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3 Common Situations When a Cash Advance is a Good Idea

 

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woman with money problems

When an unanticipated expense hits, financial institutions exist to make sure that families limit their losses. Cash advance and payday loans, which are short term, unsecured (no car or home collateral needed) and fast, keep people solvent until unsettling times pass.

Unexpected financial glitches happen to all of us. Stress and shame send some into freeze mode, but denial only causes late fees and creditor phone calls to mount. The cash advance option or easier cash advance app makes sense in several situations.

  1. You’re trying to avoid a credit check that impacts your credit score. When bills are due but funds are insufficient, some turn to the new credit card offers that come in the mail regularly. If you’re working to build your credit, however, you know that every credit inquiry lowers your score. A cash advance or payday loan doesn’t require a credit check. The requirements do include:
    • proof of employment
    • employment income of $800 per month
    • U.S. Citizenship
    • proof of a checking account
    • a short telephone call

This is gathered in a short, online application you can easily fill out on your phone anywhere. Once the lender gets that information, it’s typically a matter of hours before you’re approved. The lender knows you’re probably in a dicey situation and works hard to provide an answer as soon as possible.

2.     Late payment penalties are more than the cost of the payday loan.  If your mortgage is $2,000 and you have a 5% late payment penalty, you’ll be out $100 if you don’t pay the loan on time. Many fees for non-payment are higher than the charges that come with a payday loan or cash advance.

3.     The loan is required for you to earn an income.  A broken down car or crucial computer malfunction can interrupt your earning hours dramatically. To keep income steady, getting both into working order is crucial. The payday loan or cash advance helps get you back to work fast.

Payday Loan Cash Advance Information

While home and car loans are amortized over years, typically the cash advance loan is repaid within a month, when a consumer’s next paycheck is deposited.   After you fill out the application and sign forms, the money arrives in your checking account within one to two days. Similarly, the money plus the loan fees are then withdrawn at the end of the month when you are paid. It is also possible to extend the loan for another month if you need to. It’s smart, however, to have a plan to pay off the loan when it is due.

First Financial: Your Source for Fast, Trustworthy Emergency Credit

First Financial is a nationwide retailer of financial services. We provide home, auto and personal loans to applicants from every state. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, you can be confident that your transactions are safe every step of the way. Our system relies on trusted names like Verisign and Norton to get you money quickly with no glitches. Interested in checking us out for a while? Feel free to follow our Facebook page where we relate daily modern money tips.

 

Best Proven Uses of a Business Loan

 

Running your own business is rewarding but not without its challenges. Upgrading tech equipment, cover when key personnel have medical crises or getting the staff and supplies to fulfill new orders require cash up front.

At this point, most businesses acquire loans. Even Apple has taken on $148 billion in corporate debt since May 2013. America’s corporate borrowers have $900 billion in cash but $6 trillion of debt, putting big business cash-to-debt ratio at 12%. Most small businesses wouldn’t risk that kind of cash to debt ratio, but they must keep in mind their eventual valuation when making financial decisions.

There are a myriad of proven uses for a low-cost business loan, some of which many business owners never even considered. Here is a list of the best proven uses of a business loan that can help your company sail into the future successfully.

  1. Relocation needs

Fast growth can be both a blessing and a curse. Increased demand may mean a move to a larger facility or storefront to serve your customers. Few businesses expand without business loans. A business loan can definitely cover these expenses, so that you can extend your company’s services as needed to increase profits.

  1. Updating your operating systems

As technology continues to improve and change at a rapid pace, so too does your company also need to keep itself on the cutting edge of the latest operating needs. Otherwise, your business won’t stay competitive with the competition that is enlisting these updates, and your earnings will ultimately suffer. It can be costly to constantly keep your operating systems up to date with what the market requires, and this is exactly where a business loan can help. So don’t neglect to purchase the latest operating machinery or IT tools that your business needs to keep itself viable in the marketplace.

  1. Hiring more employees

In the early stages of running your own business, you most likely handled every task, from whether it was accounting, sales, marketing, or production. But in order to grow successfully and keep up with the demand, you inevitably have to dole out these duties to new employees. You also may need to hire on specialized experts in your field, or even pay for sales and marketing professionals who can ultimately increase your customer base even more as it continues to expand. A business loan will come in handy when you realize you have to increase your staff.

  1. Develop your Available Credit

If your business is still in its infancy, then it’s possible you haven’t yet achieved a long credit history yet. Getting a business loan is perfect, especially if it’s a short term loan, because it can build up your business credit history. If you can prove you can make payments on a smaller loan, it is easier for your business to get a larger business loan amount in the future. Baby steps are sometimes necessary to get to the more grand scale financing that can handle the major business funding your operation will most assuredly need further down the road.

  1. Increase your inventory

If your product or service output cannot currently keep up with the demand, that is a lot of lost profit! Don’t lose any more sales simply because you don’t have the funds to increase your inventory. A business loan will enable you to easily increase your inventory output, and satisfy your growing market. Your customer base deserves access to what your business is offering, without any delays, or even worse, a without a “cannot satisfy order” response!

  1. Rainy day funds

Unexpected business expenses are always a possibility. With Murphy’s Law in effect, what can go wrong will go wrong. If your business is barely making ends meet month-to-month, some unexpected expense, such as equipment failure, rewiring issues, or even computer virus malfunctions, can cut into your earnings. A business loan can be made available to handle these emergencies, and keep your company afloat and profitable.

A+ Rated First Financial Gets You Great Business Loan Rates, Longer Terms and Robust Security

First Financial is pleased to work with you and your company, and provide business loans that will maximize your ultimate profit earnings. We understand the trials and tribulations with running your own operation, and we can help you out almost immediately. Once your loan is approved, you reap the rewards that a First Financial loan offers, such as an easy and fast application process, helpful loan advisors available to assist you 24/7, and low credit rates. Apply today!

Alternative, Additional Data Now Powering Small Business Loan Approval

Many small business find themselves unable to secure small business loans or company credit cards, so they end up relying completely on the personal credit of the business owner in order to make transactions. This means the business goes on not developing any credit history, and thus in the future still will not be able to secure outside financing.

Why does this happen? When small business owners sit down and try to raise capital, they are often confronted with a catch 22: Their business can’t receive a loan because it  has no credit history, but at the same time it cannot build up it’s credit until they are granted a loan.

This is a huge problem. Too often, even profitable business ideas are unable to get off the ground simply because the owner cannot get his business financed. First Financial is dedicated to solving this problem and helping small business owners grow their business. We do this by taking into account more data and variables in our loan decision making process than our competitors. We examine the history of the business, website architecture and traffic, customer feedback and much more. The result is a system that can analyze your business based off of hundreds of different metrics, and gives a more complete picture of your business performance and potential. This allows us to lend more and give small business owners the capital they need to make their dreams a reality.

First Financial’s use of big data and our development of innovative lending procedures has allowed thousands of small business owners to get financed when they otherwise would have been unable to. In fact, many of our clients come to us and are able to secure financing after having been previously rejected by a traditional bank. First Financial use of big data has allowed thousands of business hire new employees, open new locations and so much more.

Big Data Helping to Ease Commercial Lending Restrictions

When researching their What’s Your Business Worth, authors Daniel Priestley, Scott Gabehart and Michael Carter discovered that 67 percent of all businesses are under-financed.

This means that two thirds of businesses do not receive sufficient funding that would allow them to expand their business and increase their profits. When a business is underfinanced, the owner lives “hand-to-mouth,” a stressful daily existence. The thought of missing payroll–being incapable of paying workers with families to support–weighs on them. Commercial lending provides the capital to escape the merciless business-acquisition-and-billing treadmill.  

When you begin the commercial lending process with a financial institution, usually entrepreneurs and business owners will find they are asked two questions: What is your credit score, and what is your personal income? These are the same questions that a person applying for a personal loan would be asked as well, and highlights an outdated system that uses an incomplete benchmark process, which is a significant disadvantage for small business owners.

The bank uses your answer to those two questions as its primary way to determine how much capital they are willing to lend to a small business. However, these metrics to do not paint a complete picture of the businesses performance, nor how it is progressing. In order for commercial lenders to make better lending decisions and for the entire process to be fair for small businesses, this old methodology must be updated and take into account more than just the data included in a FICO score.

There is hope – improvement in big data has forced commercial lenders into holistic adaption. Commercial lenders have adopted this process in response to the demands of small business owners, and by incorporating more data and variables into their decision making, they have made lending faster and more efficient. Big data is transparent by nature, and this has benefited both borrowers and lenders. Borrowers have more information than ever and can see the terms other businesses have been able to secure, while lenders have reduced their risk by having a better understanding of the business due to a more complete evaluation process. Loan decision making that better represents the primary shareholders creditworthiness as well as the business valuation is a win for both parties.  

The commercial lending industry could be revolutionized if the banking sector is able to develop a more efficient way to allocate the supply of available funds to the demands and needs of small business owners. First Financial believes that in order for this to happen, there needs to be an updated lending act and data infrastructure for both small and midsize businesses. The amount of capital a business receives should correlate exactly with its value and future potential. The current regulations do not allow for this. They determine the creditworthiness of a business solely on risk and not on other important variables, such as potential. Reformed lending laws are needed in order to streamline and improve the commercial lending business.

All the Docs You Need to Impress a Commercial Lender

 

Understanding the documents needed to secure a commercial loan and understanding the terms found in those documents will help you negotiate a loan agreement with the best terms.  

When it comes time to negotiate the terms of the loan, it’s important to recognize that borrowers and lenders have opposite objectives. Borrowers want loose conditions in order to have flexibility; lenders want the terms in which they must distribute funds to be as strict as possible. Borrowers want to provide as little documentation as possible, and lenders want as much as possible.

Going into the negotiation you should be knowledgeable about the loan approval process, have your documents ready and know what’s in those documents.

Here are the basics of what you need to know:

General Commercial Loan Concepts

Secured vs Unsecured Loan: An unsecured loan is a loan that is paid for by the borrower’s creditworthiness, such as their cash flow and assets. Under this type of loan, property cannot be used as collateral and borrowers must have a very high credit score to secure. A secure loan is similar in that it can be supported by the borrower’s cash flow and assets, but the borrower must also pledge an asset (such as a car or house) as collateral for the loan and the lender has ownership of the asset if the borrower forecloses.

Negative Pledge: Mainly uses in unsecured loans, this prevents the borrower from promising certain types of assets or cash amounts to other lenders. The purpose of the negative pledge is to prevent other creditors from having a superior claim to the assets of the borrower for future loans.  

Letter of credit: A letter of credit is a promise by the party issuing it (usually a bank) that ensures that a buyer’s payment to a third party will be received on time and in the specified amount. If the buyer is unable to make the payment, then the bank is required to step in and cover the full or remaining cost.

Term Loan: This type of loan features a repayment schedule and a fixed amount of interest. It can be for any amount of money and the term length is generally between 1 – 25 years.

Demand Loan: A loan that is due at the time in which the lender demands payment. These are not common in commercial loans, but lenders may attempt to add provisions in other loans that allow them to do so so in certain cases, such as a change in the borrower’s finances or an economic recessions.

Revolving Loans: Under this agreement, funds can be given out and paid back at any time during the life of the loan. The amount of money owed cannot surpass the lenders commitment owed under the loan.

Bullet vs Amortizing When Negotiating a Commercial Loan

Bullet loans are loans where the principal is to be paid in one lump sum at the maturity date. Amortizing loans having the borrower pay off the principal according to agreed upon schedule. It is important for borrowers to way the specific pros and cons of both deals. Due to the interest rates used, it is possible for a 15 year fully amortizing loan to have a shorter duration 25 year amortization, 10 year term loan.

A Promissory Note: This is a signed document that contains a written promise for the borrower to pay a specific sum to a specific person on specific date in the future or on demand. A promissory note allows a company to obtain funding from a source that isn’t a bank. The terms differ from a typical loan agreement because only the borrower has to agree to the terms, the lender does not.  This means that the lender is not obligated to act reasonably or give you any notice of their future actions toward you. However, a promissory note can also be used as a liquid asset (unlike a loan) that can be transferred or sold by the lender.  

The Loan Agreement: This outlines a majority of the obligations of the creditor and borrower. Included is the following:

  1. Definitions;
  2. Conditions Precedents;
  3. Representations and Warranties;
  4. Affirmative Covenants;
  5. Negative Covenants; and
  6. Events of Default;

Other Documents: Besides the above mentioned documents, lenders may include any of the following documents depending on the nature of the financing and the agreements made:

  1. Corporate Resolution;
  2. Subordination Agreement;
  3. Intercreditor Agreement;
  4. Assignment Agreement;
  5. Pledge Agreement;
  6. Guaranty;
  7. Security Agreement;
  8. Deposit Account Control Agreement;
  9. Mortgage or Deed-of-Trust;
  10. Error and Omission Agreement;
  11. Disclosure and Authorization forms;

Being familiar with the loan process and having a foundation of knowledge regarding the documents used and what is in them will help you negotiate a better agreement for yourself. The more knowledgeable you are going into the negotiations, the better off you will be.

5 Best Budgeting Apps for People Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Man walking using a budgeting app

These apps take a little set-up, but after that, enjoy taking the brainwork out of every spending decision. Whether you’re just trying to cut down on needless spending or saving up for a big purchase, these apps help you reach your goal quicker.

Every Dollar

Available on Android, iOS and on desktop, Every Dollar has a very simple user interface that makes budgeting simple. User can expect to take less than ten minutes setting their first budget. The service ditches spreadsheets and offers many helpful visuals so you can see where your money is going. Tracking your spending and managing your money is super convenient with the app, and it syncs across devices so whenever you open it, you’re looking at the most up to date information. Every Dollar lets you budget confidently – the app is based on a proven plan that has helped millions of people get out of debt.

Mint

Available on both iOS and Android, Mint is one of the most popular money managing apps. Users can easily view all of their bank accounts in the app and categorize all of their expenses by category, such as utilities or food. Unique to Mint is that it lets you set spending limits for each category, and will send you an alert when you are approaching the limit. Users can also get a free credit score within the app. Lastly, users should feel safe using Mint, as it was developed by Intuit and backed by their security system.

Digit

Digit it perhaps the most unique app on this list. It does the basics like connecting to your bank account and view your transaction history just like the others. What sets it apart is that it analyzes your income and spending habits over time, and by using a unique algorithm it sets aside small amounts of money into a separate “Digit savings” account that it thinks you would have spent wastefully. Many users claim it has helped them save a lot of money, but if you don’t like it you can easily transfer the money back to your checking account for no fee. Lastly, the service has a “no overdraft guarantee” and promises to not take more money than you can afford out of your account.

Level Money

Level money is a great app for people who know the importance of saving and want to do it, while also spending their hard money however they choose. Level money lets you set a savings goal for a time period and helps you plan for future expenses, like bills. The app then informs you of any money you have left over – called spendable money – and illustrates this nicely with a helpful graph. The app also has a daily spending guide to help you stay focused on your financial goals, and will alert you if you’re spending more than usual.

Spendbook

This one is only for iOS users, and will cost $1.99. Spendbook has built in expense tracking and lets you set budgets. The app is very user friendly, adding a new income stream or expense transaction can be done with just a swipe down. The app lets you take photos of receipts and items you have purchased and then categorize them. Lastly, the app gives users a daily and monthly summary of their expenses, as well as charts and infographics to help users spot trends in their spending habits and look for ways to improve.

 

5 Ways to Be Debt Free by Christmas

Family Celebrating being Debt Free

 

Most people have some debt, but if your situation has gotten out of hand, now is the time to figure out how you can pay it off before it gets even worse. By figuring out how much you owe, picking a strategy to pay it off, and making a couple sacrifices along the way, you could be debt free by Christmas.

Here’s how to get started:

Know how much money you owe

The first step to paying off the debt you owe is to figure out exactly how much debt you’re in. You may have avoided doing this because you’re scared of the number, but it essential as it will help you keep perspective and figure out a plan to pay it off. Gather all debts you owe, from credit cards to student loans to medical expenses, and calculate how much it all adds up to.

Develop a strategy

The next step is to develop a strategy to pay off the debt. This is important. Picking and being able to stick to a strategy will help you pay down the debt faster, while also knowing that the sacrifices you’re making to do so have a set end date, giving you some peace of mind. There are two main strategies to pay off debt: Debt avalanche and debt snowball. The first one is the fastest, and has you pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first. This can save you a lot of money over the long term, but you won’t feel much progress is being made at first.

If you feel as if you need to see yourself making progress to stick to a strategy, debt snowball is likely for you. This strategy takes the opposite approach. Arrange your debts from smallest to biggest (ignore the interest rate) and begin paying off the smallest ones first. This will help you see that you are making progress, but will likely cost you money over the long term due to interest.

 Commit a set amount of money to the debt

 Another excellent way to help you pay down your debt steadily is to set aside a set amount of money every month and put it towards the debt. Start out by calculating how much you need to spend per month on necessities (include building up an emergency fund) and then subtract that from your total monthly income to get an idea about how much you can put towards the debt every month. The higher the debt, the more of that money you will want to dedicate towards it.

Get a side job

Even with these strategies, paying off these debts is no easy task. It takes persistence and sacrifice for possibly years. One way to help you but a bigger dent in the amount you owe is to get a side job. Even if it’s just on the weekends doing something simple, you could easily find yourself with a couple extra hundred dollars at the end of every month to put towards the debt. It may not sound like a lot, but it could save you hundreds if not thousands over the long run, and you’ll have that debt paid down much quicker.

Happy debt-free people

Renting a room

When calculating your total monthly expenses, chances are the rent towards your apartment is what is eating up most of your budget. You could downsize to a smaller apartment, but this would involve lots of paperwork and being stuck there for a few years. An alternative solution is to rent out a room in someone’s house or apartment. There is little to no hassle, and with the money saved, you could put even more towards the debt or perhaps avoid getting that side job. Either way, if you owe a lot of money, this is certainly an option to look into.

 

7 Tough Financial Situations a Small Personal Loan Can Solve

woman sad at need for personal loan

The small personal loan has gotten many out of difficult situations.

Did you know the personal loan has interest rates 5 to 10 points lower than a credit card? Read these situations where a small personal loan makes more sense than additional credit card debt.

Finance a Funeral with a Small Personal Loan

 Unfortunately, death is a fact of life and often strikes at the most unexpected times. Not only is it hard to go through the emotional trauma of losing someone close to you, but making the funeral arrangements in just a few short days, while also figuring out how you’re going to pay for them is extremely rough. Funerals aren’t cheap, even with relatively affordable caskets the cost can still easily run up to the thousands. If the deceased person’s assets cannot cover the expense of the funeral service, taking out a small loan with a low interest rate is one of the best routes you can take to cover the cost and work your way towards paying it off. 

