credit scores http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9780/all en-US FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_paperwork_471708004.jpg" alt="Woman learning if free credit scores are a real thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building up and maintaining a good credit score is a great step toward achieving your financial goals. An <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">excellent credit score</a> can open doors to better financing for your dream home or a more reliable set of wheels. When used properly, a credit card can help you start off, continue to improve, or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">build back your credit history</a>. Your on-time monthly credit card payments count as 35% of your FICO credit score, after all.</p> <p>The traditional way to find out your credit score involves contacting one or all of the credit bureaus and paying for their service to provide your score. Thanks to FICO's Open Access initiative in November 2013, however, credit card users may be able to access their scores free, every month on their statements. More than 50 lenders, including American Express, Bank of America, Chase, and Capital One, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">offer their customers free credit scores</a>.</p> <p>It's important to note, though, that the score you get on your statements may not reflect the actual score your mortgage lender or car dealership is looking at when considering you for a loan.</p> <h2>Case Study of a Free Credit Score</h2> <p>I have accumulated a few credit cards over the years, and some of those cards offer me a free credit score. I've looked at the credit scores indicated on my latest statements from each of these cards, and the scores vary by up to 59 points.</p> <p>So, what's going on? Which of these credit scores can I trust?</p> <p>The problem is that these credit cards are all using different factors and ways to calculate the score. Some of these factors include:</p> <ul> <li>The date my credit information was pulled;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The credit reporting agency they use; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The type of credit score they are reporting.</li> </ul> <p>Given these different factors, you can clearly see that not all free credit scores are alike. It's important to know what credit data you're getting to correctly evaluate your financial health.</p> <h2>3 Criteria to Analyze Your Free Credit Score</h2> <p>Based on these findings, let's review key questions that you should ask yourself about your free credit score from an existing card, or one from a card that you're planning to open.</p> <h3>1. Is It a FICO Score?</h3> <p>Not all credit cards offer the same free credit scores. Capital One offers free TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 scores to all of its cardholders and, since March 2016, to non-customers through its CreditWise credit monitoring service. CreditWise is available as a smartphone app and allows you to sign up for a new account within the app. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a>)</p> <p>Different credit cards use different algorithms to calculate scores. Generally, a FICO credit score provides you a closer look to what your lenders would actually get when pulling your credit score on their own. Credit scores other than a FICO are considered &quot;equivalency scores&quot; or &quot;educational scores,&quot; and are often referred to as &quot;FAKO&quot; scores. While a FAKO score may give you a general idea of where you stand with lenders, it may not be accurate enough to tell you whether or not you'll get approved for a loan.</p> <h3>2. If It's a FICO Score, Which One Is It?</h3> <p>FICO has been in the credit score business for over 25 years and it has developed more than 50 types of credit scores! Most credit card companies offering a free FICO score provide the <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/178841/2185?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.myfico.com%2Fcredit-education%2Ffico-score-8-and-multiple-versions-of-fico-scores%2F" target="_blank">FICO Score 8</a>. The key differentiating factors of a FICO Score 8 are that this score:</p> <ul> <li>Gives a bigger weight to cards that have a balance close to the cards' limit;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is more forgiving than other FICO score versions to one-time late payments of at least 30 days;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Provides a bigger penalty for numerous late payments;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reduces &quot;tradeline renting&quot; benefit (a credit repair practice in which individuals with poor credit are added as an authorized user to a stronger credit account); and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ignores collection accounts with an original balance under $100.</li> </ul> <h3>3. What FICO Score Will Your Lender Use?</h3> <p>Depending on their industry and preferred credit reporting bureau, lenders can use different scores. Here are some <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/178841/2185?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.myfico.com%2Fcredit-education%2Fcredit-score-versions%2F" target="_blank">examples provided by FICO</a>:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202017-01-07%20at%202.47.52%20AM.png" width="605" height="277" alt="" /></p> <p>According to FICO, the FICO Score 8 provided for free by most credit card companies is most useful when applying for a credit card. For other purposes, your FICO Score 8 may not appropriately predict your likelihood of not paying as agreed in the future of a specific credit obligation.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Should You Sign Up for a Free Credit Score From Your Credit Card?</h2> <p>Yes, you should definitely sign up for that free credit score from your financial institution as long as it's a FICO score. The main reason is that the lowest price offering from FICO (9 FICO scores, including FICO Score 8, and Equifax credit report monitoring) is <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/218633/2185" target="_blank">$19.95 per month</a> or $219 per year. If your current card doesn't offer you a credit score or you're looking to take advantage of a balance transfer with a 0% promotional APR, here are Wise Bread's recommendations on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">best credit cards that offer credit scores</a>.</p> <p>Having access to your free FICO Score 8 will allow you to save money on credit monitoring fees until you get closer to the acceptable range that your lender is looking for. Once you're closer to your target score, find out from your lender what score they are using and consider signing up for the <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/93942/2185" target="_blank">myFICO score tracking service</a> that gives you access to that specific score (ask for score name and company that issues it). While this option may cost up to $29.95 per month for a couple of months, it will allow you to have a more accurate picture than your FICO Score 8 and prevent a hard pull from your lender. Remember that each hard pull on your credit history slightly brings down your credit score, so it's a good practice to minimize hard pulls.</p> <p>Of course, make sure to read the fine print on the service agreement with myFICO so you don't miss the deadline to prevent a charge for the next month.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing">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/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</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/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</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-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/get-free-credit-score-monitoring-with-credit-karma">Get Your Free Credit Score from Credit Karma</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-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards auto loans credit monitoring credit scores fico free lenders mortgages myfico Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1870052 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Millennials Should Embrace Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/why-millennials-should-embrace-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-millennials-should-embrace-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_credit_card_92044311.jpg" alt="Learning why millennials should embrace credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials are avoiding credit cards more than any other generation. Perhaps this is because they have witnessed their own parents <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">struggling with debt</a>, or they are already feeling overwhelmed by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">student loan repayments</a>. While debt is a good thing to avoid, especially if you don't want to live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of your life, credit cards aren&rsquo;t always the enemy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">13 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn&rsquo;t Know About</a>)</p> <p>In fact, credit cards can actually be beneficial toward your financial goals. Here are just a few reasons why you should embrace credit cards, after all.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">4 Surprising Reasons to Always Use Your Credit Card</a></p> <h2>Better Protection</h2> <p>If your credit card account information is stolen, and someone goes on a spending spree, you have some time to resolve it. Card charges you flag as fraudulent will be placed on hold while investigated, and you won&rsquo;t be responsible for their payment or even interest accrual. While fraudulent charges are a royal pain, the silver lining is that none of your actual money has been stolen from your bank account.</p> <p>This is not true if your debit card, PayPal, or Venmo account has been hacked, and funds are used without your permission. You would report the fraud to your bank, but those funds have already left your account. You&rsquo;d have to wait for the bank to resolve this. In the meantime, if you have bills to pay, you&rsquo;ll be left asking for an extension while your bank investigates.</p> <h2>Build Up Credit</h2> <p>Your credit score affects everything from your interest rate for a new vehicle, to whether or not you qualify to rent, and even your job, if your career requires a specific clearance. Even having zero credit can be very harmful for your finances. You will end up having to cosign your loan with somebody, or you could be hit with a high interest rate.</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t even have to use your credit card all the time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">build a healthy credit score</a>. Instead, start with one credit card, spend $100&ndash;$200 a month on it, and pay it off each month. Look for a card that comes with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">free credit score monitoring</a> so you can keep track of your score.</p> <h2>Get Free Money</h2> <p>Even if you aren&rsquo;t interested in the world of credit card rewards, it&rsquo;s simple to get cash back for your purchases. Some cards will offer a higher percentage of cash back for certain types of purchases, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">groceries</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">dining</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">gas</a>. Others have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">flat rate cash back percentage</a> on all purchases, so you don&rsquo;t have to worry about bonus categories. Either way, you&rsquo;re getting money back on purchases you&rsquo;re already planning on making. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Get Free Travel</h2> <p>Collecting credit card <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">rewards points for travel</a> doesn&rsquo;t have to be complicated. Get points or miles for the purchases you make on your card, redeem them for statement credits toward travel purchases, or use the points to purchase travel. The best part about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">travel rewards credit cards</a> is the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">sign up bonuses</a> that you can collect when you get a new card. My husband and I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-redeemed-a-12000-family-vacation-with-credit-card-rewards-in-2-months?