Monthly Archives: March 2015

2015
03/31

Category:
Debt Settlement

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N.Y. DFS Provides Insight on Key Provisions of Its Debt Collection Regulations

At a recent DBA International Symposium on New York States debt collection rules and regulations, New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) Executive Deputy Superintendent Joy Feigenbaum clarified certain provisions in the new debt collection regulations that had prompted questions from many in the industry. Ms.Feigenbaum also discussed how the DFS regulations, enacted under Title 23 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations, would comport with any similar rulemaking by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A summary of her presentation follows.

Rule 1.2

Rule 1.2 requires the debt collector, within five days of the initial communication concerning the collection of a debt, to disclose that certain types of income are exempt from collection if a money judgment is entered against the consumer. The industry has raised concerns that including this exempt income language on communications to consumers whose debts are barred by the statute of limitations could expose them to liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Specifically, consumer advocates could argue such language constitutes a threat to file a lawsuit on out-of-statute debt, which is an FDCPA violation. Ms. Feigenbaum reaffirmed, however, that this language is required for out-of-statute debt communications. Accordingly, it is prudent for debt collectors to include a disclaimer that makes clear that this language should not be construed as a threat to sue, but rather is required by the State.

Ms. Feigenbaum also discussed the requirement in Rule 1.2 that both the prohibition from engaging in abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection efforts and the exempt income language be clear and conspicuous. She emphasized that this language should appear on the first page of the notice, and that placing it on the back with an instruction on the first page urging the consumer to turn the page is insufficient.

Rule 1.4

Rule 1.4, which governs the debt collectors obligation to provide written substantiation of a charged-off debt within 60 days of receiving a request for one, prompted additional concerns from the audience. Ms. Feigenbaum reiterated that the DFS expects debt collectors to issue a satisfaction of the debt to the consumer if written substantiation cannot be provided within the 60-day period. However, the DFS requirement poses a quandary for a third-party collector, which does not have the authority to issue satisfactions for debts owned by the creditor or another holder.

Ms. Feigenbaum also stated that a third-party collector that could not substantiate the debt would not be in compliance with Rule 1.4 by merely closing the account, sending the file back to the creditor, and notifying the consumer of the transfer. The DFS clearly expects debt collectors to obtain the required records to substantiate before attempting to collect on charged-off debt. It is critical that debt collectors have the appropriate policies and procedures to ensure they are confirming receipt of the records needed to substantiate the charged-off debt immediately upon transfer of the debt.

Rule 1.4 also requires the debt collector to retain evidence of the consumers request for substantiation until the debt is discharged, sold, or transferred. Ms. Feigenbaum clarified that in the event of a telephonic request for substantiation, the debt collector does not have to keep an actual recording of the call, so long as the file contains a notation reflecting that the consumer called to request substantiation of the debt.

Rule 1.5

Rule 1.5 requires the debt collector, within five business days of agreeing to a debt payment schedule or other debt settlement agreement, to provide the consumer with a written copy of the schedule and a notice that certain income streams are exempt from collection. Ms. Feigenbaum clarified that this provision not only covers settlements that satisfy the debt, but also includes any payment schedules that partially pay the debt.

CFPB Impact

Finally, Ms. Feigenbaum does not think that any CFPB debt collection rules would be inconsistent with the DFS regulations. Referring to the DFS as a close partner of the CFPB, she indicated that the DFS communicated closely with the CFPB throughout its rulemaking process. As we have written previously, we anticipate that while the CFPB may adopt certain portions of the DFS regulations, it is likely to go even further in other respects.

2015
03/31

Category:
Pay Day Loans

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Chelsea jump above Arsenal and Liverpool with £40m-a-year shirt sponsor …

Arsenal: Renewed their sponsorship deal with major airline Fly Emirates in 2012, with the brand continuing to sponsor the stadium, too.

Aston Villa: Entered two-year agreement with Dafabet, a leading Asian online betting website, in 2013.

Burnley: Previous shirt sponsor in 2010/12 Fun 88 brought back this season, described as Asia’s leading online gaming brand.

Chelsea: The Blues huge new shirt sponsorship deal with The Yokohama Rubber Company is the second highest kit deal ever signed by a Premier League club.

Crystal Palace: Neteller, a leading global online payments provider,will be official sponsor for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.

