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Why Do We Need Cryptocurrencies? Are they Accepted Globally

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets based on decentralized control, which is opposite to the current banking system. Whilst in the banking system each transaction between two peers is facilitated,controlled, and monitored by a centralized body, cryptocurrencies employ distributed ledger technology where all nodes are updated to keep a ledger of information about the transaction. This allows these transactions to be safe from any frauds and since no centralized system monitors these transactions, they remain private.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Tether, and many more becoming increasingly popular around the globe. Did you know that leading businesses like Dell, Microsoft, Dish, and more accept cryptocurrencies for payment? If such huge corporations are accepting them, rest are bound to follow. One of the most popular benefits of using them is that they allow instant international transactions as opposed to banks that may take from 3 to 5 days. This completely changes everything. In respect to transferring money, cryptocurrencies are email and banking systems are snail mail. Another reason for which cryptocurrencies stand out is their high emphasis on privacy. One can anonymously own and do transactions of cryptocurrencies without giving away loads of information in comparison to files of data that banks need as KYC.

Cryptocurrencies are often misunderstood as internet money but calling it so is just like calling your smartphone a selfie camera. Currency is just one of the applications of a cryptocurrency just how the camera is just one feature of a smartphone. To learn more about various cryptocurrencies and their global acceptance, check out this infographic from Total Processing or keep reading below.

Cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon and something that seems confusing to most. The most widely recognised cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which has reached a transactional volume of 2000.000 + a day. Cryptocurrencies aren’t going anywhere, they’re evolving and developing at an extremely fast rate.

What makes cryptocurrency so special?

Is it a digital currency that is built with cryptographic protocols that make transactions secure and difficult to fake. It is not controlled by any central authority and therefore it is theoretically immune to government control. It’s an easy way to conduct transactions without high fees. After confirmation of a transaction, it cannot be reversed. The transactions happen instantly making them fast even when sent globally. The funds are locked in a cryptography system. It offers security as only the owner of the private key can send the currency. It’s available to anyone. Anyone can download the software and start sending and receiving money.

bitcoin

Who is accepting cryptocurrency?

Large companies such as Microsoft, Dell and Dish are now accepting forms of cryptocurrency as payment. What started as a peer to peer monetary transfer, has now become a part of business and industries such as the tech industry. Some companies are starting to mine crypto-coins such as Bitcoin, in an environmentally friendly manner. The Moonlight Project aims to use only clean, sustainable energy sources to create Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain-based smart contracts also aim to help reduce the pressure heaped on small-to-medium businesses. They aim to avoid countless processes of invoicing, inventory, payroll and secure transactions. Instead, they offer smart contracts that enables SMBs to create, validate and approve contracts to suppliers, clients or customers.

Who’s pioneering in cryptocurrency (and who’s not)?

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Market insights

Christel Quek - Chief Commercial Officer, Co-Founder, BOLT.Global shared their thoughts on Bitcoin’s market movements.

Bitcoin hits $9,000 for the first time since May 2018 “Bitcoin has climbed past $9,000 - a record high since May 2018, reacting to reports of Facebook’s plans to unveil a digital currency. Investors are scrambling back into crypto assets such as bitcoin and other alternate tokens, over optimism that they are becoming widely accepted and adopted by mainstream entities. Facebook’s entry into the crypto space perhaps signifies the biggest network potential for digital currencies, capable of reaching into billions, and therefore indicates an upcoming shift in mainstream finance.

Drawing on this sentiment, investors scrambled into popular crypto currencies, pushing bitcoin by 9.4%, Litecoin by 4.4%and Ethereum by 4% from Friday’s close. Bitcoin has been up by 130% in 2019 so far, unshackling from the crypto-freeze of 2018. At BOLT, we are encouraged by the market responses and Facebook's entry into the crypto currency space. This may see further revival and growth of digital tokens this year, as more developments emerge. I wouldn’t discount a degree of volatility of course, as hobbyist investors engage in profit taking and perhaps governments attempt to legislate digital finance.”

The above 26 Jun 2019 blog was written by Rebekah Moss

 

Skimpy hospital gowns, painful shots and subzero temperatures in your doctor's exam room aren't always the worst part of getting medical treatment. Receiving a hefty medical bill after a doctor or hospital visit can be an especially bitter pill to swallow. In addition to depleting your bank account, medical bills can affect your credit if you don't pay them on time. The key to curing the problem is to take action immediately. Here's what you need to know to prevent medical bills from hurting your credit score.

Do Medical BIlls Affect Your Credit?

