credit score http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8451/all en-US 10 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Out a Personal Loan http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_giving_and_hand_receiving_money.jpg" alt="Hand giving and hand receiving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently called my bank to ask about fees for using my debit card on an upcoming international trip. I laughed when the banker followed up by asking, &quot;Are you interested in taking out a personal loan for spending money on your vacation?&quot;</p> <p>There are plenty of good reasons to take out a personal loan, but going on vacation isn't one of them. A personal loan is, in essence, an unsecured loan that you get on the basis of your credit and income &mdash; unlike a mortgage loan or home equity line of credit, which uses your home as collateral. Personal loans have advantages and disadvantages compared to secured loans, so whether you go for one of these when you're in need of cash depends on your individual situation.</p> <p>Here's what you should consider before getting a personal loan.</p> <h2>1. The interest rate may be higher than you expect</h2> <p>When you hear about interest rates in the media, they're often talking about the 30-year fixed rate for a standard mortgage, which has been around 4 percent or lower for a long time now. But a personal loan's interest rate will probably be at least twice that. The reason for the difference: When you refinance your home or take out a home equity line of credit, you're promising to relinquish your home if you can't pay back the debt. That's a bigger risk for you, and less of a risk for the bank, compared to a personal loan. In return, banks give you a low interest rate on secured loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-different-types-of-loans-a-primer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Different Types of Loans: A Primer</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your credit score matters more for personal loans</h2> <p>With no collateral, all the lender has to go on is your personal creditworthiness. You can expect the available interest rates to increase steeply if your credit is average or poor, going up as high as 36 percent APR.</p> <h2>3. A personal loan is not a long-term solution</h2> <p>While the typical mortgage is paid off over decades, personal loan terms are typically limited to seven years or less. This can be a good thing, because you should never borrow money for longer than you really need to. But it also means that if you are trying to borrow a lot of money, like for a major home remodel, the payments might be too high for you to keep up with on a personal loan.</p> <h2>4. Banks aren't the only option</h2> <p>As nonprofits, credit unions often offer lower rates and fees than banks for the same personal loan products. Then there are the crop of new &quot;marketplace lenders,&quot; such as SoFi and Prosper, which promise easy, quick online loan approval and good rates, especially to folks with the best credit. This nascent industry has had some bumps in the road, but it's still an avenue worth looking into. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Lenders for Personal Loans</a>)</p> <h2>5. Personal loans can be a lifesaver when you need cash quickly</h2> <p>When an urgent financial need rears its head &mdash; a leaky roof, an emergency medical bill, or, heaven forbid, an unexpected funeral &mdash; many people turn to credit cards or payday lenders for help. These lenders can be punishingly expensive, but they may seem attractive because in such situations you just don't have time to sit down and apply for a home equity line of credit or look at refinancing your mortgage.</p> <p>You can get the funds from a personal loan within two weeks of applying online, making it just a little slower than the alternatives and potentially much more affordable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Personal loans can save you a lot on debt you already have</h2> <p>One of the most common uses for a personal loan is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money?ref=iternal" target="_blank">consolidate existing debt</a>, like credit card balances, student loans, and car loans. You may be able to get a lower interest rate than you were paying on your other debts, and you also have the organizational benefit of having only one bill to pay each month. However, when transferring one kind of loan to another, you should ...</p> <h2>7. &hellip; Be aware of what you may be giving up</h2> <p>Some marketplace lenders heavily market the idea of refinancing student loan debt into personal loans. But before you make a decision like that, you should compare your old loan and new loan carefully, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warned in a 2016 release.</p> <p>&quot;[I]n some cases consumers could lose important loan-specific protections by refinancing an existing debt. Specifically, consumers should know that they may sign away certain federal benefits, such as income-driven repayment for federal student loans or service member benefits,&quot; the CFPB said. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>8. You might be better off with a different type of loan</h2> <p>If you're trying to get a better rate on credit card debt while you pay it off, before you commit to a personal loan, shop around to see what else is out there. You may be able to transfer your balance to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">card with a promotional 0 percent interest rate</a>. Another potentially better deal could be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=internal" target="_blank">taking money out of your retirement account</a> for a short time, especially if you have a Roth IRA. Just make sure to pay back whatever you borrow.</p> <h2>9. Watch out for fees and extras</h2> <p>Some lenders will try to throw in an insurance policy or other extra expenses as you close the loan. You may or may not want an insurance policy to make sure that your survivors aren't stuck with your loan if tragedy strikes, but that's a separate financial decision that you should undertake with research, not just because you're under the impression that it's required for your loan. (If the lender says it is, walk away.)</p> <p>Also, ask the lender if they use the &quot;pre-compute&quot; method to calculate interest, or if they have prepayment penalties &mdash; you should avoid these, because both will punish you if you're able to pay the loan back ahead of schedule.</p> <h2>10. Never get a personal loan to fund certain expenses</h2> <p>One of the nice things about a personal loan is that unlike a car loan or mortgage, you don't have to justify your purchase to the lender. However, there are things you should know better than to borrow for &mdash; whether it's with a credit card, a home equity line of credit, or a personal loan.</p> <p>Don't take out a personal loan to buy an engagement ring; why would you want to start out your relationship with a pile of debt? While some lenders may advertise a personal loan as a &quot;travel loan,&quot; that's another bad idea; once the vacation is over, you have nothing that you could sell to pay off the loan if you need to. Do I need to tell you that you shouldn't take out a personal loan for gambling money? I didn't think so. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</a>)</p> <p>A more complex question is whether it's OK to use a personal loan for a down payment on a home. The whole point of requiring a buyer to make a down payment is to show that they can afford the home and to help them feel invested in the purchase. So your mortgage lender may not like it if you try to fund the down payment with a personal loan. At the very least, with this method, you'll need to get the loan several months in advance of the purchase. But even then, proceed with caution; adding debt in the form of a personal loan could affect your chances of getting approved for the mortgage at all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card">Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking APR balance transfer credit score fees interest rates lenders personal loans unsecured loan Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2037745 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Determine If Your Finances Are Ready for a Big Purchase http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_with_piggybank.jpg" alt="Businesswoman with piggybank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you're ready to make an offer on that dream home down the street. Maybe you're eying a new car for that long commute to work. Or, maybe you just want to plunk down a few thousand dollars on a fancy vacation or the latest gadget. How do you know that you're financially ready to make such a large purchase?</p> <p>Whatever it is that you want to buy won't bring you any joy if you can't actually afford it. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you're financially ready to commit to a big purchase.</p> <h2>Do you already pay all your bills on time?</h2> <p>If you're taking out a loan for a large purchase such as a house or car, first look at how you pay the rest of your bills. Do you routinely pay your credit card bill three weeks late? How about your utilities or cellphone bill?</p> <p>If that's the case, you're not ready for the financial responsibility of another large monthly payment. If you're already struggling to pay your bills on time, adding another even larger bill to your financial responsibilities will only put you at a higher risk of accumulating debt.</p> <p>You can hurt your credit score doing this, too. If you're late on the monthly payments for a house or car by 30 days or more, your score will tumble &mdash; usually by 100 points or more. If you struggle enough to pay those big payments on time, you might even lose the house or car altogether.</p> <p>Protect yourself financially by holding off on that big purchase until you've already developed the habit of paying all your other monthly bills on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>How much wiggle room is left in your budget?</h2> <p>Before making any big purchase, it's important to check your household budget. Make sure you have the ability to make the monthly payments comfortably while leaving enough money to cover your other monthly expenses.</p> <p>And if you don't have a budget, you absolutely need to make one. How else will you know if you can afford your new purchase to begin with? Making a budget isn't as intimidating as it sounds. First, list all your recurring expenses each month. Then estimate how much you spend each month on discretionary and non-fixed expenses such as entertainment, groceries, and eating out. Finally, list your monthly income. The difference is how much you can afford to spend on new purchases and save each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <h2>How strong is your credit?</h2> <p>Before taking out a loan for a new car, home, or other big purchase, make sure to check your credit. Lenders rely on your credit score to determine if you qualify for loans and, if you do, how high of an interest rate they'll charge. Lenders consider credit scores of 740 or higher to be strong ones. Generally, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate on loans. The higher the interest rate, the more paying off that big purchase will cost you over time.</p> <p>You can check your credit reports &mdash; a list of your outstanding loans, how much you owe on credit cards, and whether you have any late payments or other financial blemishes in your past &mdash; by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. At this site, you can order one free copy of each of your three credit reports (from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every year. It's important to make sure that there are no errors on your credit reports and that the bureaus don't have any late payments or other financial black marks listed against you. These reports, though, don't contain your credit score. You can order your score for a small fee from any of the bureaus.</p> <p>Before making a purchase big enough to warrant a loan, you might want to check your credit score to determine if you'll be saddled with high interest rates. A score under 640 will almost always leave you with a sky-high rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>How much credit card debt do you have?</h2> <p>Credit card debt is among the worst kind of debt to have. Interest rates can be as high as 16 percent, 18 percent, or even higher. If you carry a balance on your cards each month, your credit card debt grows quickly.