A Small Personal Loan Consolidates your Debt

Most people who receive a small personal loan get one to consolidate their debt. Consolidating your debt allows you to combine multiple types of debt, such as car loans or debt accumulated from credit cards, into one total loan with a fixed interest rate, consistent monthly payment, and a closed-end term. Doing this can have multiple advantages. It can lower the interest rate on the debt, and you may also qualify to have a lower monthly payment that is paid off over a longer period. Either way, consumers with multiple outstanding debts should definitely explore consolidation.

hand of man calculating costs of small personal loan

Escape Credit Card Debt

Another effective use of a small personal loan is to use it to pay off credit card debt. Of course, this may sound counterproductive, taking out a loan and possibly going into debt again just to pay off existing debt. However, many loans are available at a low rate, which limits the amount of interest you will have to pay, along with along with an end date to help you plan out your financial future. According to Ryan Bailey, who is in charge of consumer deposits, payments, and non-real estate lending at a TD Bank branch, who says that “With an unsecured loan, you pay it off in 5 years, generally at a much lower interest rate, so it saves payment, and you actually get it paid off.”

Paying off HealthCare Bills

 Life is unpredictable and sometimes you or a loved one may end up in the Hospital. Even with health insurance, costs can often be extremely high, especially for long stays. That is why so many people take out personal loans to cover unexpected health care costs. Don’t wait to do this – credit reporting agencies may be notified of missed payments and this will damage your credit score. A personal loan can allow you to pay off your medical expenses while keeping your credit score intact.

 Make a Big, Critical Purchase

Did your old car suddenly break down and you need to buy a new one but don’t have enough money saved? Or can you afford one, but don’t qualify for a secured loan because of your credit history? A personal loan could very well be the answer. People who qualify for personal loans are more than free to put them towards a big purchase, such as buying a car, motorcycle, a small house or a boat.

Pay for a Wedding with a Small Personal Loan

Your wedding day will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your life, and it is totally reasonable that you may want to spare no expense. You already know the cost is going to add up quickly. Between the reception, the dress and tuxedo, to hosting possibly over a hundred guests, weddings are very expensive. This does not even include the cost of the rings as well as a possible honeymoon afterwards. Many couples look to personal loans to help them finance their big day. They can be used towards the expenses previously mentioned, and can ensure your wedding day will be one of the highlights of your life.

Finance Unplanned Expenses with a First Financial Personal Loan

A+ Rated, 100% Online Service

As you’ve gathered from reading this article, personal loans have many practical uses and cover a wide variety of expenses. First Financial knows how unpredictable life can be and how hard it is to keep a large sum of money sitting idle just waiting for something to happen. That’s why our loans cover more than just mentioned above. A small personal loan can also help you finance veterinary care for your pet. Or say a loved one in a different country has suddenly fallen very ill and you have to find a way to be there with them. Whatever it is, rest assured that our loans are consumer friendly with low interest rates and set end dates. In a perfect world, money shouldn’t decide if your pet can get a surgery to extend its life or if you can visit a sick relative, and with a loan from First Financial, it doesn’t have to.

How to Stop the Cash Advance Habit

saying no to a cash advance

Like any financial option, the cash advance serves consumers well when used properly. We reveal the best ways to manage the cash advance in our previous posts about when to use it and strategies to pay it off.

While a cash advance can help you keep your computer, car or apartment, some use a second cash advance to pay for the first and then get caught up in an ever increasing interest rate and fee cycle. This habit erodes your long-term financial health.

When you get your very first cash advance, to ensure you can pay it off, try to make these lifestyle changes:

  1. Check your credit card statements every month: too often, what an online service told you would cost $1, ends up having a subscriber fee of anything from $9 to $99 per month. They disguise this fact adeptly.
  1. Pay yourself automatically with automatic transfers from checking to savings or retirement IRA. Money left in checking is far easier to spend on unnecessary items.
  1. Schedule a time to take a “money minute:” monitor expenditures for the day. Check each account each day.
  1. Establish an effective spending “mantra.” This can be “I spend only on essentials” or “I treat myself with walks, books from the library or time with friends. . . not new clothes or furniture.” When we articulate our values, we feel guilty when we do not abide by them. Create a specific spending mantra to remain in control.
  1. Let a friend know about your money goals. Go an extra step and ask them to check in with you about how well you’re meeting these goals. Knowing you’re accountable will help you avoid spending.

While the cash advance does come in handy in many situations, before applying for a cash advance, make sure you can answer the following questions positively.

  1. Can you pay the money back at a designated date?
  1. Is the cash advance your best or only alternative?
  1. Do you really need what you want to buy or pay for (like cars, living arrangements, computers that keep you earning?)

Break the cash advance habit to save

A+ Rated First Financial Gets You Money without Eroding Your Credit

When considering personal loans, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing cash advances for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. Just fill out some forms, upload documents and get the money in your account in a matter of days. The Better Business Bureau rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

 

Escape Credit Card Debt: Debt Settlement or a Personal Loan?

Cutting credit card to get personal loan

Many consumers have received phone calls explaining that they can settle their credit card debt for a fraction of its total. While this is possible, taking the debt settlement route can have negative consequences on your long-term financial health.

Debt settlement works this way:  a company acts as an intermediary, making calls to your credit card company or another creditor for you.

The personal loan, on the other hand, is simply a lump sum of money you win from a bank or alternative lender after filling out an application form and submitting some financial documentation.

But to further guide you in deciding which path to take, here are the risks and rewards of debt settlement versus the personal loan.

Risks of Debt Settlement

Debt settlement comes with the following potential risks.

  1. Credit Damage.

A debt settlement company negotiates with your creditor to demand less money that what you actually owe. Your creditor, in turn reports this event to the credit bureau, explaining in detail that your debt was settled for less than how much was owed. Credit bureaus degrade your credit score.  Further, seeing this history future car, home and bank lenders will be reluctant to do business with you.

  1. Implications on taxes.

The money you escaped paying isn’t the free pass debt settlement companies imply. The IRS will demand a slice of this “discount” in your taxes. You will pay taxes on it as if it is income. Your debt settlement company sends information to the IRS and to you. In fact, if you do choose to use a debt settlement company, make sure to ask up from what the tax implications are.

 

Rewards of Debt Settlement

Debt settlement does help consumers reduce their debt. Also, when you try of applying for a loan when you still have not fixed your debt yet, you are certainly going to have a hard time. As a matter of fact, lenders are highly unlikely to be willing to work with you if this is the case. But when you do eliminate your debt, you will be attracting more lenders to work with you and even open up a lot of other opportunities for your own success.

  1. Save more money.

Giving your lender a lesser amount of the amount owed leaves more money for you to use to buy a car, home or other asset. Make sure you maximize the amount forgiven you will only be successful in this when you have already mastered the labyrinth of debt settlement.

  1. Put an end to the collection.

Aggressive creditors can make your life a nightmare. Even more frightening, when you do not respond, they file a lawsuit which could be served in public and end up garnishing your wages. Debt settlement puts this interference to a stop.

 

Risks of Personal Loan

  1. High interest rates.

Many are surprised that personal loan rates are typically sometimes twice as high or higher than home and auto loan rates. The better your credit score, the lower rate you will get. Still, those with personal loans pay a lot of end their creditors calls.

  1. Penalties for early payoff.

Some lenders charge high penalties if you pay the loan off early. Make sure to read the terms and regulations of the contract or ask your loan officer. First Financial personal loans never have penalties for early pay off.

  1. Complications that are unnecessary.

A personal loan should be simple:  you apply for a personal loan, the company pays for your debt, and in turn, you will be going to pay the company. View additional fees or meeting with bankers with suspicion.

Rewards of Personal Loan

  1. Improved credit score

The thing about having a personal loan is that it can pay off your credit card debt in no time. The credit bureaus also see this move as a commitment to pay the debt rather than escape it by going into debt settlement. This move reveals your habits of paying your debts and impresses lenders.

  1. No risked property.

A personal loan does not require property for collateral. Therefore, if you do default on it, you aren’t at risk for foreclosure or repossession.

A+ Rated First Financial Personal Loans for Borrowers of All Types, Even Bad Credit

When considering personal loans, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing personal loans for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. Just fill out our simple application form, and get the money in your account in a matter of days. The Better Business Bureau rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

Cash Advances: 3 Best Times to Use Them

Even though people love their plastic debit card, cash still serves in many situations. For years, groups have lobbied for the end to the penny and even the nickel. The American people won’t have it. Cash is convenient. It makes discounts possible. Many times, it even makes sense to get a cash advance.

Cash Only Transactions

With Craigslist, Close5 and more consumer to consumer marketplaces gaining in popularity, sellers tend to want cash. Considered, the most convenient mode of payment, they also unlock discounts. Stores that don’t take credit cards (yes there are some!) can put you through the wringer if you’re trying to write a check. Handing over cash just makes everyone happy.
Sometimes, too, vendors have a credit price and a cash price, with the cash price coming in 10 to 15% lower than credit or debit. We’ve run into this at small, independent auto and computer repair shops, as well as thrift, pawn, and antique stores. Many pet breeders also insist on getting cash.
If you’re able to pay off the cash advance within the month time frame, using a cash advance to get what you need makes sense.

To Capture an Immediate Opportunity

When an individual or company is selling something that many want, a buyer can stand out from competition by offering cash. Industries that respond well to cash offers typically include real estate, automotive, antique and jewelry.
Having cash on-hand can be smart when you’re going to shop at thrift shops, swap meets, antique stores and more. Be it from being able to have discounts off your favorite goods to grabbing an opportunity that otherwise unattainable.

Lending to a Loved One

It can be tough to lend money to family member or friend because you run the risk of not getting it back. Your borrower, particularly when struggling, may quickly put you at the bottom of the repayment list. This leads to resentment and a loss of trust.
One way to offload the responsibility is to use a cash advance and make it clear what the interest rate is and your debt to the lender. This can add the pressure to your borrower to make sure that he pays the money that he owes. This way you would be quite sure that he is certainly going to pay you back.
A very good example of this would be a typical home scenario wherein the son, employed but without a credit card, goes to you as his parent for help buying something he cannot afford in his monthly salary. To teach him a lesson about paying on time and paying regularly until such time that the debt is fully paid, make sure he understands that you will have to pay the debt soon. Even 20-year-olds need financial lessons.

Trust A+ Rated First Financial Secure and Speedy Cash Advances to Get You What You Need!

When considering a cash advance, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing cash advances for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. The Better Business Bureau rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

Is Now the Right Time for a Personal Loan?

Making a decision about the economy

Is your job stable enough to justify a personal loan? 

Until 2012, many viewed having a personal loan as risky. Having to pay for money you didn’t have would drive a consumer further into debt, jeopardizing their financial situation.

Today, the economic outlook has changed. Economists predict that 2017 will see a slight rebound.

First: wages are actually growing. According to the Atlanta Federal REserve Board, wages have enjoyed their fastest in crease in the past year. With unemployment at a low 4.6% today, most economists explain that the U.S. is at “full employment.” As workers get harder to come by, wages will rise.

The rise in consumer spending of 3.8% in just the last six months, too, boosts the U.S. Gross Domestic Product which helps the overall economy. This may have been a result of the rise of the employee’s wages over this time also. This is highly comparative to the 3.6 percent of gain for the take-home pay, thus a noticeable drop in the savings rate. The perceptions of the individual also about sending is better than the average and this has come to be stable for the previous months of observation. It is highly likely that they would have their expenditures increasing as directly proportional to the wages that they get to receive in their respective jobs.

Another factor that can be viewed as an advantage is the construction of more houses. The more of them that are built, the lower the prices could go. Houses with lower prices than the usual average price can be a driving force for the individuals to avail, thus setting the economy to be rocketing. The apartments have the most gain for this, though. This is because multifamily starts have an increase of 14 percent over the previous year while the single family has an increase of a mere 1.3 percent.

However, if you do not feel that there is an increase in your wage over the previous months, then you should ask for a raise. The U.S. Census Bureau has already increased the median incomes during the previous year after it has its years of falling or just being stagnant. You can just as your employer to give you a raise. If not, then it are better for you to look for another company that could serve you well as you have served them.

What could this say about the economy of the country? It can be that the business all over the place is booming in such a way that it creates a great many opportunities for the employees to get their own savings and even encourage personal loans.

Unlike a housing loan or a car loan for that matter, a personal loan can be used for the tuition fees of your children, or for the expenses of your travels when you feel like paying another place a visit just for mere relaxation, or anything else that you may want in your life. Further, if you want your personal loan to be secured as you should, you will be required to have a collateral such that it could back your personal loan. Some common cases for this are having a house or a car to comply the said requirement. You can also have your personal loan unsecured, and in this case, you would not need a collateral for your loan.

week1_monday

Does a Better Economy Translate into Favorable Personal Loan Rates?

We certainly think so!

As economic conditions continue to improve, Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve Bank will increase interest rates. That means rates on all loans will increase, although not too fast and not by too much.

Those considering a personal loan should do it right now while it is still early. Most Americans have been putting off home improvements and car upgrades because of concern over the economy. The above information should give you the confidence that we are in a stable period.

 

 

Trust A+ Rated First Financial to Get You a Personal Loan Fast and at the Best Rates!

When considering personal loans, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing personal loans for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. Just fill out some forms, upload documents and get the money in your account in a matter of days. The Better Business Bureau rate First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

 

 

How Will You Make Your Vape Shop Unique?

high end vape shop owner

Will your shop be swanky or gritty?

 E-cigarettes and vape pens are spreading to every corner of the world.

High demand has spawned the emergence of over 200 electronic cigarette brands in just 10 years since the industry began. Today, 12% of middle school and high school students in every state vape or use e-cigs at least once every month.

Are you planning on opening a vape shop? Consider carefully what kind of clientele you want to draw. Over the past 5 years, the vape and e-cig shops cropping up have been as varied as grungy biker/hipster joints to sophisticated, urban lounges.

Use these ideas to put your own imprint on your new vape shop.

  1. The Urban Salon

Ron and Deana Marshall of Bozeman, Montana decided to open a vape shop in the middle of a college town with a population of approximately 65,000. Young adults usually buy e-cigs online, perhaps afraid to be seen in public areas. However, Ron and Deana wished to leverage the added value of personal service. They had a young designer help them choose colors arrange comfortable couches and chairs into cozy enclaves. Given the social nature of the age group, it wasn’t long before students were taking study breaks in the Marshall’s off-beat abode. While there, the Marshall’s offered to let the students sample various flavors and pens. They hope one day choosing these devices and the liquid smoke that goes in them will be as personal and revealing as choosing a car.

  1. The Joy of Eating & Smoking

Any smoker will tell you of the ideal relaxation experienced in smoking after a delicious meal. Texan Kyle Harris decided to go with this already established practice when he opened The Ramble Creek Vape Company and Grill, which offers unique burgers and other comfort food along with the e-liquids they sell.

What began as just offering the e-liquids quickly expanded to actually pairing the dishes with the smoke flavors. Just as a sommelier pairs a vintage cabernet with the right cheese and beef, Harris began suggesting several after-dinner choices that complement the meal. The idea took off and Harris, like the Marshalls, opened up a new store with the same concept in another Texas town.

vape shop with motorcycle

  1. The Niche Appeal

Andrew Poirier felt he was stagnating in his job pouring concrete, but assumed he could never make the same money anywhere else. Further, since it was his father’s company, he hated to admit he wasn’t happy.

On a trip to Arizona, a friend introduced him to vaping. Inspired, he began selling vape pens and e-cigarettes from his car to construction and concrete workers.

Poirier explains, “I was pouring concrete and climbing girders to get vaping products to the steel workers many stories overhead. It was almost comical.” With years’ experience in the industry, his credibility in his target audience was solid. He knew his way around a site and could talk to the managers easily.

As he built his contacts, he began considering opening an actual shop. He rented a space close to where he knew many construction workers lived, and his grand opening was well attended. He continued to appeal to construction workers by putting on events he knew they would enjoy and creating frequent user programs and even competitions that made interacting with his store familiar and fun.

Today, Poirer enjoys a six-figure MONTHLY income. With his own capital, he is considering creating his own e-liquid flavors.

Clearly, involvement in another field doesn’t preclude anyone from opening a vape shop. In fact, your former career can act as a springboard into your life as an e-cig entrepreneur!

Our blog post “E-Cigarette Trends to Expect After FDA’s Recent Ruling” covers how even with something of a backlash against e-cigarettes, the trend is rising. The Research Foundation predicts vaping could eliminate traditional cigarettes all together over the next 20 years. In India today, 10% of smokers have already switched to vaping. Doctors there predict that the smoke-related illnesses and diseases will decrease significantly over the next 5 years.

Use this article to come up with your own fresh version of a vape and e-cigarette shop. Implementing guerilla marketing strategies always give you an edge among competitors.

Before you start, have a clear idea of a well-defined target audiences, as well as their needs, motivations and pain points. Since vapers tend to buy regularly, accepting credit cards is critical. Not only does using this payment method ensure consistent payment, it makes re-ordering convenient for your customers. First Financial specializes in providing the best merchant services for vape shop owners and others in high-risk industries. Apply today!

7 Credit Repair Business Habits for Long-Term Success

credit repair business owner showing clients how to plan on glass board

Provide robust services to your clients and your business with thrive long-term. 

 Ironically, one-quarter of credit repair agents don’t have good credit themselves. But, clearly, they learn every day how to raise their own scores doling out advice to clients day by day.

Opening a credit repair business is more than just having a great score and being skillful in handling other people’s money. Stabilize and maximize your profit when you have these credit repair business basics in place.

  1. Equip Yourself

You’ve probably heard the old quote, “Physician! Heal thyself!” This saying gained popularity because it suggests that professional should look at his or her own issues in the field.

Credit repair business owners should start in their career by studying their credit scores and habits. Study your own credit report and rectify any negative issues.

Tackling each one will be easier if you get some guidance. Read helpful information from sources such as The Consumer Protection Bureau, Bankrate.com, and the industry organization, National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The last is an information source for those wanting to become credit counselors.

As you conduct your research, pay attention to necessary skills, techniques and strategies to master the process itself and the negotiations in order to be successful and to keep clients happy.

Starting out with an accounting, business or finance degree jumps you ahead of the learning curve. It also gives you credibility. Even an Associate’s degree adds to your resume. Some even choose to set up a business as a credit counselor while completing their degrees. This said, getting a bachelor’s degree is not a prerequisite to becoming a credit repair specialist.