Simply receiving a medical bill doesn't affect your credit score, of course. Neither does paying the bill a few days late. Medical bills affect your credit score only if a collection agency gets involved.

medical cost affect your creditIf you don't pay your bill and it becomes significantly past due, your health care provider may give up on collecting the debt from you and sell it to a collection agency. The collection agency then takes over the debt and starts contacting you to get payment.

When exactly is a bill past due? Each health care provider's office has its own practices. Typically, providers wait 90 days before turning your medical debt over to collections; however, some providers will wait 180 days, while others will wait just 60 days.

To help standardize medical debt reporting and protect consumers' credit reports from being unduly affected by medical debt, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) now employ a 180-day waiting period before medical debt appears in your credit history. This six-month grace period is designed to give you enough time to correct any errors on your bill, pay the bill or get your insurance company to pay it, figure out a payment plan or otherwise resolve the problem. By taking action within the 180 days, you can prevent medical bills from hurting your credit score.

How Long Do Medical Collections Stay on Your Credit Report?

Unpaid medical bills can stay on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date. Because your payment history is the biggest single factor in your credit score, accounting for about 35% of your score, having a collection account such as unpaid medical debt in your credit history can have a significant negative impact.

credit score picIn recent years, health care costs have risen, making medical debt a serious burden for more and more Americans. In the U.S., the average inpatient hospital stay costs over $22,000, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The latest FICO credit scoring model, FICO 9, as well as the VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 credit scoring models, all give less weight to unpaid medical collections than to other collections. FICO® Score*  9 also ignores collection accounts if the original unpaid balance was less than $100. In addition, all three major credit scoring agencies will remove medical debt from your credit history once it is paid off by an insurer.

The problem is, different banks and lenders may use different credit scoring models. When you apply for a car loan, mortgage or credit card, you won't know exactly which credit scoring model is being used, so you have no idea how heavily medical debt is weighted when determining your creditworthiness.

Clearly, unpaid medical bills can leave your credit score in critical condition. To keep your credit score healthy, you should do everything in your power to prevent a medical bill from ever going to collections in the first place.

How to Keep Medical Bills off Your Credit Report

The good news is that in most situations, a little vigilance, knowledge and organization are all it takes to keep your medical bills from going to collections. Take these steps when you're planning any doctor visit or medical procedure:

    1. Know what to expect. Get familiar with your health insurance plan so you know exactly what it covers, what it doesn't and what your copay will be for a visit or procedure. Armed with this information, you're less likely to make costly mistakes such as visiting an out-of-network doctor or not asking for a generic version of a prescription drug.

If you don't have health insurance or your insurance doesn't cover the visit or procedure, find out ahead of time how much you can expect to be charged. (You probably won't get an exact figure, but you can get a range or estimate.) This is also a good time to find out if the health care provider offers any payment plans or accepts medical credit cards, such as CareCredit.

    1. Keep track of your medical bills. Make it a habit to read any letters, emails or other communications from your health care provider as soon as you receive them. That way, you'll catch mistakes quickly and can contact the provider to iron out any problems right away.

If you recently had a procedure or visited a doctor and haven't received a bill, contact the health care provider to make sure they have your correct address and that you didn't miss a bill. Do you receive bills by email? Make sure to add your providers to your email address book so their messages don't get lost in your junk or spam folders.

  1. Make sure the charges are accurate. Medical offices and insurers make mistakes. Simple human errors such as miscoding a medical procedure can result in incorrect charges. Review each medical bill carefully and compare it against your insurance company's benefits to see if you're being charged the correct amount. If not, contact the health care provider's billing office, your health insurance company or both to let them know. After a hospital stay or complex procedure, ask for an itemized bill so you can check specific charges for accuracy.

What if you've done all of the above and still end up with a medical bill you can't pay? Don't panic: There are a few options that can help you keep the bill from going to collections.

  • Try to negotiate your medical bills. The best time to negotiate medical costs is before your treatment or procedure, but you can also try to do so afterwards. Some health care providers charge lower rates for patients who don't have health insurance and are paying out of pocket (known as "private pay"). Websites such as Healthcare Bluebook and FairHealth let you research the average cost of specific procedures in your area. You can use the information to choose care providers and as leverage to negotiate lower prices.
  • Work out a repayment plan. What if your health care bill is as low as it's going to get, but it's still more than you can pay? See if you can set up a monthly payment plan with the provider. Many providers would rather work with you than send the bill to collections. Contacting your health care provider's billing office immediately to discuss repayment will show you're acting in good faith (and will give you more time to pay the bill).
  • Keep an eye on your credit report. Are collection agencies calling about a medical debt you've never heard of before? Legitimate medical debts sometimes go to collections without you ever receiving a bill. This might happen if your provider has an incorrect address for you or if your mail is misdelivered. If you have a common name, it's possible you're being charged with someone else's bill. Finally, some collection calls regarding medical debt are scams. Before you panic (or pay anything), ask the collection agency to provide proof of the debt in writing. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they must give you this information within five days.

