Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 1) 295

by Sycraft-fu (#47563353) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Also with regards to the 3% charge rate, that is something that likely wouldn't go away, even if everyone went cash. Thing is, cash takes a lot of work to manage. You have to count it (*and account for it) secure it, get it to the bank, etc. If you look at a cash heavy place like a Las Vegas casino you can see the large amount of infrastructure they have in dealing with that. It isn't free. Turns out 3% isn't such a bad charge for not having to deal with that.

My parents ran a small business and they really didn't care for cash transactions. They took it, of course, and it was maybe 10% of their business. However despite not having 3% (or I think like 2.7% with their processor) shaved off the top, they prefered less cash because of the extra work. If they had a cash heavy day it meant having to cycle money out of the register in to the safe, potentially having to go to the bank to get more smaller bills/coins, and having to make bank runs more often per week. All the time spent doing that was time not spent doing something else for the business.

Cash costs money too, which is why most places don't really mind the credit surcharge. Cash might not have a direct surcharge, but there's a cost to dealing with it and the more you deal with it, the more it costs, just like the credit surcharge.

Also, in the rare occasion you do find a business that'll give you a discount for cash (contractors are often like this) you always have the option of using it. It isn't like Visa pays for goons to follow you around and force you to use your card.

Comment: No they don't (Score 1) 295

by Sycraft-fu (#47563321) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

You have no idea how it works, do you?

Debt collectors are nearly always separate companies. So what happens is you get way behind on a payment, the company you owe tries and tries to get money, but they fail. Finally, they just write it off. They then sell your debt to a debt collector. These debt collectors buy it cheap, usually 10% or less of the original amount. The company takes the loss and goes on with it. The collector then tries to get money so that they make a profit on the debt, and not a loss.

Companies do not want to sell a debt because there's no way they can sell it for what it is worth. They'd much rather have the money.

Student loans are a little different, since Sallie Mae does both loans AND collections, and student loans they offer are usually government insured (so they get their money no matter what) and you can't discharge student loan debt. Also they are a complete cluster fuck of stupidity since they are basically the worst combination of private enterprise and government agency (they were originally government, now private, but have something of a special status). They are currently under investigation regarding their practices.

Normal consumer debt though, they don't want you to default on. What they would like is that you run up a lot of debt and they pay it off slowly, paying a lot of interest, but pay it on time and completely. They would not like you to default.

Comment: Bullshit (Score 2) 295

by Sycraft-fu (#47563289) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Now I should note everything I'm going to say here applies to FICO credit score. Banks are certainly welcome to delve deeper and look at individual account performance and make a determination that way. So maybe, and there's no way to know this, the bank would evaluate that pattern more favourably when looking at the account and considering an upgrade to an unsecured account.

However for credit score what matters is (in order of importance):

--Payment history. Paying as agreed (meaning not more than 30 days late) is the biggest thing. Having no delinquencies, collections, defaults, etc is the prime thing. A long history of "pays as agreed" is what matters most.

--Debt burden, meaning how much you owe. For revolving accounts that is the amount of credit available vs the amount used. So having a number of high limit unused credit cards helps your score. For installment/mortgage accounts it is more about how much has been payed off.

--Length of credit history. The longer you've had a credit history, the better it can be. Also the longer you have specific accounts, the more they help.

--Types of credit. The more kinds of credit you've had, the better. This means revolving (like credit cards), installment (like a car loan), and mortgage. If you've multiple categories, that helps more than just having one.

--Credit inquiries. Each time you seek credit, it hurts your score a little for a short while. It isn't much and it doesn't last long, but is has an effect.

That's it. That's how it is calculated. Of those, payment history and debt burden are by FAR the biggest part. So if you have accounts that show you always pay as agreed, and you don't owe much, you'll have good credit.

As an example: I have a mortgage on my primary house, also a paid off mortgage on file since I refinanced (which is technically a new loan so the old one shows as paid off). I have a bunch of credit cards, probably $40,000 in credit, most of which don't get used, I got them because they offered a bribe and then never made use of them again. I have a primary card that I use for pretty much all purchases, and pay off in full each month. My credit score was 820, last time I checked.

The reasons are I have a perfect, lengthy, payment record, two kinds of credit, and I owe very little in relation to my available borrowing power. Hence, good score.

Also when I did a secured card, which admittedly was like 2 decades ago, I paid it off in full every month, and after the prescribed period, 6 months I think, they gave me an unsecured card no issue.

Comment: $1000, not $300 (Score 1) 36

by Animats (#47563223) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

Their presentation for investors quotes a sale price of $1000, not $300. At that price they might be able to do it. How well they'll do it remains to be seen.

Their presentation is all about their XY positioning mechanism. But that's not the problem. The hard problem is dispensing solder paste reliably and precisely, sticking the component down, and using hot air to solder it into place. As with low-end 3D printers, most of the problems are where the weld/soldering action takes place. They don't say much about how that's done.

