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Improve Your Credit Score

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2022 5:48 pm

Improve Your Credit Score

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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February 3, 2022 5:48 pm

Did you know that improving your credit score by just a few points could save you hundreds of dollars a year? On today's MoneyWise Live, host Rob West will talk with Neile Simon of Christian Credit Counselors about how you can improve your credit score and save money. Then he’ll answer your calls and questions on various financial topics. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Improving your credit score by just a few boards could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Rob West, it's true. Your credit score tells lenders three things, whether to lend to you how much to lend to you and what interest rate will talk about how you can improve your score and much more. Today would merely sign that's all your calls at 800-525-7000 800-525-7000. This is moneywise live biblical wisdom for your financial journey counselor with Christian credit counselors and underwriter of moneywise and there's not much about crediting credit scores that she doesn't know merely delighted to have you back on the program. Thank you so much for having me on the show.

It's a pleasure to be here, Millie.

I've already mentioned what a credit score tells lenders. But let's back up a bit of some listeners may not be aware of what actually determines an individual score so I'd love for you to begin by breaking that down shirt so your score is made up of five factors, payment history, which is 35% of your score. Credit utilization is 30%. Length of credit history is 15 new credit 10% and types of credit is 10% as well. There's two major factors that when the major factors being payment history and credit utilization and the reason for that is, those two factors make up 65% of your credit score.

What is it mean payment history so that means how long have you had an account open and have you been on time. Keep in mind one late payment which means you haven't major minimum payment and its 30 days past due from the due date will take on average six on-time monthly payments in order to outweigh that one negative mark, so be careful.

You can quickly destroy your credit score that's taking you a long time to build back up and then credit utilization means how much credit limit has been extended to you and how much you actually using when you're using credit cards. The goal is really to stay below 30% of the credit limit.

If you want to maximize your score. The reason for that is that once you go over 30%. You begin to negatively impact your score. And then it's a varying degree up until utilizing 100% of your credit line. And that's because once you pass that threshold creditors are viewing you, as becoming overextended and the more overextended you are unless credit worthy you become, you know it's interesting. A lot of people call lend to Christian credit counselors and are interested in our debt management program and I hear comments that they don't understand why there credit scores in the 600s that there never been late. They continue to pay on time and they're making their minimum payments. The reason for that is because they have high utilization so the bottom line is if you want to maximize your score. You want to have accounts open for a long period of time so you show the payment with low usage.

That's really helpful. What's the impact of those just a bit further starting with payment history. You made a key point and that is your considerably from a credit reporting standpoint.

If you're beyond 30 days late so you missed that first payment you're typically going to get a late fee but that's not being reported to the credit report until you're beyond 30 days late. Correct.

Yes, that's correct.

Okay, a lot of folks don't realize about. We don't want to get into the trap. I don't want to be paying late at all even just less than 30 days because you're gonna have that fear most is not a good habit to be, but it is important to draw that distinction and then in terms of credit utilization. Of course were talking about revolving accounts which should be credit cards because when you take out a car loan or mortgage, you're going to start with, owing 100% of the loan. So this is a revolving account where there's a line extended to you correct yes that's correct.

Thank you for clarifying that. Okay, so the key is you want to be in on time payer every month.

That's 35% of your score is nearly has explained and you want to keep your credit utilization low, so whatever's extended to you.

We would love for you to keep that at zero, but certainly less than 30% nearly when we come back after the break were to continue to unpack this a bit of talk about what your credit score affects these days it's more than just your ability to get alone. There's other issues there and what you can do if you find you don't have a great score were joined today by certified credit counselor Neely Simon. She's with Christian credit counselors and underwriter of moneywise and will be back after this break to talk much more about credit scores. This is moneywise live biblical wisdom for your financial journey stay with us back to moneywise live joining me today.

Certified credit counselor Neely Simon.

She's with Christian credit counselors and if you have credit card. This is my preferred solution for you to get out of bed. Quickly paying on average 80% less because of lower interest rates. It's a far more effective solution.

But today were talking about credit scores. What are they, how important are they to you and what can you do to improve it, just before the break. Neely you were explaining the breakdown of what makes up our credit score or payment history are credit utilization, the length of credit history.

Any new credit we have and the various types of credit but let's drill down a bit into the importance of having a good credit score.