The best way to avoid getting blindsided by a collection agency? Get a free credit report on a regular basis and review it carefully. If you find errors or any suspicious activity in your credit history, contact the credit reporting agency right away to set the record straight.

Prevent Medical Bills From Hurting Your Credit Score

Medical treatment can leave a scar, and when it leads to a big medical bill you can't pay, it can also leave a mark on your credit score. This is one situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take a few simple precautions whenever you get medical treatment, and you'll help keep medical debt from dinging your credit score.

The article above appeared on Experian's October 22, 2019 blog by Karen Axelton.

Getting saddled with student loans has become the new norm, and what you pay depends on the number of loans you take out and the amount borrowed under each. For instance, most students apply for federal loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program, and some look at private loans. However, the Financial Aid Guide published by Maryville University states that tuition for public and private universities can range from $20,000 to $30,000 a year, and to get through this, most students would need a combination of both federal and private loans. More loans equal more interest, which means higher amounts to pay after graduation. This makes student loans a College Loanheavy burden to bear, and achieving financial success even harder. In fact, a survey published on Business Insider found that the new standard for financial success for young adults isn't about being wealthy at all — most people aspire to simply be debt-free.

This is understandable, as this financial burden can be a hindrance to your life choices for years after college. You might avoid making risky decisions at work, or you’ll hold off doing something you love in order to pay your debt. So if all this sounds familiar to you, we've outlined some key tips to help you tackle your student loans:

Have a Payment Plan

The first and most vital step is to create a payment plan for yourself. Make a list of your debts, and rank them according to interest.

In this regard, personal finance writer Luke Landes lists two ways you can pay your debt: snowball payments or avalanche payments. Snowball payments involve prioritizing the smallest debt first, giving the rest of your debts minimum payments. Once the lowest debt is finished, add your payments from that to the minimum payment of your next debt. In this way, the snowball method gives you a feeling of accomplishment from seeing results faster. On the other hand, avalanche payments comprise of large payments to the debt with the highest interest rate first, and minimum payments for the rest. Though this method is a little more challenging, it helps you save on interest in the long run, and will eventually help you pay off your debts sooner.

Regardless of the method, a payment plan can also help you achieve one step highlighted by our article on how to ‘Raise Your Credit Score’, which is making payments on time. Taking care of your credit score can benefit you in the long run, as it can make future financial transactions much easier.

Create your budget — and stick to it

Once you’ve landed a job, budgeting your income is vital to help you ensure that you pay your debt on time. This will also help you see where you can cut down on spending, and instead, place that extra money towards your debt payment and even some savings.

Make bi-weekly payments

Switching to bi-weekly payments is one way to trick yourself into paying more — and it won’t even seem like it, until you do the math. For instance, paying $150 bi-weekly for one year (26 weeks) equals $3,900, while paying $300 monthly for one year is $3,600. This method enables you to give 13 months’ worth of payment instead of 12, shaving off time out of your payment schedule and reducing your interest at the same time.

Find a program that suits you

There are plenty of programs that can help you out with your student loans. Most of them, however, only apply for federal loans, such as loan forgiveness, income-based repayment, and loan repayment assistance programs. For those with private loans, Credit Sesame's Adrian Nazari recommends finding companies with a loan repayment program as an employee benefit, as this can go a long way in clearing your debt.

For many, paying off student loan debts is an important achievement towards long-term financial wellness. Stay motivated, and you’ll rid yourself of your debt faster than you anticipated. After all, the best way out is always through.

Prepared for americasloancompany.com

By Heidi Smith

How to Avoid Shady Online Loan Providers

With the internet becoming a household necessity, running errands and getting things done have become easier and more convenient. From online shopping, paying bills, ordering food, everything's possible with just one click. Even borrowing money is possible. However, when applying for a loan online, the stakes are higher. lady on labptop sept 2019 blog

Online lending platforms have grown considerably in the past few years to answer the growing demand for accessible loans. But the red flag of borrowing money online is that you need to give personal details to a party or to someone you barely know. It's quite risky given the fact that loan scams and shady loan offers are rampant nowadays.

What Every Borrower Needs to Know

The safest way to borrow online is to keep an eye out for red flags and make sure you're dealing with a credible lender.

If you're resolved to borrowing money online, there are two significant risks you need to be aware of.