Everton: Hold longest-running shirts sponsorship with Chang Beer, a Thai brand, with the relationship having started 10 years ago.

Hull City: Global sports betting brand 12Bet confirmed on two-year deal at the start of the season.

Leicester City: King Power, who also sponsor the stadium, are the King of Duty Free and have held a partnership with the Foxes since 2010.

Liverpool: Extended deal with bank Standard Chartered until the end of 2015/16 season in 2013.

Manchester City : Announced largest sponsorship deal of its kind back in 2011 after agreeing 10-year deal with Arab airline Etihad.

Manchester United: Old Trafford club signed a seven-year shirt sponsorship with the American car giants Chevrolet that started this season.

Newcastle: Controversial pay-day loans company Wonga have sponsored the north east club since 2012 after singing four-year-agreement.

QPR: Low-cost airline AirAsia, owned by QPR owner Tony Fernandes, extended their shirt sponsorship deal with the club last summer.

Southampton: Global consumer electronics company Veho signed a two-year deal with the south coast club in 2014.

Stoke City: Mark Hughes side is coming to the end of their three-year shirt sponsorship deal with betting company Bet365

Sunderland: North east club signed four-year shirt sponsorship deal with national food service company Bidvest at the start of this season.

Swansea: The Swans extended their deal with online trading company GWFX for another two years, the biggest deal in the clubs history.

Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs signed a five-year deal with insurance services provider AIA ahead of this season after they were the shirt sponsor for cup games last campaign.

West Ham: Hammers announced deal with gaming company Betway earlier in February a month after previous sponsor Alpari went bust.

West Brom: Intuit QuickBooks, a leader in small business accounting software, teamed up with the Baggies last summer after agreeing one-year deal.

2015
03/30

Category:
Credit Cards

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Con man faces grand larceny charge after taking credit cards

With his unwitting victim yards away, veteran con man and ex-stripper Guy Cummings did the felony fandango with her credit cards and purse, cops say.

The accused scammer, with a criminal dance card dating back more than two decades, surrendered Tuesday at the Midtown North Precinct stationhouse to face grand larceny charges.

The 50-year-old former exotic dancer was decked out in a leather jacket, cowboy boots and sported an ’80s-style mullet the night he nabbed her purse and coat from a Theater District bar, his victim, Stephanie Ryan, 46, of Brielle, NJ, told the Daily News.

“Like he was some kind of rock star guy,” she said.

2015
03/30

Category:
Debt Settlement

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BBB Warns of Unsolicited Phone Calls

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BBB Warns of Unsolicited Phone Calls – News | RiverBender.com







2015
03/29

Category:
Credit Cards

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Ind. mom, daughter accused of stealing mail, credit cards

JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. – An Indiana mom and daughter were accused of identity theft after police found stolen mail, IDs, and credit cards inside of a stolen vehicle and motel room.

The Jackson County Sheriffs Department said detectives received several reports of tampered mailboxes dating back to Jan. 2015, as well as reports of check fraud.

On March 6, the sheriffs department found a stolen vehicle on County Road 340 North in Jackson County.  Through investigation, deputies found that the vehicle had been reported stolen in Marion County.

Police tracked down the drivers of the stolen vehicle at a motel in Seymour, where they found two women suspected in the mail thefts.

2015
03/29

Category:
Credit Cards

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Security Codes On Credit Cards Not About Safety

Credit card security codes are not about protecting you from thieves.(Photo: dedMazay, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

2015
03/28

Category:
Credit Cards

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Costly shift to new credit cards won’t fix security issues

CHICAGO (Reuters) – New technology about to be deployed by credit card companies will require US consumers to carry a new kind of card and retailers across the nation to upgrade payment terminals. But despite a price tag of $8.65 billion, the shift will address only a narrow range of security issues.

Credit card companies have set an October deadline for the switch to chip-enabled cards, which come with embedded computer chips that make them far more difficult to clone. Counterfeit cards, however, account for only about 37 percent of credit card fraud, and the new technology will be nearly as vulnerable to other kinds of hacking and cyber attacks as current swipe-card systems, security experts say.

Moreover, US banks and card companies will not issue personal identification numbers (PINs) with the new credit cards, an additional security measure that would render stolen or lost cards virtually useless when making in-person purchases at a retail outlet. Instead, they will stick with the present system of requiring signatures.

