Credit Checks and Employers: What Are Your Rights?

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Creditworthiness was once a private endeavor — a goal to achieve after work — but what if your ability to get hired hinged on your credit score? A 2012 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 47 percent of employers check applicants’ credit during the interview process. If you are searching for a job, what are your disclosure rights? How will credit affect your prospects? Are there ways to improve your chances? Read on for the answers.

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Opening New Credit Cards for Travel — How Does It Impact My Credit Score?

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There are many considerations when it comes to opening multiple credit card accounts. You have probably noticed how frequently you see advertisements for credit cards specific to rewards, whether for clothing stores, gas or travel. While these incentives are great, they should be considered carefully because applying for multiple credit cards will certainly impact your credit score.

Credit cards impact your score more than you realize

It is common for consumers to be aware that overspending and not paying bills on time will damage credit scores. However, what is less commonly known is that applying for multiple cards in a short time frame can be damaging to your credit score as well.

According to NerdWallet, each time you apply for a new credit card a hard inquiry is performed. This is a review of your credit profile, and it will cause your credit score to drop a couple of points. While this can certainly be repaired fairly quickly, many of these inquiries in a short amount of time will be harder to recover from.

Additionally, when lenders see that you are applying for several cards in a short amount of time, it demonstrates to them that you are a financial risk and potentially in need of much credit.

This is not to say that opening several cards is a problem. In fact, having several active cards can be beneficial to your income-to-debt ratio, if you are maintaining good credit. This is because it demonstrates to lenders that you have lots of available credit but little debt. On the other hand, it allows you to spend more, which if happening often can be problematic when lenders view your score.

Specific cards can be beneficial

Overall, the important thing to note is that if you are going to apply for a credit card specifically to earn points toward travel, then you should do your homework and select a card that is right for you. Additionally, you should intend to use this card for this purpose, as different cards can have fees affiliated with them, and if you aren’t getting your travel’s worth, then you may be forgoing the benefit.

You have to ask yourself how much you realistically travel, and will you get use out of a card like this. According to CreditCards.com, there are various types of cards dedicated to traveling. Some travel cards are airline-specific, meaning you can only retain your points or miles with that airline. Others are general and allow you to apply your earnings toward various airlines. There are others that can be applied to hotels or other accommodations.

It is important to note that differences can take the form of terms and conditions as well. For example, some points might expire, while others are good for life. And again, various cards have different fees associated with them. Make sure you are considering the fees in addition to the rewards, because if the rewards aren’t being utilized then you might be paying more than you should be.

Travel cards need to be repaid the same way

When it comes to travel credit cards, they may have different interest rates or reward systems, but you still need to pay them off on time. Don’t use your card with the intention of building miles to travel, but then find yourself unable to pay it down when the time comes. You have to budget and plan accordingly just like you would any other credit card.

When you don’t pay your credit card back on time, your credit score will fall, and repairing credit is more difficult than maintaining it. While we have the resources to assist you with credit repair, you should keep an eye on your credit spending habits no matter what type of card you are using.

Additionally, if you plan on using that same card while traveling, and not just for earning points, then make sure you check out our information page pertaining to using credit while traveling.

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North Carolina Bankruptcy by County

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In a previous post we took a look at how bankruptcy rates were more common in some regions than others. The reasons pointing to bankruptcy varied, but economic factors were one issue that played a major role. For example, southern states have a greater prevalence of bankruptcy, while more poverty-stricken areas also see increased rates of bankruptcy.

And while looking at the nation as a whole is important for putting this fiscal condition into perspective, we felt we could go a bit deeper and focus more specifically on states. In this piece, we’ll take a look at North Carolina.

Not the worst
North Carolina is not at the bottom of the pile when it comes to bankruptcy-ridden states. In fact, it fares better than many, with an average of 16.71 bankruptcy cases per 10,000 residents. This doesn’t put the state anywhere near the top. However, there is no denying that bankruptcy exists, and with a steadily growing population, which is currently at almost 10 million people, the state of North Carolina should be aware of which areas are being hit by bankruptcy the hardest.

North Carolina Bankruptcy Top 10 Map

The best way to do this is to break the state down by county, providing the 10 best and 10 worst pertaining to bankruptcy rates. As you can see, Northampton is far and away being hit the hardest by bankruptcy issues. Averaging 135.80 out of 10,000 residents, this county is far above the number two county, Granville, which has 78.42. From there the gap gets smaller and more gradual.

At the other end of the scope, you’ll see Washington county takes the top spot with only 3.14 bankruptcy cases out of 10,000, just underneath Hyde County with 3.50. However, it is important to note that not all bankruptcy filings are the same, as no two financial situations are alike. So while these numbers display how many bankruptcy cases there have been, specifics are needed to further investigate what these numbers actually mean. On the other hand, concentrated cases certainly demonstrate a trend, which is alarming to many financial professionals.

See the complete North Carolina county list here:North Carolina Bankruptcy Rank Chart

What to know about bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can help individuals remove debt they are unable to pay back. While there are many causes for bankruptcy, it is important to know that filing for bankruptcy is not the only option for eliminating debt. Only when individuals or businesses reach a financial position without options is bankruptcy turned to.

That being said, the process can certainly assist individuals getting back on their feet. While it stays on a credit report for some time and can make it difficult to attain loans or large amounts of credit for some time as well, it can also help alleviate a dire situation.

There are also different types of bankruptcy, as it is not a one-size-fits-all process. And which bankruptcy type a consumer files (often Chapter 7 or 13) can dictate how long it stays on a credit history. But in the end, bankruptcy removes debt and allows people to move on with their lives.

Methodology

County bankruptcy rates are from March 31, 2014 to March 31, 2015. Those data were sourced from a database of bankruptcy filings offered by the U.S. Federal Courts (uscourts.gov). We included all bankruptcies, both by businesses and individuals, including Chapter 7, 11, and 13 filings.

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When Will I See a Boost in My Credit Score?

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Credit repair is a challenging process, especially when change is slow. Suppose you worked with Lexington Law to remove an inaccurate collection account from your report. You pull your credit file a week later and are disappointed to see that it hasn’t disappeared.

Welcome to “credit lag.”

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Treat Bankruptcy as a Last Resort when Paying Off Large Medical Bills

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Large medical bills can be overwhelming, and many consumers feel that when their health expenses begin to pile up, bankruptcy is the only available option. In fact, according to a study conducted by NerdWallet in 2013, an estimated 56 million Americans under the age of 65 had trouble paying medical bills. Of this incredibly high number, the source noted that approximately 1.7 million lived in households that would declare bankruptcy due to an inability to pay back these high costs.

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