  1. Establish Your Credibility

In this type of business, knowing the highest standards and ethics is a go signal for a client. Your reputation spreads fast, so make it a good one. Be open to listening to client feedback. By making improvements as your business matures, you gain confidence in what you have to offer. You become attractive when you know what a credit repair agent should and should not do when interacting with clients. There’s a good change your clients have been taken advantage of before. Their suspicions are warranted. Ease their fears by having them do everything within the law and with diligence.

  1. Polish Negotiation Skills to a Shine

As a credit counselor, you will handle your client’s creditors. This aspect of the job takes assertiveness, verbal dexterity and awareness of the “game” of negotiation. The good news is that anyone can learn how to handle a conflict with poise and effectiveness. Learning negotiation skills through classes may be the best avenue. This skill just can’t be learned as well through strict reading.

  1. Be Informative

One of the most important thing as an agent is knowing all the federal and state credit repair laws. As you’re both working with legal documents, mistakes can result in jail time. In order to be updated with the newest laws, join the National Association of Credit Services Organizations.

Credit score report

 

  1. Market Yourself and Your Service in Person and on the Internet

Display your knowledge and genuine motivation by blogging either via text or video. Familiarize and humanize your business so that potential clients grow to trust you. While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter seem mostly for people to entertain each other, keep in mind that 1.6 billion people go there, often every day. Catching a glimpse of your business name should help keep you top of mind.

  1. Widen Your Network

Open yourself to new relationships by attending commerce events, seminars, free or paid braining. Not only will you build connections and meet potential clients, you’ll keep yourself up to date on new legislation, products and strategies.

  1. Stay Up-to-Date

You should know that laws and regulations change over time so it’s a no-no to follow old regulations and marketing methods in running this business. Also, seek opportunities in today’s trends. In this way, you can also educate your clients with the best and newest ways on how to manage their finances such as recommending new apps to them. Helping them to help themselves will make clients happier.

Mastering these habits will help you build a successful career as a credit repair specialist. Investing effort and building skills throughout the lifespan of your business will give you confidence, which in turn attracts clients. Keep in mind, too, that you will need to accept credit cards yourself to ensure you’re paid consistently on time. Because traditional banks see credit repair businesses as high-risk, you’ll have to get your high-risk merchant account. First Financial is the leader in providing these accounts to worthy businesses across the U.S. Apply today!

 

Successful Marketing Tactics for the Web Design Company

web design presentation

Web designers with a niche can command higher fees. 

 While the growing demand for web design is something to celebrate, it also brings new designers to the market, making competition fierce. The freelance web designer needs to be an able marketer, coder and creative artist to earn a living.

Conquer the marketing aspect of running your own web design company by reading these tried-and-true tactics. 

  1. Get a Niche

Today, the business website is critical not only to bring in new customers, but to establish credibility.

Capturing the true size of the market only starts with every business having a mobile-friendly website. Anymore, businesses are putting up separate websites for events they put on, books they write and communities they establish. Further, every entrepreneur starts one business only to spin off two or three others. As we discussed in our post, Web Design Outlook for 2016 and Beyond, demand for the average American job will increase by 7% until the year 2024, but the American economy will call for 27% more web developers and designers.

Long story short: there’s enough business to go around. Designers with niches (restaurants, finance, healthcare, retail, etc.) can begin to build deep expertise. They learn characteristics not only of their clients, but their client’s target audiences and referral partners. Further, they learn the legal limitations and opportunities for everything they can say on the website. When a web designer can convince a prospect they learned from the successes and failures of past attempts, they gain credibility . . . and more money. Most businesses would prefer to pay a little more to get the job done right the first time.

 

  1. Network in the Niche

Everybody knows how to network through their Chambers of Commerce where they meet people in all industries. Finding niche networks helps the web designer hear all of the participants’ pain points, complaints, opportunities and successes. This information eventually becomes very valuable, as the informed web designer can explain the prospect’s issues before he or she even has a chance. Networking events also gives you opportunity to meet new talented people, create connections with them and eventually find potential customers.

Putting on a presentation or attending a meet-up in your niche also gives you the opportunity to connect on a personal, face-to-face basis. Even volunteering your skills for an organization showcases your talents to your selected niche.

web designer with client

 

  1. Set up a Good Looking Portfolio

This is the best way to show off all your skills and experience on web designing. This lures customers and make them interested in your capabilities. You can attached this to your own website or any owned social media accounts.

You can go general in your portfolio. Do not just limit your portfolio to skills and experience related to web designing. You can go general and make people see your other talents. They might serve as an additional asset so keep your portfolio versatile.

  1. Make Valuable Partnerships

You can collaborate with field related businesses like web hosting companies or web developers. In this way, you are actually operationally putting your skills to the test. You can also offer more to your clients with the additional features and services from your partner companies, an advantage in keeping up over other competing web designers.

  1. Making it Personal

If you want to make your customers happy, you need to make them feel that you genuinely care for them and can provide them quality service and output with personal intentions even after you are done making your work and have been already paid. There are customers that need to be wooed and need to be given nice gestures, compliments to win them. Gifts and like chocolates and cupcakes, as well as holiday greetings or anything that reflect you as devoted and friendly can win them over. This also includes your way of advertising your service. Try to be a bit provoking and trendy that can catch someone’s attention.

 

These are the 5 most helpful tips in marketing planning for web designers like you to be successful in the industry. Remember that you have to be versatile to new strategies and techniques so that you keep up with the new trends and demands. Attract customers, make them happy, and you will be successful. When you go to collect credit card payments, remember to apply at A+ Rated First Financial, where high-risk businesses like web designers get the best merchant accounts.

 

3 Profitable Firearm and Ammunitions Businesses to Start in 2017

gun shop owner with guns and ammo

Some gun shop owners make six figures each year! 

 Despite potential legislation limiting gun availability, America’s gun enthusiasts will never let legislators overturn the Second Amendment.

In fact, in 2013 American companies alone produced 11 million guns and sold all but 440,000 right here in the 50 states. Americans and U.S. companies imported an additional 5.5 million.[1]

Gun ownership’s bright strand in the fabric of American identity promises a stable future for firearms and ammunitions companies.

The following are the three most related businesses you can actually start as being in the firearms and ammunitions industry:

  1. Firearm Training Instructor

Start Up Costs:            $2,000 – $5,000

Typical Salary:                         $50, 000

 

Gun lovers with excellent shooting skills, patience and an affinity for social interaction can consider training others on the proper use of guns. The numbers of gun owners are only growing and these new clients need someone to help guide them in their new hobby. With many Americans now taking self-defense with firearms classes, demands for firearm training instructors have tripled in just the last few years. What a good way to start being paid for something you love!

Those interested in becoming firearm instructors need to explore state regulations. Having a Department of Justice certification will go far in credibility for your career. Some states only require a reasonable apprenticeship and passing of the Firearms Safety Test.

Once licensed, market yourself and your services is by networking at shooting ranges and gun clubs and seminars. You should have a full roster of clients in no time.

  1. Gunsmithing

 Start Up Costs: $1,000

Typical Salary:  $60,000  (full-time)

Gun hobbyists who like to work with their hands and would enjoy exposure to many styles of firearms can put out a shingle as a gunsmith. Many take gunsmithing up as a “side hustle,” a way to supplement a regular income.

Anyone close to the gun community knows that people treat their weapons gingerly and almost with beloved-pet-level care. In other words, gun owners spend on their guns!

While a hobbyist can begin charging at any time, having some training establishes credibility. Still, getting a credential from the American Gunsmithing Institute will add to your skills. Similarly, the Modern Gun School in Wilmington, Delaware has trained thousands of gunsmiths already. Still, many schools exist around the country, many of which have courses you can take online.

As you start your business, keep in mind that many gunsmiths fail because they don’t charge enough to cover expenses. Tally up your operating costs before beginning, and create prices that ensure a profit.

Also, just like other business, you need to market your service. Having a table at a gun show, networking at firearms conferences and getting to know your local gun clubs and shooting ranges all help you get your name into the community. Stimulate word-of-mouth marketing by asking your clients for testimonials, preferably posted on Google or Yelp.

  1. Gun Shop Owner

Start-Up Costs: $10, 000 – $50, 000

Typical Income: $10,000 to $1,000,000

If you have the money and some business experience or savvy, opening a gun shop is the best way on getting paid for working in the firearms and ammunition industry. Starting a gun shop can costly and time consuming, however. Your first year show a loss of income rather than a profit. It doesn’t start with finding your location. There are many arrangements to make before ordering your first case of shells.

Get ready to:

  • Incorporate your business: Gun shop owners must be incorporated. Get guidance from your local Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) or your City
  • Get a license and permit: Apply and get a Federal Firearms Licensee license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) before starting your shop. Brace yourself: this can be a long process.
  • Locate your shop: After confirming that you’re clear to open and run a gun shop, you can find a location. Bear in mind that federal agents will inspect the location before giving you the federal firearms license.

firearms instructor demonstrating skills at firing range

Firearms trainers can earn $50,000 per year. 

Americans cling fiercely to their guns. With the surge of terrorism both domestic and international, most want effective ways to protect their families. The firearm and ammunition industry will continue to grow over the coming decade. Your full-time or side gun business can be both enjoyable and profitable!  When you go to accept credit cards, don’t forget that First Financial is the national leader in providing merchant accounts for businesses in high-risk industries like firearms and ammunition.

[1] https://www.wired.com/2016/10/americas-got-gun-addiction-numbers-prove/

 

9 Elements of the Tech Support Business Plan Lenders Love

technology services business plan

 In Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck, released by Harvard Review Press, author Anthony Tjan explains the commonalities among the hundreds of successful entrepreneurs he and his team interviewed over a two year period.

Surprisingly, 70 percent of this fortunate cohort did not start with a business plan. Instead, they dove in feet first, working hard doing the business rather than writing about it.

Did they need one when they got to the point of expansion?

You bet. Lenders don’t even look at a borrower without a business plan. A robustly written document chronicling the business’s history to this point indicates how seriously entrepreneurs take the whole borrowing experience. It also indicates the respect a business affords those willing to lend them money.

Careful attention to each of the ten elements of the technical support business plan increases the odds that you’ll win money from those looking to earn a healthy return.

  1. Business Description

Keep your description concise and straightforward, but include exactly what your company does and where it earns profits. It should also answer:

 

  • why your business was formed? Feel free to include your passion as many lenders will be looking for it. The most successful entrepreneurs have an abundance of heart and drive. They work around the clock because honestly, working their business is their hobby, their fun, their stimulation and achievement. Don’t be afraid to let that show.

 

  • the business’ mission and model: how does your business seek to solve problems of consumers, other businesses or government entities? Be clear on why you started the business: what gaps did you see in the market that desperately needed to be filled.

 

  • products (software) or services (technical or computer support: describe exactly what you sell and the price point of each item, package or service. Remember to cover both features and benefits.
  • people involved: lenders will want to know what each key player brings to the table. They will consider themselves owners of the business to some extent, and as owners want to be able to depend on talented, hard-working people.
  • relationships to be leveraged. When a company principle knows a key player in their market, lenders know they have a shortcut to profits. List all relationships your business can leverage to get to the end user as soon as possible.
  1. When the company was formed and the major hurdles it’s crossed.

This is a follow-up of the previous section, where you discuss more about the history of the company and its achievement so far. It is important not to skip this part because you can trace the business’ development by tracking what it has done since the beginning. Emphasizing that your started small and conservative and then scaled quickly will win points. Jot down when the company reached each of these milestones and the result

  • Initial capital contributions
  • Product/service launch
  • First client
  • First business loan
  • Additional product/service launches
  • Marketing plan roll out
  • Month company made a profit
  • Quarter company made a profit
  • Legal filing (S-Corp, partnership, LLC, etc.)
  • Internet launch
  • Overseas launch
  1. Target Market and Market Analysis

Describe the ideal consumer of your products (software) or services (tech support). The size of the market and how it will grow should also be couched to entice lenders.  That consumer can be other businesses, individuals, non-profits or government entities. Explain their needs and pain points and how your company solves them. Include target demographics like income, gender, family situation, social status, buying habits and more. Include trends and research to indicate your target market will only demand more of your products or services in the years to come.

  1. Competitors and Unique Selling Proposition

No company is without competition. It’s the carefully chosen niche or unique selling proposition that ensures the easiest profits won.

First, list your top competitors, their target markets and unique selling propositions (a.k.a. differentiators). Then discuss what products and services they’ve missed supplying in the market. You can also discuss a niche market they’ve failed to target effectively.

Finally, go back to your milestones and fill in how your unique selling propositions played a part in the achievements the company has won. This step will help deliver a complete picture to the lenders you approach.

 

  1. Business Model

How you make money exactly can be more important than endless Excel spreadsheets depicting every revenue stream and expense. Early estimations don’t carry much weight with lenders as these can be just too hard to predict.

Instead, carefully explain whether your business makes money via subscriptions, transactions or advertising.  Each model has a very different way of bringing in sales. Principles must start from the beginning monetizing the business in the most appropriate and effective way. Have your business model down cold. 

 

business plan checklist

  1. Marketing Strategy

After you have done a market analysis, lenders want to see how you plan to reach out to your ideal audience. After all, “A business with no marketing is just a hobby. A business without a solid product is just snake oil.”

Here, you can either explain your most effective marketing tactics and the agencies or consultants you’ve used so far. If your business is a start-up, explain how you plan to reach your ideal audience via both digital and traditional channels. Demonstrate that you’ve researched just where your ideal audience hangs out these days and whether they respond best to email, television commercials or search engine optimization. This section could require an outside marketing agency or at least a marketing consultant. 

  1. Sales Strategy

Your sales strategy should be as robust as your marketing strategy. More, each element should reference the other. How do you plan to divide your technical support services? Do you have packages in mind for different sized businesses? In this section, you should also include pricing policy. What costs of labor and overhead goes into your pricing policy? Finally, don’t forget to include the sales promotions you plan to include, especially those designed to win new customers.

  1. Funding Sources/Requirements/Projections

In this section, detail the funds your business requires. After writing the fund requirements, describe fund projections. These are forward-looking projections like cash flow statements, balance sheet and profit-loss-statements.

Business plans are indeed very essential in your business. Those who start with a plan can roll out their businesses in an informed way. Also, the business plan helps you keep track of whether you’re meeting your goals or not. Those looking for business loans, merchant services or merchant advances can trust A+ rated First Financial to review their applications and provide an answer with 48 hours.  Operating 100% online, First Financial’s automation and lower marketing costs keep interest rates affordable for all small businesses. Apply today!

 

Ready to Start a Sex Toy Business? Use These 5 Initial Steps!

 While starting a business is riskier than joining in an already established company, some just have the entrepreneur bent.

Research has shown that entrepreneurs regard building their business as their fun. Perhaps that’s why they work 18 hours each day. Also keeping them in the go-go startup environment is the fact that they’d rather take a pillow to the head than enter a bland corporate cubicle farm. It takes all kinds, and it takes another kind all together to start a sex toy business.

A sex toy business involves lower overhead than most. Because manufacturers operate overseas, cost of goods is reasonable. Getting these products to the American audience requires having parties or building an ecommerce site. With Americans’ sexual values becoming more liberal, the future of the sex toy business is bright. Follow these steps to start your sex toy business.

  1. Consider Starting Small

Starting small ensures your capital lasts long enough to spread the word about your business. Starter kits include sexual products like lubricants, dildos and vibrators. Clearly, these appeal to women, but men buy them for girlfriends as well. They are also widely accepted, lacking the squeamishness that comes from the more hard-core products. Review both U.S. and international manufacturers for prices.

CAUTION: If you do start with a website, keep in mind that you can’t sell your products at a price lower than what your manufacturer, distributor or representative sells them for.

2.  Pick Your Niche

With the extent of sex toys available in the market today, finding a niche could be your quickest route to profit. Consider certain angles like all-natural products or essential oils to corner a small but under-served market. Expand from there.

For example, if you want to sell nontoxic and eco-friendly sex toys, you can choose the rechargeable, wood and glass or 100% medical grade silicon sex toys. Themes like LGBTQ, BDSM and others help consumers understand when they’ve arrived at the destination that meets their needs precisely.

  1. Use Private Labeling to Build Your Brand

Most sex toy businesses put their unique, quality logos on the sex toys they purchase from manufacturers and distributors. By lending an air of exclusivity, private labeling leads to higher margins and loyal customers.

Some manufacturers have a selection of pre-made designs that can save you money, but a professional design from a graphic artist could result in more profits. Manufacturers and distributors are accustomed to integrating your design files with their products and packaging. Creating a unique brand is one of the most fun parts of becoming an entrepreneur.

bare-chested man ready to start a sex toy business

  1. Build Your Authority by Educating Yourself on the Industry and Sexuality in General

People are far more comfortable buying from companies with strong, informed leadership at the helm. By empowering yourself, you empower and enlighten your customers. They will appreciate you for it.

Consider how you will create guidelines and provide sex education, an aspect of life that is only touched on superficially in American high schools and very inadequately in magazines. Follow product trends as well so that you can bring the most useful devices to your target market before they hear about it from other vendors.

Most importantly, learn about legal issues you might encounter. More legal entanglements exist in this industry than most.

  1. Think About Business Location

Products that display naked body parts and sex toys have a way of raising the ire of consumers in certain areas. Groups may have managed to make businesses in the sex toy and sex service industry illegal in certain states, counties and cities.

Start by checking with your city’s planning department. Then go to the state level to explore whether you need permits to run your business. You‘ll need to note the specifications required for getting the permit. A Sandy Springs Georgia ordinance, for instance, reads that any “device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs is obscene material.” The whole state of Alabama has outlawed sex toys. If your ecommerce business exists in an area where sex toys are outlawed, your only choice could be moving.

  1. Set Up Revenue Collection Methods

Those with ecommerce businesses and even those without will increase sales and profits if they accept credit cards. Today, 80% of consumers use debit and credit cards to pay for items they purchase. Just 17% use cash and 3% use checks. Businesses operating strictly on the internet—ecommerce—must take some form of plastic to make any sales whatsoever.

Know now that lenders consider the sex toy and any adult-related business to be “high-risk.” It’s not the end of the world, just the news that you will need to pay a point or two higher than your entrepreneurial medical claims, senior services or accounting services counterparts.

First Financial helps business owners get the cash they need at the most competitive rates. Thrilled to be operating in the low-cost, fast-moving digital era, we set up and help you manage your business loan or merchant services account 100% online. A+ rated First Financial specializes in high-risk merchant accounts. Simply click here to apply and you’ll be able to start taking credit cards within 48 hours!

14 Forgotten Items and 14 Places to Sell Them to Pay Off Your Cash Advance

 As much as we want to believe the future is bright, many Americans still struggle to get ahead.  Saving enough for a home down-payment or credit card consolidation can seem daunting.

