Rei network Webinar: Understanding Credit: Better Money Habits Live Captioning Transcript

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REI Network Webinar: Understanding Credit: Better Money Habits Live Captioning Transcript

>> Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today for our webinar on Better Money Habits: Understanding Credit. My name is Michael Roush. And I am with the National Disability Institute. I'm the manager of financial empowerment and innovation. I'd just like to share with everyone that I am in a location where we are having a storm, and so if by chance I lose power, please note that Keith Combs and Elizabeth Jennings who are with NDI, might be jumping in. So just to let you know at the beginning that if we happen to lose power, we have other staff who will take over the webinar. I'm excited that today I'm joined by Rob Habgood, a senior vice president of the consumer and business lending group. And is a credit and underwriting executive at Bank of America. We're also joined by Colleen Arons, who's the senior vice president of brand strategy and management, and also is the Better Money Habits executive at Bank of America. I'm also joined today by my colleague Keith Combs who is the manager of financial empowerment at the National Disability Institute. Before we get started with today's webinar, we do have a few housekeeping tips that we need to go over. And I would like to introduce my colleague Nakia Matthews, who will go over those details with us. Nakia?

>> Thank you, Michael. Good afternoon, everyone. The audio for today's webinar is being broadcast through your computer. Please make sure that your speakers are turned on and your headphones are plugged in. You can control the audio broadcast via the audio broadcast panel, which you see here below. And if you accidentally close this panel, or if the sound stops or becomes unintelligible, you can reopen the audio broadcast panel by going to the top menu communicate, join audio broadcast. If you do not have sound capabilities on your computer or you'd prefer to listen by phone, you can dial (650)479-3207 and entered the meeting code 669-19-2945. You do not need to enter an attend the ID. I will also paste is number into the chat box. Realtime captioning is provided during this webinar. The captions can be found in the media viewer panel which appears in the lower right-hand portion of the webinar platform. If you'd like to make the media viewer panel larger, you can do so by minimizing some of the other panels like chat, Q&A or participants and conversely if you do not need captioning, you can close this panel. We will have a Q&A portion at the end of the webinar. Please use the chat box or the Q&A box to send any questions you may have during the webinar to either Michael Roush, Keith Combs, or me, Nakia Matthews, and we will direct those questions accordingly during the Q&A portion. If you are listening by phone and not locked into the webinar, you may also ask questions by e-mailing them directly to Keith at If you experience any technical difficulties during this webinar, please use the chat works to send me, Nakia Matthews, a message. Or may -- you may e-mail me directly at

