When seeking an infusion of cash to make ends meet, consumers may turn to payday loans, cash advance loans, or auto title loans. While each of these short-term, high-interest loans pose a financial risk to borrowers, only one has the ability to take away what is often a person’s largest asset: their vehicle. And, according to a new report, one-in-five consumers who take out a single-payment auto title loan have their car seized by lenders. [More]
With college tuition prices continuing to rise, you might assume that college students are entering the real world with more debt on their shoulders. According to a new report, that assumption would be correct.
As the economy continues to improve, credit card issuers have begun to loosen their vice grip on lending standards in order to raise borrowing limits for consumers. But the move to provide extend credit to those with blemished histories has raised concerns with consumer groups.
At one time, prospective college students from affluent families could count on having their tuition paid for by their parents or college savings accounts. But times have changed and now even students from the highest income brackets are borrowing to finance their high education dreams.
Ten years ago, a potential home buyer could walk into a Countrywide office and get pre-approved for a half-million dollar home loan based on a bank statement written in crayon on a restaurant place mat and a pinky swear that the loan could be paid back. We all know too well the results of those lax standards, which is why regulators and banks ramped up restrictions on lending to the point where applying for a home loan is like auditioning for American Idol, without the washed-up celebrity appearances. But a new survey says that lenders are easing up… a bit. [More]
Homeowners whose property is worth more than what they owe have the option of using their equity to get a hold of more money. Home equity lines of credit can fund education expenses, home improvements or help you pay off debt with higher interest. The credit can be a lifesaver, but can also get users in trouble.
Fearful that federal debt problems would leave it hanging, California has passed the hat around to eight banks and wound up with loans for $5.4 billion. The interest rate: an astoundingly low 0.237 percent.
Illinois credit rating sucks, which is unfortunate for the Sucker State, because it needs to borrow millions of dollars to pay its bills. This means that the state is paying a premium for the loans, which are going to be used to improve roads, bridges and schools. As a product of Illinois’ public schools, I can honestly say that the $900 million in new bonds it is issuing will not be enough. Whether this is because we are too poorly educated to figure out how much money is actually needed, or because it really isn’t, no one can say.
Private loans are the worst type of student debt, but the best place to get them may be your local credit union. Like most credit union products, their loans are usually a better deal with more favorable terms than similar loans from bigger banks.
It’s a good week for consumer protection against abusive credit card practices. Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, and this afternoon President Obama is meeting with officials from 14 credit card companies to tell them “that greater consumer protections are coming for their customers, with or without their cooperation.”
Mortgage rates are at a record low of 4.78%, according to Freddie Mac. [Bloomberg]
It’s a tough economic climate to be graduating from school — and maybe an even tougher one for those of you trying to get financial aid. We’ve put together a list of some financial aid and student lending resources to help make things easier.
You’re fired! Now what? It’s the nightmare scenario, and you can prepare for it by conducting a financial drill. Take a moment and pretend you have no income. Ask how you would pay pay for rent and food, and what lifestyle changes you could make on two week’s notice. To guide your planning, the New York Times has a few unorthodox and downright scary suggestions that are worth considering in a worst case scenario.
Consumer spending is down and credit card defaults are up!
You surely already know better, because you’re a loyal Consumerist reader, but stay far, far away from the form of legalized usury known as car title loans! CNN has published an overview of the industry, noting that APRs frequently exceed 200%, and that added fees and loan “rollover” options help keep borrowers in a cycle of debt.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that’s commonly known as the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights today, but the bill is expected to be ignored by the Senate while they work on that whole $700 billion bailout thing.
Even people who are financially well off can be at risk of slipping into debt, especially in a staggering economy. There are plenty of doctors, lawyers and stock brokers who are currently on debt-management plans, according to David Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Some of the warning signs of excess debt include: relying on home-equity credit lines or credit cards for everyday purchases, making only minimum payments on extended lines of credit and taking cash advances from one source of credit to pay another. To help save you from a downward-spiral into debt, Consumer Reports has put together a handy list of rules for smart borrowing. Here’s one of our favorites…