Renowned online financial planning publisher Bankrate explains that that more than three in four Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 76 million Americans struggle to keep food on the table. Believe it or not, 80% of American adults are in some form of debt. Even though the majority of us depend on debt to maintain our current lifestyle. Many depend on the cash advance to repair cars and computers or pay the medical bills that keep us earning.

The largest online marketplaces include:

CraigsList: while you set the price, people will still offer less. Still, you stand to get more on craigslist than selling to a pawn shop because you’re selling direct to the end consumer. There’s no middle man needing his or her cut.

Close5:  the reselling newcomer in App form, Close5 only lists people with items within 5 miles of you. Like CraigsList, you can set the price, but buyers will try to haggle.

eBay:  unlike CraigsList, eBay operates on an auction system where you set a starting price and hope it moves up from there. You can also choose to not sell if you don’t get the amount you want. An eBay account is very simple to set up. Keep in mind that you will pay shipping.

Pawn Shops:  the best place if you need cash fast. Managers have certain prices and set margins they must stick to, however, leaving less for you.

Those who looking to escape debt or pay off credit cards or a cash advance should look to the items in their homes they no longer need. This step not only brings down your interest payments, it declutters your home. Review this list for good items to sell and the best outlets to sell them:

  • tools: CraigsList, pawn shops
  • phones: gazelle.com and a GameStop near you
  • video games: GameStop, especially if you’re buying new games or Amazon’s Trade In program, now an eBay company, also takes used video games
  • music, videos and DVDs: Second Spin is the largest re-seller of used DVDs, Blu-Ray and videos. DeClutter and com are other possibilities
  • sporting equipment: A Play It Again Sports store near you. Otherwise, CraigsList, Close5 and pawn shops.
  • appliances: CraigsList, Close5 and pawn shops
  • books: bookscouter.com (especially for text books) and Amazon’s book buyback program
  • clothing: high quality, gently used clothing is best turned over to a consignment store. Popular lines get the best return on eBay or CraigsList. There’s also the new ThredUp which sends you a bag in which to send your old clothes. This outlet tends to prefer designers like Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, etc.
  • kid’s toys: especially when put together in age-appropriate bundles and sold on eBay, Close5 or CraigsList
  • jewelry: estate jewelry shops and consignment stores. Get appraisals first!
  • music instruments: Local music stores, but they will want a slice of the profit. With Close5 and CraigsList, you sell directly to the parent.
  • furniture: consider Close5 and offer to deliver. Shipping costs for big items will cut into your selling price. If that doesn’t work, look around eBay to see what your piece may be worth and try to get that at a yard sale.
  • cameras: Keh Cameras still takes film cameras, but better prices are for the DSLRs. It also takes vintage cameras for higher prices. Otherwise eBay. Again, look around to see where the better prices are.

 

Steps to Start Generating Cash from Your Forgotten Items

  1. Check unused rooms, basement, attics, trunks of cars and garage. List all of it and beside the list, write the marketplaces you’ll try first and second.

Don’t let your emotional response guide you. If you know you don’t need that item anymore, let it go. It will be of much use for others. Family members, living and dead, will be proud of you for getting your finances in order.

  1. Set up your accounts on sites like eBay and Craigslist.
  1. Take pictures of the items you are about to re-sell. Remember, make it appealing. Try many angles of the picture so the customers can check every side of the item. Borrow a friend’s DSLR to get the best shots and Google how to light items correctly.
  1. Check the shipping costs at usps.com so that so you won’t lose money when shipping an item.
  2. Finalize the list and check the complete list of items you have. Explore how much similar items are going for on eBay, CraigsList, Close5 and others. If you’re selling jewelry, silver or gold, make sure to get an appraisal first.
  3. Create listings for every item. There are many ways to simplify this process, but some find listing on Saturdays or Sundays keep them on track better.
  4. Check messages once in a while. Buyers will have clarifications or questions regarding your product and their messages will come frequently. If you have more bidders, higher prices in the end.
  5. If you already sold and shipped a product, immediately leave feedback for the buyer. Ship the items immediately as possible to avoid negative feedback and win good reviews.

First Financial helps Americans get the cash they need at the most competitive rates. In the digital era, we set up and help you manage your cash advance, business loan or merchant services 100% online. We specialize in products for all kinds of borrowers, including those with fair and poor credit. We’ve done the work to find appropriate lenders that keep you solvent!

Your First Business Loan: 7 Tips on Getting the Best One

borrower getting cash advance

 

Congratulations on considering getting your first business loan!

 This step typically means you’ve been in business for a while, have sustained profits and are providing needed products or service to your community. You’ve beaten out 95% of other business owner wannabes!

Most likely, you’ve gotten here by taking careful, conservative steps. Continue your careful habits by researching the smartest ways to get your first business loan.

1. Understand Your Options

While you’ll certainly be grateful for receiving your first business loan, keep in mind that you’re providing valued business for a lender as well. Take the time to see how you can get the funds you need at the lowest rates and best terms.

Business financing comes in many forms: business loans, business credit cards, business line of credit and invoice factoring. Another instrument, the merchant advance is an early payment of the income you regularly receive through credit and debit cards. It’s typically a quick turnaround, paid back to the lender once those monthly funds come in. Understand the needs of your business and/or industry before you jump on the decision of getting a business loan.

2. Analyze Your Credit

A business’s credit rating dictate the interest rates of any loan you consider. Your business credit score and personal credit score both impact the lender’s decision. Personal credit scores indicate how well you handle money. Cash flow, expenses, and assets all figure in to how much a lender will approve and for what rate. The sources lenders use to determine your interest rate also vary. For example, Dun and Bradstreet will take nothing but your payment history. Experian and Equifax consider public records, legal filing and collection agency.
Those with a low credit score can get a business loan, but their options are limited.

3. Shore up Your Business Credit Score

Hopefully, you’ve avoided mixing your personal and business finances. Overlapping accounts complicate your business loan eligibility and even your taxes. The earlier you establish a separate business account, the better, as you build a business credit history this way.

4. Improve Your Credit Score Before You Apply

Review your credit report and settle all overdue bills. You can even consider consolidating your credit card balances into a personal loan, a move that impresses the credit bureaus and lenders because you’re paying off a higher level of the capital on a regular basis. The personal loan sends the signal that you aren’t looking to a bankruptcy filing to escape your debts.
Reducing your credit balances also improves your credit score, particularly if you use only 30% of the credit banks are willing to lend to you. Also, do not close an account just because you’ve paid it off. Keep that credit line open.

5. Make a Specific Request

When applying for a business loan, borrowers get farther when they know their numbers (as anyone who watches Shark Tank knows well.) Be ready to show the lender the figures behind just how much money you need to accomplish your goals and what those goals will do for the business. This is also where a thorough business plan can come in handy.

6. Study Financial Statements

Prepare the business’s income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flow. After this you can prepare the documents like tax returns and financial statements. Lenders will demand all of these documents to determine whether you can pay the principle and interest over a period of time.

A+ Rated First Financial Specializes in Business Loans for ALL Credit Scores

Ready to get the money to hire a new employee, acquire crucial materials or open a new branch? Apply with First Financial for a business loan and a representative will contact you within 24 hours to answer all your questions. Our automated systems and lower marketing costs translate into lower rates and fees to the business borrower. We’re proud to provide the funds America’s small businesses need to propel the economic recovery and employ others.

E-Cigarette Trends to Expect after the FDA’s Recent Tobacco Ruling

Every vape shop owner probably knows by now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized a ruling bringing e-cigarettes under its supervision.

 With vaping pens and e-cigarettes now categorized as tobacco, manufacturers will have to submit  products for an extensive pre-approval process. Where the FDA estimates this cost to be under $500,000 per product, manufacturers put the price at more like $2 million. Just six years old, the vaping industry is reeling from this decision. Vape shop owners should know how this ruling impacts e-cigarette trends.

Behind the E-Cigarette Legislation

Once touted as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, vape pens and e-cigarettes have gained in popularity since first coming onto the market in 2007. Now a $1.5 billion-dollar industry, its appeal to teenage smokers has ironically brought about this blow

In 2011, just 1.5% of high school students smoked e-cigarettes. By 2015, that number had risen to 16%. According to Centers for Disease and Prevention, today approximately 3 million high school and middle school students use the devices. The CDC and other powerful lobby groups like the American Lung Association aim to prevent young adults from picking up any smoking habit at all. They pushed the FDA to inspect these devices for premarket approval. This new regulation will cost the companies millions of dollars, pushing perhaps some smaller shops and manufacturers out of business.

E-Cigarettes Prices to Rise

With much higher costs, E-cigarettes, liquid smoke and accessories will get more expensive, particularly those made by boutique manufacturers. Tobacco giant RJ Reynolds (which owns VUSE) will be better able to absorb the approval costs, but smaller manufacturers will struggle. Still, vape shop owners carry both lines: both the esoteric, finely crafted brands for the real connoisseurs and the less expensive for the masses. Shop owners can experiment with which products keep them profits at a maximum.

E-Cigarette Variety to Decline as Some Manufacturers Close

If high quality, boutique manufacturers can’t cut costs in other areas, the FDA’s approval costs could close them down, leaving shop owners with fewer varieties to offer. Consider how Anheuser Busch and Miller make lower quality beer at a low for a large audience. Craft brewers, on the other hand, create high quality, higher-priced drafts for the true beer connoisseurs. The vaping industry has a similar division. This is how the very best products often become discontinued.

Currently, Altria and R.J. Reynolds are the only companies with the best chances of complying with the regulation because they have the budget to fund the testing. These two huge entities just pull budget from the traditional cigarettes. According to the president of American Vaping Association Gregory Conly, the regulation will cut into costs, but not threaten their existence.

Recent Research and Demand Supporting a Healthy E-Cigarette Future

 Despite the challenges outlined above, exciting recent studies have shown that vaping will continue to grow. Current research reveals some exciting health benefits e-cigarettes offer over traditional cigarettes.

First, a study from US-based non-profit organization Research Foundation predicts that after 20 years, vaping might have the chance to eliminate traditional cigarettes all together. Currently, in India, 10% of smokers have already switched to vaping. Doctors there predict that the smoke-related illnesses and diseases will decrease significantly over the next 5 years.

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s extensive study revealed out that using e-cigarettes will lead to a drop of 21% smoking related problems and death a 20% life gain.

While some toxic chemicals do exist in these new products, a Harvard Medical School study found they’re present in far lower levels in e-cigarettes than in traditional ones. Further, study authors predict that the devices will improve in quality and, most importantly, safety over the next ten years. As they do, consumers will be more and more willing to drop their tobacco cigarettes for healthier vaping options.

 

A+ Rated First Financial Helps E-Cigarette Shops STAY in Business

New and established vape shops and e-cigarette vendors trust First Financial to get them the high-risk merchant accounts that enable customers to pay easily. Apply online for e-cig merchant accounts and start accepting credit cards in days. You’ll know within 48 hours whether you’ve been approved.

4 Ways High-Risk Merchants Can Cut EMV Chargebacks

Don’t let chargebacks sink your profits!

 Data breaches at Target, Facebook prompted the major U.S. credit issuers to insist on the EMV chip in October 2015. The move has made it much more difficult for fraudsters to create counterfeit cards, saving both companies and consumers money and headaches. According to Stephanie Erickson, vice president of risk products at Visa, the shift working: merchants are reporting less counterfeit fraud.

We applaud anything that reduces expenses to both businesses and their customers, but EMV has created another, although less costly, issue: chargebacks. Chargebacks occur when the card issuer holds the merchant liable for a payment transacted by a thief using a stolen or counterfeit card. Where once the banks absorbed much of these charges, today they are not so amenable. One payment network reported 250,000 merchants had experienced an 50% increase in chargebacks on card transactions. In effect, the banks, card processors and issuers are putting the burden of vetting for fraud on the merchants.

A few merchants aren’t accepting this responsibility. Claiming a lack of preparation time, they are now suing issuers. Networks counter that five years was plenty of time for even the smallest business to prepare for the increase in chargebacks they warned could follow the shift from magnetic stripe to EMV.

Merchants must know that if they have not yet switched to EMV terminals, they are liable for most of the chargebacks the banks had been absorbing. The top merchants affected have been gas stations, restaurants and quick service merchants like vending operations. It seems that large cities, college towns and border areas are the most likely to be the most tempting targets for thieves looking to take advantage of those who haven’t switched to EMV equipment yet. Smart criminals are avoiding the EMV terminals, another reason to get them into your stores. When a criminal successfully uses a magnetic stripe card at your business, you will get a chargeback and be liable for the purchase.

What can you do?

As mentioned above, Visa, Mastercard, and others have been adamant that merchants pay these charges. However, there are solutions that can limit the damage the EMV shift has brought to your high-risk business.

  • If you are not fighting chargebacks, start now. Won chargebacks do not count against your chargeback ratio. So, it means that a 75 percent win rate lowers your chargeback ratio by 300 percent. A better chargeback rate also helps you to keep your merchant account in good standing.
  • Fighting chargebacks can be a somewhat technical process. Consider getting an expert or service to fight these charges for you.
  • Lock down your eCommerce site or bricks-and-mortar business with front-end fraud prevention measures. These help identify the IP address of the customer by requiring them CVV and AVS. In this way, you filter most frauds and increase your chances in winning fraud disputes in chargebacks.
  • Use a chargeback alerts when you operate a service business. A chargeback alert is a type of alert that notifies you every time a customer initiates a chargeback. You have 24-72 hours to respond to it. If you are a service business such as technical support, you can always cut your losses by stopping your services whenever you get chargeback alerts.

 

Getting your merchant services streamlines is a great relief.

Most of All: Make the Shift to EMV Technology Today!

Magnetic strips on credit cards are just too easy for thieves to copy. Beyond this fact, credit card issuers now levy fees—often in the form of chargebacks—on merchants who do not use EMV technology. They want their customers to feel protected by offering the best, most secure, products. But this system doesn’t work if the merchants refuse to hold up their end.

When considering your options for taking credit cards, know that you’ll need a merchant services processor or merchant service account to safely process your transactions. A+ rated First Financial specializes in high-risk merchant accounts. Simply click here to apply and you’ll be able to start taking credit cards within 48 hours!

 

 

3 Advantages Credit Repair Services Owners Should Emphasize

coins on a credit repair services profit improvement chart 

 Youtube videos, blog posts, friends and family work hard to convince borrowers that they can repair their credit themselves. Where the video and blog owners want to make money in their own right, family and friends simply strive to stop a spender from parting with even more of his money. These well-meaning but misguided sources prevent those with bad credit scores from getting their finances in order. Worse, they are the enemy of the reputable credit repair service.

A credit business owner must take proactive steps to convince the exhausted but skeptical borrower that the credit service really has their best interests at heart. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans use credit repair services to help themselves escape debt and enjoy a better quality of life.

It only takes a few facts to help people understand that a credit repair service is a good investment for long-term financial well-being.  New credit repair agents will win once they get the following advantages down cold.

  1. The credit repair service works hard.

Today, most consumers work long hours and need the weekends to relax and connect with family. Gathering data, reviewing credit reports, updating credits takes significant time and physical and emotional energy. Each agency has its own forms and protocol for addressing it. The service does the extensive leg-work which includes contacting and negotiating not only with the bureaus, but creditors. It also handles the conflicts that can drain anyone.

  1. Credit agents know the law.

Credit agents have a far lower risk of being manipulated and even conned by creditors and credit bureaus. Agents take pride in their knowledge of the current laws and even those laws legislators are currently considering. These laws include:

  • The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).
  • And other consumer protection statutes.

Professionals leverage federal laws to benefit clients.

  1. Credit repair services start consumers on an upward path.

With debts paid or arrangements made to pay them, creditors immediately begin regarding the consumer more favorably. The credit bureaus understand that the consumer is making efforts to pay his or her bills, rather than simply declaring bankruptcy. Good credit is a positive signal for prospective employers, landlords and lenders.

nest egg in dollars for credit repair services

A+ Rated First Financial Provides the High-Risk Merchant Accounts Credit Repair Services Need

With the economy improving, more and more Americans are seeking credit repair services. Often, these responsible citizens pay up-front fees with a credit card. Don’t miss out on the majority of your prospects.  Get your merchant services account approval today!

 

Where to Get On-Shore & Off-Shore Tech Support Reps

TECH support reps with headsets

 Software and software-as-a-service products have been booming for the past 20 years. Anymore, it’s not just computers and cars that need software. It’s high-end coffee-makers, showers (really!), and the refrigerator. The Internet of Things (IoT) makes it so.

When these ubiquitous household devices need setting up and troubleshooting, chances are, the average American becomes incredibly FRUSTRATED. That’s when they get online with tech support.

IBISworld.com, the leading premiere business industry research website, has found that the tech support industry will grow “faster than the average for all occupation.” over the next ten years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) concurs in its findings that computer/tech support specialist will increase 17% from through the year 2022. The U.S. Department of Labor also mentioned that the computer systems services industry is one of the economy’s “largest and fastest sources of employment growth.”[1]

If the proliferation of the Internet of Things doesn’t convince you, consider the software-as-a-service companies like DropBox, Sales Force, and Google Apps. Even Microsoft Office 365 now lives in the cloud. Downloading a $600 program will be replaced by a $20 monthly subscription that the provider hopes lasts three years or more. Where once, Photoshop and the graphic designers who used it cornered the market, today, consumers have turned to SaaS products like Canva and PicMonkey, much of which can be used for free. And yet . . . they can be confusing to a large portion of the population. U.S. based technical support services have no place to go but up.

The tech support company’s potential is most often hampered by capacity. After all, one forward-thinking entrepreneur can’t answer all the calls 24/7. Every tech support company needs a reliable workforce. Where then, can an American entrepreneur find the professionals who can help him or her competently guide consumers past their set-up instructions and general confusion? More, where can a technical support entrepreneur find people at a labor cost that will keep him or her in business.

Off-shore v. On-shore Technical Professionals

 To pay one-third or less for technical support staff, entrepreneurs must go overseas. Those who aren’t off-shore human resources specialists must depend on third parties who’ve become experts in these fields. A few include:

  • Info link– Provides resources and services for outsourcing technical product and IT support. 915-577-9466
  • Invensis Technologies– Provides outsourced contact center, help desk, IT outsourcing and business process outsourcing services globally. 302- 261-9036
  • J-Curve Technologies – Provides technical and operational callcenter outsourcing solutions. 602-792-6100
  • Nirix – Provides remote IT support, offsite data backup, on-site computer services, managed email hosting. 780-414-1556

Once these services provide you with candidates, you can vet them with you own list of questions. We suggest choosing from the following:

  • What makes you a superior technical support specialist?
  • How do you approach customer service?
  • How do you calm upset, frustrated customers?
  • What positive or negative feedback from a customer has made you a better tech support specialist?
  • What has been your best strategy when you don’t know the answer to a question?
  • How would you go about becoming a subject matter expert for your employer?
  • Scenario: “My software isn’t _________________. How would you help me fix it.”
child surprised after getting surprising tech support answer through computer

Happy embracing couple planning their home kitchen furnishing renovation. Sketch kitchen drawing.

