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Discuss Finances Before Marriage: 6 Things You Should Talk About

By | Personal Finance

You think you know everything about your fiancé? Think again. Before you get married, you and your future spouse need to discuss finances before marriage. It won’t affect whether or not you both say “I do,” but it might change whether you both agree to get a shared bank account.

In addition to maybe getting a shared account, here are six things you should talk about.

1. What kind of debt do you both have?

Did you both rack up a lot of debt going to college? What are your monthly car and student loan payments like? What is your debt-to-income ratio? If either of you has a lot, it’s best to say so before you tie the knot. Having the infamous “Where did all of our money go?” conversation is never fun and can lead to problems that extend beyond finances in a heartbeat. Know what kind of debt your future spouse has. It may suggest that you should either have separate bank accounts, or that one of you should be in charge of all finances so that credit repair can take place.

2. Know each other’s credit scores and histories.

A strong credit score is needed if you want to buy a house one day. If your spouse frequently misses payments because he or she doesn’t manage money well (and might need to fix his or her credit), it can put a big strain on your relationship. You should know what each other’s score is because it might change your respective responsibilities. Maybe one of you agrees to make all payments, or you add your spouse as an authorized user on an account to improve their credit score.

Looking over each other’s histories might also reveal credit errors. If you spot any, you’ll want to start a credit dispute as soon as possible. One reason is, if you plan on having kids, it’s a lot easier to fix a credit score when it’s just the two of you because you’ll have more cash every month to put toward payments. Another reason is that credit disputes and credit repair can take time. The sooner you begin the process, the better.

3. Will you need to work together to improve credit?

Do both of you suffer from low credit scores? If you need a loan, will either of you qualify? As stated, credit disputes and errors take time. To fix credit (or just improve credit), it may require a joint effort. To do so, you’ll both need to make a concerted effort. Not only will all bills need to be paid on time, but one or both of you might need to take out a secured loan or line of credit to begin the credit repair process. From there you’ll both need to diversify your lines of credit and begin paying down your debt.

Many experts suggest paying off debt from smallest to largest. This will remove some of your monthly obligations and free up more cash to throw at your larger debt.

4. What are your long-term goals?

Do you want to travel? Buy a house? Have kids? All of these are big financial commitments, and you need to know about them so you can start budgeting. Depending on the goals, one or both of you might need to make some spending changes. Impulse and fluff buys may need to be scaled back and a monthly budget put in place. If it’s a struggle to put away money each month, then you’ll need to establish a savings plan as soon as possible.

5. Should you have a prenup?

Unfortunately, approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. If either of you has worked hard to establish a strong financial portfolio, then a prenup may save you at least a little heartache if or when you two do decide to call it quits.

6. Establish a monthly budget and savings goal.

Come up with a list of non-negotiable monthly items—mortgage, car payments, credit card payments, utilities, etc. How much money must absolutely be set aside to cover everything? Look at how much is left over, and put a little aside for both of you to spend on fun items. The rest needs to go into savings. How much you spend on your fun (or unnecessary) purchases is up to you. If your partner considers something to be a must-have, but you don’t see it that way, consider not pushing it if it’s not too much every month. Everyone has their own quirks. However, if you are just scraping by every month and accumulating credit card debt in the process, it may be time to have a talk.

Discuss Finances Before Marriage & Get Expert Advice

Marriage is just the beginning, having a solid financial background and excellent credit profile will open many doors in your future.  Planning to discuss finances before marriage gives you the ability to see where you may need financial help. Luckily, it doesn’t just have to be the two of you working on it. At Ovation Credit, we’re here to help, too. We offer a free credit consultation and also a 20% discount for couples. Why not start off your marriage with a better credit life. We can help you improve your credit, fix any credit errors, and resolve any credit disputes.