>> Great. Thank you, Nakia. So today's webinar is about having a conversation on credit. And our guest presenters will help us define credit, provide tax on building current -- tips on building credit and understand why credit is important, as well as help us identify tools and resources that we can use to help our clients better understand credit. Today's webinar has a bit of a different format in that we want to give you the opportunity to ask the questions you have about credit. Our guest presenter will answer a few of the most asked questions about credit, and will then address questions that you might have surrounding credit. As Nakia mentioned, you can submit those questions through the chat box on the lower right-hand corner of your screen. So after today's webinar, we hope that each of you will have a better understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. And when it comes to building financial capabilities. Also, each of you will have better understanding of the definition of what credit is. And the impact or the effect of having poor credit. And of course, how to improve, definitely improve, a credit score. Also at the end of this webinar, you'll have a better understanding of how to understand free credit reports, and also have a better understanding of how to access Bank of America's Better Money Habits program. I would like to recognize our sponsors and give special thanks to Walmart, Bank of America, Acorda Therapeutics, Burton Blatt Institute, and the Internal Revenue Service. Before we start talking about credit, for those of you that are new to the National Disability Institute, I would like to share with you briefly a little bit of information on the National Disability Institute. The National Disability Institute is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for Americans with disabilities. We are the first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic e mpowerment, asset development, and financial stability for all persons across a full spectrum of disabilities. National Disability Institute affects change through public education, training, technical assistance, and policy development to help the one in three Americans with disabilities living in poverty to take steps towards a brighter financial future. To learn more about the National Disability Institute, go to To become engaged or a part of this conversation, if you are not already, to further explore the idea of building a better economic future for persons with disabilities, we encourage you to join National Disability Institute' s real economic impact network. An alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing the economic empowerment of people with disabilities. The network consists of more than 900 partners and -- in more than 100 cities across the United S tates. The network includes nonprofits, energy tax coalitions, asset development organizations, financial education, corporations and private sector, federal, state, local governments and agencies and individuals and family members with disabilities. All partners of the network joined forces to embrace, promote, and pursue access and inclusion of people with disabilities in the economic mainstream. As we begin to look at the important topic of credit, first let's look at some background information on the disability community. At National Disability Institute and our network we feel that no group in America is in more need and more deserving of economic recoveries and persons with disabilities. 58 millions Americans with disabilities or one in five of the population have a disability. 20 million families have at least one member with a disability. And persons with disabilities are two times more likely than their peers without a disability to live at or below the poverty line. Additionally, more often than not, there's a dependence on public benefit for income, healthcare, food, and housing that oftentimes becomes a trap that requires staying poor to stay eligible. Credit is a hot topic -- providing technical assistance and training. Our network has asked for more information on this topic. That's why we bring this webinar to you today. When we look at persons with disabilities, what we find is that at times, individuals may not have established credit due to their financial situations. Or they may have another person that manages their finances and haven't established credit. Or in some cases, an individual might -- may have become disabled and can no longer pay their credit card debt or their bills due to limited work and/or resources. Or the other piece that we -- when we work with individuals on is that they become a victim of identity theft. Where their credit has been impacted by that. So we recognize that credit is an important component of maintaining positive financial health. We also recognize that it is an important asset for each of us to have as well as the clients that we work with. So with that, let's look deeper at what credit is and how do we help our clients improve their credit score and credit history? With that, we are fortunate today to have Rob Habgood, the senior vice president of consumer and business lending group and a credit and underwriting [Indiscernible] at Bank of America. Rob will be sharing with us the most frequently asked questions, and we will then be taking your questions as well surrounding this topic of credit. So with that, I'd like to turn it over to Rob. Rob?

>> Thank you very much, Michael. It's great to be here today. Why don't we go ahead and jump in with some of the key questions? And then look forward to the open Q&A section. If we go to the base question here, what is credit? Credit is basically your reputation as a borrower. And it tells others -- which mainly will be banks or other credit grantors -- how likely you are to repay your loans. Credit is comprised of all the information about your borrowing history. So all of the credit accounts that you've had over time and how you have paid on those accounts. And used those accounts. And that is all pulled together into the credit report that comes from credit bureaus. So that's what credit is. Let's talk about credit report versus credit scores. So a credit report is a full listing of all the information about your borrowing history, and is generated from one of the three main credit reporting agencies. You've probably -- may have heard of these names. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are the three major credit reporting agencies. What they have there is a summary of your financial obligations along with your history of repaying debt and other bills. And it also contains your personal information to identify you. The credit reporting agencies report on the information that they obtained from banks and credit card companies and other credit g rantors. And when you as a consumer are applying for employment or insurance or any form of credit -- if you're looking to buy a house to get a mortgage to buy that house or to buy a car and finance the car, a credit euro is often requested from one of these three credit reporting agencies. Now, credit score is a numerical calculation of all that information that's on your credit report. And the credit score is a prediction of your credit risk. Which basically means how likely you are to repay a loan and make your payments on time. So you may have heard of some of the more broadly used scores in the marketplace. There's the FICO, or the Vantage score. And they are examples of credit scores. And they typically are in a range of 300 to 850. And the higher you are on that range, means the lower your credit risk is. So the better you are as a potential credit customer. So if we go to the next question, how do you access this information? How do you access a credit report? There's a free source. You'll see it here,, where you can go get a free copy of your credit report from the nationwide credit reporting companies. And you can receive one free report each year. And you can get one from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year. You can also call the annual credit report organization at the number you see there. 1(877)322-8228. To request your free credit report. Or you can also download a form to request one via mail. You can also request a report directly from the individual credit reporting agencies for a fee. So what determines credit score? A credit score as I said is based on all of that information on your credit report. And it's based on your history of paying bills on time, and the amount of credit that you use based on what is available to you. So key metrics that are used here, payment history, the amount of revolving debt or the amount of debt that you owe, the total credit line that is available to you, and that will oftentimes be looked at in a ratio. So what's your total debt as a percentage of the total credit line that's available to you? So that sometimes is called utilization. How long you have had credit, which is sometimes called the depth of your file. And then how often you apply for credit. So are you applying for credit cards or other forms of credit? Those are reported in the credit bureau and they're often called inquiries. So those are a lot of the metrics that go into the determining of credit score. So how can you improve a credit score? It's really going back to those key metrics. Number one here is to ensure that you pay your bills on time. And you manage the amount of debt that you have. In terms of the inquiries, you want to make sure that you don't apply for too much credit. At one time. If you have a lot of inquiries, in a confined period of time, that will be an indication of risk. You want to demonstrate your stability with having stable employment and residence, which will indicate your financial stability. Then it's also important to review your credit report on an annual basis. To make sure that it is correct and to make sure you understand where you stand. Understand what your credit score is. And see if you can work to manage and improve that over time. There are a lot of resources to help you to learn more about credit. There's just three that we've called out here.,, and Better Money -- That's a great lead-in for me to pass it over to Colleen, who's going to tell you more about Better Money