Anre Williams, president of global merchants services at American Express, cited cost and complexity as reasons for not issuing PIN numbers, which would require a much larger investment by card issuers. It is the PIN management system that takes the effort, Williams said, in part because of the additional customer support it requires.

Chip technology has been widely used in Europe for nearly two decades, but banks there typically require PINs. Even so, the technology leaves data unprotected at three key points, security experts say: When it enters a payment terminal, when it is transmitted through a processor, and when it is stored in a retailer’s information systems. It also does not protect online transactions.

The simplest way to circumvent chip-and-PIN is to use a stolen card number to make an online purchase, said Paul Kleinschnitz, a senior vice-president for cyber security solutions at card processor First Data Corp.

Analysts predict that credit card fraud at brick-and-mortar retailers will fall after the introduction of chip-enabled cards, but that online fraud will rise, as has happened in other countries using the technology. Research and consulting firm Aite Group estimates US online card fraud will more than double to $6.6 billion from $3.3 billion between 2015 and 2018.

Retailers and security experts say it would make more sense for the United States to jump instead to a more secure system, such as point-to-point encryption. This technology is superior to chip-and-PIN, which first was deployed about 20 years ago, because it scrambles data to make it unreadable from the moment a transaction starts.

But the newer technology would cost as much as twice what the chip card transition will cost, and does not have the older technologys long track record.

Moreover, some security experts say that mobile payment services such as Apple Pay, a service from Apple that stores data on the cloud, have the potential in coming years to secure payments without the need to swipe or tap a card at all.

LIABILITY FOR BREACHES

The dispute over the effectiveness of dueling payment security systems offers insight into a broader battle over who bears liability for breaches: retailers or the financial firms that extend the credit.

Currently, card issuers are generally liable for fraudulent charges. After the October deadline, if a retailer is not using a terminal that can read the new cards and a security breach occurs involving a chip card, the retailer will be liable, though consumers will still deal with their banks in the event of a fraudulent charge. If the retailer is chip-and-PIN enabled, the card issuer will be liable.

The liability issue has engendered anger on the part of some retailers, but it has also provided an incentive for compliance with the new standards.

When banks and card companies are only concerned about shifting the liability to the retailer, you have to comply first, Brooks Brothers Chief Executive Officer Claudio Del Vecchio said. And then think of solutions that will fix your problems.

The clothing retailer expects to meet the October deadline, but Del Vecchio declined to give details on the cost involved.

Banks and card companies argue that chip-enabled cards are a needed first step toward defending against the use of lost, stolen, or counterfeit cards. The first thing we need to do as a country is secure face-to-face transactions, said Carolyn Balfany, senior vice-president of product delivery for MasterCard, one of the companies involved in setting the new standards known as EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.

And there are reasons that banks and card companies haven’t yet embraced newer, more secure systems.

A payment standard that is accepted globally will substantially reduce transaction costs for them, Rick Dakin, chief executive officer of cybersecurity risk and compliance firm Coalfire. Also they have already done the heavy lifting for EMV so they are ready and pushing for it, he said.

Dakin, who is advising a group of banks on payment security, said no industry standard exists for the newer point-to-point encryption systems, and banks and card companies are hesitant to make large-scale investments before the standards are set.

Banks and card companies said a chip card alone can make stolen data less useful for hackers and the technology has worked in reducing counterfeit card fraud in Europe and elsewhere.

Security experts said the shift cannot prevent massive consumer data breaches of the sort that recently hit Target and Home Depot. But the technology will make it more difficult to use stolen data.

BIG SPEND

With the October deadline approaching and the upgrade costs hitting retailers income statements, some merchants remain unaware of the required changes, while others have renewed their focus on the shortcomings of chip technology.

As the deadline approaches, retailers realize they are stuck with this massive investment they have to make for a technology that does not solve the problem, Dakin said.

The installation of 15 million payment terminals that can read chip cards in the US will cost approximately $6.75 billion. Banks are expected to spend some $1.4 billion to issue new cards and another $.5 billion to upgrade their Automated Teller Machines according to Javelin Strategy Research.

