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6 Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs to Succeed in 2017

The dawn of 2017 likely brings with it new optimism — not just in your personal life, but for your business as well. But are you ready to take on this new year wisely?

Before you start...

Paying Your Mortgage With A Credit Card

MoneyTips

Most credit cards have rewards programs or sign-up bonuses these days, and many of those rewards increase with your level of spending. Doesn't it make sense to funnel your large regular expenses, such as mortgage payments, through your credit card to reap those rewards? Paying your mortgage with a credit card may be a reasonable option for you, but it requires planning and care — as well as a willing mortgage company and credit card issuer. First, verify with your mortgage lender that they will accept payments by credit card and understand how to execute those payments. Typically, a lender that allows credit card payments will accept those payments online. Check the lender's website for an online payment section, and put in the information necessary to set up payment via credit card. Verify with your lender when the payment will take effect to avoid any potential gap in your mortgage payments. Next, search for a credit card that will allow you to make mortgage payments without incurring excessive fees in the process. Regular large payments of this type are often frowned upon by credit card issuers, and not just because of the amount of rewards — illegal activities are processed in the same fashion. To discourage the practice, credit card companies may apply a "convenience fee" to such transactions and make the fee high enough that the benefits of paying your mortgage via credit is wiped out. You may have better success if the lender and the credit card issuer are part of the same financial group. The best option, if available in your area, is a mortgage lender that can also issue a corresponding cash-back rewards card that will automatically apply your cash rewards to the mortgage principal. If you can't find a suitable credit card company or lender, third-party services are available that can pay your mortgage via your credit card, but that also comes at a price and with risks. Unless you have an outstanding rewards program, the third-party fees are likely to be greater than the rewards you receive. Further, by adding another step in your payment process, you increase the possibility of a transaction going awry, and also increase the chance that you do not notice the missed payment until it is too late. Even if your credit card company is willing to accept mortgage payments, you must be very careful and diligent with your planning. You may have enough money to make the mortgage payment, but if you let other spending rise beyond what you can pay off each month, you can wipe out your rewards with the collective interest charges from carrying a balance. Consider your credit limit as well — if you are running close to your credit limit on a regular basis, you can damage your credit score with high credit utilization (using most of your total available credit). You can see your credit report and credit score within minutes for free with Credit Manager by MoneyTips. Remember that if you end up switching cards or canceling the credit card account that you will need to notify the lender of the change in payment method. Add the mortgage lender to the list of auto-payment creditors that you need to notify in the case of a change (and if you do not have such a list, make one immediately). Options for paying your mortgage via credit card are dwindling, but if you are fortunate enough to find a mortgage lender that will accept credit cards and a credit card issuer that allows rewards for mortgage payments, why not take advantage of your good fortune? If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/PickStock

Originally Posted at: http://www.moneytips.com/paying-your-mortgage-with-a-credit-card

Hidden Costs Of Paying Taxes by Credit Card

Should You Pay Your Taxes With A Credit Card?

When Should You Pay An Annual Credit Card Fee?

Paying Your Mortgage With A Credit Card

MoneyTips

Most credit cards have rewards programs or sign-up bonuses these days, and many of those rewards increase with your level of spending. Doesn't it make sense to funnel your large regular expenses, such as mortgage payments, through your credit card to reap those rewards? Paying your mortgage with a credit card may be a reasonable option for you, but it requires planning and care — as well as a willing mortgage company and credit card issuer. First, verify with your mortgage lender that they will accept payments by credit card and understand how to execute those payments. Typically, a lender that allows credit card payments will accept those payments online. Check the lender's website for an online payment section, and put in the information necessary to set up payment via credit card. Verify with your lender when the payment will take effect to avoid any potential gap in your mortgage payments. Next, search for a credit card that will allow you to make m...

10 States That Struggled Most With Foreclosures in 2016

The number of U.S. homes in foreclosure fell to a 10-year low in 2016, according to a report from real-estate data company ATTOM Data Solutions, with 933,045 residential properties in some state of foreclosure during the year. That’s a 14% drop from 2015 but is still well above the pre-crisis level of 2006, when 717,522 homes had a foreclosure filing (a notice of default, scheduled auction or bank repossession).