A+ Rated First Financial Helps Tech Support Companies Stay in Business

Anymore, every business owner must be able to process credit and debit cards via the internet, particularly tech support.

If you’ve learned that banks consider your tech support business to be high-risk, you may have to consider alternative merchant services providers to make monthly payments possible. With lower marketing costs and overhead, reliable internet merchant services providers provide all the traditional bank safety at reasonable rates.

Aware that categorization as high-risk can be arbitrary, First Financial specializes in these cutting-edge, often new, industries. The computer hardware industry was once considered high-risk because banks considered PCs and Macs unproven. Now every family has one or more for each member! Apply for our tech support merchant services today here!

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Computer Support Specialists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm

 

5 Signs It’s Time for a Personal Loan

cash from personal loan

 While the prospect of a personal loan can be intimidating, trepidation didn’t stop Donald Trump, the founders of Starbucks or flamboyant Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson when they needed funds. A short-term loan goes a long way in providing a better quality of life and setting up a flush future.

In our blog post, “When the Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card,” we explain that the personal loan can:

• raise a credit score
• save a borrower half in monthly interest charges when compared to credit card rates
• help borrowers plan (because the monthly payment is fixed.)

The personal loan can actually brighten your financial picture. Considered an installment loan rather than revolving credit, when you use it to consolidate credit card debt, banks see it as your dedication to paying it off rather than defaulting or going into bankruptcy in order to escape it. Experian and TransUnion often raise your credit score within a month or so. See? The personal loan isn’t so bad!

While you will be in debt with a personal loan, the regular payments (often sent automatically from your account through bill pay), help you budget better for the month. Knowing a set amount will come out of your bank account keeps your urge to splurge under control.

Now that you know the personal loan is a common way people pay for purchases and/or emergency expenses, read the following most common scenarios where people use personal loans.

1. You are paying credit card debt at the average rate of 15% or more (23%? 29%) when you can most likely get an unsecured personal loan for 7 to 10%.
2. Collections agencies are calling you about medical bills. NerdWallet Health’s survey found that 56 million Americans have trouble paying their medical bills. More frightening, 35 million American adults get collections agencies calls for them bills and they cause 17 million Americans to receive a lower credit rating.
3. Moving expenses become overwhelming. U.S. News found the average cost of a move within a state is $1,170, and between states, $5,630. These expenses are most often necessary for family members to earn a living. When a company doesn’t foot the bill, they land on individuals. Putting these expenses on credit cards just sets you up for high interest expenses. The personal loan only calculates interest on the principal amount, not the principal plus the interest the way credit cares do.
4. Your car or computer isn’t running. Unless you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that has reliable public transportation, you’re going to need a car. Even GoCars and ZipCars prices add up, particularly if used regularly. Most important, however, a car adds to your quality of life.
5. Your home equity isn’t sufficient for critical home repair expenses. Failing to qualify for a second mortgage doesn’t mean you have to go without a working water heater, air conditioner or mold remediation. All of these things are critical for your family’s health and well-being. Home prices have remained steady for several years now and chances are your home value will go up if you stay in it long enough.

It’s in these five circumstances that most Americans seek out personal loans.

A+ Rated First Financial’s Personal Loans: Manage from Home and On-the-Go!

First Financial has the most competitive rates for high-credit-score borrowers. We even welcome those with fair, poor and bad credit because they make up 56% of the current American population. Use your laptop or tablet to make payments, review statements, and update account information. You can even check your rate without impacting your credit score!

Apply now for a personal loan with First Financial, A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau!

Why Pawn Shops Pay Pennies for Your Treasures

woman handling family heirloom pearls

 An Atlantic article in May, 2016 caused quite a bit of buzz by claiming: “Nearly half of Americans would have a hard time finding $400 to pay for an emergency.” The article, entitled, “The Secret Shame of the Middle Class” went on to explain that The Federal Reserve Board, in its annual survey of the financial condition of the American populace, found:
“ . . . 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover [a $400 emergency] expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all.”

Many turn to pawn shops when they have a financial emergency. The number of U.S. pawn shops has grown from 6,400 in 2007, at the start of the Great Recession, to more than 10,000 today. Before trading in your treasures or family heirlooms, consider that pawn shops may not be your best option.

Getting a Loan from a Pawn Shop

Of course, there’s also the option of giving your valuables to the pawnbroker for a loan. Typically, people come in at the end of the month, once their paycheck hasn’t stretched far enough and they need to buy food or pay the gas bill. The pawn shop manager makes a loan against the item and puts the it in storage. Many come back at the beginning of the month, once they’ve gotten their paycheck to get the item. Still, they have to turn over the legally-capped 22 percent interest rate in addition to the monies borrowed. So if the pawn shop values your diamond necklace at $500, you can get it back, but pay $610 (500 + 110) for the privilege. If you don’t come back that month or the next, the pawn shop manager is legally entitled to sell the necklace. A third way is to “roll over” the loan, where you pay just the interest or $110 and leave the necklace at the shop. The next month, you’ll have to pay $720 to get the necklace back.

Keep in mind that pawn shops make their bread and butter from “repeat” customers who come in every month and pay only the interest.

Pawn Shops Have the Power
The desperate need on the individual seller’s side means that pawn shops make very low offers. Generally, pawn shops have strict pricing rules dictating that they won’t pay more than half of what they think they can get for an item. One exception is higher priced guns and jewelry, which provide them more profit. With sales goals they need to meet every month, pawn shop managers know they need to keep cost of goods low in order to keep their jobs or even win a bonus. When they negotiate price with you, they’re considering their own survival. It’s not unusual to get $5 for a chainsaw, $50 for a bicycle or $25 for an SLR camera . . . and all must be in good working condition.

Your Treasures’ Value Are Subject to the Whim of the Markets

Like real estate and stocks, jewelry, gadgets and old silver fall victim to market gyrations. For example, the value of pearl necklaces and earrings has plummeted because suppliers have flooded the market. No matter how lustrous and lovely the piece, its value on the market is constantly checked by pawn brokers. Similarly, diamond shapes go in and out of fashion. Where ten years ago, the marquis cut was all the rage, now the pear-shaped diamond wins the highest prices. Buyers consider the marquis cut out-of-date.

Instead of selling something that may not be all the rage right now, why not wait until its value returns? A cash advance on your paycheck keeps your valuables at home until market conditions return to your favor.

When a Cash Advance Is a Better Option

The cash advance, money fronted to you based on the value of your paycheck, works differently from the sale to or loan from the pawn shop. First, cash advances typically stick to $500 or $1000, based on your proven income. The cash advance lender doesn’t negotiate with you on the value of your paycheck. It is what it is.

The advantage here is that the $500 you get for your diamond necklace can end up costing you. If you first look at eBay and see that similar necklaces are getting $2,000 and the pawn broker only offers $500, time pressure could push you into selling it for $1,500 less than you could get if you just had more time. In addition, you end up paying that $110 in interest. Your eventual money loss amounts to $1,610 just because you had to have $500 in a day or two.
The cash advance, on the other hand, gives you the time to find a better buyer on any number of websites or local estate jewelry shops.

100 dollar bills in cash

First Financial Offers the Cash Advances that Keep Your Treasures at Home

When you need to:

• avoid getting low offers for your heirlooms
• avoid bounced checks or credit impacts due to non-payment
• keep cars and computers running so you can get to work
• avoid expensive late fees

. . . turn to Better Business Bureau A+ rated First Financial for a cash advance. America’s leading source of short-term personal loans for people with low or bad credit scores, First Financial makes sure customers can transact all cash advances from the comfort of home. Just upload some documentation and once you’ve filled out the final page of the form and submitted, you’re cash lands in your bank account that evening. Apply here to find out how much you qualify for!

Buying a Car when 72- and 84-Month Auto Loans Are the New Normal

Happy embracing couple planning their home kitchen furnishing renovation. Sketch kitchen drawing.

“The market is now comfortable in the 75-month terms.”

– Melinda Zabritski,  senior product director of automotive finance at Experian Automotive

 If you haven’t bought a car in a while, you may be surprised when the car dealer explains that you can buy more car than you thought possible. It’s not a scam and a wishful-thinking salesperson. The changing nature of both cars and car buyers has prompted auto lenders to extend loan terms, bringing monthly payments down.

Those of us of a certain age will remember that in the 1970s and 1980s, a car with 100,000 miles was destined for the junk yard, a hazard no one dared to drive. While the 100,000 mile end-life of a car has been a tough perception to shake, attitudes are changing rapidly.

The Proof Is in the Power Train

Vigorous global competition among auto manufacturers has pushed automobile quality higher over the past 20 years. Today, the classified ads are full of Volvo’s, Honda and more with 200,000 miles and cab drivers brag of getting their Toyota Prius to 600,000 miles . . . with their original batteries, no less!

Not only are cars being designed for longer life, advances in science and engineering have helped created more durable materials. Carbon finishes on parts now approach the strength of diamonds, ensuring that each part remains intact far longer. Hyundai and Kia now include 100,000-mile/10-year warranties on all of their cars’ powertrains.

Increased longevity means that a car’s value as an asset has increased. It only follows then that banks feel more comfortable lending for a longer term. The average car on the road in 1977 was 5.5. By 2014, it was 11.4, a change that indicates not only improved car quality, but a shift in the American mindset.

Pride in Long-Term Ownership

Where once, buying or leasing a new car every two years indicated success and wealth, now it just seems foolish. Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by an ethic of value and sustainability, and car buyers are looking to stretch their dollars by keeping their cars for as long as they can. Banks, therefore, not only have more confidence in the long-term value of the car, but in the trustworthiness of the buyer. Millennials are far more willing to buy a used car than their parents were.

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Longer Auto Loan Terms Can Mean More Car for the Money

With longer loan terms, buyers are making bigger, better purchases.  The car buyer with a $300 monthly budget may be able to buy new rather than used. He or she may also choose the certified pre-owned car rather than the questionable auto obtained through private sale. While the loan will last longer, the ability to buy a better car provides more value to the buyer. Down the line, as a trade-in or sale, the car will win the buyer more cash. The average subprime loan amount as of August 2016 was $29,359 for a new car and $16,120 for a used car.These figures are up 3% and 1.3% respectively from the same time last year.

If it’s time for a new or new, used car for you, make sure to check out our loans for all credit types, even bad credit!  Those with bankruptcy still on their credit reports still can get a car loan for a used or even new car. It takes just three minutes to apply here for a new or used car loan at the lowest rates!

 

Multi-Level Marketing Enjoying Upswing

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 Next time anyone hints that multi-level marketing is a “fringe” business, let them know that in 2015 it brought in $40 billion, a level on par with the pet and cosmetics industries.

Recently, a Forbes article even positioned multi-level marketing as a solution to America’s current retirement savings crisis. After conducting his own research on the multi-level marketing industry, the once-skeptical Forbes author and self-proclaimed retirement activist Robert Laura states, “I no longer perceive these types of opportunities as money-making pyramid schemes. Instead, I now see it as a way to enhance many of the personal aspects of retirement.”

Laura isn’t alone. Some of the nation’s strictest number crunchers concur.

IBIS World, the renowned resource for industry trends, reported that direct selling companies (aka the multi-level marketing industry) has shown annual growth each year over the past five. IBIS World predicts that, “the industry is expected to continue to grow, driven by improved consumer confidence.”

The Direct Selling Association Growth & Outlook Survey also forecasts a robust future for multi-level marketing. Not only has the industry grown every year since 2009, the 5.5% increase in revenues from 2013 to 2014 entices anyone looking to make a living selling unique products through community connections.

Springboard Your MLM Business on 2016 Trends

As much as industry pundits’ perspectives support multilevel marketing’s potential, staying current on the prevailing trends in the industry maximizes sales. Consider:

• Tie-ins Boost Sales: Tailor your product to your clientele, regionally. Tie in your product with a popular local festival, or any other popular seasonal event. Whether it’s a tie-in to a new Star Wars movie, or maybe a “back-to-school” sale bonanza, incorporating a fun theme keeps customers upbeat, and certain you’re looking out for them.

• Technology/Mobile Boosts Sales. Hit up your home base for any and every mobile solution they have. Leverage their sales and marketing apps, presentations and the screens that help you sign-up new recruits and customers via smartphones. Make sure ease of online payment is evident on these apps.

• Social Media and Email Keep You Connected. The Facebook group you create gets your messages to your team on a platform they most likely check daily anyway. Email (no more than weekly!) to both team members and customers keeps your business top of mind.

• Videos Familiarize. Don’t forget to post videos of yourself using new products, and then feel free to email/post on Facebook and YouTube. When your potential customers can see the product in action, they get more excited about experiencing it firsthand.

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A+ Rated First Financial Offers High Risk Merchant Accounts for Multi-Level Marketing Companies

Multi-level marketing revenue has gained ground since the economic downturn. Many Americans who lost their jobs in the wake of the recession established direct selling businesses as a means of income due to the relatively low start-up costs. As we approach 2020, the industry is expected to continue to grow, driven by improved consumer confidence, improving employment figures and disposable income. To get the multi-level marketing merchant account customers trust and appreciate, apply today!

Student Loan Consolidation Services Industry Outlook for 2016

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 If you are in the business of providing student loan consolidation services, you may be concerned about the negative news coverage. Recent findings tell us concern over reliability is nonsense. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declared the student lending crisis overblown.

The truth remains that banks consider student loan consolidations less risky than school-issued loans. Original loans go to students in the midst of their studies. Some haven’t even declared a major yet. Consolidation loans, on the other hand, require that the student has graduated, is employed, and has a track record of repayments on outstanding consumer debts. These three criteria reflect an individual in a far less risky situation.

Another benefit of student loan consolidations over government loans is that the enrollment application process is easier to navigate and less complex than enrolling for a Federal student loan.

Industry growth

The whole student loan consolidation service industry has grown. In the United States, the outstanding student loan debt currently stands at more than $1 trillion dollars. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s did an analysis that indicated 1.58 million student borrowers were enrolled in a repayment plan that was income-driven.

Changing Trends

The student loan consolidation industry is starting to change. The latest trend indicates that rather than focusing solely on a student’s FICO score, loan consolidators are looking more towards a student’s earning potential based on the college diploma earned. Even with a low FICO score, a student can still be considered creditworthy with a degree in a high-salary subject (engineering, e.g.).
Another trend bodes well for the industry. Graduates are still able to refinance a federal student loan through a private consolidation service without losing the protections from a federal student loan.

Federal Student Loans Are Not Necessarily Secure

Once you convince your clients that private student debt consolidation works as well for recent graduates as public version, success in the student debt consolidation industry follows.

Explain to clients that the government itself in in currently debt by more than 19 trillion dollars. If a student gets a federal loan, it is basically backed by that national debt. Federal funding for a student’s education runs the risk of becoming null and void. A private firm student loan, however, is backed by private lenders, and potentially more reliable.

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The Merchant Account Connects the New Grad and the Loan Provider

You may have already learned that your student loan consolidation business falls into the high risk category. Don’t panic about obtaining a merchant account. First Financial specializes in high risk industries and will make sure you can process the payments coming in. Read about our student loan services merchant accounts here!

Tech Support Industry Outlook for 2016 and Beyond

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 Those in the tech space have been watching the “Internet of Things” approaching for a while now. This development alone ensures that plenty of consumers will be needing tech support in the coming decades.

Evolving technology drives the products software and hardware companies continually release. For any business to remain competitive, maintaining up-to-date computer technology is a must.

New in the 1960s, computers flew off the shelves at the rate of 264 million in 2015 alone! This figure doesn’t even factor in laptops, cell phones, ipads, or any of the other myriad of gadgets that make our world run smoothly today. In fact, the huge proliferation of cell phone/tablet/ipads, etc., means that users are demanding efficient WiFi connections to perform work functions effectively wherever they are. This means the tech support industry will always be in demand.

In God We Trust . . . All Others Must Bring Data

Need some good research to give you confidence?

According to IBISworld.com, THE premiere business industry research website, the tech support industry will continue growing steadily over the next ten years. The report further explains that computer and IT occupations will grow “faster than the average for all occupations.”

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that computer/tech support specialist jobs are expected to increase 17% from through the year 2022. This should come as no surprise, considering the constantly changing technical landscape, requiring a constant source of mobile phone assistance, cloud computing expertise, and large data storage.
The U.S. Department of Labor also mentioned that the computer systems services industry is one of the economy’s “largest and fastest sources of employment growth.” The same source added that companies have accepted that the complexity of computer interfacing and connectivity demands means that the business owners “choose to hire an outside IT company rather than hire specialists in-house.”

Endless Possibilities for the Tech Support Industry

This is all excellent news for those in the tech support industry! The services offered in this arena are seemingly endless: network support, IT assistance, custom software design, repair and maintenance, computer programming, hardware and software management, designing integrated systems and even customizing software.

The business world will always need tech support experts, because the average business owner doesn’t have the time or the know-how to keep up with today’s complicated phone/computer updates and troubleshooting. These areas have just become too complex. They must depend on the reliable tech support workers to keep a company afloat.

Another fact that supports the tech support business is how prevalent obtaining low-cost labor can be. An estimated 43% of companies in the US use an overseas outsourcing for a portion of their IT needs. This workforce is fluid and inexpensive, ensuring you can quote by the job.

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The Merchant Account Joins Tech Support and the User

Today’s economy has separated the tech support professional from the user, often by thousands of miles. Sending checks is not longer feasible. Anyone starting a technical support service must be able to process credit and debit cards via the Internet. You may have already learned that your tech support business falls into the high risk category, making it tougher to get a merchant account. First Financial specializes in high risk industries and will make sure you can process the payments coming in. Read about our tech support services merchant accounts here.

Considering Freelance? Website Design Industry Outlook for 2016 & Beyond

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 Web designers are a lucky lot. Creative colleagues, new projects and ever-changing technology make for constant stimulation and growth.

Those who have been working at agencies or in a corporate setting for a while sometimes feel they need to stretch their wings as entrepreneurs. The freedom and prestige to own your own business can prove irresistible despite concerns over steady income, staying on task and finding affordable health insurance.