The upgrade of a single payment terminal to chip-and-PIN capability costs between $500 and $3000, depending on features. It would cost between $1000 and $4000 to install a point-to-point encryption terminal, security experts said.

The problem now is how do we allocate our capital in a way that addresses EMV first and then immediately find the funds to upgrade again and install a better solution, said Grant Shih, vice president for IT development at kids clothing retailer Carters Inc.

For some small merchants, however, the problem is even more basic: Knowing what will be expected of them in October.

Six of 10 small retailers in Chicago interviewed by Reuters said they had no idea about the deadline later this year and have no plans to upgrade their payment terminals. Three others said they had heard about the shift, but that their businesses were small and hadn’t had problems with fraud that would justify the expense of installing new equipment. Only one business owner said she would like to upgrade terminals, though she says cost is an impediment.

Anne Manion, owner of the womens clothing and accessories boutique Girl Hour said she doesnt think small businesses are as exposed to data breaches as large retailers are, but she is still thinking about reaching out to her bank about upgrading terminals at two of her stores.

The cost implications are important and Im going to wait and see if by the end of the year there is a way to rent these terminals instead of buying them, she said. Manion already pays a $500 fee every month for the two card terminals she now has.

The Retail Merchants Association said it believes a majority of small retailers are aware of the risks from card fraud but havent started making the required investments yet. The group is developing a plan to explain the shift in liability and will start reaching out to smaller merchants soon.

Many small retailers have a tendency to wait until the very last minute until they realize they absolutely have to spend that money because for them cash is king,” said Sarah Paxton Vice Chairman of the Retail Merchants Association, in Richmond VA.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose, Editing by David Greising, Peter Henderson and Sue Horton)

2015
03/28

Category:
Automobile Credit

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National debt a pressing problem; action needed from POTUS, politicians

While the federal budget deficit has decreased in the past few years, this decline follows an unprecedented increase in the deficit in prior years and remains high by historical standards. Today, public debt is more than 72 percent of our economy and is expected to rise, even with the economy poised to recover from the recent downturn. The Congressional Budget Office projects public debt will reach 78 percent of the economy by 2024. That is twice the historical average of 39 percent of the economy over the past 40 years.

Just 10 years from today, three-fourths of all federal spending will go to mandatory programs and interest on the debt. Higher federal debt translates into higher interest rates down the road and less capital available for small and mid-size businesses to borrow and invest. Families will then feel the effects of the rising debt as reduced investment can mean fewer jobs and lower wages, while higher interest rates will make home, automobile, credit cards and even college loans more expensive.

President Rutherford B. Hayes once stated, “Let every man, every corporation and especially let every village, town and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.”

Under current laws and operating practices, public debt will exceed the size of the economy by the late 2030s. If Congress continues to act irresponsibly and kick the can down the road, debt will reach even higher. As recently as 2007, debt was only 35 percent of the economy. The post-World War II average is about 40 percent. The growth in projected debt is due chiefly to the aging population and growing healthcare costs, resulting in increased Social Security and federal health spending. By 2045, 100 percent of federal revenue will go toward our major entitlement programs and interest on the debt.

There will be opportunities this year to reach agreements on deals that improve our fiscal situation. Those need to be approached with strong bipartisan support and a clear understanding of the importance of getting our fiscal house in order. We cannot and should not accept anything less than Congress making reduction of national debt a top priority. Additionally, President Obama needs to devote part of his final years as POTUS to reducing the burden of debt on this and future generations.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a non-partisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path. More information about the movement can be found at www.fixthedebt.org.

President George Washington once cautioned about the importance of “avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”

We need to be active in raising the issue, holding our elected officials accountable for failure to take action, and ensuring our candidates for office not only understand the importance of this debilitating issue but are willing to do something novel by going to work on solving our national debt.

Jeff Wasden is president of the Colorado Business Roundtable.
He can be reached at jwasden@cobrt.com.

2015
03/28

Category:
Establishing Credit

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What Your Credit History Says to a Mortgage Lender

If you’re thinking about buying a house, the first thing you need to do is speak with a mortgage lender and get pre-approved. This preliminary step can save you time and heartache.

A pre-approval isn’t required to look at homes or bid on a property, but it does work to your advantage. Since this involves a lender checking your credit history and reviewing your income, you’ll learn early on whether youre eligible for a home mortgage and how much you can afford to spend. And if youre not eligible, you can improve your financial health and buy later.