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay down your credit cards, resist the temptation to spend big on electronics, furniture, or other items. Instead, devote that money to paying down your debt. And if you can only make that big purchase by putting it on one of your credit cards, <em>don't</em> pull the trigger. You will only dig yourself deeper into a hole. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Can you cover the maintenance expenses?</h2> <p>Sometimes buying an expensive item is only the start of how much you'll actually pay for it in the long run. Many big-ticket items come with high yearly maintenance expenses. Consider a house, for example: Sure, you'll spend a lot of money upfront to buy one. But you can also expect to spend 1 percent of your home's purchase price on maintenance each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <p>If you can't afford to maintain your big purchase, hold off until you can create more wiggle room in your budget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance affordability big purchases budgeting credit score debt financial readiness maintenance Wed, 18 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2037388 at http://www.wisebread.com Credit Challenged? How Alternative Credit Data Can Help Those With Little or No Credit http://www.wisebread.com/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_working_at_her_office.jpg" alt="Young Woman Working at her office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've got no credit file, or a very thin one, you know how hard it can be to get a credit card or loan. Without a credit record, you can't get a credit score, and lenders can't easily judge how much of a credit risk you are.</p> <p>Don't give up. Lenders are slowly beginning to consider other kinds of information when making credit decisions. That may help you get approved for credit, even without a traditional credit score. But it's important to also understand how this so-called alternative data is used, and the implications for your privacy.</p> <h2>What is alternative data?</h2> <p>Traditional credit data relies on information about how you've used credit or debt in the past. It is compiled by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. That data is then used by the major scoring companies, FICO and VantageScore, to build your credit scores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Read a Credit Report</a>)</p> <p>Maybe you haven't had experience with credit, or you had a negative experience that doesn't tell the whole story of how you would behave now with a new loan. Alternative data providers look at how reliably you've paid rent, utility bills, or rent-to-own agreements. They dig up nonpayment information, too.</p> <p>For instance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions gathers publicly available documents that show your professional licenses, evidence of college attendance, ownership of assets such as a home or boat, felony convictions, and your address stability. &quot;Address stability is the concept that if you're living in the same address for a period of time, you're more stable than if you're bouncing around four times a year,&quot; says Ankush Tewari, senior director of credit risk assessment at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. &quot;Multiple client studies have shown that people who move frequently are riskier than people who have a stable address history.&quot;</p> <p>LexisNexis Risk Solutions says the data it collects all has some proven ability to predict creditworthiness. By adding this sort of data to regular credit bureau data, it can help score about 40 million consumers who don't have a regular credit score. The company has paired with FICO and credit bureau Equifax to create an alternative credit score called the FICO Score XD. It's only for people whose credit files are so thin they can't get a regular credit score, and it relies on payment data from a consumer's utility, phone, and other bills.</p> <p>According to FICO, the new score should allow lenders to score more than half of all previously unscorable applicants. It's found that more than a third of those people turn out to have a FICO Score XD of at least 620, the cutoff point many lenders use for even considering a credit application. That means more people should be getting approved for credit. The trouble is, the product is so new, FICO has not revealed how many lenders are using it.</p> <p>TransUnion has had a similar scoring model called CreditVision Link since 2015, which incorporates a trended look at traditional credit data (how you've performed over time) with non-credit-related data collected from consumers' banking accounts, payday lending histories, and property, deed, and tax records. TransUnion told The New York Times that about 100 companies &mdash; primarily auto lenders and online lenders, but also an increasing number of credit card issuers &mdash; are using or testing the score. They're usually able to approve about 20 percent more applicants than they could before.</p> <h2>How alternative data can help you</h2> <p>The driving force behind the use of alternative data is lenders' desire to reach new customers who are creditworthy but can't show it through traditional means. &quot;Lenders tell us, 'We don't need help declining more people. We need help growing our business but without increasing our credit risk,'&quot; says LexisNexis's Tewari.</p> <p>That should mean good news for consumers who have been responsible with their finances but who haven't had a chance to build credit or have stumbled along the way. Alternative data may help increase your chances of being approved for a loan or credit card. &quot;It allows consumers to show that, while they may not be in a position to get a mortgage or a car payment, or they have no desire to get a credit card, they are still taking care of everyday financial responsibilities,&quot; says Kim Cole, community engagement manager for Navicore Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Manalapin, New Jersey.</p> <p>A new company called FS Card is using alternative data to offer a credit card called Build Card to people who would otherwise have been rejected for a credit card. Build Card's target market is consumers with credit scores of 620 or below, meaning their credit is considered subprime. In the past, the only kind of card these consumers probably would have been able to get is a secured card, which requires a deposit of several hundred dollars upfront.</p> <p>Build Card asks applicants to agree to let the company use alternative data to assess their risk. In addition to traditional credit data, Build Card looks at payday loan information to determine whether an applicant is creditworthy. &quot;We're looking for an inflection point that shows the consumer has changed and is able to take on regular credit,&quot; says Marla Blow, CEO of FS Card. Typically this means they've been able to close out a payday loan. &quot;We're looking at the top 15&ndash;20 percent of payday loan users,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If the applicant is approved, they'll be given a regular credit card &mdash; no security deposit required. Granted, there is a $53 upfront fee, APRs are 25&ndash;29 percent, and the initial credit limit is only $500. But it's a step up from a payday loan. And if you do well with the initial credit limit, you can eventually have it increased to $750.</p> <h2>Concerns about privacy and transparency</h2> <p>One of the biggest concerns with alternative data is that people don't know it's being collected and used. Not everyone wants their financial history and other information rounded up and made available to financial institutions. And, as with any organization that collects personal information, there is always the chance that a data breach could happen. It's one thing if information that was already publicly available is stolen, but it may be more worrisome if you've voluntarily shared payment information that then gets disclosed in a breach.</p> <p>Beyond privacy and security, there are concerns about transparency. If you don't know what information lenders might look at when they're making lending decisions, you can't shape your behavior appropriately. For instance, maybe if you knew that bank overdrafts not only cost you money, but could also cause a lender to frown on your credit card application someday, you would be even more careful about not overdrawing. That's why some consumer advocates say you should first be asked whether you want to opt in to the collection and use of this sort of data.</p> <p>Consumer groups also worry about the accessibility of information that's being collected. &quot;People need to have access to data collected about them,&quot; says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action. &quot;They need to be able to verify that it's accurate and to put notes on it to say what's happened in their life to justify why these things are happening to them.&quot;</p> <p>You already have those rights when it comes to data on your traditional credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to access your credit reports and if you find an error, it says the credit bureau must investigate and so must the bank or credit card issuer who furnished the data. The FCRA also requires creditors and employers to notify you if they've rejected you based on information in your credit report. That way, you can check the information and dispute it if it's incorrect.</p> <p>LexisNexis says you also have those same rights with the alternative data it collects. If you are, say, turned down for a loan because you've got a lien or judgment, you should be notified of that and given the chance to dispute any inaccuracies in the reporting. &quot;Alternative data must be compliant with the FCRA, which requires consumers have access to data that's used in credit decisions,&quot; says Tewari, who adds that his company allows consumers unlimited free access to the data it has on file. You can request it at any time, and as many times as you like. &quot;They have the ability to review it and correct it if there's an error,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>What you can do</h2> <p>While data collectors and lenders are in the driver's seat when it comes to the use of alternative data, there are still some things you can do to build your credit.</p> <h3>1. Pay all of your bills on time</h3> <p>This is always important, but even more so in times when companies are collecting information about how you pay all kinds of bills. Keeping on top of payments could help you build credit that you'll need in the future. Avoid overdrafts on your checking account, too, as this is a costly behavior that could also mar your alternative credit profile.</p> <h3>2. Check your traditional credit report and dispute any errors</h3> <p>&quot;If someone has been denied by the big lenders, that's a wake-up call that they need to go into their credit report, figure out why they're being denied, clean up the credit report as much as they can, and get back on track with a good credit history,&quot; says Consumer Action's Sherry. &quot;That's the best way to show yourself as someone that lenders will trust.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Get a secured card</h3> <p>This is the traditional way to go, and it works. Save up $300, use it as a deposit on a secured credit card, get a $300 credit line, then only make a small purchase with it a few times a year. At the end of a year &mdash; maybe sooner &mdash; you should have built enough credit to get a regular credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>4. Ask your lender to look at FICO Score XD</h3> <p>Since this scoring model is fairly new, you likely won't see any immediate results if you request a lender review it. Banks have to pay to get access to this scoring model. But eventually if lenders see enough demand from consumers, they will begin to adopt it. It certainly can't hurt to ask.</p> <h3>5. Consider providing your own alternative data</h3> <p>If you're applying for a loan, it may help to present letters of good standing from your landlord, utility providers, or other monthly services that you pay on time.</p> <h3>6. Don't worry &mdash; yet &mdash; about modifying your behavior to fit the FICO Score XD model</h3> <p>For instance, if you really need to change addresses for the second time in a year, don't hold back just because it might affect your alternative credit score. A whole host of factors goes into most lenders' credit decisions, so no one factor is given too much weight.