Much of the nation’s foreclosure activity is left over from the housing crisis, given the foreclosure process is a lengthy one. Among foreclosures completed in the fourth quarter of 2016, the average home had been in the foreclosure process for 803 days, or just over two years. In the same quarter, 55% of loans actively in foreclosure had been originated between 2004 and 2008.

Still, many Americans struggle to afford their mortgage payments. Among the 0.7% of homes in some state of foreclosure last year, slightly more than half of them were new, meaning the homeowners first fell behind on their loans in 2016. Though foreclosure starts were down 16% from 2015, 15 states and the District of Columbia saw a rise in new foreclosures in 2016. (If you’re concerned about being able to afford your home payments, you can read here about how to save your home from foreclosure.)

Fourteen states had foreclosure rates above the national average, and two of those states even had higher foreclosure rates in 2016 than they did in 2010, when the national foreclosure rate peaked. Here are the 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2016, many of which have a significant backlog of legacy foreclosures (loans that defaulted several years ago).

10. New Mexico

Homes in foreclosure in 2016: 7,099 (0.78%) Change from 2015: down 7.28% Change from 2010 (national peak in foreclosures): down 36.23%

9. Ohio

Homes in foreclosure in 2016: 45,801 (0.89%) Change from 2015: down 11.65% Change from 2010: down 57.65%

8. Connecticut

Homes in foreclosure in 2016: 13,621 (0.91%) Change from 2015: up 20.88% Change from 2010: down 37.24%

7. South Carolina

Homes in foreclosure in 2016: 19,784 (0.92%) Change from 2015: down 8.23% Change from 2010: down 40.16%

6. Nevada

Homes in foreclosure in 2016: 12,872 (1.09%) Change from 2015: down 22.14% Change from 2010: down 87.87%

You can see the full list of states that struggled most with foreclosure on Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

1 in 4 Consumers Feel Threatened When Contacted by a Debt Collector, Survey Says

More than a quarter (27%) of consumers who’ve interacted with debt collectors said they felt threatened by the most recent creditor or collector who contacted them, according to a new survey from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB).

That may not sound surprising, given debt collectors don’t have a reputation for being friendly, but it’s a noteworthy discovery. It’s illegal for debt collectors to harass or verbally abuse consumers.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector cannot “harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.” That includes things like threatening to hurt or arrest you, using obscene or profane language or using repeated phone calls to annoy you. They’re also not allowed to lie to consumers. The CFPB’s survey results indicate those rules often aren’t being followed.

A bit more on that data: It’s based on survey responses from 2,132 consumers the bureau contacted between December 2014 and March 2015. Of those respondents, 32% (682 people) said they had been contacted by a creditor or debt collector about paying a debt within the last year. The results are weighed to represent “the broader population of consumers with credit records.”

It’s worth noting that consumers saying they felt threatened doesn’t mean the collector they talked to broke the law. Still, 27% is a high occurrence rate of potentially illegal behavior. Additionally, reports of threatening debt collectors wasn’t the only issue raised by survey respondents: About 40% of consumers who’d been contacted about debts in collection said they asked a collector or creditor to stop contacting them and, of those consumers, about 75% said the collector continued to contact them anyway. Legally, a debt collector must stop contacting a consumer if that consumer sent a written request to the collector to stop communicating with them, with a few exceptions.

If you ever find yourself dealing with a debt collector, it’s a good idea to take the time to familiarize yourself with your rights and the rules debt collectors have to follow when contacting you. You can report any issues you encounter to your state’s attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission or the CFPB, and you’ll want to keep an eye on your credit reports and scores to see how the collection account affects you. (You can get a free summary of your credit report, with updates every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

 

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Video: When To Build Credit For Your Kids

MoneyTips

When teens ask for money, turn the request into a teachable moment by instructing them about credit. In the video above, Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education for credit-reporting agency Experian, explains why people need to learn about building credit before they reach adulthood, and how to help your kids establish good credit.You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Originally Posted at: http://www.moneytips.com/video-when-to-build-credit-for-your-kids

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Video: When To Build Credit For Your Kids

MoneyTips

When teens ask for money, turn the request into a teachable moment by instructing them about credit. In the video above, Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education for credit-reporting agency Experian, explains why people need to learn about building credit before they reach adulthood, and how to help your kids establish good credit.You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.
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