Experts Answer Credit Questions From Average Americans

Henry Unger at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has put together a multi-part series of questions and answers from readers. The detailed answers are provided by Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, and the questions–which I’ve listed below–cover a broad spectrum of personal finance issues, including credit cards, mortgages, and credit reports.


From Part 1:

  • Do I have to get a credit card to boost my credit score?
  • Should I emphasize building up my savings or aggressively paying off my student loans?
  • Due to a tax error that was eventually resolved in our favor, the mortage company added a $3,000 charge to our payment, and now it’s affecting our credit. How can we explain what happened on our credit reports?
  • Should I close my current credit card with an abusively high interest rate and get another one elsewhere?

From Part 2:

  • I found an old $52 unpaid bill on my credit report. Should I pay it, which will bump it up to the top of my credit history, or ignore it, since it should fall off the report soon?
  • I’m trying to rebuild my credit following a bankruptcy but seem to have hit a dead-end. What should I do?
  • How do I pick a legit credit counseling service?
  • Are we responsible for the home equity line that was used for a down payment on an 80/10/10 mortage that’s in default?

From Part 3:

  • My credit card rate was jacked up. Is there anything I can do?
  • What strategy should I use to keep my credit score high, now that I’ve cleared off the balances on a couple of my credit cards?
  • Is there a way to negotiate lower credit card payments without declaring bankruptcy?
  • I can’t sell or keep making payments on my boat. If I let the bank take it back, will I be free and clear of the loan?

From Part 4:

  • Is there a way to request relief on mortgage payments before you start getting behind?
  • My loft won’t sell because the condo building has too many home owner association delinquencies (not by us). I can’t rent because of condo rules. Should I walk away from the property?

“Experts answer your credit questions” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]