Debt problems and solutions

Need Help Managing Your Debt? Choose the Right Solution for You.

This is our second post in a series on managing debt challenges. As covered in our first post, Debt Problems? Work With Your Creditors First, your best bet, should you find yourself in this situation, can be in working directly with your creditors. If that doesn’t alleviate your particular challenge, there are other options you can pursue.

As one example, there are a staggering number of companies in today’s marketplace offering to help consumers get out of debt with a variety of services. However, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other consumer organizations, dishonest debt-relief providers have made consumers wary1,even as they seek solutions. But, what should the average consumer look for in solutions to aid them in addressing their debt relief dilemma?

Credit counseling? Debt settlement? Is there a difference?

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Calculate debt solutions with Merrick Bank

Debt Problems? Work With Your Creditors First.

If you’re currently struggling to manage your monthly debt payments, you’re not alone. Financial challenges have continued to plague U.S. households since the financial crisis of 2008. Here are just a few sobering statistics that define the situations facing many of us:

  • An estimated 1.7 million people will file for bankruptcy protection this year.
  • Both in and out of bankruptcy, about 56 million adults will be set back by health care-related bills this year.
  • American student loan debt totals almost $1 trillion and affects more than 38 million Americans.
  • According to Bankrate.com, 45 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
  • While unemployment has come down to about 7%, it was a staggering 10% between 2009 and 2010. And underemployment numbers are estimated to be in the neighborhood of 14.3% currently.

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Merrick Bank Works to Meet Customer Access Needs With goServices

Merrick Bank online servicesToday 86% of American adults use the Internet, according to Pew Research Institute. The use of mobile phones overall has climbed to 91%, and 55% of all mobile phone users are using smartphones1 in their daily lives. The way that information is now accessed makes it increasingly important that it’s available whenever, wherever. That said, you might have noticed a growing trend with your financial services providers. They have increased their online and mobile banking services to meet your needs for delivering relevant and timely account and financial information.

 

With all that in mind, Merrick now offers a full suite of online services. We developed them to help support our customers’ needs for access to information about their accounts, credit scores and overall financial information.

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Your credit score and housing

Planning to Rent a House or Apartment? Check Your Credit Report First

Your credit score can affect your life in ways you may not have considered. Beyond its impact on your ability to get a loan or a mortgage, your credit score can be a determining factor in renting a house or apartment. Whereas landlords used to rely on their instincts when deciding whether or not to rent to you, online tenant screening programs have now made it easy and affordable to conduct tenant background checks that generally include a credit report. Primarily they are looking for negative entries that show you may not be a responsible tenant in terms of keeping up with monthly payments, such as rent. They will also check to ensure that the name, current address and employer listed on your rental application match what is on your credit report.

If you want to make a good impression on a potential landlord, you should start by getting your credit report in order.

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How Does Your Credit Score Affect Insurance Costs?

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In the past, a bad credit score mainly kept you from getting a mortgage or a low finance charge on a loan. While that is still true, a person’s credit score has become a factor in qualifying for a cell phone contract or even an apartment rental. Potential employers can legally request your credit score before hiring you, and insurance companies can base your premiums — high or low — on your credit score. In fact, many home and auto insurers have changed their pricing models in recent years to include consumer credit scores as a factor in determining insurance premiums (except in Massachusetts, Hawaii or California, where the practice has been banned). Though this may sound somewhat surprising, this method of pricing provides yet another example of how your credit score can affect you in many facets of your daily life.

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Helping Children Build A Solid Approach To Managing Their Finances

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There are many ways young adults, college-aged and younger, can learn to manage their finances, but many experts think the best way may be to learn from their parents. Whether it’s related to basic banking, debit or credit management, gaining insights from parents based on their own experiences with fiscal obstacles and pitfalls can go a long way toward starting children off on the right financial footing.

Unfortunately, many teenagers and young adults might not have the benefit of establishing that kind of foundation. A study conducted by the National Jump$tart Coalition For Personal Financial Literacy found that “a significant number of high school kids don’t have even a basic understanding of general financial concepts.” And, on the college front, students are carrying larger credit balances early on. Currently, the average undergraduate student is responsible for $2,169 in credit card debt, with the average graduate student carrying a credit balance of more than $8,000.

So the question is, where should one start with educating kids on this front?

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