Although lenders primarily look at your income to determine how much you can afford, your credit report plays an important role in the approval process. Of course, the bank looks at more than just your credit score. They pull your entire credit file, and your credit history reveals a lot about the type of applicant you might be. You can have sufficient income to buy a home, but if there are problems with your credit report, a lender may deny your application.

Here are four things a bank may conclude after looking at your credit report.

1. You won’t pay your mortgage on time

Credit reports list all of your old and current credit accounts from auto loans to credit cards. There’s also information regarding whether these accounts are in good standing. If you make monthly payments on time every month, creditors will update your credit report with the statement “paid as agreed.” However, if youve had a problem with timeliness in the recent past, your creditors may report an account as 30 days, 60 days or 90 days past due. Banks pay close attention to these notations. If you have a history of paying bills late, chances are youll pay the mortgage late.

2. You might be experiencing financial problems

Each application for new credit triggers a new inquiry on your credit report, which can be damaging since they lower your credit score by two-to-five points. Inquiries also remain on your credit report for up to two years. If a bank checks your credit and notices several inquiries for credit cards or personal loans in a short span of time, it can appear as if you’re desperately seeking financing. This is a strong indicator of credit problems.

According to MyFico, people with too many credit inquiries have a higher risk of filing bankruptcy. Since banks dont want to take a chance on potentially risky loan applicants, too many inquiries can hurt your chances of getting a mortgage.

3. You have a spending problem

Your credit report not only lists every credit account you have, but also current balances. As part of getting pre-approved, the bank calculates your debt-to-income ratio to determine how much you can afford. So, it helps to pay off as much debt as possible before apply for a mortgage. Whereas low credit card balances indicate self-control, having several maxed out credit cards indicate a potential spending problem. P

lus, too much debt can lower your credit score, to the point where you may not meet the bank’s minimum credit score requirement. And if you do qualify for a mortgage, the lender might charge a higher interest rate because of high debt.

4. You dont have enough credit experience

Your credit report also reveals the length of your credit history. And unfortunately, if youre just recently establishing credit and you dont have a lot of accounts under your belt, some lenders will not approve your mortgage. Of course, this isnt the rule across the board, so if one bank turns down your application, you might have better luck elsewhere.

Keeping your credit report in good shape is one of the best ways to improve your odds of getting approved for a mortgage loan. Your income is important, but if you have bad payment habits, a spending problem or other issues with your credit history, these factors can stop a mortgage approval.

2015
03/27

Category:
Debt Settlement

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Ask Doctor Debt Can Help Agencies Work with Consumers

ACA International works to help credit and collection industry professionals remain compliant with the industry’s many regulations and laws while providing regular educational opportunities and events for members to stay up-to-date on their skills and training.

Through resources available on the Ask Doctor Debt website, ACA also applies its industry expertise to helping consumers. ACA created Ask Doctor Debt to provide free and unbiased answers to consumers’ debt questions and to serve those who are challenged by debt by improving their financial literacy and providing them with tools and resources.

Resources on Ask Doctor Debt can help minimize the emotional and sometimes intimidating process of working through debt and credit issues.

The site’s resources include an overview of collection calls, how to dispute a consumer report or debt, privileges granted to military personnel and how the statute of limitations on a debt could affect consumers.

Ultimately, the benefits of this consumer resource are twofold: Consumers who have all the information about their rights can avoid unnecessary stress during the debt collection process while making the best financial decisions for their future, and credit and collection professionals who work with consumers who understand their rights and responsibilities can better help them find a solution pay their debt.

The site features common questions consumers ask about debt collection as well as responses provided by debt collection professionals. Visitors are not asked to register, provide any personal information or pay anything to use Ask Doctor Debt.

Additional consumer resources on Ask Doctor Debt include an overview of laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act, debt settlement, student loans, tools to manage personal finance and even financial literacy tips for parents to use with their children.

The Federal Trade Commission is hosting its National Consumer Protection Week through March 7. ACA members encourage consumers to visit AskDoctorDebt.org, a valuable resource to check out during that time and in the future. Third-party collectors provide an essential service and are actively engaged in their local communities as employers, volunteers, philanthropists and taxpayers.