>> Thank you, Rob. It's great to be here. And as Rob was able to share some of his expertise on credit, we are really pleased to be able to offer a free resource to everyone that takes advantage of some of the bank' s subject manner experts, then also really, really combines that with some of the learning expertise of our partner, Khan Academy. That's the inspiration for If you can advance to the next p age, I'll give you a flavor of what this program is all about. It's about a-year-old. We launched it in April 2013, inspired by this idea that we know a lot about personal finance, but the idea of actually educating people and helping people tap into that knowledge is where we needed help. So, Academy is a fantastic partner. They are a real innovator in online education. And we began working together, over a year ago, and are pleased with what we've been able to accomplish. The goal here again is to provide free and unbiased financial education. So it is not meant to sell you a product. It is not meant to have a strong point of view about you should do this or you should do that. The whole idea here is to lay out the facts, lay out the options for people, and people are certainly capable of making their own decisions. So that's the goal. We are of course focused on key topics like credit. I think Rob's given you a lift -- a flavor of what you might be able to find but importantly, foundational topics like budgeting and saving, home buying, and future topics around managing debt, paying down debt, planning for large purchases, things that would include a home but also perhaps smaller Ticket items like new refrigerator, new appliance, the things that don't require a mortgage but certainly do require good credit. Taxes are another topic we plan to take on and you have some pieces of content that address it today. And another big area that we're excited about that we hope you all will be interested in too is talking with kids about money. We've really done a ton of research in the first year and what we -- what we hear again and again is that many parents feel like they are still learning. They really want to make sure that their kids develop the right habits and the right perspective around money early on. So that perhaps they can avoid some of the harder lessons that their parents faced in life. So that's the idea of Better Money Habits. Again, it is free and available to all at On the next slide, we can get a sense of what that looks like. So there's an image here on the slide that shows you our homepage. And it's actually -- when you go there today, you'll see different videos, you can navigate across the different topics I just mentioned, the current topics that we're focused on. There are even pieces of content that talk about the partnership with Khan Academy. If you're interested in learning more about what goes on that, you can hear from Sal himself. And importantly our library, which you can access at view all videos, has over 60 videos. They are videos that range across the different topics. They include a lot of animated videos. Ones that we've created as well as original, Academy videos -- Khan Academy videos. They also have live action videos, ones that we created from a Google hang out that actually Rob Habgood participated in back in November of 2013. You've got a nice assortment of videos to work with. Over time we'll be moving into a number of other types of content, whether it be an article or infographics, a calculator, we really have learned in the last year that deals aren't enough -- videos aren't enough. They need a lot of different types of content. In terms of results, we've been pleased to see many, many visits to our website. Since we launched in April 2013, we have had 4.2 million visits to the site. In terms of unique visits, it's about 3.8 million. The video views are pretty exceptional because not only are we posting these videos on our w ebsite,, but also on YouTube. And also through the bank channel, so all the different places where you might visit us at Bank of or at my, if you happen to be in that business, we try to make sure everyone has the opportunity to see this content. We've had on the slide, it says over 14 million video views, but the latest the data I just received today is over 16 million. So it's a constantly changing number. And whenever we are able to promote these videos, we take every opportunity to make sure people are able to see them. As part of the site experience on, you're able to provide feedback. Since we launched this program, we have received 57,000 pieces of feedback. The majority of that feedback is really focused on the new topics that are -- our community would like to see and to learn more a bout. Some of those topics are where we are planning to explore things like talking with your kids about money and other types of purchases, how you can save for other types of purchases. Another big topic for us that we will begin to get into in the later part of the fall is investments. Really basic information about