People in a wide variety of circumstances, from drivers signing up to work for Uber to senior citizens entering a nursing home, sign mandatory binding arbitration agreements. Two popular online services have recently started to require that customer disputes go to arbitration, and a reader sent along a product purchased online — a cat bed — that came with a arbitration agreement of its own. [More]
You have an idea, or you have an urgent financial need, and you want to turn to the Internet to make funding happen. Or let’s say some acquaintance is asking for money on Facebook for what seems like a cool project or worthy cause, but you wonder: what the heck is an “indie go go?” Why is the site itself asking me for a donation, too? [More]
We’re largely a society built on convenience: fast food, one-stop shops and other we-need-it-now services. Unfortunately, that need for timeliness seeped in to the financial system in the way of quick-fix payday loans, which can provide the convenience of a quick, low-value loan but which often result in a revolving cycle of high-interest debt. Now a new lending product aims to take the predatory stigma out of short-term loans, but, like many payday alternatives of the past, a closer look reveals reason for concern. [More]
Over on Reddit, one poster in the the /r/personalfinance subreddit shared the terrible thing that happened to his fiancée when she visited her local Department of Motor Vehicles to change the address on her driver’s license. It’s not clear what happened or exactly how, but what they know is that someone issued a new license with her name and information and a different ID number. This person also has her Social Security number. [More]
Pop quiz time! What do Fandango and Credit Karma have in common? Yes, they both have really catchy (or annoying) advertisements. But that’s not the answer we were looking for. Give up? Okay, here it is: both companies allegedly deceived millions of consumers and put their personal information at risk. We never said it was a good thing to have in common. [More]
Did you miss the original band of friendly, slackerish white dudes who pretended to play ditties about the dangers of poor credit FreeCreditReport.com ads? Yeah, neither did anyone else. But even though they held a nationwide contest to find their current house band two years ago, the magic just wasn’t there. Maybe the new guys weren’t irritating enough. So the old crew is back together to annoy us.
Have you bought coconut water, pinot noir, a Samsung TV, or an iPhone 4? If you purchased any of these products, plus a whole bunch more, you may be eligible to file a claim in one of these recently settled class action lawsuits. Proof of purchase isn’t always required, but lying is bad consumer karma.
Everyone with debt would like to eliminate it, but it’s not always clear where or how to get started. There are many types of debt, and each is suited to a different payoff strategy.
With more tornadoes on the way tonight after last weekend’s deadly twisters that killed 45 and left hundreds of homes damaged and destroyed, it’s important to have your ducks in a row to get your tornado insurance claim check issued quickly should disaster strike. After you shake off the daze and dust from the destruction, what do you do to get your cash fast and get on the road to repair and recovery?
Michael wanted to pay a copy of his Transunion credit report. In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem: he gives Transunion money, they give him a credit report. If only it worked that way. It turns out that just buying a single copy of your report from Transunion is like trying to buy a mobile phone in America from a retail store: you can get it for “free” with a subscription to monitoring service, or as part of a package deal with other services, but you can’t just hand over cash for a credit report.
How would you like a free credit score with not very much baloney? The Sears Card from Citibank gives you just that, with no annual fees.
Credit Karma recently launched the free Credit Report Card service that assigns letter grades to each component of your credit score. If you want to improve your credit score, try to bring up your performance in areas where you have low or failing grades. Not every component has the same bearing on your score, so underneath each section Credit Karma tells you how much weight it has. For those who look at their reports and scratch their head, the Credit Karma report card, which is drawn from your TransUnion report, makes understanding why your credit score is the way it is a snap. Full screen shot inside.
Did you try Bankrate’s score estimator when it was featured on the Consumerist two years ago? I did and I wondered how accurate that 12-question quiz was. Answer? Not bad.
We spent yesterday at Finovate, a yearly roundup of new personal finance services available online. Here’s a recap of some of the afternoon presentations, including a mortgage comparison service that promises greater transparency, a new credit simulator feature from Credit Karma, and a site that uses reverse auctions to get banks to bid on your money.
Just saw a (horribly produced) ad last night for freetriplescore.com, the latest in a long string piece of crap “free” credit score sites. As Chris Walters noted when he wrote about it, for the most part it’s a ripoff. But maybe there’s a way to pull a fast one of you own and get a free credit score…