Many clients often ask how they will be able to do ANYTHING after bankruptcy as in their eyes; the whole world operates on “credit”. My friend, and author of “Bounce Back from Bankruptcy”, Paula Langguth Ryan, wrote a free how-to guide for traveling without credit. Paula put much time and research into figuring out various companies’ policies on accepting cash v. credit, and what ways consumers can book reservations for everything from car rentals to hotels to plane tickets without using credit. This resource is a great place to start planning a trip for anyone looking to avoid credit card traps and pitfalls.
Making reservations without credit has increasingly become an easier task with the influx of technology. Sites like PayPal allow you to pay online for various goods and services simply by linking to your checking account; no credit needed. In addition, services like Uber provide traditional transportation style services you might otherwise use a cab for, but in an untraditional, tech savvy way through booking and paying for services via an App on your Smartphone. The good and the bad about the “changing of the times” is that increasingly there are options available to consumers to pay for their goods and services that do not involve the need or requirement to have credit. Even major retailers like Target have debit card options in addition to their credit card options.
Of particular note, there are also several ways to appear as though you have a credit card when in fact you do not; VISA/AMEX gift cards are a perfect example of this. These cards act as credit cards because they have the necessary “VISA” or “American Express” designations, but they do not actually provide you credit, just access to money you pre-pay onto the card. This is not only a great way to operate in a “credit” world without credit, but it’s a great way for people who are in financial recovery, to get back on their feet placing themselves on a budget. Setting aside a pre-paid VISA card for certain expenses, loading it with a certain amount of money at the beginning of the month and then not being able to use it once the money runs out, is a great way to teach young people about living on a budget, and to help you control your own spending habits. Beware however, some of these cards charge $3-6 purchase fees and may even have monthly maintenance fees associated. Always read the fine print.
Tiffany Franc is an attorney in PK Law’s Corporate and Business Services Group. She provides Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 legal advice and representation to individuals, and advice on bankruptcy alternatives, including debt restructuring and rehabilitation, to consumers facing debt collection, garnishment, liens and foreclosure and is trained in handling short sales and mortgage loan modifications. Ms. Franc can also assist businesses and individuals with navigating bankruptcy as a creditor.
In addition, Mrs. Franc represents clients in adoption proceedings (adult, step-parent, 2nd parent, interstate (ICPC) and finalizations in MD of out-of-state or out-of-country placements), child custody/access and child support matters, absolute and limited divorce hearings, prenuptial agreements and settlement negotiations in family law matters.
Tiffany can be reached at 410-832-5450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.