</p> <h3>7. Monitor your alternative credit record</h3> <p>This is not as easy as monitoring your traditional credit record, but if you're interested you can find out who's collecting your financial details by consulting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's list of <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201604_cfpb_list-of-consumer-reporting-companies.pdf" target="_blank">42 consumer reporting companies</a>. You'll have to check with each company's website to find out how to get your free annual report.</p> <h3>8. Correct mistakes if they arise</h3> <p>If you get a note that you've been denied credit due to a piece of alternative data, ask who furnished the information, and make sure it's accurate. You have the same right to dispute errors in alternative data as you do with traditional information on your credit report.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcredit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCredit%2520Challenged-%2520How%2520Alternative%2520Credit%2520Data%2520Can%2520Help%2520Those%2520With%2520Little%2520or%2520No%2520Credit%2520%25282%2529_0.jpg&amp;description=Credit%20Challenged%3F%20How%20Alternative%20Credit%20Data%20Can%20Help%20Those%20With%20Little%20or%20No%20Credit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Credit%20Challenged-%20How%20Alternative%20Credit%20Data%20Can%20Help%20Those%20With%20Little%20or%20No%20Credit%20%282%29_0.jpg" alt="Credit Challenged? How Alternative Credit Data Can Help Those With Little or No Credit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yasmin-ghahremani">Yasmin Ghahremani</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-challenged-how-alternative-credit-data-can-help-those-with-little-or-no-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-three-interest-rates">The Three Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-should-never-take-a-loan">6 Times You Should Never Take a Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-take-out-a-loan-backed-by-your-investments">Should You Take Out a Loan Backed by Your Investments?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking alternative credit data borrowing credit history credit score lending privacy Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Yasmin Ghahremani 2033790 at http://www.wisebread.com Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_family_0.jpg" alt="Happy young family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Talk to anyone who bought a house in the mid-2000s and they'll probably relate a painless, smooth process. It was a period of easy lending. Whether a borrower had bad credit, good credit, or no credit (am I starting to sound like a used-car salesman?), mortgage lenders handed out no-money down mortgages like they were going out of style &mdash; even qualifying some borrowers without verifying their income and assets. As we know, these loose lending standards helped cause the housing bubble to burst which led to the financial crisis.</p> <p>More than a decade later, mortgage lending standards have tightened, with lenders putting a lot of emphasis on creditworthiness. This isn't an issue for borrowers with good credit. But if your credit score isn't up to snuff, you may have to delay your homeownership dreams.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast" target="_blank">Repairing a low credit score</a> is obvious fix in this situation. This involves paying your bills on time, correcting errors on your credit report, and keeping your debt to a minimum. But what if you're in the process of repairing your credit? It takes time to build a low credit score back up. So while your payment history for the past six to 12 months might be excellent, your credit score could still struggle.</p> <p>No worries. If your recent credit activity demonstrates a pattern of responsibility, it is possible to get a mortgage with weak credit &mdash; even with strict lending requirements.</p> <h2>Learn about FHA home loans</h2> <p>Conventional home loans are a popular choice because they require as little as 5 percent down and include temporary mortgage insurance. Lenders charge private mortgage insurance (PMI) when conventional borrowers put down less than 20 percent (and then cancel premiums once the property has 20 percent equity). The downside of a conventional loan is that lenders typically require a minimum 620 credit score.</p> <p>A 620 credit score is lower than the loan's previous minimum of 680. Even so, you could find yourself several points shy of the minimum guideline. If that's the case, check out FHA home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.</p> <p>This is an affordable alternative to a conventional loan, particularly if you have a weak credit score. Whereas a conventional loan requires a 620 credit score, an FHA loan allows for much lower credit scores &mdash; as low as 500 to 580. This is ideal if you've made a few credit mistakes in the past, yet you're on track to improve your credit score.</p> <p>Anyone can apply for an FHA loan, but it's certainly a fitting solution if you've filed for bankruptcy or experienced a past foreclosure. Currently, borrowers are eligible for an FHA home loan one year after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, two years after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, three years after a foreclosure, and three years after a short sale (one year in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as a job loss or illness). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Prepare for a higher down payment</h2> <p>Be prepared to fork over a larger down payment if you're buying with weak credit. Even though 20 percent down payments are no longer required by lenders, an FHA home loan does require a minimum 3.5 percent down &mdash; but only if your credit score is 580 or higher. If you apply for an FHA loan with a credit score between 500 and 579, your mortgage lender will require a minimum 10 percent down.</p> <h2>Choose a portfolio lender</h2> <p>Using a portfolio lender is another option with a low credit score. Because many banks sell their mortgages to investors, they have to ensure these loans meet the requirements set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that buy most of the home mortgages in the U.S. This limits the number of bad credit score loans approved by mortgage lenders.</p> <p>But if a mortgage lender or bank doesn't sell a percentage of its loans, they have the freedom and flexibility to approve riskier loan applicants &mdash; but only if the borrower has compensating factors to offset weak credit like a higher down payment, high income, or substantial assets. These loans are known as portfolio loans because the lender retains the loan as part of its own investment.</p> <h2>Expect a higher interest rate</h2> <p>Even though some mortgage lenders and loan programs accommodate weak credit, there's no escaping a higher mortgage rate. A low credit score and higher rates go hand-in-hand. Because the size of a borrower's down payment and credit affects mortgage rates, people with the lowest credit scores usually pay the highest rates. A higher rate increases borrowing costs and monthly payments, which makes homeownership more expensive in the long run.</p> <p>Of course, as your credit score improves, so does the opportunity to refinance your mortgage loan. If you refinance down the road and snag a lower rate, you'll reduce the amount you pay in interest and potentially lower your mortgage payment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fweak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWeak%2520Credit-%2520You%2520Can%2520Still%2520Get%2520a%2520Mortgage%2520Despite%2520Tough%2520Lending%2520Standards.jpg&amp;description=Weak%20Credit%3F%20You%20Can%20Still%20Get%20a%20Mortgage%20Despite%20Tough%20Lending%20Standards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Weak%20Credit-%20You%20Can%20Still%20Get%20a%20Mortgage%20Despite%20Tough%20Lending%20Standards.jpg" alt="Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bad credit buying a home credit score down payments equity fha loan home loans homeownership interest rates mortgages portfolio lenders Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 2030975 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_reading_a_letter_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman reading a letter at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it costs money to produce and mail marketing materials, most of the junk mail you receive does not end up in your mailbox by accident. Marketing companies target customers with junk mail based on information that leads them to believe you would be a good candidate for their offers. The companies that send junk mail use information such as credit history, credit card balances, mortgage information, and public records to find targets for their marketing materials. They also buy lists of potential customers that have recently purchased a certain type of item or signed up for a catalog in a product category.</p> <p>What does the type of junk mail you receive say about you?</p> <h2>You have high net worth</h2> <p>If the information available to marketers such as home value in your neighborhood or length of your credit history indicates that you have significant net worth or may be nearing retirement, you may get offers related to investment and retirement planning offers, invitations to free dinner events to learn about investment services, and offers to subscribe to investment newsletters.</p> <h2>You have good credit</h2> <p>People with good credit scores tend to get the best credit offers. If you have a high credit score, you might receive offers for rewards and travel credit cards, preapproved credit card offers with favorable terms, and balance transfer offers with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer</a>)</p> <h2>You have poor credit or high debt</h2> <p>Credit offers with the least favorable terms are targeted to those with lower credit scores, since these people are more likely to take an offer with worse terms. Those with poor credit will typically get applications for credit cards with low &quot;teaser&quot; interest rates that go up, debt consolidation offers, and applications for credit cards with high interest rates, and high annual fees, as well.</p> <h2>You shop a lot</h2> <p>Many types of mail order purchases, online purchases, and orders from TV infomercials will get your name on catalog mailing lists that will be used to try to sell you related things, or even unrelated things.</p> <h2>You live in a good neighborhood</h2> <p>Some types of junk mail are sent to all residences in particular neighborhoods that are seen to be a good fit for what they are selling. You'll see lawn care and pest control services, high-end security alarm installation, and house cleaning deals addressed to you.</p> <h2>You're fixing up your house</h2> <p>Once you request information about one home improvement item, you'll likely start to get other offers as well, such as big ticket home improvement installations for doors, windows, siding, roofing, remodeling, and coupons from home improvement stores.</p> <h2>You bought a new car</h2> <p>If you buy a car from a dealer, your name can end up on a variety of mailing lists. Based on the date you purchased your car, you can get junk mail anticipating your next car purchase three or four years later. You'll get extended warranty offers, invitations for test drives, and contests you can enter if you stop by the car dealership.</p> <h2>You're an athlete or sports fan</h2> <p>If you buy sporting equipment by mail order or at a sporting goods store with delivery, your name and address can start to circulate on marketing lists for sporting goods, or fishing, hunting, and camping products.</p> <p>Or if you order tickets to watch your favorite sports team in action or sign up for a fan club, marketing companies will try to sell you other items related to your team, such as fan merchandise or event ticket offers.</p> <h2>You're a globe-trotter</h2> <p>Frequent travelers are a classic target for marketing via junk mail. If you're often seeing the world, once you get home you'll find vacation package offers, hotel club invitations, and frequent flyer program info in your mailbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>What are the best junk mail offers?