investments, certainly not the advanced materials you would see on some of our partner -- on other parts of our business like at Merrill Lynch really basic stuff so that people understand what is and why it matters. Probably should have said this at the beginning but our site is of course ADA compliant and it is optimized for all types of mobile phones. Smartphones, and this is a really important thing to us, we want to make sure everyone has access to this site, that it's easy to use, and that importantly regardless of the device that you are using, you're able to take advantage of Better Money Habits. If you can move to the next slide, I'll very quickly sum up what we are doing to promote this. I have just a couple examples pictured on this slide. I can explain -- I will walk through one by one. The first image at the bottom -- the first two images show how we are bringing this program to life through our banking centers. So this is an important place for us because it's the in person interaction that our customers are able to have with our Associates. They can learn more about it in a conversation. They could also take a flyer home with them that provides information on, making clear what they will find. So that's a marketing tactic and also an employee engagement tactic that we have, very important for us that employees find value and that they can be our ambassadors to talk about that are money habits. The next piece, the third item is actually a TV spot that we began running last fall. It features Sal, of Khan Academy talking about why we're doing this. The idea behind Better Money H abits, to provide a free world-class education for all combined with the subject matter expertise of the bank and our shared commitment to get that knowledge to everyone. That's what's really driving this partnership. It was a very effective spot to raise awareness for this program. And we were very pleased with the feedback we received on it. The next piece of awareness building that we're doing is actually a great partnership that we have with the Huffington Post and broadly with a well. The Huffington Post created a financial education page on their site. We sponsored that site. And it provides first of all a great place for people to read about money, whether it be from bloggers, that work for the Huffington Post or guest bloggers, our own social responsibility executive, Andrew Keppler, has a monthly post where he talks about some of the key issues and personal finance. There's a great one up on the site right now talking about how to talk to Millennials about money knowing that many, many young adults have never really dealt with cash or used cash, paper currency. How do you as a parent communicate with your young adults, how to think about money when they are just dealing with a cashless society? Great piece. We do continue to see a lot of very good interaction on that page. And we will continue to do more of that in the future to get the word out. We also have the benefit of some really well followed social media channels. We have a Facebook page, a Google plus page, we have Twitter, Y ouTube, that's where we post our videos. In addition to our site. This one image here just explains how we're using Facebook. And the Post says, ever wonder where your paycheck deductions are going? And which ones you can change. Watch this video to find out and build Better Money Habits. It's a great way to draw people in to raise awareness about the issue. In this case understanding the anatomy of a paycheck but then drawing them into watch a video. Then we also have a wonderful opportunity in our ATMs to get the word out. The next image is a picture of Sal Khan and a message. Money can become located. Learning about it doesn't have to be. Learn more at this is just a great way to promote the existence of Better Money Habits in a general way, and then finally to close the circle on all the different ways that we at the bank are getting the word out, we have an extensive employee volunteer network. Last year alone, the -- our employees contributed 2 million hours in the community. And that's pretty amazing. When we break it down and look at how many employees are contributing hours in the financial education space, what we saw is the number of hours were almost 35,000. Teaching, coaching, mentoring around personal finance. We worked very closely with our employee volunteer network to ensure that they have all of the materials from the Better Money Habits program to add into the programs that they deliver in the local communities. And we are very pleased with how that's been going. There's so much more that we can do with our own people to get the word out. So this is kind of a full circle conversation about how are people our -- are our best ambassadors. We use every channel to make sure that everyone, whether they be a customer or community member, knows about this resource. That's actually a perfect segue back to Michael to talk about how the NDI has been leveraging Better Money Habits.