Would you tell your clients a Christian credit counselors said the reality is is that you're going to save a significant amount of money over your lifetime. If you have a good credit score and you're going to have more opportunities. It's interesting today to do with a lot of blisters out there may be looking for employment. A lot of employers are now running credit scores to get an idea of how responsible you been in your past. Let's talk about that because your credit score affects so much more. You mentioned one of those examples which is your employer. What else yet. So think about it, having a credit score enables you to do a lot of things you can rent an apartment, you don't have to put a deposit down for your utilities. It makes you eligible for low interest credit cards lower car notes, you can buy a home. You basically have a lot more flexibility about taking out a loan or even starting a business.

I think the list really goes on because of having more opportunities that you're also gonna have more leverage to build and grow your wealth, with a good credit score is really important parts we've established the importance of having a good credit score. But what you do if your score isn't that great. You're wanting to try to get it up. What ideas do you have force.

So there several things you can do what is become an authorized user. Keep in mind as an authorized user.

You are not financially responsible for the debt that you do inherit the payment history. Good or bad.

See need to be careful of what it is going way of establishing more credit history. Another one is getting a secured credit card.

So what that is is you go into your bank and the money that you put down is the credit limit that is given to you on the secured card we need to be careful because a secured card is gonna report the same way a regular credit card is in a report so those five factors do play a role. So make sure you want payment history and keep it below 30% and trying to actually pay it off every month. If you can. The other thing is that there are some credit card companies out there that don't have his strict rules in terms of getting their cards but they do have higher interest so you need to be careful to those companies being credit, one in first premier.

The other thing that's important is pay your bills on time.

I can't stress that enough. We spoke earlier about the impact of just one late payment.

So, do everything you can to pay your bills on time. Another thing you want to do is run all three credit reports at least once a year. Many times there's discrepancies on your credit report or errors and you have to understand that nothing happens quickly on a credit report so if you're looking to buy a home or car, you have something on there that you didn't even realize you not to be able to get it removed quickly.

So being proactive and checking those reports for any errors. Each year is going to be important now.

A good resource to do that is annual credit report.com you can run all three reports for free at that website okay now you mentioned disputing accounts that perhaps are inaccurate in this does happen from time to time. You pull report. You see something on there is, you owe a certain amount or its past due and it's not true what you do that right so it's pretty easy to dispute with the credit. You go straight to their website and it's on their homepage and there's a few different steps that are involved, but it's pretty straightforward. The important things being is that you need to be proactive and address them as soon as you can okay very good in them every now then you'll see a collection account. Maybe it's accurate.

You did have an account that went into collection. How should folks approach that not only to satisfy their obligation but to handle it so it's treated as positively as it can be from their credit reporting standpoint, what I see is two different types of collection on times there's medical collection and collection accounts. I just want to share with you that medical debt weighs the least amount on your credit score is important to pay back but it weighs a lease so if you're trying to improve your credit score you want to tackle those collection accounts.

First, a lot of times, collection accounts, and even set up a payment plan with them something to keep in mind depending on the amount. Most creditors will not extend the life of the debt over a five-year repayment plan so it's not legal advice but it's just a general rule of thumb, if you take the debt that you divided by 60 payments, which is five years that's going to give you a baseline in terms of the least amount of money a creditor will accept from monthly payment plans are very good. And finally, how do you get credit for rent and utility payments, which are typically not reported to the bureaus yet so this is a new thing that the credit bureaus are doing so there's now ways where you can do your rent your utilities and phone bill and actually have them report on your credit report and example of that is Experian boost so if you blisters out there don't have much credit trying to establish that this is another way of you getting a payment history that can help you improve your score are those I mentioned a moment ago merely my preferred way for folks struggling with credit card debt to get out of it once and for all is debt management so I want you to talk about how credit counseling can help these folks, so first I just want to share that Christian credit counselors does not offer a settlement program. Instead, what we do is we help set up a debt management program. So what is that a debt management program benefits people through the pre-negotiated interest rates, terms and conditions we have with creditors so we lower the payments we lower the interest rates are still making on-time monthly payments to the creditors. The accounts just get closed and the interest rates will range in between 2 to 12% APR and they're going to vary per creditor.