</h2> <p>While most junk mail really is junk &mdash; either promotions for stuff you don't need, or offers that aren't a good deal anyway &mdash; sometimes the market research behind the junk mail works out, and you get an offer for a product you need at a price that makes sense, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Credit card offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Balance transfer offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Loyalty programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Bank bonus offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Coupons for products that you buy regularly</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Can you sell your junk mail?</h2> <p>There is a lot of information that can be gleaned by studying junk mail, so much so that you can actually get paid to send in your junk mail for analysis. A company called Small Business Knowledge Center (<a href="http://www.sbkcenter.com/consumer.html" target="_blank">SBKC</a>) processes junk mail to identify marketing strategies and provide competitive intelligence to their corporate clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-earn-170-a-year-with-your-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How to Earn $170 a Year With Your Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>How to get less junk mail</h2> <p>Many people don't find value in getting junk mail and would prefer not to waste the paper used to print it, or the time dealing with it. There are some actions you can take to cut down the amount of junk mail you receive.</p> <h3>OptOutPrescreen</h3> <p><a href="https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t" target="_blank">OptOutPrescreen</a> allows you to opt out of preapproved credit card offers. You will be asked to provide your social security number, but after you opt out, your name will not be reported in lists provided by the credit reporting companies to credit card marketers.</p> <h3>DMAchoice</h3> <p><a href="https://dmachoice.thedma.org/index.php" target="_blank">DMAchoice</a> is a service run by the Data &amp; Marketing Association (DMA) that allows you to cut down on the amount of direct mailings and catalogs you get. You can use their online tools to select which types of marketing materials you would like to receive &mdash; and which you don't want.</p> <h3>Catalog Choice</h3> <p>If you are plagued by too many catalogs filling your mailbox, <a href="https://www.catalogchoice.org/" target="_blank">Catalog Choice</a> is another resource to opt out of unwanted mailings. They will send opt out requests to merchants on your behalf for specific catalogs that you no longer want to get.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Junk%2520Mail%2520Say%2520About%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You-.jpg" alt="What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs bills credit score junk mail mail paperwork shopping habits spending habits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2030769 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-629305628_0.jpg" alt="these things don&#039;t show up in your credit reports" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ordering your credit reports every year and studying them carefully is a smart way to get a window into your financial well-being. But while credit reports contain a wealth of information about your history with money, they don't tell you <em>everything </em>about your financial health.</p> <p>In fact, there is plenty of financial information you won't find in any of your credit reports.</p> <h2>1. Your credit score</h2> <p>Your credit score is a key financial number. It gives lenders a snapshot of how responsible you've been with your finances. If you have thousands of dollars of credit card debt and you routinely pay bills late, your credit score will be low. If you pay your bills on time and you are using a smaller percentage of your available credit, your score will be high.</p> <p>Unfortunately, your credit report does not contain your credit score. To obtain your score, you'll have to pay one of the three national credit bureaus for it. Your credit card provider might also list a credit score on your monthly statements. This score might not be your official FICO credit score &mdash; the one most lenders rely on when deciding whether to lend you money. It can still give you a general idea of where you stand, though, and is worth keeping track of. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your payments to utility companies</h2> <p>You pay your gas and electric bills on time every month. You might think that this key indicator of your financial responsibility would be listed on your credit report. Unfortunately, it's not. Utilities don't report payments to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>This means that your on-time payments to utility providers don't help your credit score. Late payments aren't reported, either. But be careful: If you're far enough behind on your payments that a utility sends your account to collections, that will show up on your credit report. And that black mark will give lenders reason to hesitate when deciding whether you qualify for a loan. An account in collections can also send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it" target="_blank">Account in Collections? Here's How to Fix It</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your rent payments</h2> <p>Paying your rent on time probably won't help your credit score, either. That's because most landlords still don't report rent payments to the credit bureaus, meaning that these payments don't show up on your credit report.</p> <p>There are services today, though, that landlords can use to report rent payments to the bureaus. Most landlords don't use these services yet, but the fact that they are available could be a sign that rent information will become more common on credit reports in the future.</p> <h2>4. Medical bills</h2> <p>The payments you make to doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals don't show up on your credit reports, either. Again, this is because doctors don't report payment information to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>Paying these bills late, though, could show up on your credit report if your medical providers send your account to a collections agency.</p> <h2>5. Your salary</h2> <p>You'd think the money you earn would be a key indicator of your financial health, and it is. But it's not an indicator of how likely you are to pay your bills on time and manage your credit. Because of this, it doesn't show up on your credit reports.</p> <h2>6. A job loss</h2> <p>Your credit reports do provide some basic employment information, with some listing your past and most recent employers. But if you've just lost your job, that information won't be included in your report. Your reports never mention whether you are still employed, and they don't list how long you've worked with any one company.</p> <h2>7. Your spouse's credit history</h2> <p>Your credit reports list financial information about you and you alone. If you're married, your spouse's history of paying bills and running up debt won't show up.</p> <p>However, if you and your spouse both have your names on a loan or credit card, that debt will show up on both of your credit reports. So will late payments you made on these accounts, even if paying the bills was your spouse's responsibility and not yours.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Things%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Report%2520Does%2520NOT%2520Include.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20Does%20NOT%20Include"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20Does%20NOT%20Include.jpg" alt="7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills collections credit history credit reports credit score Equifax Experian income payments rent TransUnion utilities Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 2024892 at http://www.wisebread.com Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_paying_with_credit_card_on_smart_phone.jpg" alt="Man paying with credit card on smartphone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit: Like it or loathe it, most of us need it to survive. And the kind of credit we have access to is dependent on our credit scores. A mortgage, a car payment, credit cards, and even health care financing all impact and depend on our credit score.</p> <p>The problem is, there's a lot of misinformation out there, and if you believe it, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Here are the top myths about credit scores that we have debunked for you.</p> <h2>1. Closing a lot of credit accounts will improve your score</h2> <p>It seems logical, but it's completely incorrect. Credit scores are calculated in part by something called a debt-to-credit, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a>, ratio. The agencies calculating your score are looking at how much debt you have, and how much available credit you can tap into.</p> <p>So, if you have 10 credit cards with a combined credit availability of $100,000, and you've only used $15,000 of that available credit, your credit utilization ratio is 15 percent. This is considered good: You have 85 percent of your credit unused.</p> <p>Now, let's say you close seven accounts, because you just aren't using them. You still have $15,000 in debt, but now your overall available credit drops to $30,000. Your credit utilization ratio just skyrocketed to 50 percent, and that means your credit score takes a dive.</p> <p>Do not close credit card accounts like this. Simply put the cards you aren't using somewhere safe. And if you get the chance to increase your credit limit, do it. As long as you don't plan to max it out, it will help your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-dont-cut-up-your-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop! Don't Cut Up Your Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>2. The amount of money you make has an impact on your score</h2> <p>Your credit score lists credit accounts, not income from employers. So, whether you're a CEO making $3 million a year, or an entry-level worker earning $30,000 a year, income is not a factor in determining your credit score. In fact, a rich CEO might actually have a terrible credit score, despite the money, because of a bankruptcy or series of late payments in the past.</p> <p>The only way income can have an impact on your credit score is if you live a Champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. If you are maxing out your cards, making minimum payments, and missing payments altogether, you will see your score take a big hit.</p> <h2>3. Credit scores change just a few times a year</h2> <p>Credit scores are changing all the time. The information used to calculate your score comes from the financial institutions you do business with. If you miss a payment, that will be reflected pretty quickly. If you close several accounts, that information will impact your score a lot sooner than in three to six months.</p> <p>In fact, if you look at your credit score right now, you will see when the last updates were made. Sometimes, it will be a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks. For this reason alone, you should be checking your credit score on a regular basis. When something negative happens, you can jump on that issue quickly and get it resolved.</p> <h2>4. A bad credit score makes it impossible to get credit or loans</h2> <p>This is a myth that comes from years of advertising messaging about needing a good credit score to get financing. Actually, most people can get financing, whether their score is up in the 800s or down in the 400s.</p> <p>A credit score represents a level of risk to financial institutions, and this will dictate the terms of any loan or credit your receive. For example, someone with a credit score of 800 is considered very low risk to the financial institution. They know this person pays on time, has a lot of available credit, and has longevity with his or her accounts. This will result in a low interest rate, and more available credit.</p> <p>Someone with a 450 credit score, on the other hand, is considered a very high risk client. Loans and credit offers will be available, but they will have oppressive interest rates for very little credit.</p> <h2>5. Checking your credit report damages your score</h2> <p>This is rooted in truth. A &quot;hard inquiry&quot; on your credit will have an impact on your score, albeit a small and temporary one. This happens when you apply for a loan, credit card, or other form of financial assistance. The hard inquiry dings your credit a little because if you do it a lot, say applying for 10&ndash;12 new accounts every month, you could be setting yourself up for some financial ruin down the line.</p> <p>However, if you, yourself, are examining your credit report, that is considered a &quot;soft inquiry.