  • It's a real risk to lose money. Fraudsters can easily set up shop, charge fees, and promise the world for approving your loan. In the end, you will not get what you paid for.
  • You'll pay too much. You might end up paying big in interest and fees to a deceptive lender, costing you thousands of dollars, which is more than what's necessary. Legit and reputable lenders will offer the same loan for a more affordable rate.

Identity Theft

It happens when you give your personal details to a website that doesn't entirely protect your identity, or when you give your personal information to identity thieves.

The information commonly found on loan applications are vulnerable to the prying eyes of thieves. Your date of birth, Social Security Number, home address, and phone number are just some of the information they might steal.

You already lose when you wasted your time dealing with all of the applications and follow-ups and trying to borrow from a fake lender. Thus, be extra prudent.

Watch Out for Red Flags

Sometimes, con artists make the mistake of giving themselves away. As such, when you start communicating with lenders, observe how they operate and present themselves before you give your money and personal information.

Look for a different lender if you see any of the red flags below.

Up-front Fees

Take heed that legitimate lenders don't ask for upfront fees. Thieves and scammers commonly use "advance-fee scam" and will explain that you have to pay a certain fee so they can process your loan application.

While there are legitimate loans that require money for the application, they are usually for big loans like home loans. Such loans will require the borrower to pay for an appraisal, a credit check, and so on. Also, these fees will be thoroughly explained on official disclosure documents. If you're applying for an auto loan or personal loan, such fees should be non-existent.

If you paid for some fees already, expect them to keep asking for "one last" fee to you until you catch on.

Guaranteed Approval

Lenders don't do business just to lose money. With that, they don't give guarantees that they'll lend money to just about anyone. Although there are lenders who are willing to bite more risk than others, they still need to be sensible and check about your finances.

If you have no income, no assets to use as collateral, or you have a bad or no credit history, a lender will hardly lend you funds. Otherwise, how can they get their money back? If it's just too good to be true, then it probably is.

Lenders who approve anyone's loan applications often sound smarter than they do. They have ways to gain high profits as a return for taking big risks, which could mean they steal data or money, or you're going to pay a lot.

Request for Funds Through Payment Services or Wire

You're trying to get money when you're applying for a loan, so why do you have to send money? Again, there are loans that require legitimate fees, but you can pay them with a credit card or check.

If a lender will ask for payment through a wire or instant payment services such as MoneyGram or Western Union, it's definitely a scam. Your money will be gone for good once you send funds, and it's going to be impossible to track the receiver.

Further, a lender who accepts checks for payment will need a clean bank account for deposits, that of which can be easily found by law enforcement. Be informed that credit card processors will quickly shut down vendors with too many complaints.

Unprofessional Service and Sales

Banks may not be known for their fuzzy and warm interaction, but with them, you will not get a sense that you deal with a fly-by-night operation.

A lender's site that’s full of misspelled copies, security errors, and other inconsistencies is an indication that you deal with scammers. Moreover, pay attention to how the sales staff speaks with you, high-pressure and abusive behavior are clear warning signals of what's to come.

The Name Game

For businesses that deal with money, first impressions are as important. But for scammers with nothing authentic to offer, they will use confusing names or choose official-sounding names.

For instance, the lender might use the word "Federal," but it doesn't mean the U.S. government supports or endorses the lender. Imitating the name of a large bank is another obvious tactic.

Beware of Dangerous Loans

Apart from being vigilant with the lenders, it's also important to be wary with the loan offers online. There are loans that aren't worth the risks no matter who the lenders are, and it's easy to spot them online.

Expensive Loans

caution high feesSuch loans can send you to a debt spiral and may put you in a worse position than where you currently stand.

For instance, auto title loans and payday loans are known for their expensive fees, which could amount to triple-digit interest rates.

Unlicensed Lenders

These are lenders who are not supposed to operate in your state. But since they're lawbreakers, they can collect fees and offer loans from just about anywhere on the planet.

To avoid falling into the hands of these shams, check the regulator of your state to verify if a certain lender has the authorization to do business in your place. Legitimate lenders don't let their licenses lapse or forget to register. You'll have little or no legal recourse in case you have a dispute with a lender overseas.

Illegal lenders take advantage of those who don't have many options or of individuals who are desperate to borrow money. Their common practices may include:

  • Rolling over or repaying high-fee loans more often than what's allowed in your state. The borrower will pay another fee whenever it happens, which increases the debt load over time.
  • Bypassing debt-collection laws that curb how lenders can collect defaulted or unpaid loans.
  • Including products like disability or life insurance into your loan without your consent.
  • Imposing higher interest rates than what's allowable in your state.
  • Information Gatherers and Sellers

Beware also while searching for online lenders, you might find businesses whose slogans shout "we don't lend money" to site visitors. Such web has lead generation sites which could sell your personal details to lenders.

