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Nonprofits Introduce Free Financial Education Program

[Saturday, April 25th, 2015]

GreenPath Debt Solutions and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) are partnering to offer a financial education program to libraries across the United States at no charge.

Six states, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, are implementing the program at public libraries this spring. More than 30 programs will be presented, providing consumers with financial information and tools from unbiased and knowledgeable sources.

GreenPath CEO Jane McNamara said the nonprofit feels “it is vital to go into the communities we serve to provide personal finance programs.” She said the programs “help people better understand budgeting, credit reports, identity theft prevention, and more.”

Bad credit is a stumbling block people can recover from

People who seek help from GreenPath, the NFCC, and other nonprofit credit counseling services have often fallen on hard times that caused their credit score to plummet. Having bad credit can mean being turned down for loans, credit cards, apartments, and even jobs—but with time, patience, and financial savvy, people can recover from bad credit.

Things like applying for a secured credit card or another type of card for people with bad credit, paying off debt, keeping accounts open, and negotiation with credit issuers to work out payment agreements can all help people rebound from bad credit.

The major factors that affect a person’s credit score are payment history and amount of debt relative to available credit. Other elements include length of credit history, amount of new credit issued, and types of credit (a mix of types of credit is preferable).

Different agencies, different scores

There are several versions of credit scores available, so it’s important to check your credit score with each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. FICO is another organization that offers a credit score, which is based on a combination of factors drawn from the three bureaus. Most people’s scores will be similar across all the different agencies, but in case of faulty information at one bureau, one score could differ significantly.

More and more credit card issuers are giving cardholders free access to FICO scores, so that’s a good place to start, if you don’t know your score. If the state you live in is offering the free NFCC/GreenPath financial education program, be sure to check it out for more help with budgeting, credit scores, and information about identity theft.

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