanted “robo” calls.  Whether payments were missed, or a debt is owed or not, the consumer has rights against the credit bureaus, lenders or collectors.  Contact us for a free consult to determine whether your consumer rights were violated.

8 Things To Do When Buying a Car

Before any major purchase, it’s important to do some research to make sure you stay within your budget and get the most for your money… and cars are no exception. A new vehicle is a large expense and requires some planning. This is especially true if you choose to secure an auto loan to make it more affordable. Here are some steps you should take before you finance an auto loan.

1) Request your credit reports and score 

Continue reading 8 Things To Do When Buying a Car

Are You Credit Invisible?

If you hear the term “credit invisible” it means that you may not have credit files  with the nationwide credit reporting agencies — Transunion, Experian and Equifax — or that the information that exists on your credit reports is very limited.

Credit invisibility doesn’t only apply to young individuals who haven’t built up their history yet. It can also apply to older individuals who have stopped using credit, or to Americans who live abroad and don’t keep their U.S. credit accounts active.

Lacking Credit History

Credit invisibility can be detrimental for a number of reasons. Lacking credit history can make it difficult or impossible to secure new lines of credit. This means you may not be able to get a loan for the house or car you want, or open a new credit card account. It could also make it more difficult for you to rent an apartment or get hired for a job.

Keep your credit files up-to-date

Stay up to date with your credit standing by checking your report regularly. Consumers may obtain credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax every twelve months for free. We recommend that you request your reports from the credit bureaus in writing and have them mailed to you. You should enclose two forms of identification, such as a current driver’s license and utility bill, with your request. Once you have your reports, review your information to make sure that all of your information is accurate.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally-recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of inaccurate credit report listings. Contact us for a free legal evaluation of errors that appear on your report.

Don’t Get Burned on Bad Credit

Checking your report regularly is the best way to ensure that your finances are healthy and that your overall credit remains in good standing. Poor credit can negatively affect your life in many ways. You can request your credit report by mail or online at annualcreditreport.com.

Consequences of Poor Credit

1. Higher Interest Rates

Individuals with lower credit scores and negative listings on their credit report will incur higher interest rates on new lines of credit.

2. Credit Application Denial

Poor credit can also result in loan application denial. Lenders will view you as a high risk borrower and are less likely to approve your application. This could mean you’ll have more difficulty purchasing a home or vehicle.

3. Difficulty Finding a Job

It’s becoming more common for potential employers to check an applicant’s credit before making a final hiring decision. This is especially common for jobs within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance. Employment screening reports are also often used for trucking, nursing, food, and retail positions. Employers are required to provide you with report details if you’re denied a position as a result of the report.

4. Rental Application Denial

A lower credit score is likely to make it more difficult to rent an apartment. Landlords want to see that you can make payments on time. Poor credit can be a red flag that makes them less likely to rent to you.

5. Higher Utility Bills

A person with lower credit may experience higher utility bills than someone whose credit is in good standing. It can also make it more difficult to negotiate a cell phone contract, or result in a more expensive contract.

6. Debt Collection Contact

Negative credit listings are typically the result of late payments or accounts in default. When someone doesn’t make payments for 60 to 90 days, the account may be sent to a debt collector. Debt collection contact can be overwhelming and intimidating and can add stress to your financial situation.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting privacy and accuracy problems. Contact Us for a free legal evaluation of credit report errors.

 

How to Spend Responsibly on Credit Cards

It’s hard to argue with the convenience of a credit card. Credit provides you with flexibility when it comes to spending. Your card is always available to use regardless of when you expect your next paycheck. Owning a credit card and making timely payments also helps your credit because it shows lenders that you’re a trustworthy and responsible borrower.

It’s important to establish responsible spending habits early so that you don’t find yourself with significant amounts of debt later in life. Carrying a balance each month can make it difficult to stay on top of payments. Here are some credit spending tips that you should practice now to keep your finances healthy for your future.

Set a Budget

The perk of using a credit card is having the ability to spend money you may not necessarily have at the moment. But this can be a dangerous. It can lead to spending above your means. Create a reasonable spending budget for your card to ensure that you don’t overspend.

Pay the Balance in Full Each Month

Carrying a balance from month to month like so many consumers do isn’t ideal. Many cards have high interest rates, which make it even more difficult to keep up with payments every month. Set a goal to pay your balance in full and on time each month so that you don’t end up paying exorbitant late fees and interest.

Keep Your Credit Utilization Low

It’s never a good idea to max out a credit card. Your credit utilization plays a major factor in your credit score. Ideally, you don’t want to spend more than 30% of your credit limit. This means if you have a $1,000 credit limit on a card, you shouldn’t spend more than $300. If you have a higher budget and want to use your card more, pay the existing balance before it’s due to bring your available credit back to its full amount.

Find a Card with No Annual Fees

When you shop around for a new credit card, look for ones with lower interest rates, no annual fees, and useful perks. Many cards offer cash back on any amount that you spend with your card. Others offer travel perks like airline miles.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Get control over credit card debt as soon as possible. Making minimum payments will mean paying excessive amounts of interest over time and can make you feel as if you’ll never get out of debt. Cut your spending wherever you can so that you can focus on paying off your debt as quickly as possible.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics, credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues and wrongful vehicle repossessions.  Contact Us with your consumer credit concerns.  There is no cost for the consultation.