&quot; It will not have any impact on your score, and you can do it daily, or even hourly, without any consequences. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>6. If you don't have credit, you'll have a great credit report</h2> <p>Not in the U.S. In some countries, a lack of credit is considered a good thing. If you've never had a credit card or a car loan, you must be financially responsible. But in the U.S., you don't get a good credit score unless you have a good history with credit.</p> <p>The fact is, credit scores are built. Financial institutions want to know that you will borrow money and pay it back on time, with interest. If they can see you have done that well, and often, you are not a risk. If you have never had any kind of loan or credit card, you represent an unknown quantity. And unknown quantities do not sit well with people putting a stamp of approval on a credit line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>7. Carrying a balance on your credit card helps your score</h2> <p>No, it doesn't. To be fair, it doesn't hurt it either. But if you are under the impression that keeping money on your card is helping your score, you are not doing yourself any favors. Ideally, you want to pay off the balances on your cards in full every month, to avoid paying interest on purchases. If you are only paying the minimum, you are basically throwing money into the trash. Most of that minimum payment is going to the credit card company; very little pays down the balance.</p> <p>Whenever possible, don't carry a balance. And if your balance is more than 30 percent of the card, consider transferring half to another card. When you are using more than a third of the credit on one card, you can actually hurt your score. Ideally, your balance will be below 30 percent of the available credit &mdash; the lower, the better. This is a good time to request a credit line increase. If you get your line increased a few thousand dollars, so that your balance drops below 30 percent, that can increase your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Increase</a>)</p> <h2>8. A bad credit score will stay with you for life</h2> <p>If you are currently looking at a poor score, it's not the end of the world. You won't be paying exorbitant interest rates forever. However, it does take time to rebuild it.</p> <p>The score will change, for the better, if you open new lines of credit and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay your credit card bills on time</a>. Never miss a payment. Keep your balances low. Maintain a very low credit utilization ratio. Try not to apply for too many cards or accounts in one year. If you continue to be a model credit citizen, even after financial difficulty, your score will rise.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdebunking-8-common-credit-score-myths&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDebunking%25208%2520Common%2520Credit%2520Score%2520Myths.jpg&amp;description=Debunking%208%20Common%20Credit%20Score%20Myths"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Debunking%208%20Common%20Credit%20Score%20Myths.jpg" alt="Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life">5 Reasons Building Credit in College Helps You Win at Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit history credit score credit utilization ratio debt financing interest rates loans myths payment history Fri, 08 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 2017189 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_carrying_son_on_shoulders_as_they_walk_in_park.jpg" alt="Parents Carrying Son On Shoulders As They Walk In Park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Raising kids is expensive. The numbers bear this out: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that in 2015 a middle-income family spent an average $12,980 each year on each child. To raise a child from birth through age 17, it would cost married parents an average $233,610. And these figures don't include the cost of a college education.</p> <p>Because raising children &mdash; not to mention buying cars and homes to accommodate them &mdash; is an expensive task, it makes sense to set certain financial goals for yourself before you start a family. Being financially prepared for children can make raising them, and paying for this process, a far easier task.</p> <p>Here are a few money goals to set before you start having children.</p> <h2>1. An emergency fund with six months of daily living expenses</h2> <p>Children come with unexpected expenses; everything from $200 for an emergency room visit to a surprise $500 bill from the dentist. You can prepare for these expenses by creating an emergency fund.</p> <p>As its name suggests, an emergency fund is an account that you only tap to cover unanticipated necessities. With an emergency fund, you won't have to resort to paying for unexpected expenses with a high-interest credit card.</p> <p>Most financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in your emergency fund. That might seem like a daunting goal, but you can get there by steadily putting away even just $100 every month.</p> <h2>2. A credit score of 740 or higher</h2> <p>Your credit score is an important number. Lenders use it to determine if you qualify for mortgage, auto, personal, and student loans. They also rely on it to set your interest rate, with a high score usually equaling lower interest rates.</p> <p>Most lenders today consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be very good. Getting your score to this level, then, should be one of your goals before you start having children. Having a strong credit score means you'll pay less for a mortgage or car loan. That can reduce your living expenses significantly, something that can help ease the financial stresses that come with raising children. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>3. A work history</h2> <p>You'll need a steady income to pay for the expenses involved in raising children. The best way to get this income is to build a stable career in your field. Make sure you have several years logged in your field before you begin having children. While there are no guarantees that you'll never lose your job, the odds will be lower if you've already established yourself in your field. And if you do lose your job, you'll have an easier time finding new work.</p> <h2>4. Saving for retirement</h2> <p>Retirement might seem far off, especially when you're thinking of starting a family. But it's never too early to start saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the more dollars you have once you leave the workforce.</p> <p>Before you have children, start socking away money each month for retirement. The easiest way to do this is to sign up for the 401(k) plan that your employer offers. This way, your retirement funds will be deposited automatically with each paycheck.</p> <p>If you don't have access to a 401(k) fund, open a traditional or Roth IRA. Deposit as much as you can each year to get into the habit of saving for retirement. If you do this, it'll be easier to continue saving for retirement after your children are born. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</a>)</p> <h2>5. A plan for your children's college education</h2> <p>College might seem far away, too. After all, your children aren't even born yet. You're focused more on paying for preschool than on picking a college.</p> <p>But you should start planning for your children's college education before you even begin building your family. The average class of 2016 graduate took home $37,172 in student loan debt, a number 6 percent higher than the year before. That amount continues to rise each year. You don't want your children to be burdened with student loan debt as they become young adults.</p> <p>Consider opening a 529 college savings plan to help you start stowing away money for your soon-to-be-born children's secondary education. You might be surprised at how quickly college costs sneak up on you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Start%2520a%2520Family%2520Before%2520Reaching%2520These%25205%2520Money%2520Goals.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Start%20a%20Family%20Before%20Reaching%20These%205%20Money%20Goals"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Start%20a%20Family%20Before%20Reaching%20These%205%20Money%20Goals.jpg" alt="Don't Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family career college credit score emergency funds expenses goals kids money moves raising children retirement saving money Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2009180 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Building Credit in College Helps You Win at Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_514475258.jpg" alt="Woman building credit in college" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a college student, your credit score probably isn't a priority. You're too busy worrying about exams, homework, and scraping together enough money for a pizza on Friday night. But building good credit when you're in college is important. It can make it easier to rent an apartment, apply for a good credit card, and buy a car once you graduate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <p>Many college students graduate with no credit score at all. That's because they've never used a credit card or paid off an installment loan, such as for a car or mortgage. They haven't even started paying off their student loans yet.</p> <p>Graduating with no credit makes life after college more challenging. Here are five big reasons why you should start building good credit when you're still in school.</p> <h2>1. Renting an apartment</h2> <p>In a recent survey by national credit bureau TransUnion, 48 percent of apartment landlords said that the results of a credit check rank among the top three factors they consider when deciding to lease an apartment to a potential renter.</p> <p>If your credit is bad, or if you don't have any credit at all, you'll struggle to rent an apartment on your own. You might have to rely on a co-signer, usually a parent, to sign the lease with you. If you can't find a co-signer, and you haven't built any credit while in college, finding your dream apartment, or even just a starter apartment, can get difficult.</p> <h2>2. Buying a car</h2> <p>Unless you buy a car with cash, you'll probably have to apply for an auto loan to finance the purchase of a new vehicle. Auto lenders study your credit, too. If they find that you don't have any history behind you, they'll be far less likely to approve you for the loan you need to buy that new car.</p> <p>Again, you might have to rely on finding a co-signer. This can be even more difficult for an auto loan. Not only are co-signers on an auto loan responsible for any payments you don't make, the loan will also be counted as their debt. This can make it more difficult for your co-signer to apply for new loans of their own.</p> <p>Overall, it's much easier to walk into an auto dealership knowing that you already have a credit history of your own.</p> <h2>3. Applying for student loans</h2> <p>You'll want a good credit history if you'll need to apply for private loans to help finance the cost of graduate or professional school. It's easier to get federal PLUS loans for graduate and professional schools with a lower credit score. However, you are limited in how much you can borrow through these federal sources.</p> <p>If you must borrow more, you might have to rely on private loans. And private lenders will take a close look at your credit. If you don't have a credit history, qualifying for one of these loans will be more challenging.</p> <h2>4. Being approved for credit cards</h2> <p>There are plenty of credit cards out there with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low interest rates</a> and valuable rewards programs. They can give you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back on purchases</a> or let you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn travel rewards</a> when you use your card.</p> <p>Without a credit history, and the credit score that comes with one, you'll struggle to qualify for one of these good cards. You might instead have to settle for a basic card with a higher interest rate.</p> <h2>5. Getting car insurance</h2> <p>Not having a credit history can even make qualifying for car insurance more of a challenge. If you do want to drive, and you can no longer stay on your parents' auto insurance policy, you'll have to apply for car insurance on your own. And many insurance companies today look at their own version of a credit score when determining who qualifies for insurance and at what rates.