Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bank Error In Your Favor?

Has this ever happened to you, or to anybody that you know? Do banks ever make a mistake in your favor? Many many years ago, I opened a bank account and deposited $1000. A few days after I opened my new account, I noticed that I had significantly more than the $1000 that I put in. I didn't do anything, and a few days later, I noticed that the amount was corrected.

So, has something like this ever happened to you?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Ontario Canada decided to Implement Advance Fee Ban for Debt Settlement

To put a stop on the harmful practices of some debt settlement companies the Ontario Canada has announced advance Fee Ban for Debt Settlement. This new regulation which is already there in other provinces is going to be implemented in Ontario too to protect consumers from the abusive practices of some of the debt settlement companies. According to Margarett Best, the Minister of Consumer Services, various evidences of evil practices by some companies have been located and the implementation of advance Fee ban for Debt Settlement has come up as a measure from the Government for the protection of consumers.

The consumers should be fully informed of their rights before signing up any contract and there should not be any payments unless and until the results are obtained. According to Best the Government is determined to stop such practices in the market. With the decision of implementation of advance fee ban for Debt Settlement Ontario is joining other provinces who have already introduced regulations for debt settlement companies.

A large number of consumers get cheated by the Debt Settlement companies every year in Canada and this is why a number of provinces have brought such regulation and Ontario is an addition to it. For handling such situation in a better way and to protect themselves from being cheated the consumers need to get an exposure of debt-counselling from Consolidated Credit Counseling Services. Such unbiased services help to keep the debts under control and deal with it in a better way.

The decision of implementing advance Fee Ban for Debt Settlement is going to bring a number of changes. First of all, it is going to stop the corrupt practices of debt settlement companies who charge up-front fees from the consumers. Secondly, there will be a limit to the amount of fees that is charged. According to this regulation all the rights of the consumers and the risks associated with it would be disclosed to the consumers and it is mandatory. The contracts are being made clear and transparent and it is going to make sure that set aside funds are under the control of consumers. Moreover, a ten day cooling off period is going to be implemented. As advance fee ban for Debt Settlement is going to be implemented, there will be some other benefits like remedies and enforcement for consumers, establishment of standards of conduct and prohibition of misleading advertising. The provinces like Nova Scotia, Alberta and Manitoba have already launched regulations to stop the fraudulent acts of debt settlement companies.

According to the proposed rule there will be fee limits and it depends on certain conditions. Firstly, when an operator negotiates or arranges an agreement of debt repayment between the consumer and a creditor and is neither incorporated full nor related member agency of Ontario Association of Not-For-Profit Credit Counselling Services, 10% of the amount of debts that consumer owed to the creditor when consumer entered into the agreement of debt settlement services with the operator, can be charged. On the other hand, when the operator negotiates or arranges a debt repayment agreement between the creditor and the consumer when the operator is incorporated full or related member agency of Ontario Association of Not-For-Profit Credit Counselling Services, the consumers need to make a series of debt repayments over a period of time. It can be the amount of one-time administration fee and it is not more than average monthly scheduled repayment of the agreement. Or it can be the sum of 15 per cent of each scheduled debt repayment amount.

For an instance, when a debt settlement provider does not belong to the Ontario Association of Not-For-Profit Credit Counselling Services, make a negotiation and settle for a repayment agreement for a debt amount to $20,000, can charge a fee which will not go beyond $2000 as this is 10% of $20,000. Moreover, this amount would be paid only when the services are completed successfully.

For the members of the Association a typical repayment plan approach is reflected. According to this, in case of monthly payment towards debts of $400 on average, a one-time fee of $400 and not more than that can be charged. In such case an amount of $60.00 from the monthly payment of $400 can be taken up by The credit counselling service as fees as 15% of $400. The rest of the amount of $340.00 will be distributed to the creditors in such case. If there are any additional charges, it is only the charge back fee incurred by the operator from a financial institution in case there is any not-sufficient-funds check or a dishonored consumer check. It is only the actual charge from financial institution that would be allowed to pass through. To deposit such check the charges are typically below $10.

This new legislation of Ontario Canada will help consumers to prevent the rogue debt collection companies and debt relief companies that are keen on making underachiever promises and disturbing marketing practices. It will at the same time target the debt relief companies who demand advance fee or up-front charges for debt related help. When debt settlement business is flourishing, many fraudulent debt settlement companies make the consumers believe that their debt can be fixed easily and debt will disappear within a night. To stay away from such unscrupulous debt settlement companies the people need to have sufficient protection and knowledge of various debt related issues as well.

With Consolidated Credit Counseling Services the consumers get to learn a better way of handling their personal finances and a few issues like how to use credit in a wise way, how to get out of debt and how to budget. When experienced professionals help you to have a better insight on consumer debt strategies and family financial management, you can expect the best solution for your requirements.

The changes that are going to be implemented as a result of introduction of Fee Ban for Debt Settlement in Ontario, Canada are surely going to bring the debt management agencies of Ontario in line with various other provinces like Alberta and Nova Scotia.

To stay away from unscrupulous debt settlement companies the people need to have sufficient protection and knowledge of various debt related issues as well. With Consolidated Credit Counseling Services the consumers get to learn a better way of handling their personal finances and a few issues like how to use credit in a wise way, how to get out of debt and how to budget.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IRS e-file – When Will I Get My Refund (2013)?

If you are wondering when you can expect to receive your tax refund from the IRS, you are not alone. In past years, the IRS had a publication where you can look this information up. The current version of this Publication 2043, gives one Key Message: "The IRS issued more than 9 out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days last year. The same results are expected in 2013."

The Internal Revenue service used to have a table where you could look up when your federal tax refund would be deposited in your bank account (by direct deposit), or when your check would be mailed if you e-filed and your refund was accepted within certain dates. Unfortunately, I could not find such a table this year. To give you some idea, you can look at the IRS table from last year.

While it may be interesting information to have, this is the federal government that we are talking about. You should also be able to check the status of your income tax refund using this link. (And of course, en Español: ¿Dónde está mi reembolso?) You will need to enter your social security number, filing status, and refund amount to see your refund status.

I've heard some anecdotal stories about the IRS a long time to process refunds in 2012, so can understand why they decided to do away with the table. I will be curious how the IRS does this time around.

If you haven't prepared your tax return yet, I encourage you to use either TurboTax or H&R Block At Home.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Be the First to get a "Discover it" Card

Discover Card is currently promoting their brand new "Discover it" card. I've had a Discover Card for a very long time, and I believe that it is one of the best credit cards issued in the United States. In the past I have written about the rotating categories for Cash Back bonus, and getting cash back at grocery stores and other retailers.

Here are the main benefits of the Discover it card:

  • No annual fee.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service available any time.
  • No late fee for your first late payment.
  • Paying late won't increase your APR.
  • No overlimit fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter offered to all cardmembers.
  • Unlimited 1% cash back, not points, on all other purchases.
  • Pay for millions of items with your rewards at Amazon.com.
  • Pay your bill 'til midnight (ET) the day it's due by phone or online.
  • Choose your payment due date online or by phone.
  • Lower rate, lower payment or other help after job loss.
  • Automatic expedited delivery of your new card.