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credit-card-851502_640A lot of people have a bad history with money. Maybe they took out a loan that was too large to pay back or maybe they lost their jobs and had trouble just getting by, causing their loans to default. Either way, if you have a bad history with money, you may think that you will no longer be able to qualify for a good credit card.

The good news is that there are things you can start doing today to fix your credit so you get approved for those credit cards you may need. It takes time and it isn’t a cakewalk, but if you try hard enough, you can rid yourself of your bad money history and move forward financial. Here are a few tips to establishing credit and get back on track.

Look at Your Credit Report

The first thing any financial institution does before approving loans or a line of credit is to look at your credit history, so you need to know exactly what they will find so you can be prepared.

There are plenty of websites that you can use to look at your credit history, but the important thing is that you look at it thoroughly. There could be mistakes or items that should be expunged from your record but are still on there. These will hurt your chances of improving your credit, so should dispute them with the credit reporting companies. If the same thing appears on all three reports, you need to dispute it with all three companies to make sure the mistakes are expunged properly.

Start With Outstanding Debt

Once you know what’s on your credit history, then you can start fixing it. It will take some time, but you need to start with the largest debts on your report and try to get them taken care of.

You can often negotiate a price that will take care of defaulted loans. You will need to pay a lump sum, but you may be able to settle for pennies on the dollar, saving you money in the long run. Start with the biggest debts and work your way down until all of your outstanding debts are cleared.

Keep Up With Payments

Just one missed payment can affect your credit score, so make sure to keep up with any payments you currently have so the problem doesn’t get worse.

Make sure you pay all of your current bills before you throw money at outstanding debt. This way, your score won’t get any lower and it may even improve a little if you are constantly on time with payments. Pay off all of your credit cards each month if you have any with balances and never be late with payments on things like utilities, car loans or mortgages.

Again, your credit will not improve overnight: it’s a long process that takes time. But if you have a plan and stick with it, you’ll be approved for those new credit cards sooner than you think.

Nicole Humphries works in the personal finance sector and contributes to a selection of blogs with her articles on personal finances.

How to Become a Credit Card ProHello, everyone. Some people can live with, while others can’t. Credit cards can be good for helping you manage your finances. If you use them the right way, they can be useful for building good credit. Even though I wouldn’t do this, they can also be used as a backup plan if you have an emergency. Keep reading to get more info about credit cards and their use.

On time payments

Pay your credit card bill on time each month. If you are the type of person, who may forget the due date, set up a reminder or two. If something happens that doesn’t allow you to pay your credit card on time, don’t freak out. You should call your credit card company as soon as possible and let them know your situation. There is a chance that they may be able to help you out. They might be able to delay your due date, set you up with a repayment plan or work with you in other ways that won’t mess up your credit as much.

Pay the credit card in full

The next thing that you should do is pay the credit card in full every month. I’ll be the first person to say that I haven’t been able to do that. I’ve had credit card debt for years. There were times where I had to use my credit card when I didn’t have a job. It wasn’t possible to pay it in full. Now, I’m doing much better. I’m able to pay more money on it. If you use your credit card for ordinary expenses such as for gas or paying a utility bill, you should proceed to pay off the balance at the end of the month. Doing this will help you build your credit. You will also gain rewards from your card. Lastly, you won’t be getting any debt because you paid off the card.

Watch out for free

Credit card companies target people with freebies. I’ve seen different companies give away shirts, bags and even beach towels. I can’t lie, I’m a fan of free, but you have to be careful and pay attention to any free offer. The freebies that you are offered can be considered traps. The credit card company may lure you in. That could end up costing you a lot of money down the line.

Practice Discipline

It can be easy just to swipe that credit card without thinking. Don’t fall into that trap. Many folks lack the discipline to handle credit responsibly. The world tells you to spend, spend and spend again. Heck, you can get a “Black Amex Card” which is seen as a status symbol if you use a credit a lot. By having discipline, you can avoid getting into debt and possibly messing up your credit score.