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">earned a free trip</a> just by switching our regular spending to a new card for a few months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Take advantage of these promotions and bonus points to travel your dream destinations more affordably. Once you get married and have kids, it is harder to see the world.</p> <h2>Purchase Protection</h2> <p>Credit cards have an amazing number of protections in place. Purchase protection protects against theft and damage. Price protection allows you to get a difference on an item&rsquo;s price if it goes down shortly after you&rsquo;ve bought it. Extended warranty automatically extends the warranty on your item up to an additional year. Some even have return protection, which allows you to get a refund even if you&rsquo;ve been denied a return from the vendor.</p> <h2>Interest Free Financing</h2> <p>Many cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">0% intro APR on purchases for 6-18 months</a>. This means that you can pay off a large purchase over a year and half, with no interest. The important thing to remember though, is that you have to be committed to paying it off during that time. It&rsquo;s never wise to accrue credit card debt, pay interest, and live beyond your means. But getting an interest-free loan for 18 months if you are certain you can pay it off, is a great deal.</p> <h2>Car Rental</h2> <p>Most car rental vendors will require a credit card. Even better is that many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit cards also come with rental car insurance</a>, which will save you money on your rental.</p> <h2>Avoid Fees While Traveling</h2> <p>Instead of paying an exchange rate for cash when traveling abroad, use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card with no foreign transaction fees</a>. It has the benefit of being safer than carrying cash, and has built in fraud and purchase protections.</p> <h2>Benefiting From Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt</h2> <p>Even with all of the benefits a credit card can bring, &ldquo;25% of Millennials describe credit cards as something that worsens their financial standing,&rdquo; according to one study. It is true that credit cards can dig you deep into debt and financial problems if you aren&rsquo;t careful. Here are three ways to reap the benefits without falling into debt.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Balance Credit Cards Like Checkbooks: </strong>Past generations used to balance their checkbooks by writing down every expense, making sure they knew how much was in their checking account at all times. Modern technology has made this practice archaic, but it still can be useful. Every time you spend money on your credit card, subtract it from your checking account either with the help of an app or pen and paper.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Use Credit Cards to Pay for Usual Bills: </strong>You can earn points without spending more than you already do each month. Pay your bills online through a credit card or use one solely for gas or groceries. Take advantage of cards that offer extra points for spending in a certain category.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Don&rsquo;t Let Credit Cards Change Your Spending Mentality: </strong>Credit cards can give us the false illusion that we have more money than we actually have to spend. Don&rsquo;t fall victim to this. Still stick to a strict budget and only splurge what you have set aside specifically for spending.</li> </ul> <p>It is great that Millennials are trying to avoid debt more than the other generations. However, avoiding debt does not mean you have to avoid credit cards. Use credit cards to your advantage to make your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">everyday spending go a little further</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">How to Save an Extra $1,000 a Year</a>)</p> <p><em>What is your favorite credit card to use? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-millennials-should-embrace-credit-cards">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-5"> <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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect 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/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</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/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</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-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards car rentals credit cards credit scores financing fraud protection millennials travel warranties Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1753340 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_game_000017059049.jpg" alt="Learning things about money after getting married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marriage comes with its fair share of life lessons, and money is among the most prominent of these. Here's what I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-getting-married-is-good-for-your-finances" target="_blank">learned about money while being married</a> &mdash; for better and worse.</p> <h2>1. Credit Scores and Debt Should Be Laid Bare While You're Still Dating</h2> <p>Money is a taboo subject, in general, and couples &mdash; especially new ones who are still navigating the muddy waters of a blossoming relationship &mdash; don't like to talk about the financial predicaments they may be in. But these conversations are necessary.</p> <p>My husband and I were sort of forced into the conversation as we bought our first home before we got married, but even if that's not on the horizon for you and your partner, it's still good to assess the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" target="_blank">credit score and debt</a> situation so you both know what you're dealing with. That's not to say that you should dump somebody because their financial standing isn't as great as you might have hoped it would be, but it's certainly a factor to consider as you plan your life together.</p> <h2>2. Discuss Future Financial and Investment Goals Before Saying &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>Before I got married I had plans for my future, but those plans changed (at least a little) when I decided to get hitched. I adapted my strategy to accommodate my husband &mdash; but I didn't derail it altogether, and I don't recommend that you do either. It's about compromise &mdash; it's beneficial to discuss your specific plans and goals ahead of your nuptials. Your partner may not want to open that new business, or carry the potential financial burden that comes along with it. On the other hand, your spouse may be totally on board with how you've mapped out your financial future and/or investments, and vice-versa. But you won't know until you discuss it.</p> <p>Lay it all out on the table before getting anywhere near the altar so you each have a clear idea of where your relationship is headed financially (in theory, at least) once you're joined in holy &mdash; and legally binding &mdash; matrimony.</p> <h2>3. Schedule Uninterrupted Time to Discuss Your Finances in Depth</h2> <p>The only way my husband and I stay on the same page about our finances &mdash; and, specifically, the money that's coming in and going out on a constant basis &mdash; is to schedule time to discuss where we're at financially. We usually have a dinner date once a month where at least part of the conversation is about our budget, expenses, debt, and increases or decreases in expected income.</p> <p>We also have an annual meeting at the end of the year to discuss what we anticipate the next year's expenses to be, and how we plan to meet them. While it's not easy integrating another person into the mix financially &mdash; and it can sometimes be stressful for you if you've overspent or missed a bill and you don't want it to result in an argument &mdash; it's needed so that you can both stay on track and repair snags together.</p> <h2>4. Keep Your Family Out of Your Finances &mdash; Period</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd all be rich and nobody would want for anything. That's not the case, however, and sometimes family and friends come knocking for a loan. My general rule is to not provide this type of financial support to anyone, as it rarely turns out well &mdash; and most people will tell you that. My husband, on the other hand, views this subject differently, and there's been at least one time where there was zero discussion about providing the loan to a family member, and I didn't find out about it until after the fact.</p> <p>I wasn't particularly bothered by the amount of the loan or to whom it went &mdash; it was his money and he could do what he wanted with it &mdash; but rather that I wasn't included in the conversation. Even though I wasn't contributing to this particular loan, it could have affected our ability to purchase or finance something we needed down the road, and I felt as if I had the right to be informed.</p> <h2>5. You're Morally and Legally Obligated to Help One Another Financially</h2> <p>Whether you like it or not, whatever happens to your spouse financially also, in a sense, happens to you. This could mean a moral obligation to get out of whatever money pickle you may have gotten into, or, worst-case scenario, it could be a legal obligation, like if you file joint taxes and owe the government money. The IRS debt may be the result of one or the other's financial status &mdash; like if you have taxes taken out automatically each pay period from employment, but your spouse is an entrepreneur (like I am) who pays estimated taxes &mdash; but legally you're both on the hook for the debt. Not being prepared for this situation, or how to handle it responsibly and fairly, can lead to resentment and loads of other issues that you're better off without.</p> <h2>6. Keeping Separate Accounts Can Help Maintain Some Independence</h2> <p>My husband and I keep a joint account for shared purchases, like vacations, but we've also always maintained our own separate checking and savings accounts. For some couples this may seem odd, but for us it's helped us keep a part of our individual independence intact. While we consult each other on major purchases, we don't have to ask one another if we can buy some of the smaller things or little luxuries that we want, which in turn helps us to avoid nitpicking each other about things we don't think the other one should be buying.</p> <p>I can only imagine how couples who co-mingle all their money argue about how many coffees or beers each is buying per week, the 19th pair of new shoes she's bought this year, or the new video game he brought home. The bottom line for us is that the bills get paid and we're still able to save; we're allowed to treat ourselves every now and then without having to ask permission or fear retribution.</p> <h2>7. Debt Can Destroy Your Relationship &mdash; If You Let It</h2> <p>A few years ago I discovered a substantial amount of debt that my husband racked up, and I was completely gutted over the situation. How, why, when, where? So many questions went through my mind, not the least of which was, how are we going to pay this off? I was lucky in that regard as my husband took full responsibility for it and promised to pay it off himself &mdash; and he has. But it may not work out like that for everyone.</p> <p>If your partner isn't capable of paying off the debt, you, in fact, may be responsible for it too if it's attached to a joint credit card or another joint account. When that happens, it will likely put a major strain on your relationship. Old debt is one thing, but new debt &mdash; that is, debt acquired singularly by one partner while you're in the relationship &mdash; has a much more damaging and lasting effect. We were able to get past this and get back on track, but it's not easy. It definitely puts stress on the marriage, which can further worsen an already rocky relationship.</p> <h2>8. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness</h2> <p>All the houses, nice cars, designer clothes, and luxury goods in the world will not make you happy in a relationship you don't want to be in. When you're sitting among all your beautiful things and you wonder why you seemingly have everything but still aren't satisfied, you need to look beyond the bling. There's a deeper issue for which you're trying to compensate. Talk about it; make decisions. Your mental health is worth more than what's in your bank account &mdash; always. Remember that.</p> <p><em>What has marriage taught you about money?