The important thing is doing a consistently good soldering job. Nobody needs a machine that produces lots of reject boards.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 699

by sumdumass (#47562815) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Umm.. if you would have watched that charlie rose interview with Iran's last president "imadinnerjacket" or whatever his name was, you would know that Iran has no gays. That is a western thing.

This was on the "Bush is teh satan" tour to the UN if you want to look it up. He hit quite a few of the news shows on thst tour.

Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 2) 295

by pla (#47562719) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
And that's the problem with the publics modern perception of credit. Because I do not have a credit card and suggest that you shouldn't either, I'm considered a quack. I buy just as much useless garbage as anyone that modded me down does. I go on vacations, I order things online, I buy soda at the gas station. The only difference is I don't pay a 7% to 30% fee to do all of those things. And that is exactly what a credit card does. It doesn't help your credit. That's a lie driven by marketing campaigns of credit card companies.

You no doubt got modded down because you have virtually every fact you mention entirely wrong. Having a credit card doesn't mean carrying a balance month-to-month, and you don't pay a single penny extra if you don't carry a balance (unless you stupidly sign up for a card with an an annual fee). I actually get 1.5 to 6% back on all my purchases, depending on how they categorize it. Now, you could argue that we pay 3%-ish more for everything as a result of stores passing on the transaction fees to their customers, but then, so do you, and you don't even get the benefits as a result.

And as for your credit rating, sorry, but yes, having a small number of regularly-paid cards most certainly does improve your credit, compared with having no credit history. I could provide you with an hundred links discussing the optimal number of cards and how much to cycle through them monthly, but you could already have done so and apparently chose not to.

Yes, we have a sick view of what "credit" means as a society. That doesn't invalidate the concept itself, just points a damning finger at how badly we tend to misuse it. Kudos to you for at least living within your means (and I mean that sincerely), but you massively overstate the case-for-cash while remaining blissfully ignorant of how credit cards really work in the modern world.

Comment: Re:Worse Than U Think (Score 1) 295

by pla (#47562597) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
I am of the opinion that if the typical person is hit by lightening and we add up the liabilities and assets that we will find most people are worth less than zero.

Although I sadly agree with you, I also have to consider it largely self-inflicted. Once you enter the workforce and pay off your student loans, you should only go UP from there (with the first year of a new car as the exception, though if you can't afford that slight dip between value and equity, you shouldn't buy new cars). We as a culture simply have a really bad habit of living far beyond our means. Make no mistakes, creditors fully exploit that habit, and no doubt someone will reply that they fall into the 1.4% with some insanely expensive medical condition, but in most cases it still comes down to choosing to spend more than we make.

Outstanding mortgages, car loans and other loans are only part of the issue.

A pretty big part - Short of end-of-life care, most of us will have no bigger outstanding debts than mortgages, cars, and student loans.

the cost of dying and the costs of burials as well as the cost of settling estates

Not material - Although it varies by state, you can get your body disposed of for under $100 (I've often seen $300 cited as the floor for a "cardboard box of ashes", though other cheaper options exist). And for an "estate" with negative net worth, your loved ones can always refuse to have anything to do with it and let the state eat the cost (though most people choose to "do the right thing" for dear-old-$30k-in-debt-dad). And as for the cost of dying, I can guarantee you that my end-of-life care will never push my net worth lower than the price of one last bullet. Again, we choose to drag out that last pathetic six months, at phenomenal expense both financial and emotional. No thanks!

The support of your kids, their education, your widow's needs all are considerations.

Can't afford kids? Don't have any. I realize that counts as all-but-heresy, but seriously, kids cost a lot; if you can't afford those three teens you mention, consider having just one, or even zero. As for your widow, if she can't support herself, you chose poorly in marrying someone incapable of surviving in the modern world in your absence. I want my partner fully capable of getting along without me in the event of my sudden death; I would consider it nothing short of cruel on my part to have her financially dependent on me, and that doesn't mean buying some scam of an insurance policy, it means she can very much support herself on her own income and retirement planning (though admittedly, if I die before we pay off the house, she'd likely need to find a new partner with which to split the household expenses).

Don't get me wrong, I realize we have some wiggle room here, and don't mean this quite as monstrously as it probably sounds. But bluntly, it all comes down to choosing not to live within our means, and you describe some of the biggest examples of that. Choose better

Comment: Re:Not surprised. (Score 1) 295

by sumdumass (#47562297) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

They likely sold your debt to another company who packaged it and sold it yet again. The debt is probably so far down the line that they probably sell it as soon as they figure they won't collect.

If they take you to small claims court, counter sue them for the amount. Someone will show up, or you will win by default and can pay them with their own money.

Also, send request for a validation of the debt in writing. Your state may have other solutions, but I believe federal law requires them to validate the debt once you do this. If they do not, they lose the right to try and collect it.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"