Multiple credit cards

If you have multiple credit cards, you have to pay attention to them carefully. You don’t want to mix up the due dates. When you have a moment, review the balances and figure out which credit card you want to pay off first. Paying off the balance of the card with the highest interest rate is a good way to save more money in the long run. If you don’t want to go that route, you can also pay the credit card with the smallest balance.

Credit cards can be great to have. You just have to make sure that you don’t abuse them. They can help you build up credit. They can also make your credit horrible. Practice common sense and discipline when using them.

What Credit Score Does Everyone Start With?Hello, everyone. Good credit is something that everyone strives for. Whether yours is good or bad, you had to start somewhere. Have you ever thought about what credit score everyone starts out with?

What is your beginning score?

Everyone starts out the same. No one has a credit score at all. Nobody starts out with a credit report. Credit scores are based on the info on your credit reports. Those reports are not created until you have had credit in your name for at least six months. Some people think that you magically get credit once you turn 18 years old. It doesn’t work like that, though. However, you can apply for a credit card once you 18.

Build from scratch

Since everyone starts with no credit score, we all have to build it from scratch. You first credit report will have information on the initial amount of money that you borrow. When starting out, you should get a credit card with a low limit. You also need to use it responsibly.

Your first account

When you apply for your first credit card or loan, the lender may pull your consumer report. If they do that, they will find nothing. Everyone will experience this the first time that he or she applies for credit the first time. Once you get that first credit card or loan, there are a few things that you should do to make sure that your credit score goes up.

Watch the amount

If you are taking out a loan for the first time, don’t take out too much money. You don’t want to start a debt cycle that you are not ready for. The same goes with your first credit card. Try not to get a credit limit that is too high. My first credit card had a limit of $500. That was alright with me until they started raising it higher and higher. It went from $500 to $3000 within a couple of years. That’s one of the ways that messed up my credit. That leads me to the next step.

Use your credit card responsibly

I didn’t do that back in the day. I used my credit card for things that I shouldn’t have. I don’t regret it because it was a heck of a learning experience. If this is your first credit card, you should only charge a small amount to your credit card. Then you should pay the full balance each month. This will speed your credit building process. Doing that shows the lenders that you can use the credit that has been offered to you in a responsible way.

Pay on time

Make sure you pay your loans and credit cards on time. Your payment history accounts for about 35% of your credit score. That is more than a third of it. You can see why paying on time is important. If you think you may miss the dates, set a reminder on your phone or in Google calendar.

If you practice good credit habits, your score can go up after six months. If not, it can go as low as 300. You’re in charge of whether your credit goes up or down.

How to Transfer MoneyFrom a Bank Accountto a Credit CardHello, everyone. Hopefully, all is well with you. Today, I have an excellent post for y’all. Many people need money quickly. Someone asked me a question the other day. Is it possible to transfer money from a credit card into a bank account? I sat there and thought about it for a minute. There are a few ways that you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Today, I want to go over three of those ways.

Money transfer card

The first way that you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account is to consider a money transfer card. A money transfer card is not to be confused with a balance transfer card. The big difference with a money transfer is that it allows you to transfer cash to your bank account. Balance transfer cards don’t do that. When looking for a money transfer credit card, make sure you review the fees. Most of them have a transfer fee. Some don’t charge interest on the cash, though. The money transfer card will give you a length to pay the money at 0% interest. It might be cheaper to do this instead of repaying a debt on your current interest rate.

ATM cash advance

The second way that you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account is by using an ATM cash advance. An ATM cash advance is when a cardholder withdraws money from their credit card via an ATM. The cash advance will be a percentage of your credit limit. For one of my credit cards, my credit limit is $3600. I could only get $1100 with a cash advance. Cash advances typically have a fee of 3 to 5 percent. To complete a cash advance on an ATM, you will need to know your PIN code. If you don’t have your PIN, you should contact your credit card, provider. They will be able to get the info to you. Once you have that cash, you will be able to deposit it into your bank account.

Credit card checks

The final way that you can transfer money from your credit card to your bank account is by using a credit card check. A credit card check is a check that your credit company offers as a way to write yourself a check for whatever you need at the time. I recently paid off one of my credit cards, and I’ve been receiving credit card checks from the provider for the last three months. I haven’t used them and I probably won’t. The interest rate is very low, but I’m not looking to attain any more debt at the moment.