</em></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/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">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-8"> <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-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Lifestyle budget meetings compromises credit scores debt marriage money lessons relationships spouses Tue, 24 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1716048 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Things With the Biggest Impact on Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score" 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_000081290463.jpg" alt="Woman learning things that make biggest impact on her credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know that your FICO credit score is a key number. Mortgage lenders will use it to determine whether you qualify for a home loan. They'll also use it to determine how high of an interest rate you'll pay on that loan.</p> <p>You should know, too, that lenders consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be a strong one, and that scores under 640 are generally considered weak.</p> <p>But do you know exactly what makes up your all-important FICO credit score?</p> <p>It isn't surprising if you don't. Your credit score is made up of several factors, everything from how often you pay your bills on time to how much you owe on your credit cards.</p> <h2>1. Your Payment History</h2> <p>Nothing is more important to your FICO score than your payment history, and this is according to the team at Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that <em>created </em>the FICO score. According to the <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/93942/2185">myFICO</a> website, your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score.</p> <p>Your FICO score will drop &mdash; often by 100 points or more &mdash; if you have late payments on your credit cards, retail accounts, car loans, and mortgage loans. Missed payments remain on your credit reports for seven years, but decrease in importance as time moves on.</p> <p>Your payment history also includes any bankruptcies &mdash; which stay on your credit reports for seven to 10 years &mdash; and foreclosures, which remain on your reports for seven years.</p> <p>If you have a good record of no missed payments on all or most of your credit accounts, your FICO score will tend to be higher, though other factors could negate your solid payment history.</p> <h2>2. The Amount You Owe</h2> <p>Owing a lot of money on credit cards and on loans can reduce your credit score. According to myFICO, the money you owe makes up 30% of your credit score.</p> <p>But owing a lot doesn't necessarily cause your credit score to plummet. What is more important is <em>how much of your available credit</em> you are using. Say you have $10,000 worth of available credit on your credit cards. If you are using $8,000 worth of this credit, your score will be lower than if you are only using $2,000 of it. That's why financial experts recommend that you never close an open credit card account, even if you've paid it off and are not using it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso">This One Number Is the Key to Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. Length of Your Credit History</h2> <p>How long you've been using credit is another important factor in your credit score, making up 15% of it, according to myFICO. In general, the longer your credit history, the better it is for your credit score.</p> <p>Your credit history includes the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account, and the average age of all of your accounts. Your history also includes the length of time since you've used specific accounts.</p> <h2>4. Your Credit Mix</h2> <p>Your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, and mortgage loans makes up 10% of your credit score. In general, it's better if you have a diverse mix of credit types. But, according to myFICO, your credit mix is rarely a key factor in calculating your credit score. This factor is most important for consumers who have more limited credit histories and less information on their credit reports.</p> <h2>5. New Credit</h2> <p>Your newest credit accounts &mdash; including credit cards, mortgage loans, and auto loans &mdash; make up 10% of your FICO score. The researchers at myFICO say that consumers who open several credit accounts in a short period of time are a greater risk to default on their loans or miss credit card payments. Because of this, the FICO scores of consumers who have opened too many new credit accounts could dip, especially if these consumers have a short credit history.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your credit score in top condition?</em></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/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score">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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-on-time">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Pay Your Bills On Time</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/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit scores FICO score late payments payment history Tue, 29 Mar 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1678006 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit http://www.wisebread.com/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_foreclosure_sign_000016301916.jpg" alt="Learning what foreclosure does to your credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're about to lose your home to foreclosure. Will it destroy your credit? Unfortunately, yes &mdash; your three-digit FICO credit score will plummet following, and leading up to, a foreclosure.</p> <p>There is hope, though. Even after a foreclosure, you <em>can </em>rebuild your credit score. You'll even be able to qualify for a mortgage loan again one day. Just be prepared to wait.</p> <p>&quot;If there is a bright side to foreclosure, it is that credit scores will recover with time and reestablishing a good payment history,&quot; said J.D. Crowe, president of Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Southeast Mortgage and president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia. &quot;The most important thing for people to know about a foreclosure absolutely, without question, is to always pay everything on time, especially a mortgage payment.&quot;</p> <h2>The Credit Score Drop</h2> <p>Lenders of all kinds rely heavily on your FICO credit score to determine whether they should approve you for a loan, and at what interest rate. If your FICO score is too low, lenders will hesitate to loan you money. When they do, they'll charge you higher interest rates to make up for the risk.</p> <p>Today, most lenders consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be a good one, indicating a borrower with a history of paying bills on time and not running up too much credit card debt.</p> <p>How far will your FICO score drop if you suffer a foreclosure? There's no one single answer. The actual fall your score takes depends on what your score was before you went through foreclosure, how many missed mortgage payments you accumulated, and whether you had any other missed payments on your credit reports.</p> <p>In general, though, a foreclosure will drop your credit score by at least 100 points &mdash; usually more. And typically, consumers' credit scores have already taken a hit before foreclosure. That's because they usually miss several mortgage payments before lenders start the foreclosure process.</p> <p>Crowe estimates that depending on your individual circumstances, your FICO credit score will fall by 100 to 300 points. If you started with a solid 750 score, it could fall to the low 500s by the time your foreclosure closes.</p> <p>That foreclosure will remain on your credit report for seven years. This means that borrowers will see it every time they pull your credit during this period.</p> <h2>Waiting for Another Mortgage</h2> <p>Don't plan on applying for a new mortgage anytime soon after a foreclosure. First, your credit score will probably be too low. Secondly, mortgage lenders impose mandatory waiting periods for borrowers after a foreclosure.</p> <p>If you want to apply for a conventional mortgage loan &mdash; one not insured by the federal government &mdash; you'll have to wait at least seven years after a foreclosure. You might be able to qualify for a conventional loan after just three years if you can prove extenuating circumstances led to your foreclosure, such as a job loss, illness, or divorce. However, Crowe said that it is very rare for lenders to shorten the mandatory waiting period no matter what you list as the cause of your foreclosure.</p> <p>If you want to apply for a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as an FHA loan, you'll have to wait three years from your foreclosure. However, if you can prove that a job loss led to your foreclosure, you will only have to wait one year to apply for a new FHA loan. You will have to prove, though, that the job loss reduced your regular income by at least 20%. You'll also have to provide documents showing that your income has since returned to its previous level or higher.</p> <p>You can apply for a loan insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as two years after your foreclosure. But you do have to meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for a VA loan.</p> <h2>Rebuilding Your Credit</h2> <p>Once your score has fallen, it's time to start rebuilding. You can do this by paying all of your bills on time and cutting down on credit card debt. Don't close any unused credit cards, though. Having available credit that you aren't using actually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">improves your credit score</a>.</p> <p>Over time, your score will slowly improve. And lenders will care less about your foreclosure as the years move on, as long as you don't make any other late or missed payments.</p> <p>Eventually, and usually before the seven-year wait for foreclosures to fall off your credit reports, you will again be able to qualify for auto loans, credit cards, and other loans as long as you show that you are now managing your finances responsibly and paying your bills on time.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Sign Up for a Secured Credit Card to Raise Your Score</a></p> <p>&quot;If you have had a foreclosure, accept responsibility, pick yourself up, and move on with your life,&quot; Crowe said. &quot;It is not the end of the world. What you must do from this point forward is to pay every creditor on time.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you gone through a foreclosure? What steps did you take to repair your credit?</em></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/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-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-3"> <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/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</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-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you">Is an FHA Home Loan Right 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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit reports credit scores FHA fico foreclosures loans mortgages Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:30:22 +0000 Dan Rafter 1656523 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You've Crossed From "Healthy" Debt to "Problem" Debt http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_tied_up_000012430983.jpg" alt="Learning signs you&#039;ve crossed from healthy debt to problem debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We here at Wise Bread generally preach that all debt is bad &mdash; but there is such a thing as a healthy level of debt. Most people can get by with a modest amount of debt, especially if it's for constructive things like college or a mortgage, which can help you build wealth long term. Debt becomes a problem, however, when it reaches a certain magnitude or is wrapped up in credit cards or other unnecessary, high-interest loans.</p> <p>Here are some signs your debt level has crossed from healthy to problematic.</p> <h2>1. Your Debt-to-Equity Ratio Is Holding You Back</h2> <p>Lenders, especially those offering mortgage loans, will often evaluate loan candidates based on a measure of debt versus income. People with a higher ratio of debt to equity are often denied the ability to borrow more. It's very difficult to get a mortgage loan if your debt-to-equity ratio is above 40%, and many lenders shy away from anything above 30%. People with high ratios are considered less likely to have the ability to repay money they owe. If you find that banks and other lenders are turning you down, it's time to reduce your debt load.