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Playing Fantasy Football and Choosing Top Picks

Posted in Football Picks on May 4th, 2007

Fantasy football is a huge industry. Every fall, millions of people around the world participate in the games. Some do it for money, some for just fun, and others for the ever-important bragging rights. Playing fantasy football and choosing top picks are the obsession of so many as the NFL season approaches, that taking a look at strategies for making the right picks is appropriate. Here are some strategies you should consider employing when it comes time for you so start playing fantasy football and choosing top picks this season.

First of all, when your fantasy draft rolls around, think depth. Rare is the fantasy season in which all of your players go untouched by the injury bug. Couple that with bye weeks and you will see how important depth is. So how do you draft depth? You have to think about what you are going to look for as the draft progresses. Watch for third year wide outs that may come into their own once they understand their team’s offense. They make great backups because it can take a few weeks for the breakout to happen. Also, look for hot rookies who may surge late to sure up your second and third string.

Secondly, you can’t really over manage your team. Every week that you are playing fantasy football you need to be paying attention to the details of your team. Because you drafted for a deep team, you are going to have decisions to make about your starting lineup every single week of the season. Look at matchups and how your players have done against opponents in the past. Trends can help you a lot if you see them. So use the internet to get information, stats, and to know when an injury can sway things your way or away from you.

Third, throughout your season of playing fantasy football, you should keep a close eye on free agents, the waiver wire, and try to make at least a couple of trades. Even if you had a really good draft, the way the season develops will help you with what changes you need to make to get over the top. Use your deep draft to sure up your starters and tighten your lineup as crunch time approaches.

Finally, make sure you are highly familiar with your league’s scoring system. Different fantasy football leagues emphasize different stats. Make sure you know, as you make trades and sign players, whether you need yards, touchdowns, or some other stat to catch those players ahead of you. It is easy to make assumptions, but sometimes a mediocre player can be great for your team if he can get you that one stat you need.

Playing fantasy football and choosing top picks is a science to many. However, these tips mostly fall under the category of common sense. If you follow them then you will have a fantastic chance of making the playoffs. Once you are in the playoffs, anything can happen; anything, including you winning it all and taking home money or bragging rights.

How to Fix Your Credit Report

Posted in Credit Report on May 3rd, 2007

Living with bad credit is stressful but if you want to fix your credit report, there are several steps you can take. First, think positively about the solutions to your money problems – do not dwell on past failures and current debt. Then take the necessary actions to achieve a healthy credit report.

Here are some tips on how to fix your credit report. First, request a copy of your report from a credit bureau (it’s free) and promptly correct any errors you find in it. You wouldn’t want to be denied that job promotion or that loan application because of a simple inaccuracy in your report! When you discover a mistake, write to the bureau and ask them to fix it. You should examine your report at least once a year.

If there are bad marks on your credit report, due to outstanding debts, then repay those debts immediately. The debts with the highest interest should be your first concern. If you find your money troubles to be too great, then turn to a non-profit credit-counseling organization. A counselor can help you develop a debt-consolidation plan and even be a liaison between you and your creditors, negotiating debt reduction. You may be able to reduce monthly payments by as much as 40%.

Also, limit the number of credit card accounts you have. Only maintain the ones that are absolutely necessary. If you eventually develop a healthy credit history, you can take on more accounts if you wish, but even those with a high income will find that multiple accounts are a financial burden and end up trapping them in a nightmare of debt. It’s also important to preserve your total accessible credit on these accounts and to be aware of how much credit you have used so far.

On that same note, do not open multiple accounts at the same time – that will just set you up for an irresistible cycle of debt. The rule of thumb is: don’t open up credit accounts that are unnecessary. Usually, they will end up costing more than you would’ve originally spent if you’d never requested the credit in the first place. Furthermore, don’t think that closing an account will fix your problems. This will not fix your credit report. Taking the above steps to repair your credit score is the best coarse of action and you can do it.

How to Check Your Credit Report

Posted in Credit Report on May 2nd, 2007

When you are applying for a new credit card, or an extension of a credit or loan, your lender will review your credit report before granting you anything. So it is probably best to check up on your credit report as well. This way you can correct any inaccuracies and fix your credit report immediately. Ideally, you should check up on your report monthly, and even weekly, especially if you have made a large credit purchase.

