ATLANTA, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A little more than a month into the new year, many people may be losing their resolve when it comes to a popular New Year's resolution: paying down debt. To help consumers keep themselves on track, leading nationwide credit reporting agency, Equifax (NYSE: EFX) along with renowned personal finance expert and # 1 national best-selling author, David Bach are urging Americans to take the Debt Free Challenge–one million people to pledge to pay down $1 billion of debt – and be entered for a chance to win $10,000 toward that goal.
"Americans have been doing a great job paying down their debt," says Bach, New York Times best-selling author of Debt Free for Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom. "But with the economy picking up, I'm seeing a lot more credit card offers out there and enticements to spend what we don't necessarily have. It's easy to get pulled back into that pre-recession mentality of spend now, pay later, but we need to resist those temptations, learn from our past mistakes, and stay in a debt-free mindset."
While Equifax reports that total consumer debt (mortgage, auto, credit card, etc.) has declined 8.2 percent from its peak of $11.5 trillion in October of 2008++, 54 million American households still owe more than $800 billion in debt to credit card companies alone – not including other debts such as mortgages or students loans**. Equifax recently reported that some metropolitan statistical areas owe up to 17 percent of their incomes to credit cards+.
As an extra incentive to keep people on track with their resolutions, Debt Free Challenge participants will be automatically entered to win a debt-busting $10,000 cash giveaway. In addition, participants in the Challenge will receive a free 30-day trial of Debt Wise™.
Debt Wise™, Equifax's online, do-it-yourself tool that helps consumers set up – and stick to – a debt repayment plan, works by pulling the data already housed in your Equifax credit report and stacks your debts to show you which ones should be paid off first– accelerating the time it takes to reach your Debt Freedom Day while saving you money in interest. Furthermore, this web-based product provides users with many of David Bach's debt reduction teachings and strategies automatically.
"David Bach has been teaching people how to live debt free for more than a decade, and now his tactics are even easier to implement with Equifax's Debt Wise," says Trey Loughran, President of Equifax Personal Information Solutions. "Getting out of debt can be hard work. We hope Debt Wise can empower people to help themselves and reach their Debt Freedom Day even sooner."
Equifax's Debt Wise™, introduced in 2009, is the first-ever online debt reduction tool powered by a credit report. For less than 50 cents per day, Debt Wise™ combines the power of the Equifax Credit Report with the ingenuity of debt stacking to help consumers take control of their debt with features like:
- Fast Pay Plan Wizard that makes setting up a plan simple, straightforward and flexible by automatically importing debts from the Equifax Credit Report and enabling subscribers to decide which debts to include in their payment plan.
- Monitoring and Monthly Alerts that help subscribers know if they are on or off plan and when an account is paid off. Plus alerts within 24 hours of key changes to their Equifax credit file.
- 4 Equifax Credit Scores every 12 months, so subscribers can check their credit score, as it may change over time.
- Commitment Calculator tool to simulate how paying additional amounts toward debts could accelerate one's Debt Freedom Date.
- Spend Smart Tools that provide ideas on ways to save and spend wisely.
- Identity Theft Insurance of up to $25,000 with no deductible.*
The Founder and Chairman of FinishRich Media, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people learn about money, Bach is the author of 11 consecutive national bestselling books, including two # 1 New York Times business bestsellers, Start Late, Finish Rich and The Automatic Millionaire. In all, his FinishRich books have been published in more than 15 languages, with more than 7 million copies in print. A renowned motivational and financial speaker, Bach regularly speaks at the world's leading financial service firms, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and national conferences. Prior to founding FinishRich Media, he was a senior vice president of Morgan Stanley and a partner of The Bach Group, which during his tenure (1993 to 2001) managed more than half a billion dollars for individual investors. Bach is also the creator of the FinishRich® seminar series, which highlights his quick and easy-to-follow financial strategies, and which has been taught to more than 750,000 people nationwide. Among multiple other media appearances, he has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is a weekly guest on NBC's Today's Money 911 segment.
Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
With a strong heritage of innovation and leadership, Equifax continuously delivers innovative solutions with the highest integrity and reliability. Businesses - large and small - rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology, marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 15 other countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500(R) Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.
*Insurance underwritten by member companies of American International Group, Inc. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions.
Debt Wise™ does not provide debt management advice, credit counseling, financial planning or counseling, and will not act as an intermediary between subscribers and their lenders/creditors. Subscribers must continue to pay their lenders/creditors directly in accordance with their terms. Debt Wise™ will not improve or repair subscribers' credit history or score, or debt-to-income ratio. Debt Wise™ is not available in NV, UT, or DC. See www.debtwise.com for important additional information.
+ The Equifax Consumer Credit Trends Report is the source of the research highlighted above. Distributed to customers, this monthly report provides credit trend data (in aggregate) for bankcard, consumer finance/retail, auto finance, auto bank, home equity revolving and first mortgage loans, among other metrics.
++ For this research, Equifax analyzed quarterly data on consumers with more than one tradeline (installment loan or revolving account) on their credit file. The information is sourced from a sample of the Equifax credit database and applied to predict trends across the overall population.
For more than a decade, Equifax Analytical Services has provided analytic solutions to businesses. Using a wide range of statistical techniques, our consultants design, develop and implement custom analysis and credit scores and generic analytical models for target marketing and portfolio management programs. With Equifax Analytical Services, customers can gain access to economic, demographic and general credit trend data through creditforecast.com, a forecasting tool built by Equifax and Moody's Economy.com.
**Statistical reference based on consumer credit data from the Federal Reserve Board's G.19 release which can be found at http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g19/Current/.