Credit and Household Debit is on the Rise for Americans

By | Credit Cards, Credit Repair

According to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total household debt for Americans rose 2.1 percent, or $241 billion, in the fourth quarter of 2013. This increase was driven primarily by new mortgages, car loans, and student loans. After a long period without borrowing, it appears Americans have regained their confidence. However, an increase in borrowing could also be the result of the inability to maintain spending levels in the face of unemployment or stagnant wages.

An increase in debt is not always a negative sign. Mortgages and car loans could be positive economic signs signaling that people are investing in the future.  However, other types of debt, like student loans, can have a negative impact on the economy by not allowing discretionary spending for several years.

In addition to the rise in mortgages, car loans, and student loan debt, the average amount of credit card debt rose in the last quarter of 2013 as compared to the previous quarter. However, people whose credit score is well above average drove this increase. Despite this upward trend, the average amount of credit card debt did decline as compared to the last quarter of 2012.

In addition, the delinquency rate also rose in the final quarter of 2013. The delinquency rate is the ratio of borrowers who are more than 90 days late on credit card payments. The delinquency rate rose from 1.36 percent to 1.48 percent between the last two quarters of 2013. According to its study, TransUnion does project the consumer delinquency rate to rise to approximately 1.57 percent by the end of the first quarter in 2014.

TransUnion also reports the number of credit card accounts is up in 2013 as compared to 2012 from 329.48 to 341.40. At first glance, this increase appears to be positive, given there are still at least 40 million fewer accounts today than there were just five years ago. In addition, the demand for credit is much lower. This trend tells us that consumers are managing their current lines of credit more effectively.

If your personal amount of debt has recently increased, and your credit is beginning to suffer because of it, you should consider credit repair. Let us at Ovation help you. We offer several credit repair solutions, which are customized to meet your unique needs. At Ovation, we believe that no two people are alike; therefore, our approach is always unique.

Contact us today to see how we can help.


Let Credit Repair Mark the Beginning to an Improved Financial Foundation

By | Credit Repair

Once someone’s been through credit repair with Ovation, we really don’t want them to ever have to do it again. So what happens when your credit is all cleaned up (we scrubbed it until it squeaked)? Well, we have additional resources to support you on your way towards an ever-improving fiscal future. It’s important to know and remember that in every life circumstance, a lasting commitment is required to remain financially healthy. To illustrate our point, we’ll make a quick comparison.

Don’t get lazy after credit repair

The journey to better credit is like being a marathon runner. The only way to guarantee making the finish line is with hours upon hours of training and preparation. And once the race is over, a runner can’t quit their daily workouts. If they do, they’ll likely end up being winded after only a short distance in their next race. However, if the runner keeps up practicing the skills they’ve learned, they’ll continue to run confidently—and run with improved performance.

Similarly, as you have just crossed our credit repair finish line, we hope you never look back on your poor spending, saving, bill paying habits, etc. In fact, we are always here to help you train for continued, long-lasting credit building results.

Keep sprinting! We applaud your work so far. Below are the next steps to remain on track:

  1. Plan to regularly pull your credit report. We’ve worked with the credit bureaus and your creditors to resolve questionable items on your credit history. By reviewing your credit annually moving forward, you can track your progress and easily spot errors.
  2. Start getting new credit. Have you checked out the “SAVINGS” page on your personal online account with Ovation? If not, you should. This page has offers, savings on auto insurance, health, home, and life insurance. Plus, you can refinance a mortgage at a better rate and apply for credit cards.
  3. Pay all your bills every month. Enough said!
  4. Save. Save. Save. Establish a financial safety net for unexpected emergencies and create a retirement fund by setting aside money each month in a dedicated savings account.
  5. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t let bad habits linger—move forward and continue to rebuild your credit. And, just another reminder, our help doesn’t end once your credit is repaired.

Ovation Credit Services is happy to help

If you have questions, call us today to learn more about our resources.