</p> <h2>2. Your Debt Is Not in Student Loans or a Mortgage</h2> <p>It's debatable whether there is such a thing as &quot;good&quot; debt, but at the very least, student loans and mortgages can play a role in building wealth over the long term. Credit cards, however, are often what you use to buy &quot;stuff&quot; &mdash; clothes, gadgets, and other items that accumulate in your life and don't build any real value. If you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money">mountain of debt</a>, and most of it is the result of consumer spending, it's time to recognize that you have a problem.</p> <h2>3. Your Credit Score Is Sinking</h2> <p>Having <em>some </em>amount of debt isn't going to kill your credit score. In fact, it can help it, as long as you've consistently shown you can pay in full. But there's a point at which debt can be too high for credit bureaus to view positively. Order a copy of your credit report &mdash; you can get a copy from each bureau for free once a year &mdash; and check your score. A score above 700 means you're doing well. But lower scores could negatively impact the interest rate if you borrow for a home, a car, or other need. A score that's too low could make it impossible for you to borrow at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>4. You're Maxing Out Those Credit Cards</h2> <p>When you are finding yourself increasingly in the hole due to credit card borrowing, that's a bad sign. Interest rates on credit cards are often very high, so if you can't pay off the balance in full each month, your debt problem only grows. Credit cards have borrowing limits, and you should rarely come close to hitting them. If you're hitting those limits &mdash; or even worse, opening new credit cards to allow for more spending &mdash; that's a sign that your debt problem is severe.</p> <h2>5. You're Not Paying on Time</h2> <p>You can have debt and maintain a solid credit score, as long as you pay your bills when they are due. People see their credit scores decline when they begin paying bills late. <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10809829-1284618439000?sid=lemke-1658760">Credit Karma</a> reports that for people with with fair to excellent credit scores (600 or above), the on-time payment rate was more than 95%. But that dipped to 75% for those with scores between 500 and 599, and 60% for those with scores under 500.</p> <h2>6. You've Considered Ignoring Important Bills</h2> <p>I once had a friend who was struggling with debt to the point that he would consider pushing back or even blowing off payment of his rent, utilities, and other key bills. His feeling was that as long as he wasn't evicted and the lights stayed on, he'd be able to manage. But this is living on the edge and a sign your debt level is absolutely unhealthy.</p> <h2>7. You Have No Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If debt has you stretched so thin that you can't save anything for a rainy day, that's a problem. You may feel like you're getting by okay, but all it takes is one dead heat pump, one surprise medical emergency, or a blown car engine for you to face true financial hardship.</p> <h2>8. It's Hurting Your Relationships</h2> <p>Couples argue about money frequently, even when they're financially stable and have money in the bank. But the carriage of heavy debt can lead to serious strain between your loved ones. If you're constantly arguing about the level of debt that you have, it's not healthy and bears paying down.</p> <p><em>Do you recognize yourself in any of these signs of unhealthy debt?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-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-4"> <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/6-times-when-its-okay-to-take-a-loan">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Take a Loan</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/is-it-ever-okay-to-cosign-a-loan">Is It Ever Okay to Cosign a Loan?</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/stop-is-that-loan-too-big-for-your-wallet">Stop! Is That Loan Too Big For Your Wallet?</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-loan-options-for-those-with-good-credit">5 Loan Options for Those With Good Credit</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/ask-these-4-important-questions-before-signing-any-loan">Ask These 4 Important Questions Before Signing Any Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management borrowing credit scores emergency funds equity loans overspending Fri, 19 Feb 2016 10:30:30 +0000 Tim Lemke 1658760 at http://www.wisebread.com Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_house_000023047862.jpg" alt="Couple learning if an FHA home loan is right for them" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to buy a home, and you know that you can afford the monthly payments that come with a mortgage loan. But there's one challenge: You don't have enough money for a large down payment.</p> <p>Don't despair: An FHA loan can help. These mortgages insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Housing Administration require more affordable down payments, which could make getting the home of your dreams an easier financial task. And borrowers can qualify for FHA loans even with lower credit scores. FHA loans, though, do come with some additional fees, which might impact the overall cost of the mortgage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-parents-could-buy-a-home-while-you-still-rent">Here's Why Your Parents Could Buy a Home While You Still Rent</a>)</p> <p>Still interested? Read on to learn whether an FHA loan is for you.</p> <h2>When FHA Loans Make Sense</h2> <p>You can technically qualify for an FHA loan even if your FICO credit score is as low as 500. However, that doesn't mean that you won't struggle to find a lender to work with you. The FHA doesn't actually originate loans &mdash; it only insures them &mdash; so, you'll still have to work with a private lender to get an FHA mortgage. And many of these lenders (despite the willingness of the FHA to insure borrowers with such low scores) won't provide mortgage money to borrowers whose scores are too close to 500.</p> <p>Still, FHA loans are a good option for borrowers with credit scores that are below, say, 700. Today's lenders consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be ideal. They'll reserve their lowest interest rates for borrowers with strong credit. And if your score is below 640, you'll find that only a smaller number of lenders will be willing to work with you. These lenders might recommend that you apply for an FHA loan if your score is too low.</p> <p>FHA loans aren't just a good option for borrowers with weak credit, though. They're also a good choice for borrowers who don't have a lot of money for a down payment. If your FICO credit score is at least 580, you can qualify for an FHA loan that requires a down payment of just 3.5% of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>For a home costing $180,000, that 3.5% down payment comes out to a manageable $6,300.</p> <p>If your FICO credit score is at least 500, you can technically qualify for an FHA loan that requires a down payment of 10% of your home's final purchase price, which is still better than the 20% down payment that some conventional lenders will require.</p> <h2>The Downsides of an FHA Loan</h2> <p>There is a downside to FHA loans: They come with higher fees than conventional loans.</p> <h3>Extra Up Front Costs</h3> <p>If you take out an FHA loan, you'll have to pay two types of mortgage-insurance premiums. The first is an upfront premium of 1.75% of your total mortgage loan. If you take out a loan for $175,000, that comes out to $3,062.75 (you'll have to pay this premium when you take out the mortgage). You can either do this in one lump sum as a closing cost, or you can include it in your loan amount &mdash; turning, say, that $175,000 loan into $178,062.75 &mdash; and pay it off with each of your monthly payments.</p> <h3>Mortgage Insurance</h3> <p>An FHA loan also comes with an annual mortgage insurance premium that you'll have to pay each year. This annual fee depends on the length of your loan and the size of your down payment.</p> <p>If you are taking out a 15-year loan and you put down less than 10% of your home's purchase price, your annual mortgage insurance premium will be 0.7% of your outstanding loan balance. If you put down 10% or more on a 15-year loan, your annual premium will be 0.45% of your loan balance.</p> <p>If you take out a 30-year loan with a down payment of less than 5%, your annual mortgage insurance premium will be 0.85% of your loan's balance. If you put down more than 5% on a 30-year mortgage, that premium will be 0.8% of your balance.</p> <p>So, if you put down 3.5% initially on a 30-year FHA loan and your loan's outstanding balance is $180,000, you'd pay $1,530 that year in mortgage insurance premiums. Again, you would pay that amount off in small amounts with each monthly mortgage payment.</p> <p>Unlike conventional loans, you'll never be able to cancel the mortgage insurance premium. With conventional mortgages, you can cancel your mortgage insurance payments once your loan's balance is 80% or less than your home's market value.</p> <p>So when you're deciding whether an FHA loan is right for you, you'll have to weigh whether the extra yearly fees are worth the convenience of those low down payments and looser credit requirements. For many borrowers who otherwise can't afford the dream of homeownership, the answer may be yes. But if saving a larger down payment for a traditional mortgage <em>is</em> feasible, it's likely to result in lower overall costs.</p> <p><em>Did you buy a home with an FHA loan? What was the process like for you?</em></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/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-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-5"> <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-things-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</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/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</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-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit scores fha loans fico insurance lenders mortgages Mon, 11 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1634308 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-score_000032762958.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you know what your credit score is? Your credit score is the entirety of your credit history condensed into a single number that lenders (and sometimes potential employers, landlords, and others) will use to approve or deny you and determine your interest rate. And if you've been struggling to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">build or rebuild your credit</a>, it can help tremendously to learn your credit score each month.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are credit cards that will offer customers their credit score each month at no additional charge. This started after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encouraged card issuers to do so. Some card issuers began offering credit scores last year, while others have just gotten around to it. Below are the best cards that currently offer free credit scores, and more are expected to join.</p> <h2>Chase Slate&reg;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/chase-slate-060216.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" border="0" height="97" width="154" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=1&amp;;uv=xcardbutton" rel="nofollow" title="Chase Slate&reg;" alt="Chase Slate&reg;" target="_blank" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Chase Slate&reg;</a> card comes with a monthly FICO score and Credit Dashboard for free. The dashboard helps you monitor your credit health by including the reasons behind your score, a summary of your credit report information, and tips on managing your credit. Plus, this card boasts the only introductory offer with 0% APR and no balance transfer fees. New cardholders receive 15 months of introductory 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. The APR after the intro period is 15.49%-24.24% variable, depending on your credit. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to learn more and apply for the Chase Slate&reg; card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Citi&reg; Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" border="0" height="97" width="154" /><a href=" http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=47&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target=" rel=" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>Citi offers a free FICO score to their cardholders that is based on your credit history as recorded by Equifax. The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=47&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Citi Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer</a> from our partner Citi is one of their most popular cards and is one that rewards you for paying off your purchases with additional cash back. Cardholders earn 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase, then earn an additional 1% back when those purchases are paid. There are no caps and no category restrictions. New cardholders get 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that the variable APR will be 13.99%-23.