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Glossary

B

Bad Credit

A term used to describe a poor credit rating. Common practices which can damage your credit rating include late or missed payments, exceeding the limit on cards, defaulting on loans or declaring bankruptcy. "Bad Credit" can result in the denial of future credit.

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Balance/Amount Owed

The total amount you owe the issuer including any unpaid balance from last month, new purchases, cash advances, and any other charges such as an annual fee, late fees or interest charges. The "Amount I Owe" should not be confused with the minimum payment due (the minimum amount allowed each month).

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Balance Calculation Method

Balance Calculation Method is the method used by a credit card issuer to calculate the balance owed and the interest due each month.

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Balance Transfer

Transferring balances from one credit card to another, usually to take advantage of a lower interest rate. Transfers are limited to the available credit on the receiving card.

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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal declaration of your inability to repay your debts. Bankruptcy should be viewed as a last resort. It will have a severe impact on your credit rating and will remain on your credit report for up to ten years. Furthermore, bankruptcy is not a solution in all cases. Federal student loans, Federal tax debt and child support are all exempt from bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy agreements vary but there are two types of agreements that most people choose: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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Chapter 7

In a Chapter 7 agreement, the court resolves most debts by selling assets and property so that the filer is given a fresh financial start. The court normally takes all assets including your car, home, furnishings, jewelry or anything else of value. The assets are sold to pay off the debt.  

  • There are some debts you may wish to repay on your own instead of having the court resolve them. This is called reaffirmation. Reaffirmation is a special payment plan with the court. For example, if you reaffirm your car loan, you keep the car and make car payments under new terms.
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not eliminate debts due to taxes, child support, alimony, student loans, court fines or personal injury caused by driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. A Chapter 7 filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years.

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Chapter 13

In a Chapter 13 agreement, the court creates a debt repayment plan that allows you to keep your property.  

  • In order to file Chapter 13, you must have a source of income and promise to pay part of your income to creditors. The court allows you to keep any assets that have debts against them if you pay them off under terms determined by the court.
  • Chapter 13 filing can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. With Chapter 13, there is a better chance of obtaining future loans and credit.

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Billing Cycle

The number of days between your last statement date and your current statement date.

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Billing Statement

A monthly bill from your credit card issuer which describes and summarizes the activity on your account including the outstanding balance, purchases, payments, credits, interest charges and other transactions for the month.

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Borrower

The person who signs and agrees to the terms of a promissory note and is responsible for repaying the loan.

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Bottom Line

The bottom line is your monthly income less expenses.

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Budget

The financial record you use to keep track of the money you earn, how much you spend and what you spend it on. Your budget also includes savings and how much you pay to your creditors.

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