In review, there are three ways to transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Using a money transfer card, an ATM cash advance, and a credit card check can help you get those funds into your bank account.

Have you ever used any of these ways to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account?

pier-440339_640Most people don’t think about taking loans out for their vacation and discovering exactly where is NYC, because they’re using loans for things like college educations, homes and cars. But it’s a perfectly legitimate way to go if you don’t have a lot of other major expenses and you know you’ll be able to pay it back. Though, really not many people fall into that category.

Vacations add up after a while, and it can be incredible just how much those tours, meals, late-night drinks, speeding tickets (although dismissible by taking a defensive driving course), will end up costing. So, if you happen to be dead set on going to one of the more expensive places in your budget, keep these tricks in mind.

The Debate

On the one hand, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities. You may have a car payment, car insurance, phone bills, and a mortgage. On the other hand, it’s freezing where you are and not freezing in places to the South of you. On the one hand, you may get sick later this year and lose your source of income. On the other hand, your city doesn’t have a roller coaster next to an ocean. Maybe you’re planning a wedding soon or want to have a child in the future. On the other hand, if you don’t get a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, is life really worth living? These are just a few of the major concerns you should have you on your mind before you go about getting your vacation loan.

Credit History

A loan is a loan, so you probably saw this coming. You can probably just file this under any type of personal loan, thought there are companies that specifically will make loans for travel. Your credit score will be just one factor they’ll look at before you’re granted the loan. They’ll also look at things like your collateral and general assets. There is one major warning about all this: taking out a vacation loan is going to increase the amount of debt you have, and it will likely end up costing more than you think if you can’t pay it off in a timely manner. So, that means that if you’re borrowing a loan of $5,000 at 12%, you’ll end up paying close to another $1,000 if you take the maximum amount of time to pay it off. That sounds like a raw deal to us, and perhaps not worth going to Spain for. You may even get a better deal through your credit card, depending on your carrier.

Can You Pay?

This is a pivotal question to ask before you sign on the dotted line. Because chances are, if you’re going for a vacation loan, you may not be the best at managing your finances. Which can likely make things pretty awkward when you think about the rest of the bills that will add up over time in addition to the one that made your skiing dreams come true. Maybe you don’t care that only 2% of those who take out personal loans say they do it to finance their vacation. You do your own thing, regardless of how society tells you to live your life. While we support that, there are a lot of reasons why Americans as a whole own an astonishing level of debt, and vacation loans certainly aren’t helping. In the end, you’ll likely get someone who can help you get a loan, even if you must borrow at ridiculously high rates. It’s not so much a question of how to but a question of should you.

bmw-918407_1920Purchasing a vehicle is a major commitment for any individual so the process must be approached with caution and extensive research. Unless you’ve saved up thousands of dollars over the years, buying a vehicle will require some financing. Some people may try car title loans as their way to secure some cash for that dream vehicle. However, there are several other pathways to financing a car. Follow these basic steps so that you can buy that car and pay it off in comfort.

Start With Your Credit History

Before you shop for any vehicles, be aware of your financial and credit background. You’re allowed to access your credit history once a year for free. Three, credit reporting agencies carry your information with a score to match. Contact these agencies separately for your history, including:

  • Experian
  • TransUnion
  • EquiFax

Read all of the line items with care. Identify any items that are false or should be removed because of their age. Bankruptcies, for example, can be removed from credit histories when they’re about seven years old. A clear, credit history will make financing easier and more affordable.

New or Used Matters

You also need to consider if a new or used car is your goal investment. If you have a low credit score, a used car with a more affordable price might be easier to finance. Financing an expensive car that’s brand new can result in high-interest rates that make the vehicle unattainable for most budgets. When you have a high credit score, you have more flexibility between either new or used cars. Because lending to you is less of a risk, the interest rate should be low on any loan type.

Work With Your Bank

With an accurate credit history, it’s time to visit your bank. You have a standing relationship with this lender because of checking and savings accounts. They know your history of payments and deposits. With all of this personal information, your bank should be able to give you a relatively good deal on financing. They can find the cheapest loans from their options or contacts in the business. You don’t even need to have a car picked out yet. Give the banker a price range that you’re looking at, and this professional can match an interest rate to it wherever possible.

