Gerri Detweiler Gravatar

Gerri Detweiler

In Personal Finance, Managing Debt

Gerri Detweiler focuses on helping people understand their credit and debt, and writes about those issues, as well as financial legislation, budgeting, debt recovery and savings strategies. She is also the co-author of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, and Reduce Stress: Real-Life Solutions for Solving Your Credit Crisis as well as host of TalkCreditRadio.com.

Can a Debt Collector Check My Credit?

Managing Debt

Can a Debt Collector Check My Credit?

Can a Debt Collector Check My Credit?

Consumers are often shocked by the amount of information debt collectors have about them — including, sometimes, the amount of available credit on their credit card accounts, or that they recently paid another past-due debt. But how do debt collectors find that out? One way is by checking the debtor’s credit reports, sometimes years after they defaulted on... Read More

5 Times a Loan Beats a Credit Card

Managing Debt

5 Times a Loan Beats a Credit Card

5 Times a Loan Beats a Credit Card

Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to borrow money. Simply pull out the plastic, and charge whatever you need. But easy isn’t always best. In fact, there are times when a personal loan trumps a credit card. Here are five of them: 1. You Need a Debt-Free Date A friend recently complained that he... Read More

7 Ways to Improve Your Credit By Doing Nothing

Credit Score

7 Ways to Improve Your Credit By Doing Nothing

7 Ways to Improve Your Credit By Doing Nothing

If you have a bad credit score, you probably feel like you have to do something to make it better. File a dispute, apply for new credit, or even hire someone to help you repair your credit. Sometimes that’s true. But other times the best thing you can do is … nothing.    Call it... Read More

Can a Debt Collector Take My Kid’s College Fund?

Managing Debt

Can a Debt Collector Take My Kid’s College Fund?

Can a Debt Collector Take My Kid’s College Fund?

Saving for your child’s education is smart, but isn’t always easy. What happens if you scrimp and save but then a debt collector threatens to take it all away? Are college savings accounts safe from creditors? A reader who goes by the name “Wonder,” asks: “If I lose a civil lawsuit, can they collect my... Read More

How to Help Your Kids With Their Lousy Credit

Credit Score

How to Help Your Kids With Their Lousy Credit

How to Help Your Kids With Their Lousy Credit

Most parents don’t want to see their child — even as an adult — face-plant in any endeavor. Parents teach kids to walk and talk, feed them, clothe them and hope they are preparing them well for adulthood. Their instinct (hopefully) is to protect. If a young person isn’t handling credit responsibly, parents may secretly believe... Read More

How to Make Your Car Pay for Itself

Auto Loans

How to Make Your Car Pay for Itself

How to Make Your Car Pay for Itself

Every week it seems we hear from people who are driving a car they can’t afford and are trying to find a way out. It’s no surprise: the average car payment now has reached $483 for a new car and $361 for a used car, according to Experian Automotive. Unfortunately, these readers are also upside... Read More

If I Pay One Debt Collector, Do I Have to Pay the Others?

Managing Debt

If I Pay One Debt Collector, Do I Have to Pay the Others?

If I Pay One Debt Collector, Do I Have to Pay the Others?

If you have several collection accounts — and your phone has been blessedly silent — what happens when you settle one? Will the other collection agencies see that you settled and redouble their efforts to collect from you? A couple of readers have recently reached out to us to ask what collectors see on their credit... Read More

What My Migraines Have Cost Me (So Far)

Personal Finance

What My Migraines Have Cost Me (So Far)

What My Migraines Have Cost Me (So Far)

I vividly remember the first time I learned I had a migraine. I was in my early 20s and had gone in with what I thought was a sinus headache. I had felt terrible for a few days, and figured I had a sinus infection. After spending a few minutes with me, my physician told... Read More

My Spouse Is Dying — How Do We Handle Credit Cards Now?

Credit Cards

My Spouse Is Dying — How Do We Handle Credit Cards Now?

My Spouse Is Dying — How Do We Handle Credit Cards Now?

A reader, Susan, reached out to us with a sad and serious problem: Her husband is dying, and they are wondering if the way they use their credit cards can keep her from having to pay his outstanding debts after he passes. Here’s what she wrote to us: My husband has terminal cancer and we are... Read More

How Soon Can a Debt Collector Sue Me?

Managing Debt

How Soon Can a Debt Collector Sue Me?

How Soon Can a Debt Collector Sue Me?

It took a debt collector less than a month to sue our reader, Monique. She received a letter about a past-due debt and then, less than a month later, a court summons. She’s made arrangements to pay, but she is worried about how this will affect her credit. “I’m not trying to get out of paying,”... Read More

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