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=47&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express</h2> <p><img src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/amex-everyday-credit-card-111115.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" border="0" height="97" width="154" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=2&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target=" rel=" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>American Express offers a free FICO score to cardholders of their consumer and charge cards. A good option is the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=2&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express</a>, which offers 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, a variable APR of 13.49%-23.49% will apply. Cardholders earn 2x points at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year) and 1x points on other purchases. Plus, you can earn 20% more points on purchases if you use the card 20 or more times within a billing cycle. New applicants earn 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases in your first three months. There is no annual fee. Terms apply. <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/personal-card-application/terms/amex-everyday-credit-card/26129-10-0/?print&amp;noBox=y#terms-details">See rates and fees.</a></p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=2&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here to learn more and apply for the Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><img src=" http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card-040815.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" border="0" height="97" width="154" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target=" rel=" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>Another popular card is the <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a>, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It includes a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months, and a variable APR of 13.49%-23.49% after that. Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months (which will also have a variable APR of 13.49%-23.49% apply thereafter), and a 3% fee will be applied to each balance transferred. New cardholders can earn $100 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Barclaycard Ring&trade; Mastercard&reg;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/barclaycard-ring-mastercard-081215.png" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" border="0" height="97" width="154" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=23&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xcardbutton" rel="nofollow" title="Barclaycard Ring&trade; MasterCard&reg;" alt="Barclaycard&reg; Ring MasterCard&reg;" target="_blank" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=23&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xname" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Barclaycard Ring&trade; Mastercard&reg;</a> is a unique card that offers benefits through crowdsourcing. Cardholders propose ideas and vote for the things they want for the card. It also features a Giveback&trade; program where members may receive a percentage of the company's profits. In addition to offering a free FICO score every month, the card also features an 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months (13.49% variable APR applies after that), with no balance transfer fees. There is no annual fee.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=34&amp;pid=23&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xend" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to learn more and apply for the Barclaycard Ring&trade; Mastercard&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">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-6"> <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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</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-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees</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/the-best-credit-cards-to-wipe-out-holiday-debt">The Best Credit Cards to Wipe Out Holiday Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management best credit cards credit scores fico Sun, 28 Jun 2015 17:34:23 +0000 Jason Steele 1472453 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You a Credit Invisible? Get Seen by Building Your Score http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-a-credit-invisible-get-seen-by-building-your-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-a-credit-invisible-get-seen-by-building-your-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_score_tablet_000027514776.jpg" alt="How to build a credit score if you don&#039;t have one" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a &quot;credit invisible?&quot; The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines credit invisibles as those adults whose credit histories are so limited that they don't have three-digit credit scores. According to the bureau, 26 million U.S. adults <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201505_cfpb_data-point-credit-invisibles.pdf">have no credit histories</a> with national reporting agencies TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax and, because of this, no FICO credit score.</p> <p>That's a huge problem. Lenders today rely heavily on three-digit <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon">credit scores</a> to determine which consumers are good lending risks. They also use these scores to determine the interest rates they charge on auto and mortgage loans. Consumers without credit scores, then, will struggle to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal">qualify for credit cards</a>, home loans, auto loans, and personal loans. And even if they do qualify for credit, they'll pay far higher interest rates.</p> <h2>Why Credit Matters</h2> <p>Having a high credit score can even have an impact on what job you land and where you live. A growing number of employers are analyzing the credit of job applicants. And many apartment landlords do the same before deciding whether to rent to prospective tenants.</p> <p>&quot;Not having a credit score absolutely impacts your qualify of life,&quot; said Steve Joung, founder and chief executive officer of Chicago-based apartment rental agency Pangea Properties. &quot;If you have better credit, you can rent a nicer apartment. You can get in a neighborhood that is closer to transportation and to your job. Your apartment building might have more amenities that bring you happiness. The quality, condition, and location of where you live is a big factor in your overall happiness and satisfaction.&quot;</p> <p>Consumers build credit histories by paying bills such as mortgage, auto, or student loan payments on time. They also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=internal">build a credit history</a> by making regular credit card payments. Those consumers who don't have student loans, auto loans, home loans, or credit cards? They might not generate any credit history.</p> <p>Many consumers are surprised to learn that several payments they make are not reported to the credit bureaus. Payments to medical providers, utilities, and cell-phone companies are not reported, and don't help consumers build a credit history. Up until recently, none of the three credit bureaus tracked on-time rent payments, either. That is starting to change, with Experian and TransUnion now giving landlords and renters the chance to report their monthly payments.</p> <p>Consumers who don't have enough credit history won't have credit reports that are full enough to generate a three-digit credit score. They will struggle to qualify for any loan or credit program.</p> <h2>How to Build Credit</h2> <p>There is hope, though. Rod Griffin, director of public education with Experian, says that consumers can start building their credit in small ways. One such way is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=internal">apply for a secured credit card</a> at their bank or credit union. (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">See our favorite secured credit cards</a>)</p> <p>A secured card operates like a traditional credit card except for one big difference: The credit limit is tied to the amount of money the card's holder has in a savings account. But card holders can't spend more than their limit.</p> <p>Secured accounts are a way for financial institutions to offer credit to consumers who lack a credit history while also protecting themselves: Consumers can't charge more than they can afford. These credit cards are limited. But those who make their payments on time each month will steadily begin to build a credit history.</p> <p>Consumers can also ask a family member who has a high credit score to co-sign for them on an auto or personal loan. This gives consumers without credit histories the chance to show that they can make loan payments on time.</p> <p>Griffin said that to earn a FICO score &mdash; the most important of the credit scores &mdash; people must typically have a credit history that is at least six months old. There are other scores, such as the VantageScore from Experian, that take less time. Experian can issue consumers VantageScores as soon as three months after they first build a credit history.</p> <p><em>How did you build up your credit history?</em></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/are-you-a-credit-invisible-get-seen-by-building-your-score">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-7"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon">4 Reasons Your Credit Score May Improve Soon</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/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance building credit credit history credit scores loans Fri, 12 Jun 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1451204 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons Your Credit Score May Improve Soon http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_calculator_000010107304.jpg" alt="Man whose credit score is improving" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About 45 million U.S. adults have no credit scores, according to a study released in early May by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is a big deal. Lenders rely on three-digit <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">credit scores</a> to determine who gets credit and at what interest rate. Consumers without credit scores will struggle to qualify for a mortgage loan, auto loan, or even a credit card.</p> <p>There is good news on the way: It might soon be easier for consumers to build a credit score. That's because the national credit bureaus are beginning to count additional forms of payment as part of consumers' credit histories.</p> <h2>Rental History Can Build Credit</h2> <p>Consumers typically build a positive credit history &mdash; and a strong credit score &mdash; by paying their credit cards, mortgage loans, student loans, and auto loans on time. But historically, the credit bureaus didn't track on-time rent, utility, cable, or cell-phone payments. Consumers who never missed a rent or utility payment, then, often found themselves with no credit because they weren't paying off mortgage loans, credit cards or auto loans.</p> <p>The national credit bureaus, though, are making changes. Experian and TransUnion &mdash; two of the three national bureaus, with Equifax being the third &mdash; are now collecting on-time rent payment data as part of their credit profiles. Consumers who always pay their apartment rents on time now have the opportunity to build a credit score from these two credit bureaus.</p> <p>Both bureaus are working with RentTrac, a service that allows tenants across the nation to pay their apartment rents online. Renters who pay through RentTrac can then have their payment data sent to TransUnion and Equifax.</p> <p>This is a big move for consumers. Emily Christiansen, director of Experian's RentBureau, said that the credit bureau recently conducted a study of the impact of adding rental information. A total of 11% of the study participants did not have a credit score before Experian began counting on-time rent payments. Once Experian did start collecting this information? Nearly 97% of this group gained enough of a payment history to build a credit score.