All right, how are you able to have such a big impact on clients credit situation. One of the key factors I think what's important is that there's a lot of people going through hardships right now because of the pandemic. Because of various different reasons. A lot of times people are stuck in this cycle of making payments with very little progress so it's very frustrating. And if you're making very little progress. It shares with us that you don't have much disposable income right and when were living paycheck to paycheck were truly just on the verge of a crisis.

If something happens and were leaning on credit card debt in order to be our emergency savings. That's not where God wants us to be. He doesn't want us to be in that bondage had that fear and stress and strain. He really wants us to be in a place where we have peace were able to be generous and where we can really focus on the guess that he's given us so that we can impact others very well said Millie will were so grateful for our partnership with Christian credit counselors. Thanks for stopping by today going to be on the show.

Have a great day. Millie Simon Christian credit counselors is better guess today. The website Christian credit counselors.org this is the program where the 2300 verses on money and possessions found in God's word intersect with today's financial decisions and choices.

The number to get in on the conversation. 800-525-7000 800-525-7000.

This is moneywise live biblical wisdom for your financial moneywise live on West hostesses biblical wisdom for your financial decisions today by talking with her friend Millie Simon about credit school paying down debt question related to that topic. We'd love to hear from you, but were also going to open up the calls to any financial topic as well. We got some wines open the number to call is 800-525-7000 800-525-7000 would love to hear from you. Whatever's on your mind today, financially speaking, will tackle it. Let's dive in your phone calls today were going to begin in Spokane, Washington, and thank you for calling. How can help you on credit score 671 and I have few credit cards when I pay off every month. The other one got a $400 balance with no interest and by refrigerator to keep me to get a card in your credit card will like my grade. I don't quite understand how to better credit card can help me get a better credit rating jobs won't necessarily so here's the idea you know the only way you can improve your situation would be based on this idea that we were discussing earlier which is credit utilization. Basically, your credit utilization is the amount of revolving credit you have, which is what credit card that is it's called revolving credit.

The amount you are using divided by the total amount you have available so you divide the amount that is outstanding across all your cards divided by the total limits on each of the cards. Nothing to give your percentage in the aggregate and the models for the credit scores want that number to be below 30%. If it's "below 10% of the total limit. That's even better.

So the only thing that getting a new credit card would do is if you were carrying balances that were pushing your total credit utilization across all of the will, the limit you have available on those two cards that you imagine you have active if the ballot you were carrying pushed you above 30%, while adding a new car with the card with a zero balance is going to make the total amount you owe less a lower total percentage of the new larger available credit that you have by adding that third card. But if all your caring is $400 in your working to pay that down your you're really not going to benefit from another credit card there is a popular misconception that carrying debt month-to-month. Having a balance is going to help you in some way and that's just not true. You want to keep those balances as low as possible. Now showing yourself as an on-time pair remote is a good thing in the scoring model so the key would be to have a budgeted item that hits the card every month or several of them and then pay it off in full, but simply adding an additional credit card is not going to benefit you now part of the model also weighs in him. What types of credit you have, so your rewarded for having a revolving account like a credit card and a mortgage and a car loan.

As you add these other types of credit and manage them responsibly.

I.e. pay them on time. Keep the balance is low or declining your that's going to benefit you over time. So having a number of types of accounts open is a good thing but just adding 1/3 card for the sake of doing it. If you're not carrying balances up higher than 30% utilization.

There's really no benefit to you.

I know if there a lot that you tell me if you have any question that makes sense to me. Yeah I understand that good well I think the in the key is just continue to pay those balances down as quickly as you can, try to pay them off in full. If you can, and I know you're working on that and your credit score will take care of itself but we appreciate your call today very much. Murfreesboro, Tennessee, K understand you have a a credit score question as well. I believe you provided some clarity with but more confirmation what you mentioned earlier about credit utilization and about half court on it but to try to keep the well paid off my credit car last month and day out by about credit card but not all, or is that a good thing or bad thing because I have other account but not allow I is best for me daily use that car at least once or twice a month.happy.I should well couple reasons why you want to use a credit card number one is for convenience, as long as you're using them for cards for budgeted items meeting you planned this expense you're not using it to fund the purchase. That's outside of your budget that you really can't afford and then you're paying it off that's in my view, a good use of the credit card. Secondly, it does help your score. Having that transaction hit the account which then involves you being able to make an on-time payments is a good thing because the most recent information. The most recent activity is going to impact you the most in terms of driving your credit score. So I would agree having that transaction every month, whether it's one small recurring transaction or you know a number of your bills that you have on auto pay whatever it might be as long as you're paying it off you know that is actually going to contribute to a good score related to the credit utilization you'd only have to think about that is, if your charges for the month were pushing up above 30% of your limit that. Here's one thing that a lot of people don't understand and that is that the credit card company reports your balance to the Bureau at the end of the cycle and typically you make your payment after the end of the cycle. So if you have a $10,000 limit in your monthly charges were three $3500 and now that 3500 is being reported to the Bureau and the new come in the next week and pay it down to zero.

