August 22nd, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Proposes Changes to PLUS Loan Program

PLUS Loan

The U.S. Department of Education recently proposed changes to the PLUS loan program that would relax credit standards for potential borrowers.

The department’s decision to tighten standards in 2011 sparked a tidal wave of rejections: 1.1 million for the 2012-2013 academic year. Applicants who were approved one year were suddenly denied the next. Previously, applicants were typically golden if they had no debts that were 90 or more days delinquent and no major derogatory marks, such as bankruptcies and tax liens. In 2011, the definition of delinquent debts expanded to include any charge-off accounts or unpaid accounts in collections from the past five years.

If the new changes are implemented, however, the department will only review credit history from the past two years. The current five-year review period will still apply to serious derogatory marks.

Furthermore, the proposal will excuse borrowers who have up to $2,085 in delinquent debt. Instead, a borrower will only have “adverse credit history” if they have more than $2,085 in debt that’s 90 or more days delinquent, has been sent to collections or charged off.

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August 20th, 2014

New Federal Reserve Data Calls the Economic Recovery into Question

New Federal Reserve Data Calls the Economic Recovery into Question

According to the Federal Reserve, the economic recovery may not be going as smoothly as some might insist. A newly released study indicates that, as of late 2013, 68 percent of American households hadn’t seen significant financial improvement since 2008. Overall, in fact, there were more households that reported further deterioration than those that reported improvement.

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August 19th, 2014

Americans Are Paying Heavily in Overdraft Fees

Americans Are Paying Heavily in Overdraft Fees

A new study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that opting in to debit card overdraft services costs the average consumer around $250 per year in fees. While the ability to charge your account into the red may be seen as a temporary convenience for those who are short on cash and need it now, the practice of overdrawing your checking account can be costly and inefficient.

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August 18th, 2014

P.F. Chang’s Security Breach Affected 33 Locations

P.F. Chang’s Security Breach Affected 33 Locations

Restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s reported that card data may have been stolen from 33 restaurants. Read more about the protective measures you can take.

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August 13th, 2014

35 Percent of American Adults Have an Account in Collections

35 Percent of American Adults Have an Account in Collections

A recent study by the Urban Institute came back with some sobering findings, including the fact that over one in three American adults have at least one account in collections. In addition to finding who has accounts in collections, the study sought to establish a geographic pattern of where delinquent debts and accounts in collections are most prevalent.

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August 12th, 2014

USA Discounters Accused of Aggressive Debt Collection Tactics Against Service Members

USA Discounters

Virginia-based retailer USA Discounters is under fire. In a report published by ProPublica and the Washington Post, ProPublica alleges that the company uses unfair debt collection tactics against service members. USA Discounters sells merchandise on credit to service members and then sues them in Virginia courts if they fall behind on their payments.

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August 8th, 2014

FICO Announces the New FICO Score 9

FICO Announces the New FICO Score 9

The new FICO Score 9 credit scoring model will treat paid collections accounts and unpaid medical debt differently. Learn more about the changes.

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August 8th, 2014

Subprime Auto Loans on the Rise

Used Cars

The number of subprime auto loan borrowers has increased by more than 130 percent in five years. Read more about this growing trend and why it’s concerning.

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August 6th, 2014

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Above Average Job Growth

States That Raised Minimum Wage See Above Average Job Growth

Making news recently is new jobs data from the Labor Department that reflects above average job growth in states that have recently raised their minimum wage. This news has been hailed by wage hike supporters as the first piece of supporting evidence, while others have reacted more skeptically.

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August 4th, 2014

Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses Increase While Overall Value Decreases

Credit Card Bonuses

New data shows that sign-up bonuses are on the rise, but rewards aren’t looking as pretty. Find out why this might be happening and what you can do about it.

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