>> Great. Thank you. Thank you, Colleen. So we have seen -- as we work to educate individuals on credit as well as financial education, other topics within financial education, we've seen how Better Money Habits has been able to be a great complement to some of the financial education programs. So before we get into the question and answer portion, I just wanted to share some of our successful strategies and then have you all share some of your best practices as well. We are receiving a lot of questions. So this is great. We're going to devote the bulk of the rest of the webinar to answer all of the questions that are coming in. But in looking at successful strategies using Better Money Habits, we found that it's been a valuable tool in educating individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings as well as a great tool for the diversity of learning styles that individuals have. We have found that better money habits complements existing financial education and asset building curricula and programs. Particularly we have found that within our own curriculum, also through other organizations that are part of our network, that after a topic has been covered, within their financial education class, that the videos provide that additional support in relating the key messages on a particular topic. The videos have also been shared as -- used as homework assignments or takeaways from the classes. That they have to look at them on smartphones or other places -- the different topics that we have. We've also seen special education teachers, how they are incorporating Better Money Habits videos into their classrooms. Particularly for students with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. The images have -- the drawings that they have, have really been able to assist in comprehending the information. So we've also seen it be successful within the classroom as well. Interesting finding that we have is that self advocate groups have been using the videos as many info sessions at various events and meetings that they have. And have been sharing a variety of the videos at each meeting. And it creates an opportunity where it's not the self advocate leader or facilitator that's giving it. It creates a peer-to-peer learning opportunity where the self advocates are reviewing the videos and coming back and they are deciding which video to share and which topic to cover. Of course, we know that college students are familiar with Khan Academy. Particularly whenever they are trying to do their math homework. And so our college program, the financial success collaborative, is another way where college students have been using Better Money Habits to learn about a variety of topics. The last piece that I want to share that we found to be interesting is that Workforce centers are using the videos within their resources. So job seekers come in and they have icons on the computer where people can access some of the different videos. But they also have streaming in the lobby or in the waiting room of the Job Center. So while individual is waiting to meet with the counselor or the specialist or whoever, they're sitting there watching some of these small videos [Indiscernible] through the Better Money Habits site. So there's a variety of other ways that we have found from our network on how they are using Better Money Habits. We definitely would like to hear from each of you on your best practices. If you could send it in the chat box and/or send me an e-mail with that, we would definitely like to hear from you on that as well. So with that, what I'm going to do is before I talk about an opportunity we have to connect with the disability advocacy network, I would like us to dive into some of our questions. So I am going to ask Rob, Colleen and Keith a variety of questions. And surrounding credit -- and if you all could provide a brief response? That would be great. So with that, the first question is, what is a FICO? And how does it compare to other credit euros? Rob, would you like to take this question?