You're still you know that what's being reported is 3500. So if you were in a situation where your monthly charges were above 30% of your limit. I'd probably pay that a few days before the end of the cycle and pay it off so that the amount that was reported was less than 30%. If you're concerned about your credit score that would help to make sure that you have the best score possible. Does that make sense to you and that follow-up question so I'm not really on the fourth of every month. But when I pull it out like that around 8009 when I have a balance, I will pay top part on the part you can certainly do that. And that's going to help in terms of the amount that's being reported. But here's the thing I want to make an overly complicated if you just charging a few things every month and you were not talking the balance even though you're paying it off the balance reported is not anywhere near 30% of the limit, then it's probably not even worth it to go through that extra hassle because it's really not what you're doing is the right keep it up will be right back. The money was with us is like a post 800-525-7000 one line open for you.

We were talking about credits, credit scores, and paying down debt today before we head back to the loans with number of questions on this topic, let me remind you one of the very best ways to make sure you get out of bed and stay out of debt is living below your means.

I know that sounds simple, it's often more difficult to do that. It sounds the key that is having a spending plan of the money was apt can help with that you can connect to your institutions download your transactions and use the tried-and-true envelope system in a modern digital format to stay on top of your spending throughout the month. You and your spouse can share one account have access to your envelope balances in real time, at any time, and it's actually flexible to fit your personality.

You can find it in your app store where you download apps to search for money was biblical finance are listed back to the phones today waiting patiently as Sophia Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sophia Goretti and I've been doing my been very helpful but just so happened that there is some emergencies back home and being so I'm sharing my money and thousand 500 credit card pipeline right now my question went my wait until I get paid I don't know her money habit zero my right now, in this case. So my question it liking me the number.

Yes.

Well, I totally understand that you said you have 2500 roughly in credit card debt. You don't have much in checking while you're waiting for income, what you have in savings today 16,000 and how much will the total of your monthly expenses roughly all 2500 so three months worth of expenses would be 1706 months expenses would be 15,000 and said 7500 would be three months.

The 15,000 will be six months so I think given that, and given the interest you're likely paying on the 2500. Sophia, I would say if it were me I just going to wipe that out just going pay that credit card debt off in full. That's gonna bring your savings down from 16,000 down to 13 five which is still going to give you a bill about five months worth of expenses in the bank as an emergency reserve if you needed it, and you shouldn't even need that because you got income coming in and then take that amount that you would have been sending to the credit card each month and replenish your savings every month. Moving forward until you get it back up to where you want it and then perhaps you take that and start investing it for the long term, but I don't think there's any reason to hang on to that, given the savings that you have. I and I would just knock it out once and for all. I think that's a good plan. Sophia, thank you for your kind remarks and for listening. We appreciated God bless you zeal in Michigan WGN B hi Beth, how can help you taking my call in about credit report or that is blank. What would cause when someone would have a credit report wrong for lying to show up mortgage that's being paid but no more returned well. Keep in mind this the credit score screws gives me the credit report does not have a credit score on those around separately so if you go to annual credit report.com or you go to directly to one of the three bureaus experience range in the neck with facts. Generally, when you pull your credit report.

There is not a score on you have to go seek that score directly and when you do the score is generated based on the information in the report that's being used to generate the score. Whether it's any one of those three, and depending on which scoring model you're using the Vantage score FICA score they use different bureaus and may have different algorithms so I use you do have a score.