How Baby Boomers can Avoid Debt Traps and Credit Card Debt

By | Uncategorized

If you are about to retire or have recently done so, chances are you have worked many years, carefully putting aside savings for the day when you could sit back and reap the benefits of your hard work. For some retirees, this idyllic scenario might even be reality. But it’s more likely if you’re retired or soon retiring, that you’re part of a growing number of post-recession baby boomers in debt: worried and looking for a solution. Before you open another credit card or dip into your pension, it is important to become aware of how some insidious, baby boomer debt traps can permanently damage your credit, your bank account and your future.

Beware of Sly Debt-Traps

One of the most sneaky debt-trap “solutions” offered to retirees is the Pension Advance. Future pension payments might seem like a great way to get extra cash now, but it’s one of the biggest debt traps that baby boomers encounter. Taking advances from a pension can incur enormous interest rates – – from 27% to as high as 106%. Yes, more than 100%! Simply put, it is not worth the cost.

Another well-known and devious debt trap is the credit card. We’ve all had credit cards; but today, more than ever, retirees are turning to credit advances rather than looking for help. According to the AARP, retirees owe over 31% more on credit cards then before the last recession. With exorbitant interest rates and never-ending, minimum payments, credit cards are not the solution for debt consolidation. Avoid credit card debt by avoiding carrying credit card balances.

The next debt trap is probably the hardest one for anyone with children to ignore. This is the My Kid’s in Trouble trap. We all want our children to be happy, but when we choose to co-sign loans, take out third mortgages or open another credit card for our kids; we are helping no one and hurting everyone. For example, when you co-sign a loan, you are the one responsible for ultimately paying it off. If your kids fail to pay, it comes out of your savings. Even worse, if you ever need to take out a loan for your own needs, you may not qualify due to existing debt.

Trap-Free Debt Solutions

So what can you do to get out of debt? Here are a few steps we suggest:

  1. Take account of your accounts: What do you own and what do you owe? Write it down to the penny. The only way you can gain control of your finances is to take control of your finances.
  2. Seamlessly Simplify: In today’s online economy, a majority of people are paying too much in unknown or forgotten monthly subscription fees. Take stock of what you’re paying online, get rid of those expenditures and save money. You forgot you bought it and you won’t miss it when it’s gone.
  3. Switch it UP! Are your investments making you the most money possible? Take a day to revisit your accounts. Talk with your advisor and see where you can reallocate your funds.

Ovation Can Help

If you have tried every possible solution and are still struggling, let Ovation help you get your credit to where you want it. We understand that you’ve worked hard, and we want you to enjoy retirement. With our confidential credit counseling, Ovation will help you get your finances under control. We all want to enjoy life. Let’s work together to get there.


Enjoy the Tradition of Sharing a Long-Standing Family Name, Not a Blended Credit Report!

By | Credit Reports, Loan

Your poor credit score may not be a case of identity theft, or even the result of irresponsible management of funds. That is, if you have a shared name with a loved one. The tradition of honoring husbands, fathers, and grandfathers by passing down family names is a treasured custom, but can be downright tricky to manage with creditors. Applicants filling out credit applications may not always include generational titles (Jr., II, III) or keep the spelling of their name consistent (for example, David, Dave or Jonathan, Jon). To make matters worse, some relatives live under one roof, not allowing differing addresses to help with proper identification. And, while a similar birth month and date can also lead to account confusion, one or all of these mentioned factors can lead to an unintentional blended credit report. In fact, some duplicate name issues happen among those who are not even related.

There are Preventative Measures

We are all guilty of filling out paperwork as fast as lightning, but for those born with an inherited identification challenge or simply a common first and last name, careful review is suggested. Some other tips that can help avoid confusion;

  • On all forms, remain consistent with name spelling and always include identification clues such as “junior” or “senior”.
  • Offering all of the requested information, such as phone number, address and social security number (even if you prefer to be unlisted), can avoid a mix-up.
  • Additionally, an annual review of your credit history can nip an emerging problem in the bud.