>> Yes. Sure. Sorry. What is a FICO and how does it compare to other credit bureaus?

>> That's what the question is. Yes.

>> FICO is -- what I was describing a credit score versus a credit report. FICO is an example of a credit score. So it's one numeric score that is really pulling in all the information off your credit history into one number that indicates your level of credit risk. FICO goes from 300 to 850. So that's the range. The higher you are in that range, the lower risk you are. So the higher, the better. There are other scores. FICO is definitely the best known score in the industry. But there are lots of other credit scores that are out there. Another major one is the Vantage score. In terms of how they are different, they are very much the same. And I know they would claim that each of them would claim that they're better than the other, but the way that we should all think about them is they are just a numeric score that's an indicator of our level of credit risk.

>> Great. The next question is --

>> Can I add a little to that? Just basically, to add onto what Rob was indicating, they take a look at different aspects of your credit. They take a look at your payment history, the amount of money that's owed on your credit account, the length of your credit history, any new credit that may be obtained as well as the different types of credit. Those all can impact your credit score. I just wanted to add that.

>> Great. Thank you, Keith. Actually, Keith, we'll stick with you on the next question. What is revolving credit?

>> Great question. Revolving credit is a type of credit that does not have a fixed number of payments. As compared to installment loan. Installment loan would be more along the lines of a car payment which is going to be a set number of payments for a set amount of time. The revolving credit is basically an arrangement which allows you to make a payment on the account. Once you make that payment, that amount will become available so you can use that money again.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question has come in. If you request a free credit score, would it affect your credit standing? Rob, I'll send this question to you.

>> No. It will not. So getting access to that free credit report or free credit score does not have an impact on the score itself. What I did described earlier are inquiries when you are actually applying for credit or increases in an existing credit card, so asking for an additional line on your credit card. In those cases, that is a request for credit. And would be recorded as an i nquiry. And would be then included in the calculation of the credit score. But requesting the create -- free credit score would not have any effect on the actual score.

>> Great. Thank you. Rob, I'll send this one to you as well. Do different type of lenders tend to use a certain reporting agency?

>> It's hard to tell, because it's a very varied story out there. So some credit card companies or banks would typically work with one credit bureau. Larger banks tend to work with all three of the credit bureaus. Some banks will pull all three credit reports at one time to get all of the information that's available. Whereas other banks will just will pull one credit report. So it really varies across the industry. But I would say for the large b anks, you will find that the large banks will use all three of the credit reporting agencies.

>> Great. Thank you. Colleen, a question has come in about that or money habits. I think you addressed this, but just to throw it out there again, is Better Money Habits open for everyone or just Bank of America customers?

>> Good question. And it is free for everyone. If you go to the site,, you will be able to see everything that a Bank of America customer sees. The examples that I shared earlier were the additional things that we do with our customers just to get the word out and to promote a website. And that's basically our free marketing, things that we can do on ATMs within the banking centers but the site is free and available to all.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question that has come in, there's lots of great questions. Thank you, all for sending these all in. The next question is, does a debit card count for a credit score? Keith or Rob, who would like to address that?

>> Go ahead, Keith.

>> I would say normally it is not going to affect or be reported on the credit report due to the fact it's not an actual line of credit tied directly to your checking and or savings account. Would you agree, Rob?

>> Absolutely. That's right.

>> Great. The next question is do overdrafts on your bank account affect credit scores?

>> That's a great question. And I think typically, that would not be reported to the three credit bureaus. But it will be reported to -- there are agencies that collect data on checking accounts. And it would be reported there. So that can affect your ability to open up checking accounts in the future. So it can be reported to those other entities that focus more on checking accounts. But one thing that -- just to complete the picture here, at large banks and a Bank of America for example, if someone is applying for credit, we will look at all of the information that's available to us, so we will look at the information that's available from a credit bureau, but we'll also look at for customers of the bank, we'll look at the performance and behavior that they've had with their products at Bank of America. And many times that's positive. So having a deposit and having a long-standing relationship and lots of products is a positive. And it helps the customer to get credit with us. But if there is negative behavior like overdrafts or bounced checks, then that can counts against -- can counts against the applicant and that will be part of the decision-making process in determining whether you get approved for credit or not.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question is, do mortgage loan modifications affect credit score? We actually received this question quite often. In various trainings that we do with service providers. Where they have clients who ask them this particular question. Any thoughts on this question?

>> Keith, I'm not an expert on this. I don't know if you are.

>> I fortunately and not either. I can research that if you can get the person's information, Michael and I'll research and get that information back to them.

>> Great. Whoever asked that question, if you send it in the chat box, to Keith Combs, that would be great. So then the next question is, what happens to my score if I pay less than the minimum each month? Am I better off paying something or wait until I have the full payment to make the payment?