Whoever you're talking about has a score of the question is, you know, were you pulling it and it sounds like you were pulling the report and typically those don't include the score so the quickest and way to get that score is to go to one of the free services. I like credit Karma.com. They don't charge you to get your score and doesn't require credit card gets credit Karma.com.

The other approach would be a lot of times if you have a credit card. A lot of the credit card companies now are offering free credit scores, and most banks now are offering free credit scores to their customers.

So you could go that route as well. But it's not surprising that there was not a score listed on the report itself. Okay, one more follow-up question somebody else I'm not hundred percent sure of the detail but it going to credit Karma.com you would go do that process to get a score would there ever be a scenario where you you wouldn't see one after you did that, no, no, I mean most adults just about everybody's can have a score now.

There may be a lack of information out there, but you generally discover return just a very low score if there's just not a lot of credit history, but if you got a Social Security number and a credit report, you got a credit score. Okay great thank you will give that a try.

Awesome.

Thank you for your call. I appreciate it Hollywood, Florida hi Joseph, talk.

I hope you know it or is it how are you I just had a question I want to consolidate my credit card but my concern is I don't want to affect my credit score because I filed bankruptcy over like 10 years ago and I don't I don't know what to do to get rid of the debt, but not affect my school.

Michael right now it like 790. Well, I don't recommend consolidating so my typical approach of the leisure to just snowball and pay it off yourself. What I would prefer to see you do is what's called debt management. Go through credit counseling agency. The reason is you can get those interest rates down and be able to pay it off a lot faster with less interest. Just because the reduction in interest rate and the level payment doesn't come down as the balance comes down that the fact that you're in debt management. Joseph does not factor into the credit scoring algorithm. It will be noted on your report that the accounts were closed because of debt management and although that will affect your credit score. If a lender were near seeking credit closure credit and sees that they could choose to use that information however they want. But nine times out of 10 they're just using score so that would be my approach, show my friends a Christian credit counselors.org to help with the debt management program check about online and he'll tell you back after this wisdom for your financial decisions started out today talking about credit credit scores in that reduction in what we haven't looked back. Lots of questions out there today solicit right back to the phone before as were Henry's located Henry how can help us are likely to have high welding that over hundred K also have you have a minimum emergency fund, which, going back to billing, but struggling to maintain that have equity in the home and hundred K talking lately. We got into that. We have IRS and the medical obligation in the process to make a medical both in the process of making payment plan for interested in doing these debt questions that counseling thing. You deftly talk to the other ones which you build not ethical to go that route. Sure, sure, I'm not surprised to hear that that was recommended to you Henry. Although I concur with you that's not the approach to go and what they're trying to do there is to get these accounts in a past due or collection status with the hope that the new can come and try to negotiate lower payback lower total balance payback but also lower monthly payment yet. It's just not a good way to go. As you said not to honor your debts, but also just the collateral damage that will come with these kinds of balances you're talking about. You could likely see the judgment of some kind.

I would also not look to your home equity.

Henry what you got is unsecured that I agree it's high got to your panel a lot of interest, but the lesson would want to do is take on certain secure debt and security your home. So if for some reason you're unable to make these payments instead of just getting the judgments against you. Now you get a foreclosure of your residence and certainly want to avoid that. I realize this can be overwhelming. And do you have good income yet though not noncontact okay what are the total minimum payment you're paying right now the credit cards they are around when he probably around easily.

Okay as much is typically it's it's good to be around a credit counseling program is going to use. Usually, a 60 month minimum payments would be around 16, $1700 a month. Your propane a little bit more than that.

The benefit is with that consist of monthly payment. Assuming you fit into the budget and good news is it sounds like by large you have, to this point with those much lower interest rates at least will get these balances coming down obviously want to continue to work through the medical bill you will pay back payment plan and the IRS are you working with someone to help with an offer in compromise and try to get a payment plan with the IRS, we are in the process of that I have some other stuff we have what I would start to question that conversation with Christian credit counselors again. You'll find the Christian credit counselors.org. These are wonderful of folks have been doing this for 20+ years. They're all believers still work with you. It's a very reputable organization, not-for-profit, and I think this is going to be the best solution for you to get these paid down and off once and for all without you converting it to something that's collateralized by your home, so I'd stay on the track that you're on, but I give those folks: see what they can do for you okay okay I can ask money for the tech guy recording of it.

