Money Monday #1

can i just tell you that i'm really excited about this?!

i had a few responses to my post about finances.  so i decided to start this new series called "Money Monday."  but i want more of you to ask questions!!  i promise it'll be fun.  and you'll learn a lot of valuable information.  keep in mind that i am still learning, but i will try and provide you with the most accurate information possible.


and now, i present our first Money Monday question.

Jess asked:
"back in the beginning of college, i applied for and received a credit card for emergencies. i activated it over the summer but never used it. after activating it, i moved to school. my mail was still delivered home. it wasn't until 3 months later that i happened to discover bills from the credit card agency... due, passed due, wayyy passed due bills. not having ever USED the card, i didn't expect any bills. i was unaware of an activation fee. blame my nativity, blame ignorance, blame whatever you want... i contacted the company, they saw that i never used the card and canceled it- including canceling the $60 fee that was more than 90 days late. i was informed that it was all taken care of.

this was back in 2004. i had since forgotten about it. earlier this year (a mere 6 years later), i applied for another credit card for emergencies. i was denied- after looking over my credit report, the glaring blemish was the 90 day missed/late payment from 04. am i screwed? or can i call someone to challenge this? i don't even know which company i would contact first... blah."

first of all, great question!!  i think a lot of people have questions about credit/credit cards.

the question jess asked brings up another point i would like to start with.
the best thing you can do for yourself with most aspects concerning finances is prevention.
whether is be prevention from identify theft, prevention from not having enough in retirement, prevention from not having any money when an emergency arises, etc.

did you know that you can get a copy of your credit report for free every four months?
i will tell you how.  under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you are entitled to receive a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year.  since all three are somewhat intertwined and have most of the same information on them, you can space it out so you are obtaining a copy of your credit report every four months.  for example, in April you request a copy from Experian, then from Transunion in August, and finally, Equifax in December.  this way you are making sure all of your information is correct and accurate every four months, even if you haven't obtained credit.

so where can you get a copy of your credit report?  at www.annualcreditreport.com
make sure you click on your state and not on one of the credit bureau symbols at the bottom.
it will walk you through some questions and then you can print it off.

if anyone has questions about reading and understanding their credit report, let me know.  i'd be glad to help.

so, first thing to remember: check your credit report every four months.  that way, if problems arise, you can take care of them soon after.

next: read and ask what you are signing up for!  ask about activation fees.  sometimes they are sneaky!

but what can jess do now?

i've asked a couple people and read up on some literature.  here's what i've found out.

first, you should try contacting the credit card company and ask them to take the 90 day late off your credit report.  explain the situation and what was said to you back in 2004 and be prepared with any records you have of the credit card.  and talk to managers!  i'm not aware of any time restrictions, but it was quite a while ago.  under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.  if they say they will take it off, the most important thing you need to do is FOLLOW UP!  also request a written agreement be sent to you if they say they will take it off.  request a copy of your credit report about a month later and make sure it is deleted permanently.

next, if they don't give you any help, you have the option of writing a 100 word statement on your credit report explaining the situation.  this won't take the derogatory information off, but it could help you when applying for credit.

lastly, derogatory information stays on your credit report for 7 years.  it might drop off soon anyway, but it could have affected your score significantly.  you definitely don't want this to be the case.

whew... that was a lot, huh?  did it make sense? did i bore you to death?
i hope this helped you out, jess.  and maybe someone else out there.
please let me know what happens... i have some other resources we can turn to if the credit card company won't budge.  so please let me know!


do any of you have money questions?  please ask!  i would love to help.
email me at:


@llison said...

thanks for posting this! i have a similar issue, and it makes me feel better reading this. i had already filed a dispute, so I'm glad it shows up on my credit report - I was wondering what it does!

brittany barney said...

love it! check you out you little financial planner and advisor! you are so smart and money savvy! i love it. lucky lincoln!

Amberly said...

I liked this blog a lot!! Thanks for the help!!

kaitlin said...

i am excited already for money monday. who knew that this could be so interesting/helpful!! i have never applied for a credit card or anything but will SOON and so i'm sure will have questions. or maybe that will be one of my questions! either way, thanks, and keep it up!

Michelle said...

I really like this idea! I don't really have any money questions, but I am storing away this info for when I do! Such a good idea!

Michelle said...

I have a similar situation! I'm excited to use this information... Thanks! :)

The Pollards said...

I'm quite impressed with all the information that is in this post. Very informative. Love it! I'm excited to see what else pops up on your Money Mondays...