</p> <p>The lower your credit-based insurance score, the less likely you'll qualify for auto insurance &mdash; and the more likely you'll have to pay a higher premium if you do qualify.</p> <h2>Building a credit history</h2> <p>The best way to build a credit history while in college is to apply for a student credit card. These cards often come with lower limits. Some might even be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured cards</a>, meaning that you have to make a deposit into a bank account associated with the card. This deposit makes up your credit limit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>Once you get a card, use it, but use it wisely. Only buy what you can afford to pay off in full each month. Then pay off your entire balance by every due date. As you generate a record of on-time credit card payments, you'll steadily build a credit history. At the same time, you'll start building a solid credit score, too.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Reasons%2520Building%2520Credit%2520in%2520College%2520Helps%2520You%2520Win%2520at%2520Life.jpg&amp;description=5%20Reasons%20Building%20Credit%20in%20College%20Helps%20You%20Win%20at%20Life"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Reasons%20Building%20Credit%20in%20College%20Helps%20You%20Win%20at%20Life.jpg" alt="5 Reasons Building Credit in College Helps You Win at Life" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-building-credit-in-college-helps-you-win-at-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training building credit co-signers college credit history credit score loans payment history renting students Mon, 28 Aug 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 2010394 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_have_been_shopping_for_all_the_best_deals.jpg" alt="I&#039;ve been shopping for all the best deals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anybody can go into debt, quickly. Giving into impulse buys is only a swipe away with plastic in your pocket. It's easy to lose track of how much you're spending, which can spiral out of control before you know it.</p> <p>For these reasons, maybe you avoid credit cards or feel they aren't worth the hassle. That's one way to stay out of trouble, of course, but even if you're committed to limiting your amount of personal debt and you refuse to carry a balance, there's a case to be made for using credit cards. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. You'll build or maintain a good credit score</h2> <p>If you're interested in building a credit history, owning and using a credit card is often necessary. The trick, of course, is managing the account responsibly.</p> <p>The way a credit card impacts your credit score and personal finances has everything to do with the way you handle the account. Just because one person you know had a bad experience with credit doesn't mean you'll have the same experience, especially if you stay on top of things.</p> <p>Paying off your balance every month or making timely minimum payments adds positive activity to your credit report. This is essential to establishing credit. And if you already have a credit history, periodically using a credit card keeps your account active and helps build an even stronger credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>2. You can receive rewards based on usage</h2> <p>Another reason to use a credit card is the opportunity to earn rewards for every purchase &mdash; because who doesn't love a good freebie? Your rewards can come in the form of points, miles, or cash back redeemable for a check, statement credit, airline tickets, hotel stays, gift cards, or merchandise. The more you use the card, the more free or discounted stuff you can score.</p> <p>The downside is that reward credit cards tend to have slightly higher interest rates than non-reward cards. But if you're disciplined enough to pay off your balance in full every month, you don't have to feel guilty because there won't be any interest to worry about. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. It'll help you survive an emergency</h2> <p>It doesn't matter how responsible you are with money: Most people go through a rough patch at some point in life. If you hit a financial low or deal with a string of unexpected expenses, a credit card can function as a short-term loan providing cash for urgent situations. You'll pay interest on these charges if you carry a balance, but this option is cheaper than a short-term cash advance loan, and you'll maintain your privacy since you won't have to borrow from friends or family. Just make sure to prioritize paying off this balance when your emergency is handled.</p> <h2>4. It's safer than cash</h2> <p>Using a credit card is also safer than cash, especially when traveling. If you lose or have your wallet stolen, you can't replace the cash inside. But if your credit cards are lost or stolen, your bank can issue a replacement card and remove fraudulent charges from your account.</p> <p>Since bank debit cards are linked to your bank account, credit cards are sometimes safer than these cards. If someone uses your debit card fraudulently, this person can drain your bank account, resulting in overdraft fees. Your bank will reimburse your money &mdash; not all is lost &mdash; but it can take up to 10 days to sort through the mess and get your money back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a>)</p> <h2>5. It'll help you keep accurate expense records</h2> <p>Credit cards also are useful for keeping track of spending for business and tax purposes, especially if you're not the best at saving receipts. Since credit card statements include a record of your purchases, use your credit card for business-related purchases, and then refer to your statement when recording business expenses. For this to work, keep a close eye on how much you're spending throughout the month to avoid going overboard and getting into long-term debt.</p> <h2>6. It buys extra protection</h2> <p>A credit card isn't only practical during an emergency or when you're looking to earn reward points, it also buys extra protection when used for certain purchases. For example, some credit cards offer rental car coverage at no additional cost, which means you can decline a car rental company's optional coverage when booking your reservation.</p> <p>Some credit cards have an extended warranty policy on select purchases too, giving you an extra year of protection after a manufacturer's warranty expires. Other credit cards may include travel insurance protection which compensates card members for costs incurred due to trip cancellation, lost luggage, travel accidents, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p>Benefits vary by card, so contact your credit card company for information on member perks.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Carry%2520a%2520Balance-%2520Heres%2520Why%2520You%2520Still%2520Need%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance%3F%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance-%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back">12 Times Your Credit Card Has Your Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards benefits credit history credit score emergencies expenses miles perks records rewards Fri, 25 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 2007682 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Worried young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facing debt can be stressful and overwhelming. But it's important to remember that no matter how much you might feel that you're in over your head, debt is a hole you can climb out of. You can absolutely do this. Here are the first steps you need to take.</p> <h2>1. Figure out how much you owe</h2> <p>The first step can be the most painful. It's time to get an overview of your debt, which means you need to add up everything you owe and take a good look at your total. That, my friends, can be a difficult moment. But that difficult moment will also provide you with the clarity you need to start taking back power over your financial future.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Gather your financial statements or log in to the online portal for each account you owe on: your credit cards, mortgage, student loan, car loan, lines of credit, home equity loan, etc. Create a simple spreadsheet with four columns: one to identify each debt (&quot;Student Loan&quot;), one for the amount owed, one for the minimum monthly payment, and one for the interest rate. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report" target="_blank">Pull your credit report</a> to search for outstanding debts, and compare the information against what you have in your own records.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>2. Sort and prioritize the debt list</h2> <p>Now it's time to start sorting out your spreadsheet entries so you can come up with the best possible plan to get out of debt.</p> <p>You might think that the most important debt to pay off is the biggest one; however, it's often a good idea to identify the debt with the highest interest rate and knock that out first. This is known as the avalanche method of debt repayment. Higher interest rates lead to faster debt accumulation and result in you paying a higher amount over the course of your debt repayment. The faster you can get rid of high-interest debts, the better.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Sort your spreadsheet by the fourth column, the one for the interest rate. You might see anything from a 4 percent interest rate (for example, on a student loan) to a whopping 22 percent interest rate on, say, a credit card. You may owe more principal on your student loan, but relatively speaking, you're wasting more in interest every month on that credit card. The credit card is therefore the higher priority for complete repayment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add up your minimum payments</h2> <p>You don't get to stop making payments on the lower-interest debts, even though they're not the highest priority. Instead, you need to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all lower-interest debts while making bigger payments on your debt with the highest interest rate. Once you knock one high-interest debt out completely, you prioritize the debt with the next-highest interest rate and continue paying minimums on everything else.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Add up the monthly minimum payments for <em>all</em> the debts on your list, including the highest-interest debt. This is the total, bare minimum debt repayment amount that needs to fit into your current budget. This can be a nerve wracking step, especially if you don't have enough income to comfortably afford that total monthly minimum amount. You may need to take steps to cut expenses elsewhere, or bring in sources of additional income.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>4. Determine your needed overage payment</h2> <p>Now it's time to calculate the payment you need to get that highest-interest debt paid off as quickly as possible. If you keep making only the minimum payment on it, you'll keep accumulating interest charges and it will take much longer to pay it off. Instead, think of a target timeline (maybe six months or a year) for paying off the highest-interest debt, and calculate an ideal amount you can pay above the minimum payment to achieve that goal.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Use an online <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">credit card payoff calculator</a>. Enter the information for your highest-interest debt: total amount owed, interest rate, and the minimum payment. You'll see how long it will take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments. Now, instead of minimum payments, enter how many months you'd like to have it paid off in. The result will show you the monthly amount you need to pay in order to clear the debt within your target timeline.</p> <h2>5. Give yourself the best possible conditions</h2> <p>You have the essential numbers that you need. They may be painful, but knowledge is power. The next step is to find ways to reduce the financial impact that these debts have while you repay them. