Kristy's Blog

Geeky Financial Observations along the Digital Highway

Kristy's Blog header image 4

Entries Tagged as 'On The Road'

How Do Credit Card Companies Verify Your Income?

June 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Dollars are flying in the sky.

Even though it’s a crime to exaggerate your income on credit card applications or loan paperwork, many people are tempted to do just that so they can obtain the best credit terms possible. But just how do credit card issuers verify a potential borrowers income? Interestingly enough, credit card issuers do not directly verify your income before opening a credit account for you. This practice stands in stark contrast to lenders that issue home mortgages or car loans that do check to ensure that your income is the amount you stated on your application.

While credit card companies will take you at your word in terms of the income you state on your application, they do verify that your income is consistent with all of the other financial data you reported on your application. Income is indirectly inferred from entries like reported car payments or mortgage payments.

Not All Credit Cards Are Created Equal

One notable exception to the general credit verification practices of almost every other credit card is how American Express will periodically review the finances of its cardholders. When this happens, all of the consumer’s AmEx accounts are temporarily suspended and AmEx requires that person to grant the company access to their tax returns, which allows them to directly verify your income. After they’ve completed their review, and found that the consumer’s income is the amount that was reported, then all accounts are re-activated.

In cases where a consumer has generated a considerable amount of debt and is late making a payment, a credit card company may ask that consumer to verify their income.

What Can You Do To Make Your Income Look Larger?

Even though you must be honest about reporting the size of your income, most credit card companies have fairly broad criteria as to what constitutes income. You can use the salary from your job of course, but did you know that you can use investment income, income from rental properties, federal and state benefit payments, freelance income, alimony, and child support as part of your income. So, if you have a full or a part-time job, and you’re getting Social Security, you can combine those amounts to pump up the amount of income you can report.

In addition to the income streams stated above, the provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allow consumers to combine their income with that of their spouse or domestic partner so long as they are actually sharing expenses such as credit card payments.

Why Honesty Is The Best Policy When It Comes To Reporting Income

Most Americans are taught from childhood that it’s always best to tell the truth, and that lying is wrong. As the old saying goes, “you can’t cheat an honest man.” Honest people also don’t have to worry when a lender or the IRS vets their finances. Remember that lying on financial forms is a form of fraud that can you get you fined with fines up to seven figures (!), or even be sentenced to jail time (up to 30 years). People have been convicted of lying on credit card forms to obtain high credit limits that they were subsequently unable to pay off. One extreme case in 2012, involved a New York resident named David P. Gaylord, who falsely stated his income at between $90,00 and $122,000 per year on credit card applications, while simultaneously telling the IRS that he only made $12, 488 in 2006. Gaylord wound up running up thousands of dollars in charges that he was unable to repay, and declared bankruptcy. When the FBI finally caught up with Gaylord, he was given a sentence of time served, with an additional five years of supervised release. Plus, Gaylord had to pay a whopping $46, 914.73 in restitution.

Consider Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

Given the example cited above, you can see why it’s always the best idea to be honest about your stated income. Remember that one of the things that all credit card issuers look at is your debt-to-income ratio, which should be about 36% or less, if you want to be considered a good credit risk. However, if your income isn’t that spectacular and you’re worried about your income stream looking good on a credit card application, there are some things you can do.

  • Pay down existing credit card accounts, not just your cards with revolving accounts, but any card that shows an outstanding balance. These amounts will be reported on your credit report as debts.
  • If you are applying for an additional card with a company that you already have an account with, it’s doubly important to pay down as much existing debt as possible. As soon you do that, it will have a favorable effect on your credit picture with that company.
  • If the company denies you additional credit, you can always contact them and negotiate. Ask them if they will close one of your other accounts, or transfer an existing balance to the new card you’re applying for. It never hurts to ask.

Things To Avoid On Your Credit Card Applications

Credit card companies may not always verify your income, but remember that they have a perfect right to do so. In order to avoid getting in trouble for providing false information on credit card applications, you should strenuously avoid the following actions:

  • Inflating or distorting the amount of income you earn from any source, including jobs, investments, government payments, etc.
  • Under-reporting your current rent or mortgage payments.
  • Reporting that you’re gainfully employed when you’re not.
  • Failing to accurately report how much debt you’re carrying. This one is easily verifiable and can quickly blow up in your face.
  • Don’t under-report your income on your income tax returns. If you’re caught doing this, it will have serious repercussions. It’s simply not worth it to be a tax cheat.

You may think that your little white lies about how much you make or a credit card issuer won’t notice how much debt you’re carrying. It is expensive to carry out a full investigation of someone’s income, but if you’re applying for a significant amount of credit, the credit card company may actually go to the trouble of checking you out. Honesty really is the best policy, just in case your finances are fully vetted.