Consistently checking up your report will help you to eliminate errors and mistakes easily. It is important that you are up to the task and fix your credit report when problems arise because otherwise, you may have trouble applying for a credit card or loan.

The way to go about keeping an eye on your report is to first get a summary of all your credit accounts and the total debt you’ve incurred. This includes the available limits and existing balances. Any inaccuracies you can then quickly rectify.

More importantly, by constantly reminding yourself of your credit report, you can budget and plan for the future. If you want to buy a brand new car or house, you need to make sure you’ll be easily granted the loan required for such expensive investments.

If you’re not willing to check your credit report that frequently, at least look over it thoroughly once a year. At the end of the day, it is up to the creditors to evaluate your report, so you only have control over correcting errors really. When a creditor does finally accept your account, they will then determine how much to pay you based on your credit history.

Credit history matters and things like bankruptcy and disclosure will be major factors. The national credit bureaus are responsible for collecting information for your credit history and they will indicate what accounts are overdue or late – they actually sell this information to creditors. Success for applications of car insurance, apartment leases, cell phone services and the like will all depend on their credit history.

Even if you think your credit history is good, you will need a copy of your credit report. You may find overlooked errors and compelling statements written on the report. Don’t be the last to know what’s in your file – get ahead of the game. Major consumer reporting companies can provide a copy of your credit report free of charge, so there is really no disadvantage to taking this step. If you fix your credit report, you may also end up securing a job promotion or loan application that you otherwise may have lost based on a silly error.

Locate and Find Debtors with a Credit Collection Agency

Posted in Credit Collection Agency on May 2nd, 2007

It can be a frustrating experience trying to collect a debt from a customer who just seems unwilling to pay. Letters sent to their address go ignored, and phone calls are answered with empty promises of payment. While this is certainly a bad scenario, what if a customer who owes you money just disappears? It is possible to locate and find debtors with a credit collection agency, and in this article we’ll explain to you the methods behind their tracking.

When you enlist the services of a credit collection agency, you gain several resources that are not available to most business owners. One obvious resource is time. As a small business owner, time is often a precious and limited commodity. If you are spending all of your time tracking down a customer who has vanished, your business is sure to suffer. A quality credit collection agency will have the time, resources, and people available to locate and find your debtor, while you can get back to concentrating on your day-to-day operations. Now, let’s turn our attention towards some of the ways credit collection agencies can successfully track a debtor.

Reputable credit collection agencies employ several different resources in locating debtors. For example, they have access to many different public databases, both national and international. These databases can help track a debtor’s recent activity (credit cards, utilities), which is instrumental in pin-pointing their actual location.

Credit collection agencies also hire a wide variety of professionals who specialize in finding debtors. Investigators and tracing agents are just two examples of people who are instrumental in these efforts. These people are capable of literally “tracing” somebody’s steps, following them from the time your business knew their whereabouts to ultimately tracking them down. The methods they use vary, but can consist of phone inquiries, field visits, and the assistance of the debtor’s friends and family.

Credit collection agencies have helped thousands of businesses locate and find debtors. But what happens if they are unable to find the person who owes your business money? Most credit collection agencies will not charge your business unless they actually find your debtor and receive payment for the debt. This fact makes using a credit collection agency a very sound decision.

As you can see, it is possible for you to locate and find debtors with a credit collection agency. One word of caution: If you are thinking about employing a credit collection agency, it is crucial that you do your homework to ensure that you are getting the best assistance possible. There are unfortunately some poor agencies out there, which will charge your business “nominal” fees, or may even charge without locating your debtor. You can easily find out if the credit collection agency you are considering is legitimate by contacting the Better Business Bureau. They will be able to verify that the agency is competent and professional. After that, the agency you choose will hopefully have success in locating your business’ debtor.

Benefits of Employing a Debt Collection Agency

Posted in Debt Collection on May 2nd, 2007

If you are a small business owner, you know how important customers are to your success. By making timely payments on the goods and services you provide, customers help give your company the resources vital to growth. Unfortunately, there will probably come a time when a customer fails to pay off a debt, and you will be forced to seek payment by any means necessary. One such way to receive overdue payments is through using a debt collection agency. In this article, we’ll take a look at the benefits of employing a debt collection agency.