Pros and cons fill any career choice. Perhaps the best way to make your decision is to gauge your personality type. Entrepreneurs tend to be tenacious risk-takers, plagued by creativity and a desire to break rules and make something new. For this lot, self-employment satisfies like nothing else. Life as a corporate employee could feel stifling. Each reader has to determine whether they have the capital (typically twice as much as planned), time (typically twice as much as planned), family understanding, tenacity and willingness to work. If so, this post should allay any concerns about the future of the web design industry.


Experts Agree: Web Design, Development and SEO Has a Robust Future

If you’re a web designer, developer and/or search specialist with entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve got some trends on your side.

First, according to research from Graphic Design Degree Hub, the average freelancer makes 45% more than the individual working for an agency or corporation. The average web entrepreneur makes $68,000 where her nine-to-five colleague gets $46,800. Seventy-five percent of all freelancers make over $65,000 per year.

Secondly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ outlook for web designers is glowing. Where demand for the average American job will increase by 7% until the year 2024 (less than one percent per year), the American economy will call for 27% more web developers (nearly 3% increase per year).

Backing up this need for web design, IBIS world finds that the industry will grow 5% yearly. Currently a 24-billion-dollar market, web design will keep adding another one billion per year of closed business over the next decade. By 2024, web design will be a 35 billion dollar industry.

Google’s preference for mobile-friendly design poured significant revenue into the pockets of web designers who needed to upgrade websites to render on smartphones. Who knows what the next big shift will be? Entranced by technology upgrades, website owners will always need upgrades as platforms and software continue to evolve. These trends only mean more revenues for web designers and developers.

The Entrepreneur’s Two Biggest Concerns: Recession & Responsibility

Many talented employees feel intimidated about going out on their own because the future can seem so uncertain. In 2014, just one in seven web developers was self-employed. Recessions do emerge about every seven years, and they can cut back on business. An economic downturn affects both employees and the self-employed, however. Surprisingly, about half of freelancers report they aren’t impacted by recessions. Further, recessions cause employee layoffs, and in those cases, all income is cut overnight. Finally, since the downturn of 2008, the government has put controls into place to make sure instability never gets to those levels again.

Recessions tend to be beyond the entrepreneur’s control. What about the aspects of entrepreneurship that are within one’s control. These can be just as intimidating.

Budding entrepreneurs handle not only all the creative aspects of the new job, but they are
• the accounting department (handling all estimates, invoices and collections),
• the marketing department (getting new clients),
• the IT department (paying for all computer repair, paper, ink, etc.)
• and administration (handling all calls.)

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Each solopreneur must set up an accounting system, IT solutions, supplies and merchant accounts to accept client’s credit cards. As mentioned above, if wearing 17 different hats feels fun rather than overwhelming, you’re cut from entrepreneurial cloth. Whichever career path the web designer chooses, he or she will have well-paying work for life!

How to Locate Unclaimed Money that is Rightfully Yours

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 If you’ve lived in various apartments in multiple cities, or switched banks or employers at one time or another, you may actually have some unclaimed funds that you didn’t know about. If these funds were indeed meant for you, it is possible to reclaim that money. What is difficult, though, is locating the exact source of those funds.

Luckily, we’ve done the dirty work for you. These seven helpful websites will help you in your search for re-tracking your own money. So go ahead and become a modern day treasure hunter with a little web surfing.

1.http://www.unclaimed.org/
This is the best website to begin your search for unclaimed funds. The nonprofit group, titled the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, put this site together so can locate money held by your state, from such sources as uncashed checks, old security deposits, and forgotten safety deposit boxes.

2.http://www.treasuryhunt.gov/
Just as its name implies, this website is truly a treasure hunt paradise. This site is where you can discover bonds you’ve forgotten about that are still rightfully yours. You do need to put either your social security number in, or the social security number of the person who gifted the savings bond to you. Once you locate a bond that was truly intended for you, you simply start the claims procedure on this website, and a federal representative will contact you to complete the process.

3.https://www.irs.gov/Refunds
Yes, the IRS actually has a website especially for those of us who never did receive their federal tax refund checks in the mail. This “Where’s my Refund?” website option is something you definitely need to take advantage of if you haven’t received money owed to You just need to enter in your social security number, and the amount you were supposed to receive.

4. https://www5.fdic.gov/funds/index.asp
Banks are insured by the FDIC (The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), so if a bank happens to fail, the FDIC is supposed to provide the funds back to the bank’s depositors (up to $250,000) dollars. If you had your money in an account for a bank that is no longer operating, check out this website and see if the FDIC is keeping it safe for you.

5.http://www.ncua.gov/services/Pages/asset-management/unclaimed-deposits.aspx to When credit union funds go out of business, what happens to the money you deposited into it? It goes to a federal agency called the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Thankfully, this website will allow you to locate those funds from the credit union that failed.

6.https://www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com/
If you, like most of us, have changed employers, it’s very possible you failed to roll over your retirement plan (401K) or place it into another retirement plan (e.g, an IRA). This website will allow you to search for that money that you worked so hard for and deserve to have. Claim the money from your former employers that is rightfully yours.

7.http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/trusteed/plans.html
This site is geared to those have not received a pension that was due to them, usually because the company responsible for sending it has gone out of business. If you haven’t received your pension and you have had no luck contacting your former employer, try this site, which is run by a federal agency, called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), geared to protection private pensions.

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First Financial gets you cash fast
Hopefully these helpful websites can help you track down those funds deserved to you. We are the leading source of short-term personal loans and cash advances for those with low or bad credit scores, and we will even arrange easy online transfers. Just apply for the cash advance from the comfort of your own home. Start the process now, and you can have cash the very same day.

Will a Solar Car Finally Hit U.S. Streets in 2016?

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Most solar cars only have room for one . . .

 With our country’s growing awareness of our environment’s sensitivity, it’s no wonder that solar energy has been skyrocketing in popularity. Harnessing solar power makes sense, as our sun is a constant source of energy, unlike our other natural resources that risk depletion, such as fossil fuels. With this mindset, it would seem as solar cars would become a popular trend here in the U.S. Unfortunately, no manufacturer has yet to create a viable solar family car.

Solar technology is challenging. The number of solar panels required to power a solar car inevitably creates a top-heavy vehicle that won’t pass even a basic crash test. In addition, the interior of these solar powered cars can become hot enough to endanger to the driver. Cloudy days make storage batteries unavoidable, but so far these batteries have caused the average solar car to weight too much for solar power to move it.

These setbacks haven’t stopped auto manufacturers from trying to develop the perfect solar powered car, however. In Australia, there has been a World Solar Challenge competition held every year since 1987. There, engineering schools and private companies enter their versions of the solar cars. Generally, the cars entered only have room for a driver, and no passengers, because the solar panels inevitably take up so much room.

Can “The Immortus” Be the First Widely Available Solar Car?
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The tide may be turning, though. At the 2015 SEMA Auto Show, the largest auto show in the world, Australian manufacturer EVX, debuted its solar sedan, called “Immortus” for its ability to run forever. The sportscar not only allows two persons to ride comfortably (along with two, small carry-on bags) it provides solar energy storage. In order to avoid the tough regulations of the crash-test requirements in most countries, the Immortus won’t be mass-produced, but rather, built per order in 2016.

Up until now, the only other commercial vehicle that has been running on solar power is one produced by Organic Transit, called “ELF” (Electric, Light and Fun). This 3-wheeled bicycle/auto hybrid combines solar power with human pedaling, and can reach speeds of about 30 mph. So far, around 500 of these models have already been purchased, and although they are not safe enough for highway use, they are still legal anywhere else that bicycles can be used.

It will be interesting to see where the future of solar powered cars will take us. With our country’s ingenuity and creativeness, it’s only a matter of time before solar powered cars will soon become the norm. Maybe 2016 will be the year it finally happens … we’ll just wait and see.

No matter what your dream car is, First Financial can finance it.
Even if you have low credit scores, bad credit, poor credit, no credit or even bankruptcy, First Financial can help you finance your dream car. We are the leading American provider of bad credit auto loans, and we approve 93% of all applicants through our easy, confidential application and quick email response. We can do this with the same level security and protection as the big banks provide. So apply today! You’ll know in a day whether you qualify for up to $45,000.

5 Last Minute Tips to Get Procrastinating Holiday Shoppers into Your Business

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Procrastinators need your enticements to get their shopping done!

 A segment of society is in denial that the holidays are just around the corner. The good news is that these shoppers don’t pay the deep discounts you may have to use to attract the masses in the weeks leading up to the holidays. No, procrastinators get stuck with full retail price. They know they need to either pay up or fall down in the family’s eyes. Why not be the impetus that prods these lazy shoppers toward your product or service? Here’s how:

1.Extend your hours
Because the procrastinator will wait until the very last moment, consider extending your hours of operation. Stay open until 11:00 p.m. If possible, you can even consider staying open late on Christmas Eve, so the procrastinator will have easy access to those very last minute impulse gift purchases.

2. Provide limited-time-only deals
Whether it’s free shipping, free gift-wrapping, or maybe even a freebie gift with a purchase, lures can get the procrastinating customer into your store, especially if limited to a short period. Your enticement does the shopper a favor! If these deals were available without a start-and-stop time frame, the procrastinator has absolutely no incentive to act right away, and so he or she just won’t act at all. So be sure to keep these offers temporary, so the procrastinator knows that if he or she waits too long, the good deal will be lost.

3.Have the displays do the thinking for the procrastinating shopper
If a procrastinator is browsing through your store while totally unsure of what his or her plan of action is, go ahead and provide your own plan of action for that customer. Believe us, they need your help.

Have displays in your retail establishment with signage saying, “The perfect gift for the woman in your life” or, “Heartfelt gifts that are all under $25!” One of the reasons underlying procrastination is complete cluelessness. Signs help the procrastinator visualize the true, practical use of a product for a certain person in his or her life. With the price obvious, he or she can make a quick decision and once again, business owner, you’ve made life easy.

4. Offer gift certificates
Gift certificates are such an easy option for the last-minute holiday shopper. Therefore, be sure to provide that option, so your harried last-minute customer can be stress-free in his or her shopping experience. A lovely envelope and ribbon saves the procrastinator from hunting down wrapping. Again you help the shopper and increase the likelihood of a purchase.

5.Advertise, advertise, advertise
The procrastinating holiday shopper won’t necessarily do the extra research needed to find out that your particular shop has a fantastic Christmas deal going on, so advertise the fact. Put attractive signage up in front of your store, send an emailed coupon blast to your potential customers. Get those search engine optimization buzz words pertaining to your particular product onto your website blogs. How else will the procrastinator be aware of your product this holiday season?

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First Financial Never Procrastinates When It comes to Your Business Success
At First Financial, we know that the holiday season can create stress, but it can also create lots of joy. Our lending partners can provide you with low cost loans, even if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” You can apply easily right here, because our comprehensive application was designed by financial professionals who understand that an applicant’s financial history can be complex. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too.

Get Customers’ Contact Info During Busy Holiday Season and Win All Year

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 ‘Tis the season when throngs of holiday shoppers inevitably create increased traffic to your retail or internet-based business. Did you realize that 40% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more even more on their holiday shopping in 2015 than they did last year? It would be a waste NOT to grab those customers’ contact information, so that in the future those same customers can continually be reminded of your products or service. How can you acquire your customers’ coveted contact information without seeming pushy? It’s easy, if you follow these five simple
suggestions.

1. Have a raffle contest
Is there a particularly popular item that your customers are craving? Offer it up as a raffle prize! You can also offer up gift cards or perhaps “50% off!” offers as potential prizes. Have entry forms available for customers to fill out, and then ask for their email and/or home address. You can also hand the entry forms to your customers after they make a purchase. (Be sure to include some text on the form indicating that the customer, by filling it out, is giving your store permission to contact him or her in the future.)

2. Provide email-only coupon deals
Consider placing sign-up sheets in various spots within your retail shop for customers to fill out in order to receive online-only emailed coupons. You can even consider providing a monthly e-newsletter if time permits, in which your customers will be guaranteed exclusive savings if they sign up. This is also a great opportunity for you to tout those new products, and build up momentum for future sales.

3. Have a holiday-themed coloring contest for children
Parents are overjoyed to include their offspring into the joy of the season. This is why you should have a holiday-themed coloring contest where children can color in a picture of, perhaps, a snowman holding your product, or even a Santa figure touting your service. In the event that a particular child should win the coloring contest, parents will be required to fill out their contact information on the lower corner of the coloring sheet, including their email address and phone number. Voila! You now have your customers’ contact information.

4. Encourage your customers to post their holiday photos with your product.
Did you know it is predicted that by 2016, 25% of all retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. will take place through a mobile devices? Take advantage of those cell phone-savvy customers by encouraging them to post their selfies with your product onto your social media locations (i.e., Facebook/Instagram/company website). You can even provide a fun holiday-themed store backdrop for these customers pose in front of. If it’s an online business, ask your customers to post a photo of them holding your product while wearing an “ugly Christmas sweater,” for example. You can then get their coveted cell phone numbers or email addresses, and send them special deals in the future.

5. Just ASK for your customer’s contact information when completing a sale.
Be vocal and ask your customers for their contact information when you’re completing their sale, so that they can receive special discounts or freebies. You don’t want to be too pushy, though, if they refuse. Also, once you get their contact information, don’t go overboard with the email offers. The a monthly or quarterly email deal should suffice. If you overdo those emails, your customers will simply delete all future emails from your business. So exercise good judgment when it comes to making follow-up calls and/or emails.

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First Financial Will Help Your Business Attract New Customers this Holiday Season

Take advantage of the holiday crowds, and parlay those customers into future shoppers that will continue to be excited about your products or services. As long as you get their contact information, your business can continue to remind these customers about the wonderful merchandise you carry. First Financial can help your business grow. We are the nation’s leading provider of merchant accounts, particularly for the high-risk borrowers. Apply for a small business merchant advance here. It only takes a few minutes. You can also follow First Financial on Facebook for even more tips on how to successfully

3 American Trends to Consider Before Buying a New Car

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  Cars are synonymous with our nation’s coolness factor. Who can picture James Dean without his fancy driving skills in Rebel Without a Cause? And who can forget Vin Diesel showing off his motoring abilities in the Fast & the Furious franchise?

Many car owners have so much pride in their beloved vehicle that they even belong to fancy car clubs. The San Diego Mazda Miata Club started with just 11 members and has now grown to over 300 members.

Yes, Americans have always had deep affection for their cars … or at least they did. Recent auto industry research now indicates that only half of the millennials even bother to get their driver’s license by age 18. This is due to rapidly changing trends that have pervaded our culture recently, affecting our automobile purchasing choices.

So while the general population still longs for their dream car, these three popular American trends have changed its shape:

1.Cell Phone Dependence: With the overwhelming popularity of cell phones taking over just about every facet of our everyday life, it makes sense that today’s savvy car shoppers want an automobile that can fully utilize this device. As of 2015, many automobile makers, such as Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Hyundai, are building their new models with Apple’s new connected-car application, called “CarPlay” (for Android cell phone owners, it’s called “Android Auto.”). This software on the dashboard makes it easier to safely interact hands-free with all of the features on your cell phone, eliminating the need for a blue tooth device. Many more car manufacturers are expected to utilize this technology in the coming years.

2. Safety Concerns: With the Internet and social media informing us of every tragic, scary, life-threatening event the moment it happens, Americans have become preoccupied with their own safety, and trying to protect it above everything else. Because of this mentality, cars have also come under pressure to provide ample safety features. Therefore, automobiles with excellent safety ratings and even driver assistance technology are essential to today’s car buyer. Whether it’s a blind spot monitoring system, a backup camera, or even a self-parking assist feature, all of these provide an added level of comfort and security to today’s cautious driver.

3. Caring for the Environment: Our culture is now preoccupied with taking care of our environment. Even Barak Obama has put his climate change action plan at the forefront of his presidential legacy. This trend means that when the next generation buys a car, they want to factor in its total carbon footprint. Big gas guzzler cars are waning in popularity in favor of smaller, economical cars that get excellent gas mileage. Electric cars are also on the forefront of this trend, as the Tesla and Prius brands’ skyrocketing car sales have proven.

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First Financial Provides Auto Loans, Whether You Have Good Credit or Bad Credit.
When you’re shopping for a car loan, remember that First Financial has been in business long enough to recognize the subtleties in each borrower’s financial situation. We also know that more than 50% of Americans fall into the subprime category, with credit ratings ranging from “fair” to “poor” to “bad.” Thankfully our lending partners accept auto loan applications and approve these types of borrowers every day, so apply for an auto loan here today. You can also follow us on Facebook to get frequent financial planning tips and research.

Should You Find a Business Partner? Weigh the Pros and Cons

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• Apple Partners Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met in an early summer job
• Microsoft Partners Bill Gates and Paul Allen met in high school
• Hewlett Packard partners Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met in college
• Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream partners Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield met in high school

  Stories like these may inspire you to find a business partner or even bring in a pal, but each year thousands of failed business partnerships end up in court with accusations of negligence, mismanagement, embezzlement and even theft. Even the best of friends break up, turning into bitter enemies. Business partnerships can be like a marriage in many ways, and we all know how 50+% of those go. Before you find a business partner,
consider what’s best for your personality, the business you envision and the market you plan to serve.

Business Partners Provide Great Help with:
• Start-up costs and continuing cash flow. If you and your business partner both work, you’ll be able to use income from two jobs rather than one. You also have access to another’s assets as start-up and continuing costs. It may be easier to get an affordable business loan with two borrowers as well.

• Benefits of collaboration. Most business coaches encourage owners to pick a partner with complementary skills. That way the initial partner doesn’t have to learn all new skill sets, a process that requires extensive time and energy. Having two opinions on business matters can either be a great help or cause for contention and stress.

• Shared risks and business loan costs. Depending on the terms of your partnership, you split all loan costs.

• Pooled network. A business partner brings with him or her a network of contacts who can provide services or ideas for the company.

• Company and support! As mentioned above, comparisions of marriage and business partnerships pop up everywhere. A common quote about marriage is that it needs to be, “more bulwark than confinement.” Similarly, the connection that emerges from the business partnership should have far more positives than negatives.

Business Partners Can Hinder a Business and It’s Owner When:
• Partners default on loan. You will be liable if your partner declares bankruptcy or disappears.
• Business profits can’t support two people. While of course how profits will be shared should be set out in the business plan, poor income can create stress between two individuals when the rent or mortgage is due.
• Shared decisions cause friction. Two different personalities and life experiences lead to very different opinions on important matters. When each one of you is certain they’re right and the success of the business depends on the right decision, the stakes are high. Think of how you operated in college. Did you appreciate working in groups and partnerships or where you a solo operator? Take a careful self-inventory before you find a business partner.
• The friendship starts breaking up. Good friends are hard to find. Do you really want to jeopardize a nurturing friendship by becoming business partners?