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road

5 Signs You Are a Jerk and How to Fix It.

February 25th, 2015 · No Comments

From Inc. Magazine, geared strictly towards work practices, like getting a resignation letter instead of firing someone, you get no feedback: http://bit.ly/1ajDjQP

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road

Camping Rim of Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon

June 4th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Directions from Phoenix: (all mileage #’s are ROUGH estimates)
*******************
From I-17 to the I-40 junction at Flagstaff. Go west on I-40. Turn right at the Flagstaff Ranch Road exit. Go to the stop sign and turn right onto Old Route 66. Turn right at the Woody Mountain Campground onto Forest Road 231 (Woody Mountain Road) for 21 miles and watch for Forest Road 231A. Do not take Forest Road 231A but continue along Forest Road 231 for another .8 of a mile, looking for the second turnoff to the right. This is FR 231E and is also signed “Fernow Draw.” Stay on the main road and drive another 10-15 miles. We will be camping on the right side of the road on the edge of the canyon.

[Read more →]

Tags: Every day life · On The Road

2nd Post from India

February 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Well, I made it through 1 week. I am resigned to the fact that I will have to go it alone with the kids next week and the week after. Christina has gotten our Global Volunteer leader to adhere to his promise of construction work. Even I will get to do a little.

We decided that if we were going to see anything of India at all we would have to be proactive. So we made a schedule for the week. Tonight we didn’t have anything planned, so I am writing this post.

Tuesday we went to go see this phenomenal Hindu Indian traditional dance at the student dance center. It’s called Bharata Natyam Dance. (For more details, see this description in Wikipedia.) The dances take 6 years to learn. Yes, you read that right – 6 years. One of the dances lasted for 20 full minutes and every step and facial movement had to be perfect. It’s such a difficult dance mostly because of the facial expressions that have to be precisely timed to the dance steps. Each eye movement has its own name.

The music included a live band and singer. At the end of the dance, the dancer graduated and received her certificate that she could perform the dance at a temple. The dances lasted for a total of an hour and a half. You’d think I would get tired of sitting still for this long for a dance. Nope. I was entranced.

While India is poor, we do enjoy many luxuries here. For instance, the house has our own private cook who cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner, unless we go out for a meal. When we go anywhere, we have our own private driver. The cost of a 45 minute each way drive into downtown Chennai to see the dance, plus waiting for us outside, plus taking us to the downtown temple and wating for us? 600 rupees, which is about $12.

We are chauffeured to all the schools as well, but it’s not a limousine, or even a car, it’s an autorigshaw, which is basically a 3 wheeled motor cycle with a cab over the top of it. Each side is open. We go through the crazy traffic in this little vehicle, surrounded by other autorigshaws, motorcycles, buses and cars.

Today I got an oil massage, and it was an extremely bizarre experience. We drove to the hospital, and the massage lady met us there. I was lead to a room where patients were recovering from treatment, most of them had IV’s in them. The massage therapist took my blood pressure.

Then I was led to a room that had what looked like an operating table, no sheet, no cushions. I was told to put on the equivalent of a loin cloth. The massuse poured hot oil on me and then 2 ladies rubbed me down, front and back, and I mean front and back. I got a facial and then was put in a box with steam that only had a hole for my head for about 15 minutes. It was slightly claustrophobic. I felt like one of those ladies who was about to be sawed in two by a magician.

We then went up to St. Thomas mount, where St. Thomas was buried. The church gets all the best real estate. We could see the whole city of Chennai. The road on the way up there was overrun with goats.

Though Christina does not like working with the kids, I am kinda of enjoying getting to know them. I am mentoring two boys who are studying to go to college and want to learn English. The older boy will be graduating from the 12th grade next year and wants to be an engineer. He is very determined and he will probably make it. I am also helping two older girls who want to go to college. The oldest girl knows HTML – so we may be having html classes at the dormitory as it has internet access.

College tuition is cheap by our standards; a good school costs $2K a year. Still, with the average income of $120 a month, this is out of reach for most Indians.

I like teaching at the Grace Schools. The kids are rambunctious but I like them as a whole. The third grade is the biggest class. It’s tough to keep 10 eight year old’s attention. The 4th graders are a smaller class, but their English is much better. The 5 grader’s English is the best but they can be the most difficult to control. I like all of the kids at Grace Schools. Next week I will be teaching them as well as spending time at SEEMS. I will also be teaching Shiba and Stephen to do HTML.

I wore my first salwar kameerz today and everyone loved it, especially me. I will wear my other one when we do the “Golden Triangle of Temples” on Sunday. I’ll tell you more later….

[Read more →]

Tags: India · On The Road

Want to add a sarcasm mark to your emails?