A debt collection agency is basically any company hired by a business to collect money that is owed. These companies should be employed as a last resort, but they can be very helpful if needed. One major benefit to employing a debt collection agency is time; more specifically the recovery of time crucial to operating your business. If you are busy writing letters and making phone calls to a customer who owes you money, you are certainly losing productivity. Debt collection agencies have the people available to handle all aspects of getting your money, so you can return your focus where it belongs – on your business.

Debt collection agencies also send a message to the customer that you are serious about recovering the funds. When faced with the prospect of a constant barrage of phone calls at home and work, most people elect to pay off the debt. In addition, the threat of having their credit score negatively affected usually yields payment. But despite these negative consequences, there are still people who refuse to pay. How can a debt collection help in this case?

Depending on the size of the outstanding debt, and if there is still no sign that a customer intends to pay, you do have the option of going to court. A debt collection agency will be able to handle the legal aspects of the proceedings, which can be a huge advantage. However, it is important to consider all sides of the case before deciding to proceed. Court will likely be a costly proposition, and unless the debt is large enough to warrant legal action, it may be best just to bite the bullet and take the loss.

One final benefit of employing a debt collection agency is the fact that these companies only get paid if they can recover the debt. This makes a debt collection agency a low-risk option in your attempt to recover back payments. If they are unable to get the customer to pay, you have atleast saved the time that would otherwise have been lost. And if they are able to secure the payment, you will only have to pay them between 4% and 10% of the debt. This creates a win/win situation for both you and your business.

For a small business owner, the benefits of employing a debt collection agency are undeniable. In a perfect world, your business will avoid ever needing to use such a company. But it’s nice to know that a debt collection agency is standing ready, just in case.

The Pros And Cons Of A Home Equity Line Of Credit

Posted in Home Equity Line Of Credit on May 1st, 2007

Do you own the house you are living in? If you do, your home might be your greatest asset. But if you have unfortunately agreed to a loan that is based upon the equity you have in your home, you could be taking a chance with your most precious asset.

Homeowners, particularly minorities and the elderly or anyone with poor credit should be very careful in borrowing money based on their home equity. This is because there are exploitative and abusive lenders that target and take advantage of these type of borrowers. This may put their homes at risk. There are certain things you need to understand in taking care of your credit, and hopefully protect you from exploitations.

Never agree to a home equity loan if you know that you don’t have enough income to make the payments. You must think of this in advance so that you are sure you’ll be able to meet your bills and the payments for the equity line.

Check all documents that have been handed to you and make sure that you don’t sign anything you haven’t read or understood. Some lenders and borrowers use this style in order to take advantage of clients, especially those who are not very familiar with written contracts and agreement terms. Make sure that you have understood all the terms and conditions. Don’t sign anything until you do.

If your lender or anyone pressures you to sign, that is usually a clue that something strange is going on. Another thing you should avoid in these types of loans is one that comes with products that you will not need.

You should ask particularly if the credit insurance is requisite to a condition of the loan. If you find out that it isn’t, and the charge is included in your loan but you want to remove it, you can ask the charge to be detached from your loan documents so that it will not add to your bills. If you think you need additional security, go and look around for the best rates.

You must keep the records carefully, including everything you’ve paid, all the billing statements and cancelled checks. If you notice that some of the charges are inaccurate, speak up and have it changed.

You also need to check the contractor’s references to find out the time the work should have been completed. You should get more than an estimate just to make sure everything falls in place.

Again, you should read all the items very carefully and if you need an explanation of the terms and conditions that are not clear to you, stop and ask. You can talk to someone that you can trust and see if he or she can make sense of it for you. Another good resource is an attorney or a knowledgeable member of the family.

Understanding How Merchant Credit Card Services Are Processed

Posted in Merchant Credit Card Services on April 30th, 2007

A merchant account is a credit card account that a merchant opens with a bank, allowing the merchant to accept credit card orders from customers. This is the same as what you see on some web sites that sells things and stuffs.