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A+ Rated First Financial Supports a Wide Range of Business Borrowers, Even High-Risk!
First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of business loans for all kinds of businesses and even those in the high-risk category. Big banks and processors put many reputable businesses in high-risk categories like golf club manufacturers, eCigarette
vendors and nutraceuticals simply because they’re new. Fill out our business loan application in minutes and find out how much you qualify to borrow. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart cash flow, marketing and business growth tips online, too!

How to Manage Cash Flow

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 If you watched CNBC’s Shark Tank recently, maybe you caught Mark Cuban telling a hopeful business owner that it can take a lot longer than expected to get to consistent positive cash flow. Financial instruments like the business loan and the merchant advance have helped millions of business owners keep cash flow positive long enough to get that late payment from the big client who just happened to be traveling overseas, in the hospital or just behind. As e-Healthcare Solutions founder and president RJ Lewis remarks in an Inc. article,

“I do some angel investing in new businesses and in my experience, whatever the business plan says in terms of money and time needed to get to break even, the reality is it will take twice the money and double the time.”
Just as losing weight is the delicate balance of reducing calories IN while increasing calories OUT, positive cash flow happens when business owners can delay their own payments OUT to employees and other overhead while speeding up payments coming IN. Tackle the two jobs delineated below and you’re on your way to a flush future.

Job 1: Take Time to Measure
Seat-of-your pants entrepreneurship works in the beginning months of your business, but after a year or so, you need clearer cash flow expectations and projects. Getting these figures takes measuring incomes and outflow for this moment in time (or this month).

The simplest way to start gaining cash flow control is to divide a piece of paper in half. Write down your clients along the left hand side. Draw a line down the middle. On the right of the middle line write down costs for your employees, each vendor and other expenses. These current expenses should be easy to find and track. Don’t discount this low-tech method of cash flow analysis. Even having a cash flow analysis is a step ahead of MANY entrepreneurs.

For those ready to move beyond the sheet of paper, software helps keep cash flow positive. While we could go into detail about how to document each expense in an Excel spreadsheet or QuickBooks, it can be more fun to download a little app to your smartphone or computer. These low-cost software tools let you upload expenses and revenues once for repeat accounting. We like Pulse ($14/month), which—made by a small business for small businesses—helps you keep a finger on the pulse of your income and expenses. It also anticipates your business expenses and cash flow management needs, taking the thinking out of it for you. Your business makes you think enough! Another app, Float ($24/month), brings you a simple, intuitive interface and backs up all your data to the cloud.

Up Your Cash Flow costs more ($395 to $795 one-time fee) because it BRINGS more. It takes the thinking out of developing a cash management plan and provides consulting services. Great for the overwhelmed business owner, Up Your Cash Flow helps you drive income and revenues up, up . . . up! For businesses that have outgrown the solopreneur stage, Up Your Cash Flow helps you make the tough decisions and get clarity on your most lucrative products and services.

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Job 2: Take Baseline and Make Projections
For those of you using the piece of paper cash flow program, your cash flow for the next month will be column one minus column two. Will that amount pay for your living expenses? More marketing? An additional employee? These baseline measurements inform your decisions going forward. Those using QuickBooks, Excel or one of the convenient apps mentioned above get their numbers crunched for them. With these figures in hand, it’s important to look at them with clear eyes.

To nail down your cash flow, you now must project revenues over the next three months. Perhaps everything stays the same. In that case, you can relax. Cash flow plans are not absolutely accurate future forecasting. They depend on your customers’ payment habits, your ability to foresee upcoming expenditures and the time your vendors give you to pay. Make sure you include costs like: loan interest and principle payments, marketing expenditures for seasonal campaigns and one-time fees like subscriptions, insurance and parties.

A+ Rated First Financial Steps Into Cash Flow Emergencies
We are firm believers that, if set yourself up for positive cash flow and positive results will follow. The abstract plan of trying to make as much as possible does not help business owners find where they can increase revenues. Specific management and planning reliably increases revenue month after month.

First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of merchant accounts and other merchant services, particularly for the high-risk borrowers. Big banks and processors put too many reputable businesses in high-risk categories like information technology, smoke accessories and nutraceuticals simply because they’re new. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart business tips online, too!

9 Smart Steps to Choosing Small Business Merchant Services

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 Industry research confirms what we all suspect and even have experienced: consumers using credit cards spend from 20% to 250%[i] more than those who rely on checks or cash.

The average cash payer at McDonald’s spends $4.50 while those using debit or credit cards part with $7.00. The theory goes that those handing over dollar bills want to conserve them, but those using credit cards focus more what they’re getting from their purchase.[ii] In short, this second set focuses more on that steaming burger than the money in their hand.

American consumers love convenience of credit cards. Where 66% use credit and debit cards to buy both items and services, just 27% use cash. Further, experts expect the number of cash-using consumers to drop another few points to 23% by 2017.[iii]

These statistics lead to one conclusion: even the smallest business needs to accept credit cards to maximize sales. While a large corporation can put a team on finding the best merchant services provider for their needs, small business owners must evaluate competitors in the minutes between running their marketing program, taking calls and re-stocking shelves. It’s not easy juggling so many tasks. We well understand the saying,

“It’s great having a small business.
You get to choose which 100 hours per week to work!”

If you are looking to accept credit cards while maintaining solid creditworthiness for your business, finding an ethical merchant services provider who will be your partner in success is critical. These steps will shorten and clarify your research process.

1. Understand that to be able to accept credit cards you need to create a merchant account with a third party so that the money can move from the customer’s account to the merchant or business owners.

2. Determine your monthly sales volume. This step will weed out the merchant service providers that have a monthly minimum higher than your volume.

3. Determine whether you’ll be processing transactions online or at a bricks and mortar location. Equipment and software options will vary depending on this factor. You may need to integrate your account with third party services that also charge monthly fees.

4. Determine how many times each day will you run cards. Estimating this keeps you from over-buying features you don’t need.

5. Determine whether you’d prefer to rent equipment ($20 to $50 per month) or buy it (several hundred dollars). If you’re not sure about the business viability, renting for the first few months could be your best option.

6. Create a comparison sheet with these features listed down the leftmost column.

• Transaction rates: the majority of small business costs
• Equipment and setup costs
• Customer service: critical for small business owners who are not finance or technology experts
• Contracts and service terms: make sure you have clear confirmation
• Funding and processing time
• EMV capability: for smart cards that read data from integrated chips rather than magnetic strips. Credit card companies switched to this method in fall of 2015.
• Customization
• Simplicity of setup and use
• Possible third-party disintegration
• analysis and reports: to make your costs clear
• Types of processing
• Types of payments they accept: Visa, Mastercard, giftcards, debit cards and more
• Service constraints: what your merchant service provider WON’T provide
• Any additional features and benefits

7. Call the merchants you’re interested in and fill in the details.

8. Make sure the new merchant services integrate with any other ecommerce or other accounting software you currently use. Ask your tech people about the merchant services provider you’re considering.

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A+ Rated First Financial’s Small Business Merchant Accounts
Accept Revenue-Boosting Credit Cards to Ensure Your Business Longevity

First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of merchant accounts, particularly for the highrisk borrowers. Apply for a small business merchant account here. We know that lots of reputable businesses exist in high-risk categories like e-cigarettes, Information Technology, Nutraceuticals simply because they’re new. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

Mortgage Rate Predictions for 2016

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U.S. Consumers Offer Their Mortgage Rate Predictions For 2016

 Buy now? In four months? In a year?
Some of the stress can be taken out of the home buying decision when you realize that mortgage loans can always be re-financed, although with some fees and hassle. Keep in mind, too, the old saying,
“The best time to buy real estate is always 10 years ago.”
Ten years into the future, you won’t remember how you fretted over whether you should wait or buy right now. You’ll have 10 years of family memories in the home and neighborhood you’ve come to love.

All this said, when making this huge decision, it’s wise to research where mortgage interest rates are going in 2016. This past spring the most influential economists predicted that the Federal Reserve would raise the prime rate this fall in the August meeting. But then China became unstable, Greece revisited bankruptcy and American employment figures disappointed many. Interest rates stayed the same.

So, once again, now in the fall of 2015 pundits expect Janet Yellen and “the Fed” to hold off raising the prime rate (which in turn raises the mortgage rates) until the beginning of 2016, if then. Keep in mind, too, that America is facing a new challenge. The millennials, many of which are going into their home-buying 30s, seem to be holding off on buying homes. With their parents impacted by the recession, students themselves took out loans, many of which were as predatory as the balloon and interest only home loans that got their parents into trouble. Recent grads now shoulder an average of $30,000, and some have $100,000. They’re paying interest and principle on this big debt, eating into their home fund monies.

Particularly after seeing parents and friends lose homes, this huge generation (90+ million by most counts) seems fine with renting for the foreseeable future. In fact, it’s the renting millennials who’ve driven rental prices up in the past three years. Millennials aren’t exhibiting the home ownership drive their parents did. They’ve learned that Europeans rent families rent the same homes for generations, and don’t necessarily see home buying as the only signal of success. Finally, the tiny home and simplicity movements tell us that the millennials may not buy into the 3,000 square foot, brand new home. Therefore, home prices may not rise as they did in in the early 2000’s.

For now, housing prices may rise a bit over the next year, but most agree that they won’t skyrocket. Federal Reserve officials keep dropping that they’ll raise rates only when the data indicates the economy is heating up. With this month’s disappointing employment report, yet again, that doesn’t look like a possibility soon. Keep in mind that for the last three years, quarter after quarter, economists have been saying that THIS is the quarter the economy will rebound with a vengeance. Still, we’ve had at least 12 quarters of just tepid growth.

If unemployment takes a big dip and inflation looms on the horizon, Yellen will have to tighten. If that first rate hike doesn’t torpedo the stock market, she will continue throughout the year, but ever so gently.

The bottom line? Mortgage rates creeping up but very slowly in 2016. Watch the employment reports. The minute “employment leaps,” rate increases will heat up.

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First Financial’s Online, Mobile Mortgage Loans for Subprime Borrowers

First Financial’s lending partners can provide lower interest rates on mortgage loans because of their cost-saving, online structure. Apply for an affordable mortgage loan here, particularly if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” We specialize in getting families with subprime credit into homes. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

7 Ways to get Your Credit Score Over 800

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 Having an excellent credit score opens up so many more possibilities for you. But if you suffer from a low credit score, all hope is not lost. Here are seven ways to be one step closer to getting a credit score over 800…

1. Pay On Time

Think back to when you were in grade school, and your teacher drilled you to always turn in your homework on time, on the date it’s due, no exceptions. Credit card payments are the same. Make sure to turn in payments to your cards on time, without running a balance on them.

2. Consider Using Payment Tools

If remembering payment dates proves too difficult for you, you can always set up an automatic bill pay, or set up payment reminders. There are even some banks out there that will provide complimentary bill pay reminders via texts or emails.

3. Look for Large Limits on Credit Cards:

It is better to have a large credit limit on a card, as it doesn’t affect your rating if you spend more on that card. Conversely, if you have a lower credit limit, then it is easier to hit the limit, and that will negatively affect your credit score. Don’t fall for the temptation of thinking that just because you have a $50,000 credit, you have $50,000 to spend. To maintain a high credit score, you should use very little of that. In fact, you should keep it under 10% of the credit limit.

4. Don’t Over-Apply

Don’t be swayed by every credit card offer that arrives in the mail. Each time you apply for a new credit card, your overall credit score drops. Instead, work on getting higher limits on the cards you have.

5. Variety is the Spice of Life

Having a variety of diverse loans (including credit cards) in your overall credit collection also boosts your credit score. This can include not just credit cards, but also mortgages, automobile loans, et cetera. If you can prove that you can pay on several accounts reliably, your credit score will be higher.

6. Don’t Forget About those Under-Used Cards and Don’t Cancel Them

You need to prove that you can pay your cards on time, including those underused cards. It’s highly recommended that you not cancel those cards you don’t use regularly, because doing so will reduce the total amount of credit you’re approved to borrow. You also want to show that you indeed have a history of paying all of your cards on time, including the lesser used ones.

7. Check for Errors on your Credit Report
Yes, it is a fact that even the credit score agencies are not perfect, and sometimes have errors on their reports. Be sure to locate these mistakes and then call and have them corrected. Your credit score will benefit as a result.

8. Try Asking for a Break
It doesn’t hurt to call and ask to have late payment penalties taken off of your credit history. Sometimes if you’re polite about it, companies will remove the causes of your bad scoring, so you won’t need to wait. You have nothing to lose in asking.

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First Financial Personal Loans Provide the Savings that only Online Functionality Delivers

First Financial’s lending partners can provide low cost personal loans because of their cost-saving, online structure. Apply for an affordable personal loan here, even if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” Our comprehensive application was designed by financial professionals who understand that an applicant’s financial history can be complex. Fill out the application in minutes and learn how much you qualify for within 48 hours. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

When the Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card

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Most of us have emergency or other expenses that require quick funds. While many resort to credit cards for these expenses, a better option may exist: the personal loan.

The personal loan is a contract created between a bank, credit union or other lending entity and an individual. It states an amount to be lent to the individual and terms like interest rate and duration of the loan. Because establishing a personal loan requires discussion with a bank or credit union representative, however, many feel intimidated to embark on this kind of funding. This said, the personal loan may be the more financially savvy option in several situations.

Apply Now

First we want to cover the biggest advantages of using personal loans over credit cards. These include:

1. the personal loan can be “unsecured,” requiring neither collateral (like a credit card) nor a credit card inquiry that can lower credit scores; this said, some personal loans DO require collateral and perform a credit inquiry. Get these items straightened out with a loan agent BEFORE signing the contract;
2. personal loan interest rates are typically lower than credit card rates and negotiation with the loan officer for even lower rates is possible;
3. unlike rates for credit cards, the interest rate stays fixed for the entire repayment period;
4. monthly payments stay even. Credit card payments change as charges accrue.

With the advantages clear, you can determine whether the money you need should be gained through a credit card or personal loan. The following includes the situations that we think make the most sense for a personal loan.

1. Unexpected Income Shortfall
People make errors. Sometimes these fallible people have jobs in payroll and forget to cut checks. The good news is that banks and credit unions issue small personal loans relatively easily, requiring a few pay stubs and the last few months of bank statements. While going to the bank to discuss the situation can be uncomfortable, people in this situation get money within 24 hours when they use convenient online personal loan solutions. Online banking solutions often have lower interest rates and better terms because these alternative lending institutions do not need to satisfy shareholders or spend exorbitant amounts on marketing. As Bill Gates said in the nineties, bricks and mortar banks “dinosaurs.”

People looking to finance an adoption, in vitro fertilization, a cross-country move or other big activity without traditional financing (like a car or RV loan) turn to the personal loan to move life forward at reasonable cost.

2. Consolidating Credit Card Debt to Increase Credit Score
Who wants to pay 19% when they can pay 11%? An 8% difference per year can save the borrower with a $10,000 credit card balance $800 each year or $67 monthly. Fill out our convenient personal loan application. First Financial lenders’ lower loan rates and better terms may surprise you! We have all the security of the big, bricks and mortar banks, namely 128-bit “banking level” security. We have to. The Security and Exchange Commission and other federal institutions demand it.

3. Borrower Prefers or Needs a Fixed Rate and Term
Borrowers (or their parents or spouses) often advocate for the personal loan because it involves making the same payments at the same schedule until the loan is paid off. Credit card rates are variable and could rise several percentage points yearly. Those who make a clear decision about one large purchase appreciate the clarity of paying for it consistently over a limited period of time.

First Financial Personal Loans Provide the Savings only Online Functionality Delivers
First Financial’s lending partners can provide low cost personal loans because of their cost-saving, online structure. Apply for an affordable personal loan here, even if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” Our comprehensive application was designed by financial professionals who understand that an applicant’s financial history can be complex, particularly in the post-recession era. Fill out the application in minutes and learn how much you qualify for within 48 hours. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

7 Smart Ways to Manage Your High Risk Merchant Account for Long Term Consistency

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How to Apply

 You don’t have to tell us how tough it is to win a high-risk merchant account, we hear about it every day from our callers. Luckily, because First Financial specializes in high-risk merchant accounts, every day, we ease minds and get scores of businesses on the path to accepting credit cards. Adult related services, golf club manufacturers, travel agencies and airlines all have one thing in common: relegation to the high-risk merchant account category. Despite a few extra steps, businesses in these industries and 30 or so more niches run profitably. Here at First Financial, we urge applicants to rid the term “high-risk” of its typical, negative meaning and instead consider it just another category that requires a few more steps before credit card money payments start pouring in.

Once a business has proven its reliability and business potential to a merchant services provider, it doesn’t relish the idea of going through the whole process all over again. That’s why it’s key to skillfully manage the high-risk account you win to avoid charge backs and other issues that the processor could see as a red flag. We find that lots of these red flags simply amount to oversights typical of the hard-working, thinly stretched entrepreneur. Still, knowing exactly how to run your merchant account can save you hassle, time and money and hopefully win you a dedicated merchant service provider that stays with you for decades.

Avoid Chargebacks by Providing Helpful, Available Customer Service
We tackle the biggest issue first. A high rate of chargebacks (returns) is the number one reason so many large banks refuse to even speak to the businesses in the 30+ high-risk industries. Airlines and travel agencies get chargebacks when travelers decide last minute that Las Vegas is too just crowded and Yosemite calls to them instead. Golf club manufacturers get chargebacks when their clubs DON’T turn buyers into LGPA tour competitors (imagine that!).

While many put chargebacks in “the price of doing business” category, conscientious customer service reduces them significantly. Giving your ideal clients easy ways to contact you—rather than the merchant service provider—reduces your chargeback rate significantly. Make your business transparent and easy to contact by making the following adjustments to your website and other customer contact points.

• Clearly post email addresses and phone numbers on your website.

• Create Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube channels where customers are free to post their opinions, complaints and even praise. Recognize that every business now has customers posting criticism and praise every day. Most readers can differentiate the crackpots from the reasonable people.

• Consider setting up an email newsletter that keeps your customers in contact with you. Make it clear that the newsletter’s purpose is to support the customer’s optimal use of your products and services.

While this level of transparency can intimidate some business owners, rest assured that research consistently confirms that customer service representatives and others easily turn complaining customers into brand evangelists simply by listening to customer complaints, sympathizing and rectifying any errors.

One of the most respected ways to indicate a business’ transparency is to make sure to include complete descriptor information on the consumer’s monthly credit card statement. Make sure the consumer can read the full company name and complete customer service number. High-risk merchant accounts get cancelled when incomplete phone numbers or business names appear. Ensure your contact information is correct by running a test transaction.