Lead Generators are Experts in Marketing

Lead generators will help you look for people or parties who are willing to lend you funds. Some big websites do this maneuver and present a valuable service while earning little per loan. But with shadier operations, it may create problems.

Be cautious when giving out personal information to websites that guarantee you to shop the competition as they might sell your contact information to predatory lenders, or identity thieves who will continuously try to scam you.

Be a Wise Borrower

As a borrower, make it a practice to borrow only what you can afford to pay. The lenders may be willing to lend you the largest amount possible, but it doesn't mean you have to borrow the maximum.

Besides, it's not really a good idea to do so. You never know what surprises may come in the future even if you can afford the payments.

Takeaway

All online lenders are expected to be completely legitimate and above the board. Unfortunately, scam or fake online lenders now resides on the internet, and you need to avoid them at all costs.

Besides the obvious scammers, be vigilant with legitimate lenders too as some will try to squeeze you by offering bad loan conditions and terms like hidden fees, inflexible repayment options, and excessive APRs. Fortunately, you can more easily identify sketchy online lenders by being aware of the following red flags given above.

The above blog was received from a recent contributor.  We wanted to share with everyone since it has some good points to keep in mind when trying to find trustworthy online lenders like America's Loan Company.  It is quite sad that there are so many ruthless people trying to steal and that they are able to do it so easily.  America's Loan Company does not recommend or discourage the use of any other lenders named in this blog.  The point is to share the basic suggestions on how to avoid online scams.  Our thanks to the contributor, Tiffany Wagner.

Author Bio:

Tiffany Wagner is a full-time writer and contributor for various websites on topics about Credit Score Trends, Banking, finance, and real estate are her favorite go-to subjects to tackle. She’s also a big stock market hobbyist and likes to spend her free time crunching data and numbers. Whenever she has free time, Tiffany cozies up on her favorite cafe and play Sudoku.

 

What would you say is the most nerve wrecking part of applying for a loan?  Submitting the application?  May be, if you try to answer questions on the application in a way that you think will increase your chances of being approved.  But reading the mind of the people who will approve or decline your application is not realistic.  How about providing documentation such as bank statements and pays stubs?  No likely stressful, but, more like just plain work.  How about this one, waiting for a decision to be made based on your credit report?  I think most people find this the most mentally painful as the ways by stressing over a loanwhich credit reporting bureaus determine our credit scores are not always clear to understand.  For example, in our company, America’s Loan Company, we have found people with credit scores at 700 who have one car loan and nothing else.  Yet we find others with more lengthy unsecured loan and credit card credit histories who have slightly lower credit scores.  Although there are several factors that we would look at, all things being equal, we may find the applicant with the good unsecured debt credit history better qualified for a loan.  As far as keeping you credit score good keep this points in mind:

  • It will always help to make you debt payments on time. This shows that can are responsible.
  • Keep older accounts current. In this way lenders can see that you can handle debt long term. 
  • Use less of your available credit. Maxing out you credit limit is not viewed positively.   

But is credit score and credit history the only thing that lenders look at when determining eligibility for a loan?  No.  Looking at income is also a factor.  A borrower who can proof that they have a steady proof of income will have a preferable decision.  If you can prove that you receive a steady monthly, biweekly, or weekly income it makes the lenders less worried about the payments being paid on time.  If you don’t have a steady income, a cosigner may be required.  However, beware those of you who may decide to be a cosigner for someone else.  If the main applicant fails to pay that loan, then the cosigner has joint liability to pay that loan in full.  Our recommendation is that you don’t agree to be a cosigner for a loan unless you are ready to pay for that loan yourself.  Another factor related to income is time of employment.  Obviously, someone who has been with an employer only 3 months may have a more difficult time getting a loan as compare to someone who has been two years with the current employer.

Looking at your bank statements may also determine eligibility for a loan.  For instance, if a bank statement is flooded with nonsufficient funds fee, it will put in doubt that your finances are kept in order.  It makes you look like more of a high risk to loan money to.  But, even if the bank account is kept clean of nonsufficient fund fees, if the bank statements show mostly very low daily balances, like under $20, that may indicate to a lender that there is not much disposable income available to pay another debt.

credit historySo, credit history, credit score, a steady income, length of time with current employer, how you keep your bank account, all can be factors used by lenders to decide whether to trust you with a loan.  If you decide to apply for a loan, please, realize that lenders are not trying to be mean to you.  They are just trying to be responsible and make sure you can handle dealing with a debt.

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