February 11th, 2010 · No Comments

You can download the figure.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6995354/Sarcasm-punctuation-mark-aims-to-put-an-end-to-email-confusion.html

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road

My New Credit Video Series Released!

January 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road

Lessons in Tahitian

September 17th, 2009 · No Comments

In preparation for my Tahiti trip!

The Tahitian alphabet contains only thirteen letters. Vowels: a as in car, e as in may, i as in machine, o as in cold, and u as in salute.

Consonants: f,h,m,n,p,r,t,v pronounced as in English with the exceptions of theh pronounced sh when preceded by i or followed by o and the r sometimes having a trill sound.

hello, good day, friendly greeting – ia orana
goodbye – nana
welcome – maeva
thank you – mauru’uru
no problem!, no worries! – aita pe’ape’a
how are you? – eaha te huru?
good! – maita’i
to your health, toast – manuia

house – fare
bank – fare moni
church – fare pure
post office – fare rata
hospital – fare ma’i
store – fare toa

doctor – taote
police – muto’i

man – tane
woman – vahine
child – tamarii

yes – e, oia
no – aita

small – iti
big, large – nui

islet in the lagoon – motu
ancient temple – marae
traditional quilts – tifaifai
traditional dance – tamurei
fenua – land
flower – tiare
ocean – moana
sun – mahana
moon – avae
star – fetia
earth oven – himaa
feast – tamaaraa

morning – poipoi
evening – ahiahi

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road

Burning Man Live Radio Streams

August 20th, 2009 · No Comments

[Read more →]

Tags: Burning Man · Geek Speak · On The Road

Genius Adventures at the Apple Store

July 13th, 2009 · 3 Comments

My friend Jay sent me this rant (actually he was alluding to it big time on Facebook):

Apple (Don’t go fuck yourself because we’ve already fucked you) Computer – Specifically the fucking Apple Brainwashed Monkeys that work in the Apple Store at the Florida Mall. Although I’ve seen them in every other Apple Store.

-deep breath-

I bought an iMac for my Chicago Apt last May instead of getting a TV. I needed something that would do it all. They upgraded me to the top of the line 24″ machine and to the wireless keyboard and mouse. I got the Eye TV tuner as well, paid thousands of dollars and hailed a cab to get the fucking thing home. Hooked it all up… Nice… It just worked. For about 2 weeks… then I started getting this error popup every time I booted up. ‘A USB Device is currently drawing too much power. The hub to which it is connected will be deactivated’. Ummm ok.. Do what you have to do… It didn’t appear to make any difference to the way things operated. So, this carried on and at the odd times that I actually rebooted the machine, I clicked through the error.

Fast forward to May (note the purchase time frame above-just past 1 year by 1 day). The error starts pooping up during normal use.. but this time-to make things extra special, the Bluetooth devices stop working. So… no mouse… no keyboard… Makes it pretty fucking difficult to use it… So… I would do a hard reboot… and then, sometimes it would be fine-other times not. I lived with this for a couple weeks as I had a wired mouse and could at least navigate at bit… then in June it got unbearable… Bluetooth would just disappear. Not there… I would have to physically unplug the machine for a time-the reboot it.

So I called Apple. The first person I spoke to wouldn’t go anywhere near my machine until I purchased the Apple Care service plan. Fine I said I would purchase the 3 year plan. OK great that will hundreds of dollars for 2 years of coverage. No-3 year plan. No you see you should have purchased it a year ago… we charge the same no matter when you buy it…. pay for 3 years get 2. I think this is fuckered and decline.

I call back and get someone else who-even though I don’t have the Apple Care plan proceeds to attempt to help me anyway-with a 15 minute limit…

‘Let’s see what we can do in that time’… Nothing as it turns out. But he is convinced it is software related and that if I purchase the plan we could do it and get it fixed. Again I express my concern that I’m paying for 3 years and only getting 2. Yep-that’s the way it is. So, I’m getting a little frustrated here and he says..

‘You know-if you take into the Apple Store they will probably fix it for you right then and there for nothing’. Really-Happy Dance.

So— after suffering through for another couple of weeks.. I pack the thing up (It’s Heavy) and head on down to the mall… Of course I have to lug it through half the mall to get to the Apple store where I’m met by.. Nobody. Too busy you see… On a Thursday… So I walk over to the ‘Genius Bar’ (Most self important fucking name ever). And I wait… And I wait.. Finally I say hey Kasper (his name but he could have been a ghost) I’ve got an appointment and my name is up on the display. Can you help me. His response: ‘You need to have a concierge check you in’. Fuck me is that all it takes… So I ask where is the concierge.. ‘They are the ones in the Orange T-shirts’… So I look around… Not a single fucking orange t-shirt to be seen…. I point this out to Kasper who gives the ‘you are an idiot’ sigh… and says OK-hold on…

And hold on I do.. Right to that fucking Genius Bar… not a genius or drink to be seen but still full of condescension and loathing… (note to file-WINE Bar is the way to go).