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">Debt consolidation</a> may be the best way to do this; however, you may also be able to lower your interest rates and negotiate better payment plans on individual debts, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>This takes some time, depending on the number of debts you have. Call each creditor and ask how you can reduce your interest rate. You may be able to refinance a home mortgage or car loan for a lower rate, for example. If you have a good repayment history, ask credit card companies to consider your reliable record and give you a better interest rate. If you're able to take out a low-interest loan, such as a line of credit or home equity loan with your bank, you may be able to use it to pay off your high-interest debt and consolidate at least some of your debts into a single, lower-interest loan.</p> <h2>6. Protect your credit and your finances</h2> <p>If you're late on a payment, being proactive can save you from accumulating fees and damaging your credit score. For example, if you call the credit card company and explain that you can't make the full minimum payment on time, they may work with you to split the payment in half for the month so you can avoid late fees. Many times, a phone call and a courteous conversation can reduce or remove a fee, extend a deadline, or result in a more manageable payment plan.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Set up alerts or schedule automatic minimum monthly payments so you don't miss due dates. If you know you won't have the money on time for a particular payment, call in advance to negotiate an extended deadline or set up a split payment plan. Additionally, you may want to keep an eye on changes in your credit report.</p> <h2>7. Protect your financial future</h2> <p>As difficult as it seems to save money when you're trying to pay down debt, it's so important. You need an emergency fund for those unpredictable expenses that will happen. Building an emergency fund will keep you from having to add to your debt when the car breaks down or you don't get that bonus you were counting on. In other words, it's the essential tool that keeps you climbing out of that debt pit, even when life happens. Without it, one setback can set off a downward spiral deeper into debt. You don't want that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>If your budget is absolutely maxed out, you can pick up a side hustle or employ another short-term strategy &mdash; such as selling off a few high-value items, or taking on seasonal work &mdash; to quickly build up an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Easy%2520First%2520Steps%2520to%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt.jpg" alt="7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-being-debt-free-can-cost-you">7 Ways Being Debt Free Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt">How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method budgeting credit report credit score emergency funds interest rates minimum payments negotiating principal repayment Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2001479 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do if You've Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540503334 (1).jpg" alt="Woman signed up for a bad credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You thought you were buying your dream home, but now you realize that you'll struggle to afford the monthly mortgage payments. Or maybe you thought that new car would look great in your driveway, only to realize after you signed the sales contract that it barely gets 15 miles to the gallon.</p> <p>We all make bad decisions. But when you sign up for a bad loan or credit card, those bad decisions can come with serious financial repercussions.</p> <p>Fortunately, a bad loan or credit decision doesn't have to be permanent. Here are some financial contracts you might regret signing, and the steps you can take to get out of them.</p> <h2>Refinancing your mortgage</h2> <p>Maybe you thought refinancing your 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan to a 15-year version was a smart financial move. A 15-year loan, after all, would give you a lower interest rate and save you thousands on interest payments. Unfortunately, you overestimated your ability to make the higher monthly payments that come with a shorter-term mortgage.</p> <p>You can get out of a refinance agreement easily if you act quickly. The &quot;right of rescission&quot; gives borrowers the right to cancel their refinance agreement if they do it within three days of either closing on their loan, or receiving their loan disclosure documents, whichever comes first. You don't have to provide a reason for backing out of your refinance agreement.</p> <p>These three days are business days, but they do include Saturday. If you want to cancel that refinance, act quickly.</p> <h2>Home equity loans</h2> <p>The three-day right of rescission applies to home equity loans, too. The rules are the same for refinancing: If you want to back out of your new home equity loan, you have to do so within three business days.</p> <p>There is a reason for the right of rescission: The government wants to offer consumers a final way to protect their homes before they take on new loans. Homes are used as collateral in refinances and home equity loans, meaning that lenders can take these assets if their owners stop making payments. The right of rescission gives consumers one last chance to avoid signing up for a new loan that they might not be able to afford.</p> <h2>A single-family mortgage</h2> <p>Consumers often mistakenly believe that the right of rescission applies to buying a single-family home, as well. Unfortunately, it doesn't.</p> <p>Unless buyers include a set cooling-off period in their sales contracts &mdash; specifying a certain number of days in which they can change their mind about buying the home &mdash; walking away from an agreement to buy a single-family home can cause them plenty of financial pain.</p> <p>After buyers sign a contract to buy a home, they write out an earnest money check. This check, which is supposed to show sellers that the buyers are serious about purchasing their home, is deposited into an escrow fund until the home sale actually closes. The amount of earnest money buyers deposit varies, but it is usually 1 percent to 2 percent of a home's sale price. For a $200,000 home, buyers can provide $2,000 to $4,000.</p> <p>If buyers change their mind and walk away from a home purchase, they will usually lose that earnest money, breaking a sales contract could cost them thousands of dollars. But there are exceptions, known in the real estate business as contingencies. If the home inspection turns up serious problems, buyers can usually break the contract and keep their earnest money. If buyers can't qualify for a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of the home, they can again usually break the contract and keep that earnest money.</p> <h2>Buying a condo</h2> <p>Things are different when you sign a contract to purchase a condominium or co-op. You'll still have to provide earnest money. But you also have a window of time &mdash; which varies according to the state in which you are buying &mdash; to break your contract without losing that money.</p> <p>Condo and co-op purchase agreements come with a review period. During this period, you can opt out of the purchase agreement you signed and receive your earnest money back, no questions asked. Just make sure you act within the review period.</p> <p>This review period can vary significantly. In North Carolina, buyers have seven days to back out of a purchase agreement without suffering a financial hit. In Florida, the review period lasts 15 days. Make sure to check what the review period is in your particular state.</p> <h2>Leasing a car</h2> <p>If you buy a car and finance it through a traditional auto loan, you're pretty much stuck, even if you don't like the car. If your car has continual mechanical problems, and is always in the shop, you might be able to turn to your state's lemon law to cancel your purchase contract. But that is a long shot.</p> <p>If you are leasing a car, you have more options. You can transfer your auto lease &mdash; and get rid of that car you don't like &mdash; by using a third-party service such as Lease Trader or Swapalease.com to pass your lease onto another consumer seeking to lease a vehicle.</p> <p>Before you do this, make sure that your leasing company allows such transfers. And be sure to read the fine print in your lease. Some leasing companies will list you as guarantor on your lease even after you transfer it. If the person who takes over your lease stops making payments, your leasing company will seek to collect those payments from you.</p> <h2>A credit card</h2> <p>Is there a credit card in your wallet that comes with sky-high interest rates? Or maybe it's just a basic card that doesn't offer any rewards. You might decide to cancel that card. But you should think twice.</p> <p>Canceling a credit card can hurt your credit score, even if you never plan to use that card again. The amount of available credit you have is a determining factor in calculating your credit score. Canceling a card will remove some of your unused, available credit &mdash; and, if you carry a balance on your other cards, automatically increase the amount of available credit that you are using. As a result, your credit score will take a hit. It's often smarter to simply not use that card than to cancel it.</p> <p>If you really do want to cancel the card &mdash; maybe you're worried that having it in your wallet will tempt you to use it &mdash; simply call the customer service number on the back. You will have to pay off your existing balance (or have previously transferred it to a different card) before you can close your account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like This Article? Pin it!</p> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Do%2520if%2520You%2527ve%2520Signed%2520Up%2520for%2520a%2520Terrible%2520Loan%2520or%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20if%20You've%20Signed%20Up%20for%20a%20Terrible%20Loan%20or%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20if%20You%27ve%20Signed%20Up%20for%20a%20Terrible%20Loan%20or%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="What to Do if You've Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> </h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement">Why Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan">10 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Out a Personal Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bad loans condos credit score home equity loan interest rates monthly payments mortgages new car refinancing Mon, 07 Aug 2017 08:31:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1994331 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_boy_nerd_saves_money_in_his_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young Boy Nerd Saves Money in His Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?</p> <p>There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.</p> <h2>1. You've built an emergency fund</h2> <p>Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car's transmission might blow. Your home's furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don't have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <p>But you won't have to do this if you've built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you're making the right money moves.</p> <p>Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you've met this goal, be proud: You're doing something right financially.</p> <h2>2. You're getting better credit card offers</h2> <p>It's rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that's another sign that you're making smart money moves.</p> <p>If you're saddled with tons of debt, or if you've made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards &mdash; if you receive any credit card offers at all.</p> <p>If, however, you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">cut down your credit card debt</a> and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you're becoming a savvy financial operator.</p> <h2>3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates</h2> <p>Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That's another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.</p> <p>Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high &mdash; 740 or more &mdash; you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.</p> <p>Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.</p> <p>You can check your credit score &mdash; usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it's your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit card debt has disappeared</h2> <p>Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you <em>don't </em>have a balance, that's one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. The monthly bills don't make you sweat</h2> <p>When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that's a sign that you're living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>If, though, the monthly bills don't make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you're doing something right with your finances.