There are various processing options provided by merchant credit card services providers: real-time Internet processing, retail-swipe terminal processing and computer-based processing.

Real-Time Internet Processing

This type of credit card service processing is ideal for businesses that transact business on the Internet. When a customer is ready to pay, they can click on the provided “checkout” link which leads to a secure page where they can provide their credit card information. A confirmation appears on the screen telling the customer whether the card is accepted or declined.

In two business days, the money is deposited in the merchant’s account. Real-time providers will then provide merchants with an online database showing all credit card transactions, making month-end accounting and balancing simple.

Real-time Internet processing is ideal for merchants who have lots of transactions every day, since it helps to automate the payment acceptance process. To further increase efficiency, real-time processing offers virtual terminals, allowing merchants to process orders manually from any location over the Internet.

Retail Swipe Terminal

Retail swipe terminals are ideal for most brick-and-mortar businesses, although POS (point of sale) software may also be used. POS terminals are used in “card present” situations, where customers actually have their cards with them and swipe them through the termianl. This is the cheapest processing solution, usually costing a dollar per transaction. It also has the lowest risk of fraud, as customers are able to see their transaction. Most terminals require phone lines, although some that operate via airwaves or by cell phone. Portable POS terminals are ideal for situations such as trade shows, where there are no phone jacks available to connect a regular POS terminal.

Computer-Based Processing

Computer-based processing uses software that enables merchants to process all major credit cards, gift cards and check guarantee services on their own computers. The software processing helps in reducing fraud losses, saving time and money as well as providing powerful features that stand-alone terminals don’t provide.

Starting Your Own Check Cashing Business

Posted in Check Cashing Business on April 30th, 2007

If you are currently thinking about starting your own check cashing business, there are things that you first need to consider. The path leading from conceptualization to realization can be a scary and uncertain route, and it is difficult for most people to know the proper steps to take. In this article, we will give you the information that you need to know before starting your own check cashing business.

The first and often most difficult hurdle in starting your own check cashing business is the initial investment. On average, the start-up costs for a check cashing business can range anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, and unless you have a substantial savings, you will need to have solid credit in order to secure financing. In addition to paying for a location and having funds available to actually cash checks, there are many other expenses that you may not think of initially. For example, you need to figure in the cost of computers, furniture, monthly expenses (electricity, heat, etc.), employees, insurance, rent, advertising, licenses, and fees just to name a few. In addition, by the very nature of dealing with money, a check cashing business needs to have certain security measures in place to keep both your assets and employees safe. This may require hiring the services of a check-scanning company (such as TeleCheck), security cameras, alarms, and special glass to protect your workers. As you can see, your start up investment will play a large role in determining future success.

The second thing that you must do before starting your own check cashing business is to acquire all of the proper licenses and permits. It is advisable that you check with your local and state authorities to make certain that you possess all the necessary documentation needed to operate a business. It is also worth mentioning that you will have to comply with the federal and state government’s usury laws, which are in place to prevent financial outlets from charging exorbitant interest rates.

Let’s say that you have cleared these first two obstacles; what step should you take next? You should now turn your attention towards hiring responsible, and more importantly, honest employees. It is crucial in a check cashing business to hire only the most trustworthy of people, so you should take any safeguard necessary to ensure this. This step should include an extensive interview as well as background and credit checks. Do not rush this part of the process just so you can open up your doors to the public. This is one instance where your patience and sound judgment will definitely pay off, and it could end up saving you a lot of money that could otherwise be lost to employee theft.

Starting your own check cashing business is a difficult and involved process. By covering all of your bases and following through on the information provided above, you should find yourself well on the way towards operating a successful and profitable check cashing business.

How to Find Mortgage Lenders in Houston

Posted in Mortgage Lenders on April 28th, 2007

All loan officers will tell you that theire company’s the best and provide you with a list of reasons to back up their claim. But if you run into the same loan officer years later, chances are good that he not only but works for a different kind of lender, he’ll tell you the new lender he works for is much better – and offer another list of reasons why.

In the past, most people went to portfolio lenders because they excelled at closing deals. Over time, however, mortgage bankers and brokers have become more important, and agents have gone along with the changing trend. Usually a realtor will direct you to a loan officer who has a demonstrated track record of service and reliability, but sometimes a realtor will recommend a loan officer who works for a lender with whom the realtor is affiliated.