Do you have any suggestions for people to know yeah just make sure that your connecting with a CPA that has experience arguing and negotiating with the IRS specifically in this area. A lot of times you'll find that an enrolled agent PA not all of them, but many of them have expertise in this area, but I want to make sure you have somebody who has a particular expertise also couple of options.

One is if you hang on the line my producer Amy Rios will get your information and will be sure to have somebody follow up with you. You could also reach out to a certified kingdom advisor there in Tampa and asked for a referral to someone locally, but I can at least connect you with somebody who's done a bunch of this and that really has a specialty in this area okay thank you very much very good you hang on the line will get your information and I get that right out to you. Thanks for calling today Davey Florida hi Tammy, thanks for your patience today.

How can I help you on my credit card after I get a loan from financing a car which is a lot less interest funny and I don't have to like hiring a contractor to handle, and I'm looking for The area from Davie area and any rate, vehicle tax to pay for what he needed to get financing at 521 for Chris back and I don't want to sell, but they won't commit vehicle where you buying this from a Chrysler dealership if they would let you buy a current cash I did for the door if it were me feel. Have you tried to ask for the sales manager or somebody in the finance department to plead your case, I've never heard although they like financing because that's another way that they can make some money never heard of car dealer, not wanting to move a car with somebody's willing to buy cash they wanted me to find anything hundred dollars my neck and back and forth like a week I don't think get Tommy back and they wanted me to find it because the prop everything.

Well, I would. I would tell them I want to kick your very best cash price and then I would look at that and compare that in shop around to other places where you could perhaps find a car you know little bit better to take some time and I realize you may be wanting to just get this checked off and move on. But just realize that you may end up paying more by doing that. So if it were me, and a lot of times when I'm buying a car. It'll take me two or three months to find the car in the last car we bought is a family I flew four states away to buy it and drove it home because that's where I got the best deal. So if it were me I go back in there and said I wouldn't I want your very best cash price and then I would go shop out around Tammy and look at a number of other places for that same if that's the make and model that you want in here then let's go shop that not just locally but on the Internet and other states and see where you can get the very best deal, but I wouldn't finance it. If you wanting to pay cash just so they can mix more money I wouldn't do that okay already quite well.

I listened to every things were going to Clearwater Florida is working to finish today Carmen thank you for going. How can I help you all like that. I go back one more on my credit you when you close accounts.

Carmen you can see a decline in your credit, it's most often going to be because you're carrying balances on the other cards that are still open and when this card that you're closing the limits related to that card is no longer factored in the amount that you owe on the other cards is a higher percentage of your new lower total limit. If that makes sense of the that card is now out of the equation.

But if you're paying all these cards often full and I want to confirm that then closing one is not really going to have an effective may be for a month or two but it'll come right back up. So let me ask you when you close this account that you're referring to. Will you be carrying balances on the other remaining active cards okay okay I get out when it won't lie about okay you do a balance transfer Regan to pay it off. I went on I cut it out because I didn't I almost I was needing both so real that have the money to pay these cards off. I'm going what I would say is if you're concerned about your credit score you're gonna want to make sure that you pay the cards off before you close that that additional card that you're looking out because otherwise it will have a detrimental effect on your credit score because the total limit that you have will decline as that card comes out of the equation and then the balances that you're carrying on the remaining cards will be a higher percentage of that credit limit. So, your utilization will go up. That will cause your score which you said is already in the 600s to drop.

So what I would do is probably hang on to that card, and let's get a plan to pay these off either with the money. The funds that you set are coming or by enrolling in a debt management program in getting on a monthly payment plan with lower interest rates he can get these balances declining okay on law yeah credit counseling so if you visit our friends@christiancreditcounselors.org Christian credit counselors.org they be happy to set you up with this program basically they'll pray with you, the look over all of your balances to look at your budget help you develop that spending plan. Make sure that you can afford the monthly payment which is probably the total balance across all the cards divided by 60.

That's roughly what you're really paying each month through their relationship with the credit card companies they'll be able to get you lower interest rates on all the cards which will help you pay it off, so check that out. A Christian credit counselors.org and Carmen to do it for us moneywise lives upon radio and moneywise like you to Hans on phones today producer Anderson engineering


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