What to do if Credit is Already Affected

Dispute, dispute, dispute. When someone else appears on your credit history, manage the mistakes by addressing the issues with the three credit bureaus–TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. The bureaus will present the disputes to the lender; however, the process can be long and daunting.

As we’ve written before, hiring a professional credit restoration company to work on your behalf, like Ovation, can help speed-up or improve the process of removing inaccurate credit report information.

Our experience working with the credit bureaus eases the credit repair process because we naturally anticipate industry tactics and responses. Ovation programs and services consist of disputing credit items, personal information and inquiries to all three credit bureaus, and disputing credit items directly with the creditor. Each program we have is customized to individual needs.

Ovation Credit Services is Happy to Help

Call us today for a free consultation to learn more about our services and how quickly you may be back in good credit standing.


It’s Not Just Repayment: Credit Repair Myths You Need Busted

By | Credit Repair, Debt

You’ve done everything right. Lived on rice and bean sprouts (beans were too expensive). The last movie you saw starred a prepubescent Daniel Radcliffe; and you’re still waiting for this page to load because you switched back to dial-up a year ago. You’ve scrimped and suffered, and it’s paying off! At least, it’s paying off your credit card debt. You only have a few left to worry about.

So why, after all your hard work, hasn’t your credit score budged an inch?

Repayment isn’t the Only Thing That Matters

The idea that merely paying off credit card debt is the key to credit repair is a pervasive, ugly myth that has left thousands of people confused and feeling more hopeless than when they started repairing their credit. Just because you have a $0 balance doesn’t mean the account will be removed from your credit report. It seems obvious that just paying off the balance should fix the problem.  Actively getting your credit card debt down is something you can personally control, so there is a lot of appeal built into this myth that keeps it alive.

The fact is, the term “credit score” is a little misleading. What you’re trying to change—and what banks are looking at—is your credit risk score, and a credit risk score doesn’t change based on the amount of credit card debt you’ve paid off. It changes based on whether you’ve ever had any debt at all.  Thirty percent of a credit score is based on the amount owed to a creditor and that amount is weighed against the line of credit.

Your credit score is meant to predict the chance of financial delinquency, and if you’ve had a lot of payments more than 90 days overdue, or worse, sent all the way into collections, you’ve been pretty delinquent. By paying off the credit debt owed, and then maintaining a revolving debt balance under 50% of your allowed limit your credit score will be much healthier. But remember, just because you pay the balance to $0 the delinquency won’t just be removed from the report.

You’re in for a long haul

So how does one go about credit repair? Patience and persistence, is key. After seven years, creditors will age off your credit report, eventually leaving you in the clear. It’s not quite as simple as that, however. Any kind of contact with a creditor during those seven years could lead to them sneakily resetting the clock, and you might never kick clear. But, by starting today your credit future can be much brighter.

But there’s a faster way

The best option for improving your credit score quickly is to hire a professional credit repair services like Ovation Credit. Calling a case analyst at Ovation Credit is the right step to take control of your credit situation.  They can help you l devise an optimal credit repair strategy,  which can include disputing amounts with creditors—doing double duty both reducing your debt and repairing your credit—to getting creditors aged off your report early, so you can take some real steps toward your best possible credit score.

Reduce credit debt to retire comfortably

By | Credit Cards, Debt

Retirement isn’t always a peaceful thought or future retreat for people living with credit card debt. Rather than imagining days filled with golf, friends and pet projects, these individuals are stressing about how they will be financially prepared to live during their senior years.

Credit counseling is recommended for anyone struggling to repair their debt, especially those nearing retirement, because there’s more you can do to help while you’re still working. It’s also less daunting than what many expect. Counseling, paired with other suggested strategies, can make retirement obtainable for individuals with less than perfect credit histories now.

