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Get Free Credit Advice

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 14 comments.


Here’s a new resource for getting free advice from credit counselors associated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The organization has teamed up with MSN, and during most weekdays counselors are on hand at the Ask a Credit Counselor Message Board to answer your questions.

Here’s an example of a recent question and answer session, but I’m only including a portion of the answer.

Question: Two months ago I co-signed a car loan for my son and now he is not making the payments. I don’t need another car, how can I get out from under this one without ruining my credit?

Answer: This is a life lesson on why you should not cosign for a person, even though you were only trying to help. You will not be able to “get out” from the debt. In order to keep your credit in line, you need to consider paying the payments until your son can start resuming the payments himself. A stern conversation with your son may be in order.

Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published June 27, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Nick Ripley

FLEXO! She can sell the car for what is remaining on the loan. Like a “short sale” for cars.

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avatar Tyler

I am stuck with credit card debt that I cannot keep up with. I am paying on three cards @ 28%-32% interest due to lates and over limits, I am in a option arm mortgage that will be steady for three more years, then re-am. I am considering an offer on one card to take a reduced rate term loan (60 Months) but this will show as a Branch Account closure on my credit report. How will this affect my refinance options when three years is up. How much (if i am paying off the total) will this affect my credit score? My income is barely enough to sustain where I’m at.

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avatar dina

Help, I really have messed my credit up . I went through a divorce, Let our house go back to bank, &Let my car go back ,owe 11000 they will maybe sell it for 5000 ,I will owe difference. I have maybe 2000 in other bills. Long story as to why I am in this mess , but how do I get out .I pay all my other bills on time.I make to much for bankruptcy .I can file chapter 13 but not 7 .Does chapter 13 really fix your credit and if so how long does it take? Do I have any better options?Oh and the house shows on my report as balance 0 .How do I find out if they are charging me for difference .

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avatar Myra

My husband co-signed for his sister. We were trying to buy a house and to find out she has not payed three months in a row! Now we cant buy a house and my husbands credit went in ruin. i never agreed on him co-signing since his sister never pays anything. for example he got a bowflex that she was going to pay. he ended paying it all off 3 years later!!! even if its family do not co-sign!!!!!

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avatar debra

why is it if you have a home that is discharged in a chapter 7 an u make payments on time it dosent report as an open loan in good standing

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avatar Hilary

I purchased a mobile home five years ago and the market had died. I owe about 56k on it and it’s been for sale for two years and I can’t even sell it 20k. I am losing my job at the end if the month. I have excellent credit and want to know how bad will my credit be affected points wise if I foreclose. I just want to know a maximum so I can know.

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avatar Doug Sheeler

hello all, i see a few people seem to have a bit of knowledge on here about credit. well i do not so this may make me sound stupid but here goes. after a divorce and a few … shall we say ‘less the exemplary” life-mate choices my credit has suffered dramatically. i work overseas offshore and am always gone, so you need someone to take care of things while you are gone, well you can probably guess the rest! money sure went, it just didn’t go where it was supposed to! and add to that i didn’t know about the inquiries hurting your credit either and you have a recipe for the disaster that is my current stature in life! anyway my situation is this after a few close calls almost losing stuff to repo (barely got back stateside in time to save my Harley!) i have been paying my bills ahead of time and paying more then i have too, and paying credit card in full every month. well my score is now 675 and hopefully getting better. in a while the past of the fiasco’s where my bills weren’t paid by my significant other will come off and i should be OK then. my question n is this, i have an offer to refinance my bike payment and save a significant amount on my payment over the Harley rate (savings of 300 a month!). but will this adversely effect my score or help it? also one of the credit inquiries i eluded to was for a new truck to haul my toy hauler which i am in dire need of and i was approved for. so i will be purchasing the truck next month upon my return stateside from Iraq (i only have 1 credit card and 1 loan payment open as of now) so if i do refinance my bike loan will it effect the loan for the truck? and will it knock my credit repair plans of course by doing so? my advice from the quizzle and creditkarma people was to open 2 more accounts to help my credit get stronger. i make good money just don’t have much for a credit score right now. and by next summer i want to buy a house, so that is my story and my goals, and any info or input would be greatly appreciated! Regards, Doug

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avatar Scott DuVall

One of the things you can do is get a copy of your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com and see how many derogatory items are on your report. I’d suggest disputing all items and see what happens in a 45 day period. Then from there you can see what has been deleted and changed and improved. Make negotiations with the remaining creditors to pay a percentage in exchange for them deleting the negative item.

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avatar Lee

I have a job making $24k a year but not sure how long it will last(cutbacks). I owe $25k in cc debt and have $14k in savings. Take savings and pay down debt???

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avatar Christina

I just started a student visa credit card for about three months now with a 500 credit limit. well my questions is if i do not pay my balance off in full but make a payment more than the amount due ex (amt due $40 and i pay $125 but not the full balance) is my credit score affected?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

In theory, yes — as you lower your remaining balance, your credit utilization ratio improves — and that’s great for increasing your credit score. It might take some time, but having a 5-15% ratio is going to be much more favorable than a 70-90% ratio. (I don’t know what your specific numbers are.)

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avatar Stu

My son’s car loan was discharged with my bankruptcy since I was a co-signer, so he is not receiving any positive credit history from continuing to make the payments. He is trying to buy another car in order to establish positive credit history and has been advised by a dealer that he should just let the current lender come get his current car since he owes more than it is worth. Will doing this negatively affect his credit rating?

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avatar Sarah

My student loans were consolidated last year. Upon checking my credit, I found one was not consolidated and there were 9 missed payments. Would it be best for my credit score to consolidate it in and make payments with the consolidated loan or to leave it where it is and just make payments?

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avatar Sarah

Good afternoon, my is question is : My student loans were consolidated last year. Upon checking my credit, I found one was not consolidated and there were 9 missed payments. Would it be best for my credit score to consolidate it in and make payments with the consolidated loan or to leave it where it is and just make payments?

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