Other ways to limit chargebacks include:
• Manually review transactions where the customer’s authentication request was declined. Consider calling the buyer.
• Create and disclose all return, privacy, refund, return and cancellation policies.
• Review and batch transactions on a daily basis.
• Insist on proof of identification upon delivery for high priced items.
• Cancel orders immediately upon client request.
• Consumers change credit cards frequently. Work with your merchant account provider to set up automatic credit card updates.

Demonstrate Client Service
In the era of digital marketing when businesses have to provide all kinds of value before winning a sale, businesses must go the extra mile to forge lasting relationships with each and every customer. Merchant service providers appreciate signals that a business works to benefit its clients. Express client services take the form of emails to customers to report when an order is shipped that also provides the tracking code. Emails that explain an order is on backorder also indicates to merchant service providers that the high-risk business operates for the benefit of their customer base. Finally, satisfying customers demanding refunds may feel like short-term pain, but long-term reliability and respectability. Even if a business wins a chargeback dispute, that chargeback still remains on their record. Is it worth it?

Fast Response to Merchant Services Inquiries
When the merchant services agency contacts the business to discuss a dispute, a fast response reassures the agency that the business operates in a responsible, efficient manner. Business occurs between people. A merchant services representative that gets a satisfying, friendly answer from a customer service representative or business owner will of course view that case more favorably than the business without this courtesy.

Take the Time to Monitor Accounts and Use Fraud Protection
Increasingly sophisticated Internet criminals attempt fraudulent purchases in hopes for a return that results in cash. Always manually review your monthly statements and consider calling buyers that seem suspicious. Do not ship until you’ve established the buyer’s sincerity.

Most merchant services offer fraud protection that block transactions from countries notorious for high levels of fraud. It also compares each credit card transaction against reliable standards to reduce instances of fraud.

First Financial Merchant Services Welcomes Businesses In High Risk Industries
First Financial has found the merchant service providers who are hungry to get businesses in high-risk industries accepting credit cards. With the majority of American consumers using credit cards more than other payments at a rate of three to one, any business that wants to reach optimal cash flow must accept credit cards. Apply for a high-risk merchant account here. Follow us on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips!

When Bad Credit Loans Do a Lot of Good

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 Tracey Espinoza remembers the day in 2013 when she had to leave the home she loved due to foreclosure. As she was packing up her bedding, she thought, “Well, at least they can’t take my pillows. At least I don’t think they can.”

Like many Americans, Tracy and her family got caught up in the aftermath of the economic downturn of 2008 to 2011. By 2012 neither her nor her husband’s salary had increased and getting another job at higher pay wasn’t panning out.

Complicating matters, they’d had two children in the previous four years, and Tracy cut back work to part-time to care for them. When Tracy could not find full time work in her field, they were unable to keep up with mortgage payments and fell into foreclosure, ruining their credit. When her husband’s 8-year-old Toyota Acura needed a new transmission, they turned to a “bad credit” credit card to pay for it. He needed to get to work reliably—without missing a day—after all.

Even now in 2015, wages have not caught up with the stock market rebound. A Wall Street Journal article quoted the senior human resources manager of Ohio’s First Solar manufacturing saying, “Wage pressure? I don’t think we’ve necessarily seen that.” After all, at their last job call, 700 people showed up for 120 positions. They had their pick.

Surmounting the “Bad Credit” Stigma
“Bad credit” loans and credit cards suffer from a somewhat undeserved reputation. Where “good credit” typically starts at the 700 score and above, “fair,” “poor” and “bad credit” make up the tiers beneath. With over 50% of Americans now in these “subprime” categories, many turn to higher rate loans to keep their computers, cars and even bodies working so they can earn a living.

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Where “Bad Credit” Loans Do the Most Good

These three situations prompt borrowers to gather their courage and get a “bad credit” loan to keep going.

Building Credit: If you’re in the subprime credit category, most likely you’ve learned that every credit card you apply for checks or “dings” your credit record. Every “ding” drops your credit score by 10 points or more. Ironically, those with the best credit use credit cards the least. They have the most “available” credit. Of the $30,000 that their banks, mortgage holders and auto lenders feel they can afford to borrow, they may currently be using $3,000 of it. We all should be there someday! Borrowers working to build their credit rating, on the other hand, can avoid incurring a credit check and subsequent credit “ding” by getting a bad or low credit loan. Typically, the lender requires no collateral and will not contact Experian, TransUnion or EquiFax, the three largest credit reporting agencies. It simply needs bank statements, pay stubs, proof of residency and limited other documents.

Keeping Income Earning Tools Functioning: Many Americans today are abandoning corporate careers for freelance work. In fact, software giant Intuit performed a study of thousands of American workers and found an interesting draw to an independent lifestyle. Their findings prompted them to declare that by the year 2020, 40% of the American workforce will be freelance. While the freedom and the endless pajama-wearing is great, freelancers have to pay for lots of things that don’t even cross the corporate employee’s mind. These items include: computer repair, subscriptions to SaaS services, and transportation. When any one of these breaks down, the time and the repair budget fall on the freelancer. With work mounting, rectifying issues as quickly as possible becomes paramount. If clients have not paid but bills are due, freelancers and other entrepreneurs often have to resort to credit cards. The start-up business may not even have a credit line established. Therefore, they fall into the “subprime” category. Should they give up on their business? Is THAT the American Way? The most successful freelancers work back channels and creative pathways to reach their goals. Many businesses have resorted to “bad credit” loans and even credit cards to stay in business until their breakthrough.

When Fees and Penalties Are Burdensome: A 5% late payment on a $2,500 rent runs to $125 of money-for-nothing. A bad credit loan, on the other hand, comes in handy when big payments come due. When an unavoidable fee or penalty comes within just a few days of a paycheck or accounts receivable avalanche of past due payments from clients, it makes sense to pay the expense and then quickly pay off the short-term loan.

First Financial Welcomes Bad Credit Borrowers
First Financial can find the right loan instrument, even for those with poor, fair or bad credit. Because more than 50% of Americans fall into the subprime category, enterprising alternative banks (with all the security the big, bricks and mortar banks offer) deliver affordable loans. Apply for a bad credit or low credit score in minutes here. Follow us on Facebook to get smart about building your financial future.

5 Ways to Avoid Going Upside Down in an Auto Loan

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“Upside down” is only fun for kids.

 Adults know too well it’s all about owing more money on a large asset than it’s worth. More, they are responsible for that debt. Many homeowners were upside down in their home loans from 2008 to 2012.

Some don’t realize that a car buyer, particularly a new car buyer, can spend several months to two years upside down in their car loan. You may ask: what’s the big deal about owing more than the car’s worth if you’re going to keep the car for several years? Problems arise when the car gets stolen or crashed. More serious problems arise when buyers realize they bought too much car and can’t afford it anymore. Unexpected medical expenses, job changes, new babies and even floods and fires have a way of tightening budgets very quickly. Sell the car, and you end up paying the bank an additional $1,000 – $5,000 to fulfill loan requirements.

Car buyers who are smart with their finances take a long-term view. Just a few adjustments to the car-buying plan ensures you won’t go upside down on your car loan.

Buy Used and Make a Good Deal
It’s common knowledge that a brand new car loses 11% of its value the minute the car buyer drives it off the lot. After one year, this new car loses 20% of its value and by five years, many cars have lost half their value. These average numbers don’t reflect the wide variety of car depreciation rates. Depreciation rates are faster for unpopular cars, slow for the popular models. But who knows what will be popular in 5 years?

The bottom line is to let the original owner to pay the first few years’ depreciation costs (one of the highest costs of vehicle ownership). Buy a car that holds its value. Financial planning and organization website Bankrate.com lists the makes and models of autos that hold their value most tenaciously. For 2014, these are the Hyundai Accent, Mazda 3, Chevy Corvette, Toyota Avalon, Kia Soul and Chevy Camaro. Any of these tickle your fancy?

The other advantage of buying a used car with a low depreciation rate is that you’re less likely to have a hangover loan amount into a new loan when you buy a new car.

Put Down a 20% Down Payment
This move will take care of the annoying taxes and fees outright. Paying interest on these taxes bumps these abstract fees even higher. Since car buyers get nothing for these charges, it’s best to dismiss them ASAP. Also, putting down 20% jumps you ahead of depreciation so that you leave the lot with a vehicle worth as much as or more than your loan. Also, manufacturers’ cash-back rebates can go right to that 20% down.

Consider A Loan Term That Is No Longer Than How Long You Plan To Keep The Car.
Some people are in the habit of buying a new car every two years. Others have just as much pride driving a 20-year-old “beater.” While, typically, car loan terms extend to just 5 years, recently, six and even 10-year loans have come into the market. If it’s your nature to keep a car until it dies, a 10-year loan makes sense. If you’re family is changing either by adding or removing members (kids born; kids off to college), you may be trading up or down when those events occur.

Get the Best Interest Rate You Qualify For
Online, and other alternative banks can offer lower auto loan rates because they labor under a fraction of the marketing and operating costs that saddle the large, bricks and mortar banks. More, online banks typically don’t have shareholders demanding higher profits every year. While the difference in the loan rate may be one-half of one percent, these charges add up to thousands of dollars saved over five years.
ALWAYS Comparison Shop to Get the Lowest Price for the Model You Want
Aside from homes (and maybe shoes?), cars evoke more emotion than most other large purchases. Cars reflect our identities. They are accessories we live with from two to 20 years. If you’ve found the perfect pumpkin-spice-colored Kia Soul, rest assured there will be another one across town or in another month. Go into the car dealership with your emotions fully under control. This experience must be ruled by the mind, rather than the heart. Remembering that you’re not just saving another $2,000, but $2,000 plus six to nine percent yearly interest keeps you sober and PICKY.

First Financial Provides Auto Loans, Bad Credit, Good Credit and More!
First Financial has been in business long enough to recognize the subtleties in each borrower’s financial situation. We also know that more than 50% of Americans fall into the subprime category. Their credit ratings range from “fair” to “poor” to “bad.” Our lending partners accept auto loan applications and approve these borrowers every day. Apply for an auto loan here today! Follow us on Facebook to get frequent financial planning tips and research.

Top Surprise Expenses

Personal loans can help with surprise, non-monthly expenses.

top surprise expenses a personal loan can help

A Personal Loan Keeps You on Your Path

Winston churchill on courage

The Intricate Workings Behind the Cash Advance or Loan Offer Scam

 

We will never ask you to send us money upfront for any reason.

*We do not have foreign call centers or automated phone dialers. We do not do direct mail, email or phone solicitation for any service we offer.

*All applications must be completed online at our website. Do not send money or give anyone your banking information over the phone, thru email or on a paper application you received. Our applications online are the safest and most secure way to submit your application.  

Every day in the United States, hundreds of people turn over the last of their hard-earned money to scam artists. According to the FBI, scams related to cash advances and loan offers add up to millions each year.

How can so many be defrauded so easily? Careful criminal planning.

American and overseas operations start by creating websites that resemble those of a government agency or a familiar banking institution like Citibank, Money Mutual or First Financial. They advertise loan offers at very low rates on these websites, but they never make a single loan. They simply collect your personal data including bank account numbers, social security numbers and more. They deny every applicant, BUT the information they’ve collected is a gold mine.

They sell it to a second operation. Using a familiar bank name and the target’s personal information, this second company has little problem convincing unsuspecting consumers that it’s legitimate. Often, it explains that it has “more flexible” loan requirements because it is larger or more efficient or specializes in a certain area. The borrower need only prove they can make the first payment to win the loan. Here’s where alarm bells should go off. The “loan agent” then asks the borrower to put the first payment on a Walmart Green Dot or other cash card or wire the money electronically.

When the loan amount doesn’t arrive in the borrower’s bank account, the “loan agent” explains that another sum is needed for insurance. This technicality can be taken care of, again, by putting the amount on a cash card and providing the cash card numbers to the “loan agent” . . . as soon as possible, of course. To learn more signs of certain fraud, read the Beware Common Cash Advance and Loan Scams: Clear Signals of Fraud page in our consumer notices section.

Cash Advance and Loan Fraud Will Always Be with Us

Most of us can’t comprehend taking someone else’s money let alone spending months constructing elaborate schemes, telephone scripts and letters to defraud people in sometimes desperate situations. Our own rejection of such malicious acts sets us up to believe the friendly “loan agent” at the other end of the line really does have our best interests at heart. When a loan proves to be fraud, many prefer to keep the incident to themselves. If you’re in this situation, please don’t let embarrassment paralyze you. These criminals worked hard to concoct the perfect fraud. You didn’t stand a chance. BUT by reporting everything you know to the proper authorities, you can help keep more people from becoming victims. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FBI both work hard to find and shut these scams down. If you or a loved one has become a victim of fraud, report the crime to the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. If an illegitimate “loan agent” uses the name First Financial, please call us right away at 800-315-7791 so we can report it to the state attorney general’s office.

Report a crime: FBI – https://www.ic3.gov / Federal Trade Commission – https://www.ftc.gov

A+ Rated First Financial Gets Money to You Fast . . . and Ethically

First Financial proudly adheres to strict ethical standards set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If you need funds for medical bills, car or computer repair or anything, fill out one of our easy loan applications. With automated services and low overhead (no physical buildings to staff and power), we can charge lower rates and fees than neighborhood banks. Stay connected to First Financial’s offers through our Facebook and Google Plus

How Terminated Merchants Get High Risk Card Processing Services

 Have you been surprised with a terminated merchant notice? You’re not alone. Each year, tens of thousands of business owners get the same notice for both legitimate and unnecessary reasons. Terminated merchants have several options available. Landing in  “Terminated Merchant File” (TMF) doesn’t mean you’re out of business. While these designations are confusing and even infuriating now, rest assured that A+ rated First Financial can help get you back to accepting credit cards fast.

Terminated merchants turn frown upside down

 

Who Controls TML and MATCH?

For a long time, the term “terminated merchant list” served as a casual designation indicating that a merchant has become “black-listed” with even high risk merchant account service providers. MasterCard made the system official by creating a database about businesses and their owners whose merchant account services providers had terminated them. They gave the new system the acronym MATCH for “Merchant Alert to Control High Risk.” At this time, most in the industry use this terminology.

Understanding Why Your High Risk Card Processor Dropped You

When terminated merchants get in contact with us, their designation “MATCH-listed” has come as a surprise. Many only realize their business is on this list after seeking a new credit card processor. The MATCH list was the first place the new processor went when considering this new high risk merchant account. Presence on the MATCH list is the quick and easy way the new processor finds rationale to turn a business down—AFTER collecting the application fees. If you’ve been placed on the MATCH list, the only way of removing your name is by contacting the processor or bank that put you there. Only that entity has the legal authority to remove you. Disputing the designation with the bank or merchant processor may require a lawyer’s help, and some lawyers specialize in this niche. Legal expenses can be worth it considering the MATCH listing remains active for five years. Understanding why your processor placed you on the MATCH list will prevent this hassle from happening again. Generally, the acquiring bank or processor finds out that while you were with your previous processor, you committed one or more “disqualifying acts” that exceeded the level of risk they contracted to undertake. Typically, your contract listed these acts and informed you that committing them qualified as a breach of contract and justification to end the relationship. Disqualifying acts include:

  • Excessive deposits for transactions without cardholders authorization
  • A conviction for credit or debit card fraud in any federal, state or county court
  • Evidence of counterfeit activities
  • Excessive chargebacks caused by business practices or procedures
  • Evidence of money “laundering”
  • Sufficient evidence that merchant is engaging in fraudulent activities.

On the other hand, keep in mind, too, that banks and card processors SOMETIMES MAKE MISTAKES. If you feel your MATCH listing is an error, by all means fight it. Beware “Guaranteed Acceptance” Offers for Terminated Merchants In an effort to bring in application fees, some shady businesses imply or even claim that their high risk merchant account processors accept all terminated merchants. Merchants apply and wait a few weeks or even a month, only to learn that they didn’t qualify after all. First Financial’s carefully screened and selected processors specialize in terminated merchants in high risk industries. These processors are aware from the beginning that the merchant is on the MATCH list. They strive to make the relationship work. Further, A+ rated First Financial merchants get:

  • the most competitive rates in the high risk niche
  • highest levels of security and encryption permitted by the U.S. government
  • the most current processing equipment
  • quick response time and courteous support
  • simple approval process and set-up

The ability to accept credit cards can make or break many businesses. Get your business back on track and earning with merchant account services that welcome terminated merchants!

Get Cash Advance and PayDay Loan Merchant Accounts in a Tough Environment

payday loan service merchant account

Organize for Approval! 

 PayDay lenders have been getting quite a bit of attention recently, and not much of the good kind.

In August of 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Western Sky Financial with requiring interest rates of 300%, many times the state’s cap of 25%. More, several large e-check processors cut ties with all payday clients, making it impossible for check cashing, cash advance and payday businesses to serve customers.

The recent crackdowns have sent payday lenders scrambling for ways to keep their doors open. A+ rated First Financial has the reliable cash advance and payday loan merchant account services that keep you in business. We’re proud to help both brick and mortar and online cash advance and payday loan providers service their customers efficiently. Our fast approvals at competitive rates are the best in the industry.

 Fast Approval:  Just a Matter of Document Organization

Here is everything you need to get in business (or BACK in business if you’ve been dumped by another processor) as a payday loan or cash advance service:

  • last six months of processing statement from your current processor if you have one.
  • 3 months of business bank statements
  • business’ articles of incorporation, corporate resolution for officers and bylaws
  • Fictitious Name Statement or copy of Proof of Publication
  • Customer loan agreement
  • Business marketing materials
  • Owner drivers’ license of passport
  • Recent utility bill displaying owner address
  • List of states in which your business operates
  • Business most recent BSA/AML review

As you can see, it’s just a matter of pulling up some files. Possibly you have them all in one place anyway.Once these documents are reviewed, we may request the business’ tax returns, statement of information and fee schedules for finalization.

A+ Rated First Financial Gets your PayDay Loan Service Going Again

Whether you’re just getting started, looking for a new merchant account to replace an existing one or scrambling madly after being dumped by your current processor, First Financial has the solution to stabilize your business. Apply online in minutes. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter for the frequent tips that will help your business thrive!

 

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First Financial

First Financial ® Corporate Headquarters 2850 Womble Road Suite 100-604 San Diego, CA 92106

Client Service Center: Main: 1-800-315-7791 Fax: 1-800-215-0217 (Monday–Friday 5:00am–6:00pm Pacific or 8:00am–9:00pm Eastern)

Merchant Services / High Risk Merchant Accounts: 1-800-950-0212 Fax: 1-800-215-0217

 

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