A few tips will help secure a comfortable retirement for people living with debt:

Strategies to Restore Credit

  • Start now! Begin to mentally plot your spending and saving habits to be on par for the lifestyle that you want to achieve during retirement and commit to this plan.
  • Don’t repeat past mistakes: Be smart. You know what got you into bad credit to begin with, so resist the urge to spend money on unnecessary expenses.
  • Review your insurance and interest rates: Oftentimes, your home and auto rates can be minimized to save you hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Hands off you’re your retirement account! This is extremely important. Though it may seem like a good idea, using what money you’ve saved to help fix your credit now can result in serious tax penalties. You won’t continue to accrue interest on it either. Not to mention, it will setback the size of your nest egg.
  • Schedule a meeting with a credible credit counselor: credit counselors will guide you and be a great debt-repair resource as you plan your retirement.

How to Start

If this scenario hits close to home—Don’t worry. Your current credit situation doesn’t have to determine your future. Ovation has the experience helping people prepare for their Golden Years by repairing their credit history and lowering credit card debt. Visit us to learn how we can help you retire stress-free. 


A Matter of Myth: The Real Story of Public Records and Your Credit Repair

By | Credit Repair

Every day, all over the web, in bookstores, newspapers, and on TV, credit repair myths thrive like insects. With every repetition, these myths mislead millions of people with serious credit card debt, leaving them perpetually worse off than when they started.

Some of these myths survive because they provide people with false hope. Others survive for the exact opposite reason: when you’re already in the soul-crushing prison of credit card debt, it’s easy to feel you will never be out of it.

Have you heard the one about permanent public records?

One persistent credit repair myth is that if you have a public record attached to your credit report, you can never get rid of it. Today, we can bust that myth for you, and offer you hope—real hope—for repairing your credit.

First of all, what exactly is a public record? A public record is a legal document issued by county, state, or federal government offices, generally viewable by the public. Your credit score, of course, is only concerned with financial records, so examples of public records that could end up on your credit report include bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens, wage garnishment, and child support delinquency.

Credit scores are not an exact science, and there is not a specific point value assigned to a specific kind of public record. However, public records do add to the weight of negative financial information against you, and will always certainly have a noticeable, negative effect on your credit score.

There’s more hope than you realize

Don’t be misled into thinking you are stuck with public records on your credit report forever. The truth is, every type of negative listing can be removed from your credit report, letting you make real steps in credit repair. However, there is no doubt that the process to have public records removed is extremely difficult and stressful. It’s made more challenging by the fact that, frankly, credit agencies are used to dealing with people with heavy credit card debt begging them to remove this or that information from their report.

Get professional help—Ovation credit repair experts are waiting

So before you start calling your credit agency to begin the long climb up their phone tree, consider hiring a professional credit repair service like Ovation Credit. Your personal Ovation Credit caseworker is an expert who knows all the ins and outs of dealing with credit agencies. You could choose to spend your free time fighting with credit agencies. Or you could have an Ovation credit repair professional do it for you, guaranteeing better results, faster, with less stress for you.

There’s no reason to feel hopeless when it comes to your credit score. Repairing your credit is just a matter of talking to someone who knows the facts, and not the myths. Call Ovation Credit today for your personalized credit consultation.


5 Things you Need to Know about Transferring Credit Card Debt

By | Credit Cards, MasterCard, Personal Finance, Revolving Debt

Everyone has received at least one credit card offer in the mail, sometimes several in the same week. Banks and financial companies are relentless in their attempts to get your business (occasionally they even want your dog to have a credit card). The offers usually include a great starting interest rate – sometimes 0% – and an option for you to transfer the balance of your existing credit cards to the new card. It seems like a great way to save money on interest and an affordable way to pay down your existing credit card debt. But you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

Here are five things you should know about balance transfers:

1. How it Works

When you apply for a new credit card, you will usually be able to indicate what other credit cards you have and how much you owe on those cards. When your card is approved, the new credit card company will then pay those other debts, or they will send you credit card checks for you to pay off those balances. Sometimes the balance transfer transaction can take weeks to complete, so don’t assume that you are done paying into your other cards. Keep an eye on the statements for your old cards, or you could miss a payment and incur late fees.