>> That's a good question. Less than the minimum would be -- if I'm thinking about a credit card or auto loan, there is a monthly payment that's do. If you pay less than that, you will still go delinquent, so you're going to be late in making the full minimum payment. The other number that we talk about is the full balance in paying off that balance in full. With a credit card, in most cases if you pay the balance off in full, you'll be able to avoid any interest charges. And the more that you pay, it is going to be a better indicator for your credit. And your credit score. Because it shows that you are able to manage more debt and keep a debt level that is manageable. So back to the question of if you can't make the minimum payment, I think it's important to call the creditor and work with them to see how you can work out an arrangement so that you can maybe reduce the interest rate and maybe turn a revolving product into a fixed product with regular payments that are manageable for you to be able to pay down that debt.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question -- it's asking about, how many times a month should a client apply for credit without getting their credit score affected? So looking at how many times can they apply for credit before it will impact my credit score?

>> This is another great question. I feel bad when my answers are always, it depends. Anytime you have an inquiry for credit, it will have an impact on your credit score. If it's just one, it's not going to be a big impact. Especially if you have a deep credit history. If you have a very new credit history and so that one piece of information carries more wait, then it can have more of an impact. But normally one inquiry is not going to be a problem. If you have multiple inquiries in a short period of time, definitely within a month, that would be a negative impact to a credit score. If they are spread out over six months or 12 months, then that would lessen, obviously. So any inquiry is going to affect the credit score. The impact will depend on how deep your credit history is.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question is, Colleen, this question will be for you. We have two questions for Better Money Habits. Do the Better Money Habits videos on YouTube and Facebook have captions for those with hearing loss?

>> On our site, on, we have both English and Spanish closed captioning. The site supports that. I don't believe we are able to support that on YouTube. But the site certainly does.

>> Great. All right. And then, the other question was, Better Money Habits shows various videos. I wonder, if they're having [Indiscernible] to show ASL on the videos? So is there any videos that are showing an individual using American sign language?

>> There are not. And I think it's a great idea. We can explore. Thank you.

>> Great. The next question that has come in is, are credit organizations that promise to restore your credit by consolidating -- which would you recommend?

>> Keith, do you have one that you recommend?

>> I tend not to recommend any one in particular. I always suggest doing your homework on any organization. You can do that through the Better Business Bureau to see if they have -- what their rating is with the Better Business Bureau. Most nonprofits are organizations that are looking out for the best interest of the individuals that they are assisting. I do recommend people seeking assistance from the national foundation for credit counseling if that's the path that they are seeking to go down. Most of the time they can connect you with the credit counselor or mortgage counselor in your local area that can help you with whatever issues you are facing.

>> Great. Thank you. So the next question is, if you are on the credit mend, how long does it take to see the score change? If you paid off all of your outstanding debt and kept your payments up to date, how long will it take to improve your score? Rob, would you like to address t hat?

>> Yeah. I think again, it's a difficult one to give a specific answer to. But in the description that was given, of paying off all the debts and making payments on time, I would see -- expect the credit score to repair pretty quickly. So within a six-month period of time. It is important to keep open accounts, so you don't want to pay them all down and shut them down, because then you don't have that ongoing history and behavior to build the credit. So it's all about keeping the right balance. Managing the level of debt. And making those regular payments.

>> And if I can add something to that, we have -- if you're curious about the different ways you might want to consider paying down your debt, we have a video on, strategies for paying down your debt. It walks you through a couple different approaches. One approach is paying down your highest interest rates first. The cards with the highest interest rates. And then the other is sort of paying off cards -- one loan at a time. And starting may be small and getting bigger. So just ways to think about it because one size does not fit all when it comes to debt management.

>> Great. Thank you, Colleen. Colleen, the next question regarding Better Money Habits, is there any interactive counseling available on that site in addition to the video? Like is there a way to reach out to someone?

>> So meaning is there a community feature to Better Money Habits?

>> Correct.

>> Not yet. So we are working on that now. As you can imagine, there are some legal challenges because we are not intending to provide advice on There are a number of industry regulations that would really prevent that from happening. But we do believe there is a need out there for people to connect with their peers. People who've been in the same situation as them. And we are exploring how we can do that in the next year. It will take us some time to get there.