Sometimes it’s more important to choose a good loan officer than a loan company. A loan officer has two very important functions – they serves as your advocate in getting the loan approved, handling all the negotiations for you. Their second function is to deliver quality loans, so you need an agent who’s dependable and ethical.

As for lending institutions, each type of lender has its own strengths and weaknesses. Quality varies within each branch office depending on the loan officer, the support staff and other factors.

Different types of Mortgage Lenders

• Mortgage Bankers

A mortgage banker is a lender with enough assets to originate individual loans, as well as to create pools of loans that they sell to loan investors. Any company that does this, no matter how small or large the company, is considered a mortgage banker. Some service the loans they provide, but not all of them do.

• Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage brokers are companies that originate loans for the purpose of re-selling them to other lending institutions. The broker establishes relationships with various companies. Many mortgage brokers that also act as correspondents, which is how they can be mortgage bankers as well as mortgage brokers. Mortgage brokers also deal with lending institutions that have wholesale loan departments.

• Wholesale Lenders

Portfolio lenders and mortgage bankers act as wholesale lenders, serving mortgage brokers for loan origination. In fact, some wholesale lenders don’t even have their own retail branches, relying mainly on mortgage brokers for their loans.

• Portfolio Lenders

A portfolio lender is an institution that lends its own money and originates loans for itself. They’re lending for their own portfolio of loans and aren’t concerned about re-selling them right away. Portfolio lenders are usually large banks or savings and loans.

• Direct Lenders

Direct lenders fund their own loans and can be small or large lenders. Large banks and savings and loans, as well as smaller institutions, have “warehouse” lines of credit from which to draw money for funding the loans they give. Direct lenders are generally (but not always) portfolio lenders or mortgage bankers.

Banks and savings and loan have deposits with which to fund loans, but usually use warehouse lines of credit instead. Smaller institutions also have warehouse lines of credit for the purpose of funding loans. Direct lenders are usually, but not always, mortgage bankers or portfolio lenders.

• Correspondents

“Correspondent” refers to a company that handles home loans in its own name; then they sell those loans individually to a larger lender, or “sponsor.” The sponsor serves as the mortgage banker, reselling the loan.

• Bank and Savings & Loans

Both savings and loans and banks usually operate as mortgage bankers and/or portfolio lenders.

• Credit Unions

Credit unions are generally correspondents, although if a credit union were large enough, it could be a portfolio lender and/or mortgage banker, too.

Easy Steps to getting a Fast Personal Loan

Posted in Finance & Business on November 8th, 2006

A fast personal loan is also termed “payday loan,” because the money you use to pay the loan off will ultimately come from your personal salary. In a matter of minutes, a fast personal loan can be approved and the loan amount will be deposited directly into your checking account.

Most of the trusted providers of fast personal loans can be found online, which makes the process very convenient. You can even check rates frequently so as to ensure you only pay the lowest fees.

A fast personal loan only requires that you fill out a simple, online application asking for your contact information, income, employment, and checking account information. As long as you research the many online lenders and choose one that is legitimate, your information will be secure.

There is no need for you to fax in a copies of photo ID’s or past payday slips, as most fast personal loan providers have extensive databases which allow them to verify any information you give them. If you are 18 years old and can provide proof of employment, you will usually be approved instantly and any money you need will get to your checking account in a speedy fashion. It doesn’t even matter if you have bad credit; a lender will not investigate your credit history.

If you prefer to apply for a personal loan at a physical location, you will probably feel as though your information is more secure, but it will also take much longer for your application to be processed. A local cash loan provider will require that you accomplish a lot of paperwork and then you will have to wait for all your information to be authenticated. A local provider may even investigate your credit history and thus, you may not be successful at applying for a loan. Not to mention, following up on your loan will be troublesome as well, as you will have to visit the institution often.

By applying for a fast personal loan online, you not only save time, but you will most likely be granted the necessary funds. For speedy cash loans, find an online fast personal loan provider. An online fast personal loan provider can release your loan within twenty-four hours of your application approval. The loan amount is directly deposited into your checking account, so it is hassle-free.