</p> <p>Christiansen also said that participants who already had a credit score saw their scores rise by an average of 29 points.</p> <p>That, too, is important. Lenders consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be an excellent score. Consumers with the highest scores qualify for the greatest number of loan programs and the lowest interest rates.</p> <p>&quot;Consumers are often surprised that these other payments are not reported,&quot; Christiansen said. &quot;It seems like such a no-brainer that this information should be reported.&quot;</p> <h2>More Changes to Come?</h2> <p>The bureaus still do not count on-time utility, cable, and cell-phone payments. On-time payments to doctors and hospitals aren't counted, either. But Christiansen said that there is growing support for counting at least some of these payments.</p> <p>&quot;We are in strong support of full-file reporting,&quot; she said. &quot;We don't want to just have the times when consumers don't pay their utility bills to show up in their credit reports. We also want the times they do pay them on time to show up.&quot;</p> <p>This is an important point. Paying your doctor bill on time won't help your credit score. But not paying it might hurt it. If your medical provider sends a collection agency after you for non-payment, that will cause your credit score to drop.</p> <p>The lesson? Pay all your bills on time, even if doing so won't boost your three-digit score.</p> <p>&quot;The face of credit is changing,&quot; Christiansen said. &quot;What will be included in your credit report is changing. That is exciting. I am very optimistic that we will continue to see more types of payment information included in the reports.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you seen your credit score increase due to these changes?</em></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/4-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon">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-8"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-a-credit-invisible-get-seen-by-building-your-score">Are You a Credit Invisible? Get Seen by Building Your 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Improve 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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance building credit credit history credit scores paying bills renting Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1442293 at http://www.wisebread.com When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_home_improvement_000043083204.jpg" alt="Woman applying for mortgage loan without her spouse" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You and your spouse or partner are ready to apply for a mortgage loan. It makes sense to apply for the loan jointly, right? That way, your lender can use your combined incomes when determining how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">mortgage</a> money it can lend you.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this isn't always the right approach.</p> <p>If the three-digit credit score of your spouse or partner is too low, it might make sense to apply for a mortgage loan on your own &mdash; as long as your income alone is high enough to let you qualify.</p> <p>That's because it doesn't matter how high your credit score is if your spouse's is low. Your lender will look at your spouse's score, and not yours, when deciding if you and your partner qualify for a home loan.</p> <p>&quot;If one spouse has a low credit score, and that credit score is so low that the couple will either have to pay a higher interest rate or might not qualify for every loan product out there, then it might be time to consider dropping that spouse from the loan application,&quot; says Eric Rotner, vice president of mortgage banking at the Scottsdale, Arizona office of Commerce Home Mortgage. &quot;If a score is below a certain point, it can really limit your options.&quot;</p> <h2>How Credit Scores Work</h2> <p>Lenders rely heavily on credit scores today, using them to determine the interest rates they charge borrowers and whether they'll even approve their clients for a mortgage loan. Lenders consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be a strong one, and will usually reserve their lowest interest rates for borrowers with such scores.</p> <p>Borrowers whose scores are too low &mdash; say under 640 on the FICO scale &mdash; will struggle to qualify for mortgage loans without having to pay higher interest rates. They might not be able to qualify for any loan at all, depending on how low their score is.</p> <h2>Which Score Counts?</h2> <p>When couples apply for a mortgage loan together, lenders don't consider all scores. Instead, they focus on the borrower who has the lowest credit score.</p> <p>Every borrower has three FICO credit scores &mdash; one each compiled by the three national credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these scores can be slightly different. When couples apply for a mortgage loan, lenders will only consider the lowest middle credit score between the applicants.</p> <p>Say you have credit scores of 740, 780, and 760 from the three credit bureaus. Your spouse has scores of 640, 620, and 610. Your lender will use that 620 score only when determining how likely you are to make your loan payments on time. Many lenders will consider a score of 620 to be too risky, and won't approve your loan application. Others will approve you, but only at a high interest rate.</p> <p>In such a case, it might make sense to drop a spouse from the loan application.</p> <p>But there are other factors to consider.</p> <p>&quot;If you are the sole breadwinner, and your spouse's credit score is low, it usually makes sense to apply in your name only for the mortgage loan,&quot; said Mike Kinane, senior vice president of consumer lending at the Mt. Laurel, New Jersey office of TD Bank. &quot;But your income will need to be enough to support the mortgage you are looking for.&quot;</p> <p>That's the tricky part: If you drop a spouse from a loan application, you won't be penalized for that spouse's weak credit score. But you also can't use that spouse's income. You might need to apply for a smaller mortgage loan, which usually means buying a smaller home, too.</p> <h2>Other Times to Drop a Spouse</h2> <p>There are other times when it makes sense for one spouse to sit out the loan application process.</p> <p>If one spouse has too much debt and not enough income, it can be smart to leave that spouse out of the loan process. Lenders typically want your total monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new monthly mortgage payment &mdash; to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your spouse's debt is high enough to throw this ratio out of whack, applying alone might be the wise choice.</p> <p>Spouses or partners with past foreclosures, bankruptcies, or short sales on their credit reports might stay away from the loan application, too. Those negative judgments could make it more difficult to qualify for a loan.</p> <p>Again, it comes down to simple math: Does the benefit of skipping your partner's low credit score, high debt levels, and negative judgments outweigh the negative of not being able to use that spouse's income?</p> <p>&quot;The $64,000 question is whether the spouse with the bad credit score is the breadwinner for the couple,&quot; says David Reiss, professor of law with Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.&nbsp;&quot;The best case scenario would be a couple where the breadwinner is also the one with the good credit score.&nbsp;Dropping the other spouse from the application is likely a no-brainer in that circumstance.&nbsp;And of course, there will be a gray area for a couple where both spouses bring in a significant share of the income. In that case, the couple should definitely shop around for lenders that can work with them.&quot;</p> <h2>You and Your Spouse Can Still Own Your Home Together</h2> <p>Spouses or partners might worry that not having their names on the mortgage loan application means that they don't have an equal ownership stake in the home.</p> <p>Fortunately, that's not true.</p> <p>Rotner says that couples just have to put both names on the home's title. If they do that, both will have equal ownership of the home, no matter whose names are on the mortgage loan.</p> <p>&quot;Title expresses ownership in a property,&quot; Rotner says. &quot;Being on the mortgage loan expresses a financial obligation to the property. There is a difference.&quot;</p> <p>Partners might have one other concern about being left off the mortgage loan: It will be more difficult for them to boost their weak credit scores.</p> <p>Every time consumers make their mortgage loan payments on time, it helps their credit scores. But partners whose names aren't on the mortgage loan won't see any benefit from on-time payments, even if their income is helping to pay the mortgage bill each month.</p> <p>&quot;That is a valid concern,&quot; Rotner said. &quot;But what is the trade-off? You either get to buy a home that you couldn't otherwise buy or you get a 700 credit score. What is more important?&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you and your spouse both on the mortgage? What about the title?</em></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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">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-9"> <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/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</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/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</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/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit scores loans mortgages spouse Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1429779 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow's Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_keys_000044377414.jpg" alt="Money moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Borrowers who start preparing for a mortgage loan long before they're actually ready to apply for one are making the right move. They can identify potential trouble spots early enough to resolve them before lenders start picking apart their financials. Prepping for your mortgage application as long as a year ahead of time? That's not a bad plan, say mortgage lenders.</p> <p>Here are six steps you can take today to get ready for that mortgage application tomorrow.</p> <h2>1. Study Your Credit Report</h2> <p>Your first move should be to order your free credit report from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You are allowed one free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus &mdash; TransUnion, Equifax and Experian &mdash; every 12 months. Don't order your reports from anywhere else. Other sites might try to charge you or provide their own reports rather than those from the big three bureaus.</p> <p>Once your report arrives, study it carefully. Your report will list basic information such as your name and address. But it also lists your open accounts. If you owe $10,000 on a car loan, your report will list it. If you owe $5,000 on a credit card, that information will be there, too.</p> <p>Your report will also list any negative judgments against you. This could be something big, like a foreclosure or past bankruptcy filing. This section will also list late payments on student loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt. These negative judgments can all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">cause your credit score to drop</a>.</p> <p>If you find any errors &mdash; maybe you never did make that late payment on your car loan, or maybe you paid off and closed that credit card account years ago &mdash; make sure to ask for a correction. This is easier today: <a href="http://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html">Experian</a>, <a href="https://www.ai.equifax.com/CreditInvestigation/home.action">Equifax</a> and <a href="http://www.transunion.com/dispute">TransUnion</a> all let consumers dispute report information online.</p> <h2>2. Get Your Credit Score</h2> <p>The information in your credit report is used to determine your credit score. Lenders rely on credit scores to determine the interest rates they charge consumers. And if your score is too low, you might struggle to qualify for a mortgage at all. Lenders today generally consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one.</p> <p>Unlike your credit report, your credit score usually isn't free. You can order your score from any of the three credit bureaus. If your score is low &mdash; say, under 700 on the FICO scale &mdash; it's time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">take some steps to boost it</a>.