>> Great. Thank you. The next question is, does having a zero balance on a credit card account affect your credit score? Keith or Rob?

>> I would say that it's not going to be -- let's see -- it will have an impact because one of the key factors in your credit score is your total balances, what is your current revolving balance? If you have a zero balance, then that's not contributing to your current balance. But the credit line on that card would be contributing to your overall credit line. So it would help to bring down your overall utilization rate. Therefore would help your overall credit score. The next question is, what is a secured credit card? A secured credit card is a credit card that is backed by usually a savings account that serves as collateral for that credit card. The savings account will sit off to the side and access to that is restricted. And the credit card credit limit is usually tied to the amount of balance in the savings account. In most cases, it would be a one-to-one ratio. So if there's $500 in the savings account, the credit card would have a $500 credit line. And the credit card would act like any other credit card, though. So you would use it and build up a balance, make payments on that balance, and use it just like any other credit card and the savings account just sits there. In the case that there is a delinquency or charge-off event, then the bank would be able to access that savings account to pay off the unpaid balance.

>> Great. So we're coming up on our final four minutes. One more question and then the additional question -- we will pull all of these questions and those that we did not answer, we will go back and create a response. Everybody who attended the webinar will get a handout with answers to each of those -- the questions that we did not get to. The question is, if I pay off a six months no interest loan ahead of time, does that improve my credit score?

>> Some of these are difficult to answer. In that case I think any time you're making payments ahead of time, it's likely to help your credit score. But to be definitive is difficult in that case. So sorry.

>> Do you have anything to add on that?

>> No. That was great.

>> I would add one, I think I should add to the question about secured cards. Secured cards, because of the way they are structured, with a collateral savings account, they are much easier to get for someone who doesn't have a credit history or has a poor credit history. And therefore it's a great tool for people to get a new, active and open credit card on their credit bureau and be able to demonstrate good payment behavior and build an improving credit score over time. So secured cards are very good in that instance.

>> Great.

>> Michael, before we close the call, I did want to correct one of my answers from earlier if you don't mind.

>> Sure.

>> I wanted to correct myself and let you know that -- Better Money Habits videos on both the website, and on YouTube, have closed captioning in English and Spanish. So regardless of where you find us, you can get the closed captioning.

>> Great. Thank you. So before we close the call or today's webinar, I want to mention one final thing, that last year in 2013, NDI and Bank of America Disability Advocacy Network collaborated together to increase awareness on financial wellness for persons with disabilities through two opportunities. One in providing financial education and two, providing disability awareness training. And so we wanted to share this with you because if you're interested in being connected with volunteers, who could potentially come and offer disability awareness training and/or provide financial education, please send me an e-mail at And we will also put it in the chat box. And if you send me information that you are interested to connect, then I will work with [Indiscernible] at Bank of America to see if there are some connections in your area that we can make for you. I would like to thank our presenters for joining us today. I'd like to thank Rob Habgood as well as Colleen Arons as well as Keith Combs for the information that they shared with us today. I'd also like to thank my colleagues at the national Institute -- National Disability Institute's training and Technical Assistance Team for assisting in today's webinar and the development of the various tools that we highlighted today. Also we'd like to thank Nakia Matthews for her assistance as w ell. Please join us for our next webinar on August 13 for a discussion on navigating financial services and [Indiscernible] successfully. We will be joined by our friends at the center for financial services innovation to help us understand how do we navigate financial services and products effectively? Again, if you'd like to join our network, please feel free to join us. And here is information on how to join the RDI network. And you can join us by going to our website at Again, I'd like to thank our sponsor, Bank of America, for hosting today's webinar. I'd like to thank Walmart, Acorda therapeutics, Burton Blatt Institute, as well as the Internal Revenue Service. After the webinar, if you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Again, my e-mail is Finally, please follow us in the world of social media at Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et cetera. With that, thank you, all again for participating in today's webinar. We look forward to your participation in August. Thank you.

>> [event concluded]

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