30 Minutes after my appointment we get started… haul it out and place it on the bar… Hook it up… and attach a wired mouse and keyboard… Oh-I point out that this is where things go wrong for me using wireless devices.. not to worry-he was wireless devices in the back… and off he goes… yep… for 15 minutes Kasper the Genius is in the back…I can see tons of wireless devices on the shelves but those wont cut it.. we need the ones labeled ‘Backup #1′ in black sharpie on duct tape… I realize they don’t sell label makers at the Apple Store.

So-as it turns out-and I suspected… wired devices… everything works… wireless things go to shit… He sees the problem. He understands…. he checks for a new Bluetooth Chip… in the back.. another 15 minutes away. I’m starting to understand now… just coincidence that breaks last 15 minutes as well, surely… Of course they don’t have the part… So— 90 minutes after my appointment time.. we order parts that should be there within 5 days…. and he suggests I buy a wired keyboard (which I do). We will call you when the parts come in. So I ask-when I do bring it back.. how long to repair it.. ‘1 or 2 days… we might even be able to repair it while you wait’. Great… Pack it up and carry that fucker back through the mall with my brand new $55 keyboard.

This past Friday they call and tell me leave me voice mail telling me the parts are in and that I can bring it back anytime before Thursday. No appointment necessary. Neat-o. I should point out now that at this point the error message is popping up multiple times-all the time-wired devices or not…

Tuesday morning I pack it up and head back down to the mall… Haul it and walk into the store looking for the elusive Concierge… and lo-and-behold.. there she is.. right behind the counter ringing up sales… seems in Appleland Concierge = CASHIER. So I wait… and I wait… Finally I throw out the ‘Excuse me can I check in please’…. ‘Ok just a minute’… So after just a couple minutes (I was expecting break time) she asks me what time my appointment was scheduled for. ‘I don’t have an appointment’. ‘Oh. You need an appointment and we can’t schedule those in the store. You have to do that online.’ I explain the situation and hand her my Apple Care Work Order… She reads, turns to me and says in the cutest, nicest, most-not my problem voice… ‘I’ve never seen one of these and don’t know what to do with it’. My response-as nice as can be-Perhaps someone in a Blue t-shirt will know… So off she goes looking for the Blue t-shirt.. (these are the Geniuses… at least that was what they were wearing the week before). One follows her back, speaks to me, takes my iMac and tells me to ‘Wait’.

So I wait… and wait… only about 10 minutes this time.. and there he is… walking back to me-iMac box in hand… could it be that they actually did the repair ‘while I waited’ as forewarned??? LOL Of course not.. the box was EMPTY! ‘We will call you when it is ready in 1 or 2 days’.

*sigh*

So I take my empty box out to the truck and head home confident that I will have it back soon.

Yesterday (day 2) I call the Apple store… and get Sandy on the phone. Very pleasant girl. She looks up my information… informs me that my parts are there… and that it will be 5-7 days unless I was told otherwise… Yippee Fucking Skippee… ‘I was in fact told it would be 1-2 days’. ‘Oh… and today is day 2′. Shes really good… She tells me that she will put my computer on the Bench and that the ‘Genius is scheduled to be in later that day’. Great. I’ll call back tomorrow.

So today is here… It’s Friday. I want my fucking computer back for the weekend. I was only planning on it being gone 1-2 days…

So I call… and here is where I loose it… I get Anthony on the phone.. ‘Yes I see your computer is here on the bench Mr. Pierre. But we have not had any Geniuses here all week to actually do any work. So I can’t tell you when it will be ready.’

‘What?’

‘Sorry sir, there were supposed to be here but they haven’t shown up. One of them might come in tomorrow but I can’t tell you for sure’.

‘Anthony-You are telling me then that you have no idea when your own staff is scheduled to work?’

‘No, he was scheduled to work yesterday but didn’t make it. He was scheduled to work today, but hasn’t shown up. He is supposed to work tomorrow too but I doubt he will be here.’

Fuck me… How do I get that gig!

‘You need to do better than that Anthony-come on…’

‘What do you want me to say? I don’t know.’

And there it was… in a fucking nut shell.. the most honest fucking answer you’re ever going to get from Apple. I don’t know.

I’m off to the mall-empty box in hand… in case they just throw the parts and computer at me and tell me to fix it myself…

[Read more →]

Tags: Geek Speak · On The Road · The Stupid Things People Do

How to Sniff Out a Liar

June 25th, 2009 · No Comments

If you’re prone to fibbing – here is a list of tell-tale signs. The most interesting to me is that when lying, people tend to NOT use their hands.

Scales of Justice

http://www.forbes.com

[Read more →]

Tags: On The Road