Speak With the Dealer

If you don’t want to work with a bank before shopping for a vehicle, local dealerships will always have some financing options. In fact, they prefer for you to work with them. You’ll normally see several financing options, such as:

  1. Zero-percent financing (on approved credit)
  1. Cashback bonus
  1. Factory rebates

All of these options can confuse the average consumer. Ideally, negotiate on a price for a particular vehicle first. With a solid figure in mind, speak to the dealer about the best options for your credit history.

The Zero-Percent Temptation

The temptation of picking a zero-percent car loan is understandable because you’re essentially spreading out the car’s cost over the years without any interest. However, the dealer won’t normally negotiate on the car’s cost with that financing selection. You’ll pay the full, sticker price. To further complicate matters, you may not qualify for the zero-percent loan because stellar credit is required. Ideally, choose the rebate or cashback option while financing the vehicle at another interest rate. You’ll save money by the end of the loan’s term.

Consider a Lease

Financing a car to ultimately own it is the goal, but some people may want the vehicle for a shorter time period. Finance a vehicle under a lease. These contracts are usually about three years long. Turn the car in at the end of the contract, and you can negotiate another vehicle. The lease only requires that you pay a fraction of the vehicle’s cost.

Deciding Between Term Lengths

Because you’re financing the vehicle at a certain interest rate, you’ll want to pick a term length that’s not too extended. You’ll simply pay more interest when the loan is finally completed. Pick a term length that’s between three and five years long. Extending the loan to 10 years will cost you about $4,000 or $5,000 in interest, which can often be half the cost of the car itself.

Bring along a loved one on your car-shopping trip so that you can have a different set of eyes on the vehicle and financing options. If it’s necessary to walk away from a negotiation, this friend can help you with that difficult choice. In the end, financing your vehicle can be simple when you understand everyone’s intentions and goals during the process.

file8391306993784Sometimes people have a hard time managing their finances. This could happen for several reasons. They could lose their job unexpectedly, or they may have a financial emergency. They could also have a spending problem. Not knowing how to handle your personal finances is a dreadful situation to be in. It’s not a situation that you have to be in forever. Personal finance skills are easy to cultivate. You do not need to long courses or intensive tutelage to learn how to handle your money better. This article will give you some easy tips on improving your finance know how.

Contribute to your 401K

If your employer offers a match to your 401K, make sure you’re contributing at least the amount they match. When an employer offers to match your funds, they are essentially giving you free money. The money you contribute will help you reach retirement goals and is tax-free. It’s a win-win situation all around.

Make things

Save money by figuring out how to make your own things. This can apply to many areas of your life, from clothing to food and home furnishing to cosmetics. Lumber scraps can make a great inexpensive bookshelf. Baking soda and vinegar can make great home cleaning products. Use the internet to find out how you can get creative and make more things instead of buying them,

Diversification

This next tip has stood the test of time. It is diversification. You should not put all your eggs in one basket. The reason for this simple. You may have some poorly performing investments in your portfolio at any given time, but diversification should also have you invested in some well-performing assets as well.

Calculate

Every time you think about paying with credit or taking out a loan, take the time to calculate what you will ultimately pay for that convenience in the long run. Credit cards typically have interest rates of 20% while some quick, secured loans can have interest rates that will ultimately cost you two or three times the amount you are getting in the first place. It is far better to go without in the short term than to cripple yourself financially in the long term.

Do some things different

Improving your personal finances is all about taking a real look at what you’re spending and deciding what’s important and what’s not. Bringing your lunch to work might be a great way to save money, but it may not be practical for everyone. I bring my lunch to work most of the time. It’s saved me a lot of money over the last few years. You can also consider giving up that expensive cup of coffee and just brew your own. You should live within your means.

Carpool

You can save tons of money by carpooling. If you can, try to carpool with 2 or 3 coworkers. This is not only helpful for the environment, but it will save you and your coworkers money. If you have kids, you may want to carpool with other parents, whose children participate in the same activities as you do.