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>If you are using too much of your available credit, your score will suffer. Pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible before you're ready to apply for a loan. But be careful. It often doesn't make sense to completely close a credit card account. If you close a credit card &mdash; and take away that available credit &mdash; the percentage of your credit that you are using could automatically soar. Better to pay off your credit cards but not close them.</p> <p>Framarz Moeen-Ziai, senior vice president of national sales and production for San Ramon, California-based Commerce Home Mortgage, says that credit card management is key for consumers preparing for a mortgage application.</p> <p>&quot;Some people live their lives on mileage cards. They charge everything because they want to earn their miles. Then they pay off the entire balance at the end of the month,&quot; Moeen-Ziai says. &quot;That's fine. But what if we get your credit information at the same time you have $7,000 or $8,000 worth of charges on a card with a balance of $10,000?&quot;</p> <p>Moeen-Ziai says that he's seen big credit swings because of balance management.</p> <p>&quot;If your balance is zero, your score is 770. If it's nearly maxed out, it might fall to 700,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>4. Pay Your Bills on Time</h2> <p>The other big drag on your credit score? Missed or late payments on credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and other forms of revolving credit. Resolve now to never again make a late payment. Your score will gradually rise as the months of on-time payments pass by.</p> <h2>5. Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>Lenders prefer to work with customers whose debt-to-income ratios are 43% or lower. What does this mean? That your total monthly debts, including estimated monthly mortgage payments, equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is higher than 43%, it's time to either boost your monthly income or pay down as much debt as possible.</p> <h2>6. Talk to a Lender</h2> <p>You might think you're wasting a lender's time if you're not prepared to apply for a mortgage loan in the next three, six, or even 12 months. Stop thinking that way. The sooner you speak with a mortgage lender about your finances, the more time you have to prepare for a mortgage. And just because you talk to a lender, doesn't mean you have to actually take out a mortgage loan with that professional.</p> <p>&quot;My advice is to call a lender as early in the process as you want to,&quot; says David Atis, senior loan officer with Home Point Financial Corporation in Parsippany, New Jersey. &quot;You want to work with someone who is ready to go on the journey with you, not someone who refuses to work with someone who isn't going to close in the next 30 days.&quot;</p> <p><em>Did you prepare for a mortgage application in advance? What steps did you take?</em></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-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">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-10"> <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/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</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-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</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/how-to-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit reports credit scores home buying loans mortgages Fri, 08 May 2015 11:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1410183 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_000028560880.jpg" alt="Woman stressed out about her iffy credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows that bad credit can prevent you from getting a mortgage, credit card, or other loan. But did you know that in addition to hurting you financially, bad debt can damage you emotionally and even romantically? If you have a low credit score, it's important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">take steps to improve your number</a> in order to avoid these problematic issues.</p> <h2>1. Damage to Your Relationships</h2> <p>Often when people cannot borrow money from a traditional lender due to bad credit, they turn to friends and family to bail them out. Being late on a credit card payment will damage your credit rating. But being late on a promise to pay back a friend can destroy your relationship.</p> <p>Bad credit has a terrible impact on marriages. Jeffrey Dow, a Faculty Fellow at the National Marriage Project, has extensively studied the impact of consumer debt on marital satisfaction. Dow's research uncovered that, in addition to being cited as the leading cause of divorce in America, financial disagreements were a much better <a href="http://www.stateofourunions.org/2009/bank_on_it.php">predictor of future divorce</a> than even sexual disagreements.</p> <p>&quot;Compared with disagreements over other topics, financial disagreements last longer, are more salient to couples, and generate more negative conflict tactics, such as yelling or hitting, especially among husbands,&quot; Dow says. &quot;Perhaps because they are socialized to be providers, men seem to take financial conflict particularly hard. Not surprisingly, new research that I have done indicates that conflict over money matters predicts divorce better than other types of disagreement.&quot;</p> <p>And, talk about kicking you when you are down. <a href="http://www.experian.com/ask-experian/20070919-how-divorce-can-impact-your-credit-scores.html">During a divorce</a>, a credit score can be used as leverage when dividing up assets!</p> <h2>2. Lack of Access to Emergency Money</h2> <p>One of my friends nearly lost her dog to cancer last year. Because of her low credit score, she was unable to get an emergency loan to cover her beloved pet's medical bills. Luckily, she was able to raise the money for treatment by crowd sourcing. Unfortunately, this kind of happy ending is uncommon. Outspending your means could leave you vulnerable to a medical catastrophe.</p> <h2>3. Limited Mobility</h2> <p>Hurricane Katrina was devastating to just about everyone in New Orleans, but many people were put in harm's way due to financial obstacles. Katrina struck on August 29, two days short of payday for some of the city's poorest residents. With no cash on hand and no credit, people literally lost their lives because they <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1854973/">couldn't afford to pay</a> for a bus ticket or gasoline to evacuate the area.</p> <p>Airline tickets cannot be purchased with cash. While this seems like a First World problem, homesickness and the desire to go home is a universal feeling. In addition to keeping you away from loved ones, having a low credit rating can keep you from getting the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-new-travel-rewards-cards-on-the-block-barclaycard-arrival-world-plus-world-elite-mastercard">best credit card for travel</a>. With the right rewards card, travelers can save thousands of dollars by using mileage points to purchase tickets and accommodations, and avoiding foreign service fees for cash advances and purchases.</p> <p>Poor credit can also keep you from owning a car or getting affordable insurance, which in turn can keep you from taking jobs that require a car.</p> <h2>4. Jacked Up Car Insurance Rates</h2> <p>Although this is illegal in some states, some car insurers have decided that there's a connection between on-time payments and reckless driving&hellip; and jack up the rates or deny auto coverage accordingly. Not having car insurance can obviously negatively impact the quality of life of anyone who is dependent on a car for work.</p> <h2>5. Increased Property Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Some insurance companies see a correlation between low credit scores and high insurance claims, and inflict punitive rate increases on customers with poor credit. Although California, Massachusetts, and Maryland prohibit this practice, <a href="http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/08/14/337527.htm">people with poor credit</a> pay a least twice as much as people with excellent credit in most states. For example, if you live in West Virginia and have poor credit, you will pay up to 208% more than your neighbor with a high credit score!</p> <h2>6. A Struggle to Refinance a Mortgage</h2> <p>Following the epidemic of foreclosures, new banking rules have been applied that make borrower's creditworthiness even more critical to negotiating a reasonable interest rate for home loans. Getting a loan allowed me to turn my rundown house into a beautiful rental property that pays for itself every month. The ability to get a loan for home improvement revolutionized my life by putting me on the fast track to financial independence.</p> <h2>7. Difficulty Renting</h2> <p>As a landlord, I check the credit score of potential tenants for late payments. I won't rent to people with too many late payments because the eviction process costs me too much time and money. It doesn't matter how much I like the prospective renter; I've learned the hard way that any goodwill I might have will be quickly turned into hate by tardy renters who have to be nagged into paying. I am not alone in this practice of judging prospects by their creditworthiness. In fact, most landlords I know only look at the credit score and don't allow potential renters to put their low score into context (i.e. &quot;I was hit by a drunk driver and my medical bills bankrupted me!&quot;).</p> <h2>8. Grim Job Prospects</h2> <p>Most people I know don't have a poor credit rating because they are shopaholics. When the recession hit, a lot of unemployed people had to make emergency financial decisions that are still dogging them today.</p> <p>There's a push to prevent employers from using credit reports against potential employees. But right now you can be denied a job due to a poor credit score. Allegedly, employers are supposed to inform you if your credit is the reason you were not hired, but this is no consolation to any job seeker who really wants and needs to work. One out of four Americans have had to go through an employer credit check, and one out of 10 are <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/04/pf/employer-credit-checks/">denied work</a> because of a low credit score.</p> <h2>9. Stunted Growth for Start-Ups</h2> <p>Many lenders require borrowers to put up their home as collateral for a small business loan. But even getting a home equity line of credit requires a good credit rating. Like landlords, many franchisers make decisions about licensing new franchises based on credit rating.</p> <h2>10. Higher Interest Rates</h2> <p>Even if you are able to borrow money, borrowers who are considered to be higher risk pay higher interest rates.</p> <h2>11. Loss of Basic Utilities</h2> <p>Utilities regularly check credit before beginning service. If you have been late making payments &mdash; especially <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0220-utility-services">utility payments</a> in the past &mdash; you might be required to pay a deposit in order to get service.</p> <h2>12. Impact on Professional Licensing</h2> <p>The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows government agencies that regulate professions to use credit reports. This means that states can require proof of creditworthiness before issuing everything from medical licenses to doctors, to construction licenses to contractors.</p> <h2>13. Lack of Disposable Income</h2> <p>I am currently <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this">working furiously</a> to pay down my home equity line of credit early, so I can achieve the peace of mind that financial independence offers, and save thousands of dollars in interest payments. In order to achieve this goal, I have cut out pretty much all varieties of elective spending. No eating out. No dry cleaning. No college classes. No new purchases beyond the absolute necessities, such as food and health care. While I spend part of every day feeling annoyed and inconvenienced by my lack of ready cash, I make an effort to realize that my situation is temporary. I will enjoy a better retirement because of the savings I am making today.</p> <p>People with poor credit spend more on fees and interest and, therefore, have less money to spend on experiences that enrich their lives.</p> <h2>14. Increased Stress</h2> <p>When I was 20, I watched as a sales clerk cut up my credit card right in front of me. That experience scared me straight. I will do almost anything to avoid public shaming, including pay my bills on time. However, most people would rather struggle with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-peer-pressure-keeping-you-poor">stress of debt</a> than admit that they can't afford something.