2. Do the Math

To take full advantage of these offers, you need to pay off the amount transferred to the new card within the low-interest-rate period. If you are looking at an offer that will give you 0% interest for 12 months, divide your debt by 12; that is your new monthly payment. If that is not affordable, than the balance transfer may do more harm than good. After the low-interest period, your rates will go up, and the interest will be calculated based on the date the transfer was made. That could mean 12 months of interest at the new, higher rate.

3. Balance Transfer Fees

Take a look at the “Terms and Conditions” portion of the application to see if there will be a “Balance Transfer Fee.” If so, you need to add that amount to your calculation above to determine your monthly payment. This fee is usually three or four percent of the balance ($150 fee for a transfer of $5,000). However, this amount may be insignificant based on the amount of interest you will be saving.

4. You May Need a Great Credit Score

Study the fine print, and see if that 0% introductory rate will actually apply to you. Many times that great interest rate is for approved credit ratings only – meaning a FICO score around 750. Also, after what may be a six- or twelve-month introductory period, the interest rate will go up, and the new rate could be higher than your existing credit card rates, if your credit score is less than ideal.

5. Shelve the New Card

It is common for balance transfer interest rates to apply only to the balance transfer. That means any purchases you make on the new card will be subject to interest (usually the rate that you will be charged once the low-interest period is over). If your goal with the balance transfer card is to take advantage of a low-interest rate to pay off your debt, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by racking up new debt on your new card. Your best bet is to shelve the new card entirely and not use it for any purchases, until your balance transfer debt is gone.

Always read the fine print, and learn all the rules for your new card. If used properly, a balance transfer offer could mean freedom from interest rates and your existing credit card debt.

New Credit Card Standards – Not So Sweet

By | Credit Cards, Credit Laws, Credit Scores, Debt

You know how it is. You go on a diet –stick with it a few weeks, maybe months. Even lose weight. Then comes a birthday party, holiday, or stressful moment. Out goes the diet and on come the pounds. It’s the same with credit debt. Coming out of this recession, a lot of people were trying to reduce their dependency on credit cards and they were doing a really good job for quite a while. The recent trend is that people are relying on credit card debt again.

Credit card companies are now loosening their standards. They sweeten the deal to make it easy to accrue debt and then profit from unpaid balances. The total number of bank or credit cards issued jumped 27% in May compared to a year earlier, according to credit reporting bureau Equifax. From January and May, nearly 15 million new bank cards were issued — the highest level in three years.

Our position is that credit cards aren’t used to pay for ordinary living expenses unless the balance is paid off every month. We caution people not to use their credit card just because it’s available. Use it responsibly, preferably only for emergencies. We’ve talked about this in the past regarding cell phones, luxury items and other high end items. It’s important to be very sensitive to how much those items really cost if a credit card isn’t paid off each month. People are wasting $9.73 a day (or more depending on the payment plan) in interest payments. Americans actually added $18.4 billion to their debt load in the second quarter, a 66% increase from the debt they accumulated in the same quarter last year.

Tools like those offered by Ovation can help you understand exactly how much of that hamburger you just had to buy on the credit card is actually going to end up costing you. You can login and see how long you are carrying debt for a particular item; for example, if you’re just making minimum payments or paying a certain amount above the minimum each month. We believe these tools help our customers realize that credit cards are an expensive way to pay for something when you calculate the interest that accrues on top of the purchase price. It’s often better to wait until you can pay cash for the item.

If you find yourself falling back into unhealthy financial habits, tighten your belt again. Turn away from the sweet credit offers – like the calories in the cake you’re trying to give up, the interest will cost you more than you want in the end. By overcoming the temptation, your credit score will weigh in at a healthy level and you will have more money available to manage your budget successfully.

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