There are many levels of personal finance acumen between total cluelessness and flawless money management. Ascending the scale of personal finance knowledge is simply a matter of learning and using specific tips and techniques like the ones in this article. Keep learning and practicing, and you will master your finances in no time.

debt-1500774_640While one tradition is to wait until the January 1st to make lifestyle changes in the form of a “New Year’s Resolution,” a better approach might be to start making those changes in the closing weeks of the current year instead.  There is that mental hurdle to leap over. For instance, December is normally seen as the closing of a chapter while January is seen as a time to get a fresh start.

One financial action to consider now, instead of the first week of January, is refinancing your debt. What kind of debt can be refinanced? All sorts of debt can be refinanced, though the exact terminology may differ. Here are several ways to tackle different forms of debt through “refinancing.”

Credit Cards

Without fail, the busiest time for credit counselors is the opening months of each year.  This is because many families spend a lot of money during the holiday season while buying gifts and traveling to visit family.  For households with a lot of credit card debt, the holiday season can be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”  Approximately half of all U.S. credit cards currently have a late balance of at least one month which explains why U.S. credit card debt is a leading form of consumer debt.

One option is to transfer the balance to a 0% interest credit card that will allow you to make payments on any current debt for the 12 to 18-month introductory period interest-free, minus the transfer fee.  After that, the remaining balance is charged an interest rate currently hovering near the national average of 20%. While this is technically not a “refinancing” action, it more or less alters interest rates and makes the debt more manageable. While this can be a good “second chance” for many people, opening another credit card is simply an invitation to spend more money and incur more debt.

Instead, a better option might be pursuing a personal loan for debt consolidation.  By taking out a personal loan, you can consolidate multiple credit card debts into one lump sum which simplifies the repayment process considerably. If you are creditworthy enough, then you can actually pay this debt with a lower overall interest rate compared to multiple credit card interest rates.

Student Loans

Long story short, student loans are a problem for a lot of recent graduates as 60% of grads leave school indebted each year. While student loan interest rates are cheaper than most mortgages and credit cards, it is still possible to be offered a lower interest rate from refinancing student loans. In many cases, this is an ideal move that offers multiple benefits in addition to lower interest such as flexible repayments and payment simplification.  The lowest variable interest rates currently start at 2.13% while fixed interest rates start at 3.5%.  These new interest rates often lead to thousands saved on interest overall which is one of the main incentives for choosing to refinance student loans. For reference, both federal and private student loans will be considered for consolidation and refinancing.

Mortgages

Another popular loan to refinance is a home mortgage loan.  Several factors might influence you to consider refinancing your mortgage including appreciating home values, an increase in your salary, or several years of payments has reduced the total size of your outstanding mortgage principal has allowed you to qualify for a lower interest rate.  You might have to renegotiate your loan from a 30-year term to a 15-year repayment term to secure the lower interest rate.  Monthly payments will be noticeably higher with a 15-year loan compared to a 30-year mortgage as you are paying off the loan in half the time, but, you will save thousands of dollars in interest.  You will want to factor in any refinance fees charged by the lender and a mortgage refinance calculator can help you visualize just how much money you can save!

Auto Loans

Many people probably do not think about refinancing a car loan since they have one of the shortest repayment terms and lowest interest rates on all financial loans.  Sometimes times it makes sense to seek car loan refinancing if current auto loan rates have dropped or if your credit score has noticeably improved. A few points difference in interest rates can cause a monthly payment to vary by $10 to $20 for most loans. While small, money can still be saved.

Medical Debt

Hopefully, you are healthy, but occasionally, bad things happen to good people. This means there will be medical expenses. Medical debt is a leading reason for personal bankruptcies.  FICO’s most recent credit score version, FICO Score 9, is now beginning to factor medical debt collections records into credit score calculations.  Many lenders and businesses are still using older FICO versions, but, this addition is helping show the upcoming financial trends.  Most people might charge medical debt to their credit cards with an average interest rate of 20%.  It is possible to refinance medical debt with balances as low as $5,000 with an interest rate of 5.99%, although most rates can range approximately from 7% to 15% with a maximum repayment rate of 84 months.

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