</p> <h2>15. Poor Quality of Life</h2> <p>Debt can keep you from getting an education. It can keep you in an unhealthy relationship. It can keep you from getting a better job. Debt can keep you from fulfilling your potential as a person.</p> <p>Every journey starts with a single step, including the journey towards creditworthiness. Even if you can only afford to pay down an extra $10 a month on your credit card debt, that is $10 you are spending to make your future better and more financially secure.</p> <p><em>Don't you deserve a better future?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Surprising%2520Ways%2520Bad%2520Credit%2520Can%2520Hurt%2520You%2520%25281%2529.jpg&amp;description=15%20Surprising%20Ways%20Bad%20Credit%20Can%20Hurt%20You"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Surprising%20Ways%20Bad%20Credit%20Can%20Hurt%20You%20%281%29.jpg" width="250" height="374" align="middle" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-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-11"> <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/are-you-a-credit-invisible-get-seen-by-building-your-score">Are You a Credit Invisible? Get Seen by Building Your 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/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</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-improve-your-credit-score">How to Improve Your Credit Score</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-reasons-your-credit-score-may-improve-soon">4 Reasons Your Credit Score May Improve Soon</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-moves-to-make-if-your-loan-gets-denied">5 Moves to Make If Your Loan Gets Denied</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bad credit building credit credit history credit scores loans mortgages quality of life relationships Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1370440 at http://www.wisebread.com Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_cards_000026097372.jpg" alt="Woman concerned and looking at her credit card statements" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit cards are simple and convenient, but they can also get you into trouble. Admittedly, I am a former victim. But as we increasingly go paperless in many aspects of life, many of us rely on debit and credit cards when buying everything from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">gas</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">groceries</a>. Plus, credit cards can also help <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">build your credit history</a>. However, if you're using credit cards on a regular basis and not paying off your bill in full every month, your balance can grow and you might max out your accounts. Then what?</p> <p>Maxed-out credit cards often indicate a spending problem or financial strain, so it's no surprise a high balance can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">lower your credit score</a>. Fortunately, if you immediately address the issue and adjust your spending, you can knock down those balances and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">improve your credit rating</a>. Here are a few tips to get back on track when you max out a card.</p> <h2>1. Don't Apply for More Credit</h2> <p>Learning that your credit cards are maxed out doesn't mean you should apply for a new credit card. You must learn to use credit responsibly, or else you'll just dig a deeper hole for yourself. If you apply for a new credit card, there's a pretty good chance that you'll also max out the new account. You'll double your financial trouble and add more debt than you can possibly handle. Who needs that? Definitely not you.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Payments Every Month</h2> <p>Maxing out your credit cards can trigger higher minimum payments, and there's the risk of default if you can't afford the higher amount. Additionally, missing or sending late payments can damage your credit score and create problems with your creditors. The bank can charge late fees, raise your interest rate, or take legal action to collect what's owed. Make at least the minimum payment by the due date, and if you're going to be late, ask your creditor for an extension. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should?ref=seealso">13 Things You Don't Know About Your Credit Report &mdash; But Should</a>)</p> <h2>3. Stop Using the Credit Card</h2> <p>Some people have a cycle of maxing out their credit cards, making a small payment, and then continuing to use the card. It doesn't make sense to make a payment just so you can re-charge the same amount. This cycle keeps you stuck, and your debt won't go away anytime soon. You have to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-bizarre-ways-to-stay-on-budget-that-actually-work">stop using the credit card</a> &mdash; bottom line. Cut it up or place it in a card shredder. Have fun destroying it beyond recognition. At least this way, you can make headway with each payment and eventually pay off the balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=seealso">13 Simple Ways to Avoid Spending</a>)</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Interest Rate</h2> <p>If you have a good payment record, you might be able to negotiate a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lower interest rate</a>, despite the fact that you've maxed out the account. Getting a lower interest rate is one of the best ways to pay off a high credit card balance sooner. You'll pay less interest each month and have a lower minimum payment. The trick, however, is to make higher payments, so that more of your money goes toward reducing the principal balance and decreasing what you owe faster.</p> <h2>5. Transfer Your Balance to Another Credit Card</h2> <p>If your credit card company won't budge on the interest rate, see if you qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">credit card with a 0% introductory rate</a>. These cards typically offer zero interest on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 to 18 months. You can transfer your existing balance and make higher payments during this period to pay off the card. However, this strategy can only work if you don't accumulate new debt. After transferring your balance to the new credit card, get rid of the old credit card to avoid any temptation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Find Extra Money in Your Budget</h2> <p>Getting out of credit card debt is one of the toughest financial challenges many people face. Some people accumulate credit card debt because they didn't have enough income and they lived off plastic. Since paying off debt requires some amount of disposable income, you might need to put on your thinking cap and brainstorm ways to earn extra money. Where can you cut back? Cancel your gym membership, get rid of cable, only shop when necessary, don't eat out as much, look for a part-time job, or talk to your employer about overtime.</p> <p>There are plenty of ways to find extra money when you're in a bind, and I've detailed pretty much all of them over the past few years in previous posts on Wise Bread. A quick search of the site will yield plenty of practical results that you can institute today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unusual-ideas-to-save-an-extra-100-a-month?ref=seealso">Unusual Ideas to Save an Extra $100 a Month</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you ever maxed out your credit cards? How did you get back on track? Let us know in comments below.</em></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/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">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-12"> <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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect 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-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</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-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">6 Scary Facts About Credit Card 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/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit scores interest rates owing money Fri, 03 Apr 2015 11:00:02 +0000 Mikey Rox 1367707 at http://www.wisebread.com Good, Bad, or Excellent: What Does Your Credit Score Mean? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Credit_Score_chalk_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers for gauging your financial health. If you want to apply for loans or a credit card, rent an apartment, or if you&rsquo;re looking for a new job, lenders, landlords, and prospective employers will look at this number to see how credit-worthy you are.</p> <p>While different credit reporting agencies will use different ranges and algorithms to determine your score, most lenders will look at your FICO score (developed by the Fair Isaac Company) &mdash; which goes from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better you look&hellip;but what qualifies as high enough, and what is too low? The cutoff for each range may be a little fluid, but generally, this is what it looks like:</p> <h2>Below 630: Bad Credit</h2> <p>There are many scenarios that can lead to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=inarticle">low credit score</a>: bankruptcy, consistently-missed payments, or even just a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history?ref=inarticle">lack of credit history</a> &mdash; the case for many young people. Having bad credit means higher interest rates, higher fees, and limited credit card options (your best bet may be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">secured card</a>). However, there are ways to build up your credit score if you find yourself on the low end; it&rsquo;ll just take some time and discipline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Steps</a>)</p> <h2>630-689: Fair/Average Credit</h2> <p>Having too much &ldquo;bad&rdquo; debt can put your credit score in this range. You may have a lot of credit card debt, or your credit card balance is often uncomfortably close to the limit. Lenders will need some convincing if you score is below 689. Your options for loans and credit will be limited, but there are a few credit cards that only require a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-fairaverage-credit?ref=inarticle">fair/average credit score</a>. Meanwhile, work on those habits that will bump you up the good (and eventually excellent!) credit range.</p> <h2>690-719: Good Credit</h2> <p>Being in this range means that you have a solid credit history and your accounts are in good standing, though you may have had a late payment or some extra credit card debt to deal with in the past. But generally, lenders likely won&rsquo;t have an issue loaning money to you. With good credit, you can enjoy low rates and your choice of most credit cards, including those that allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">earn rewards</a>.</p> <h2>720-850: Excellent Credit</h2> <p>This is where you want to be. If you have an excellent credit score, you likely have a long credit history unmarked by the usual things that can ding your score: late payments, collections accounts, bankruptcies, and the like. Having multiple lines of credit, as well as several different kinds of credit, will also get you into this range. You&rsquo;ll likely receive the best interest rates, the best repayment terms, and the lowest fees. Want a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">premium credit card</a> with attractive rewards and sign-up bonuses? Take your pick. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit</a>)</p> <p>Having a good or excellent credit score, however, doesn&rsquo;t mean you should get complacent! You don&rsquo;t want your score to take a nosedive because of unexpected hits to your finances. Building in a decent buffer will allow you to retain a healthy score even if you miss a payment once or twice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent">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-13"> <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/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect 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/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</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/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</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/get-free-credit-score-monitoring-with-credit-karma">Get Your Free Credit Score from Credit Karma</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/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit scores Fri, 23 Jan 2015 06:03:51 +0000 Amy Lu 1227989 at http://www.wisebread.com