</p> <h2>6. Your checking account balance is growing each month</h2> <p>The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That's another sign that you're making smart money decisions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Money%2520Moves.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves.jpg" alt="6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-americans-are-getting-better-at-managing-their-money">3 Ways Americans Are Getting Better at Managing Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit history credit score debt emergency funds good signs money moves saving money Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986886 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_screaming_papers_599701902.jpg" alt="Man&#039;s bills varying based on credit behavior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. Because it incorporates data about your past behavior with credit &mdash; how much credit and debt you have and how good you are at paying those bills off &mdash; it's deemed as a good predictor of how you'll behave with future bills.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" target="_blank">low credit score</a> can hurt you in many ways: It makes it more difficult to qualify for mortgages, car loans, or credit cards. And when you do qualify for a loan or credit card, you'll be stuck with higher interest rates and the higher monthly payments that come with them. Poor credit behavior can also cost you money each month in the form of higher student loan and insurance payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Most lenders today still consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. Anything at 640 or lower, though, is considered weak.</p> <p>Here's a look at five monthly bills that you'll pay more for if your credit score is low.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage payment</h2> <p>Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage payment. If your score is high, odds are good that you'll qualify for a lower interest rate, which will, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payment. If your score is low, the opposite will happen.</p> <p>Here's an example of the difference that a high or low interest rate can have on your monthly mortgage payment: If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.80 percent, you'll have a monthly payment of about $931, not counting what you might pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you take out that same loan with a higher interest rate of 4.80 percent &mdash; which you may have gotten due to a low credit score &mdash; your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, will be about $1,049. That's $118 more a month, or about $1,416 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a>)</p> <h2>2. Auto loans</h2> <p>You'll face the same situation when applying for an auto loan with a lower credit score. Auto lenders, like mortgage lenders, rely heavily on your credit score. If they see a low score, they'll protect themselves financially by charging you a higher interest rate. This higher rate will result in a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>The higher rates make sense if you look at your loan from your lender's point of view. A lower credit score means you have a history of making bad financial choices, whether that means paying bills late or missing them entirely. Lenders then levy a higher interest rate to make up for the danger of lending to riskier borrowers.</p> <h2>3. Credit cards</h2> <p>Interest rates on credit cards can be high &mdash; 20 percent or higher in some cases. But if your credit score is high, you'll increase your chances of qualifying for a lower rate on your cards. This is important: If you carry a balance on your cards each month, a lower interest rate will mean a lower required minimum monthly payment. It also means your debt will grow at a slower rate.</p> <p>How you use credit cards has a big impact on your credit score. If you always pay your cards on time, and if you don't run up too much debt on them, you will steadily boost your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student loans</h2> <p>There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Your credit score won't affect your interest rate on federal loans. But lenders originating private student loans will look at your credit score. If your score is low, they'll charge you higher interest rates and fees. This will result in a higher monthly student loan payment.</p> <h2>5. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p>Insurance companies don't rely on your credit score to set your homeowners insurance rates. They do, however, use a similar metric known as an insurance score. This score includes information about your past payment history, your debts, and your number of open credit accounts, just like your credit score. It can also include information about any safety features &mdash; such as fire alarms and security systems &mdash; protecting your home and whether you've made a high number of insurance claims in the past.</p> <p>If your insurance score is high, you'll qualify for a lower insurance bill. If that score is low, you can expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520That%2520Vary%2520Based%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Behavior.jpg&amp;description=5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior.jpg" alt="5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bills credit score fico homeowners insurance interest rates mortgages payments student loans Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:47:46 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990977 at http://www.wisebread.com Bad Credit? It Might Cost You Your Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/bad-credit-it-might-cost-you-your-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bad-credit-it-might-cost-you-your-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_costs.jpg" alt="Wedding costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a lot to think about when choosing a partner: attraction, personality, and commonalities in interests, values, and life goals. Sense of humor is important, along with whether she's allergic to your cat or he's tolerant of your love for stinky cheeses.</p> <p>If you find a good match on all of those factors, are you set? Not entirely. Studies show that there's another factor you should consider: your potential mate's credit score.</p> <h2>The credit score connection</h2> <p>What's a credit score got to do with love? Quite a bit, actually. Well, maybe not love, per se, but credit scores have something to do with the longevity of a relationship. Lower credit scores are linked with higher rates of divorce or &quot;relationship dissolution,&quot; according to a 2015 study done by the Federal Reserve Board.</p> <p>The study looked at data from 12 million consumers to track correlation between credit score and relationship longevity. The results were telling: Researchers found that credit scores play a significant role in how long committed relationships last. If both partners have higher average credit scores at the beginning of the relationship, they are less likely to separate.</p> <p>A drop of 93 points in a partner's average credit score increased the chance that the relationship will end in the second year by a whopping 30 percent.</p> <p>If you thought money didn't matter, think again.</p> <h2>What about love, and stuff?</h2> <p>The big question is <em>why</em>. Why are lower credit scores related to increased chances of a relationship ending? There are several possibilities. More than likely, it's a combination of these factors:</p> <h2>Assumptions of character</h2> <p>The researchers posit that a low credit score may be linked to the lack of key relationship skills, such as trustworthiness. Credit scores, they point out, are used in many cases not just to show that someone is financially solvent, but that they are reliable and will honor their commitments.</p> <p>Of course, there are many complex factors involved in an individual's credit score. It's not fair to assume that because someone has a low credit score, that person is unreliable, lazy, or untrustworthy.</p> <p>But the perception that certain negative traits are present can be enough to close a lot of society's doors for an individual. A low credit score might mean you can't get a lease, can't get a loan, or can't buy a car. Those closed doors lead to the second significant factor: stress.</p> <h2>Ongoing financial stress</h2> <p>A low credit score may be due to unsecured and unpaid debt, often with high interest rates attached. Having debt at a high interest rate is enough, by itself, to cause financial stress. When you add in those closed doors, you get a mountain of financial pain.</p> <p>Imagine someone who has high-interest debt with a fairly high monthly payment. This person gets a great job, but needs reliable transportation to get to it. They can't get a loan to buy a car, and they don't have the cash to purchase one outright, so they have to rely on friends and family for rides. Maybe public transportation is available, but maybe it isn't. This person's ability to get to work depends on the willingness of other people to provide transportation.</p> <h2>It's not the credit score, but it is</h2> <p>Stress is stress, whether it's financial or caused by some other factor. When someone lives under continual financial stress, it affects the functioning of their brain and body. <a href="http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress" target="_blank">Chronic stress</a> is linked to higher blood pressure, lowered immune system, weight gain and obesity, depression and anxiety, short-term memory impairment, loss of concentration, and substance abuse.</p> <p>People with low credit scores are often functioning with chronic stress. They're simultaneously trying to overcome the limitations and assumptions caused by their low credit score. The relationship correlations make sense. Stress from any factor will affect a relationship; chronic stress can slowly dismantle the structure of a relationship.</p> <h2>Resentment in the relationship</h2> <p>Resentment and conflict can develop when one partner has to continually take on the brunt of the financial burden. For example, a couple decides to buy a home together; however, one partner's credit score would hurt the mortgage application. Instead of pursuing joint homeownership, the partner with better credit becomes the sole applicant for the home loan and thus, the sole responsible party. This sense of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-couples-fight-over-money-and-what-to-do-about-it" target="_blank">financial inequality</a> can lead to ongoing resentment toward the person with lower credit.</p> <p>Resentment can run both ways. The partner with low credit may resent having to be &quot;helped.&quot; And the partner with better credit may use it to justify bad behavior in other areas of the relationship.</p> <h2>What can you do?</h2> <p>A credit score does not define the person you're with. And a credit score is not forever. There are ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">consolidate debt</a>. You can get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt" target="_blank">free financial counseling</a>. Romantic partners with strong communication skills, and a plan for paying off debt and building financial security can tackle the challenges of low credit together, and win.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fbad-credit-it-might-cost-you-your-marriage&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBad%2520Credit-%2520It%2520Might%2520Cost%2520You%2520Your%2520Marriage.jpg&amp;description=Bad%20Credit%3F%20It%20Might%20Cost%20You%20Your%20Marriage"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Bad%20Credit-%20It%20Might%20Cost%20You%20Your%20Marriage.jpg" alt="Bad Credit? It Might Cost You Your Marriage" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bad-credit-it-might-cost-you-your-marriage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation">How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce or Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance compatibility credit score debt divorce marriage money troubles relationships stress Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:30:04 +0000 Annie Mueller 1988259 at http://www.wisebread.com