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Nonprofit uses retail to overcome addiction

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SAN ANTONIO — Supporting local arts is something William Gaskins decided to do earlier this year and the employees selling the art in Objets Étrange, a retail space in northeast San Antonio, will be folks in recovery. 

“Here we are several months later and the net profits are going to support the Pilot House homes,” Gaskins said. 

The homes are a part of a nonprofit called Pilot House Inc., a sober living environment for those in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse disorder. 


What You Need To Know

  • Pilot House Inc. is a sober living environment for those in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse disorder. 
  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 90% of people with alcoholism relapse within four years of completing treatment
  • The nonprofit’s first sober living home will launch in August and it will be all women

“It is a high-end retail environment so if we are having an auction, we will have wealthy buyers come and bid on the items,” Gaskins said. “Everybody working the auctions is going to be a person in recovery. The people attending the auction to buy will know that. 

He says this will destigmatize the views people have on addiction and possibly open the door for networking opportunities for people recovering from addiction. 

“People struggling with substances are just as human as everyone else. Addiction is not their fault, it is not a moral failing, it is not a character defect,” Gaskins said. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 90% of people with alcoholism relapse within four years of completing treatment. Addiction can be costly, especially folks who come from low-income backgrounds and that’s where Gaskins’ colleague Michael Lister comes into the picture and assists folks with financial woes.

“Clients that come to our homes, and stay with us, our guests, I want to have them look at complete financial responsibility for themselves and see what financial literacy they have,” Lister said. “Credit repair is part of that financial literacy.” 

William says the first sober living home will launch in August and it will be all women and the Pilot House plans to offer psych screenings from a psychiatrist to see what kind of psych medicines they are going to need. 

“One of the things that each tenant at Pilot House is going to get is a recovery coaching. It’s a monthly session with a certificate recovery coach and all that is developing a recovery plan and then the monthly check ins is ‘okay, how are you doing on your plan?’” Gaskins said.  

Gaskin feels like his approach to helping people financially, mentally and physically is vital because these are things he says are necessary to make a successful transition out of addiction. 

“Recovery is possible, even for the worst cases of addiction,” Gaskins said. “When someone is ready they can turn their lives around and become a productive member of society.”

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How Does a Secured Credit Card Work? | Credit Card News & Advice

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Building credit from scratch is often referred to as a chicken-or-the-egg problem. If you don’t have a credit history, it can be challenging to get approved for a credit card. But if you don’t have a credit card, it’s hard to build a credit history.

Here’s where secured credit cards can save the day. It’s possible to be turned down for a secured credit card, but if you’re approved for one, it’s a good way to get started on your journey to great credit.

We’ll start with the basics and work our way up to the advantages – and disadvantages – of secured credit cards.

There are both unsecured and secured credit cards. An unsecured credit card doesn’t require a deposit to get approved for the card. The top unsecured credit cards from major issuers are typically used by those who have at least fair credit. There are some unsecured credit cards available for those with zero or bad credit, but they tend to have high interest rates and fees.

Due to the cost of unsecured cards that target those with little or bad credit, many turn to secured credit cards. Secured credit cards do require a deposit, usually ranging from $200 to several thousand dollars, depending on the deposit requirements of the issuer.

The deposit stays in an account, and the purpose of the deposit is to decrease the risk for the lender. If you don’t pay for the purchases you made with your secured credit card, the financial institution will use your deposit to pay it off.

When you get approved for a secured credit card, you’ll receive a credit card that looks just like an unsecured credit card. There’s no visible clue that the card is secured.

The amount of your security deposit is usually equal to the credit limit for your new secured card. You’ll use your secured credit card just like you would an unsecured card. You can use it for purchases everywhere that accepts your secured credit card.

Just to be clear, your security deposit stays in an account with the issuer. You’ll make payments on your balance from one of your own bank accounts. So, you’re actually buying things on credit.

Most secured credit card issuers report your payment history to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. If you can’t find confirmation on the card’s home page that payment history is reported, call the issuer to make sure it’s the policy.

When your secured card’s bill comes, you must pay the bill by the due date. If you pay your balance in full, you’ll avoid paying compound interest. If you consistently make on-time payments and keep low balances on your card during the month, your credit score will begin to increase.

Secured credit cards have many advantages, but there are also downsides to this type of credit card.

  • Secured credit cards help you build credit and develop a good credit score.
  • Secured cards help you learn how credit works. And since the credit limits are on the low side, it helps to minimize your risk of getting into debt.
  • Some credit card issuers will promote you to an unsecured credit card. Not all secured card issuers have unsecured versions, but many of them do.
  • When you’ve built a good credit history and you’re ready to upgrade to an unsecured card, you can get a refund of your deposit.
  • Many secured credit cards offer rewards and benefits.

  • You have to make a security deposit, and this ties up your money for the life of the secured card.
  • Some secured cards have many fees, so you have to read the fine print carefully.
  • You’ll probably have a low credit limit, but this is often a good thing while you’re getting comfortable using credit.
  • Some secured credit card issuers don’t offer unsecured versions, which means you have to apply for an unsecured card from another issuer.

I know it’s difficult to build credit or to come back from a poor credit score. A secured credit card can be a great option, but be sure you read all the disclosure statements and understand if there are fees involved. After about a year of responsible use, you’ll probably have at least a fair FICO score (580-669), which is good enough to make the leap to an unsecured credit card.

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Review: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

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Now that most students are starting to return to in-person school, many young adults and their parents are once again looking for the right credit card. Having a credit card offers students a secure and convenient method of payment. It also helps students build credit and even earn some rewards. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students excels at all of these tasks.

Key Terms

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 cash rewards after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.
  • Rewards: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: None
  • APR: 13.99% to 23.99%
  • Promotional Financing Offer: 15 months of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers.

How This Card Works

This card is a very competitive rewards card, especially for a student card. New applicants earn $200 in cash back after making $1,000 worth of new purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Additionally, you earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

But rewards shouldn’t be the most important thing to students. Instead, consider this card because it’s very easy for Bank of America customers to manage, along with their checking and savings accounts. It also helps students to build their credit by offering them a free FICO score each month. It’s compatible with digital wallet technology and can be managed by a full featured mobile app.

New accounts also receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, and there’s no annual fee for this card.

Advantages

While most student credit cards are very basic, this one comes with generous rewards, including a new account bonus. Other advantages are its promotional financing offer and free monthly FICO score. There’s no annual fee for this card, but that’s expected with a product designed for students.