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7 Life-Saving Tips That’ll Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

Do you want to raise your credit score quickly? If you follow these tips, you'll see improvement in your score in no time.

7 Life-Saving Tips That’ll Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

16% of Americans have a credit score of below 579. This is the lowest level of the FICO score and is categorized as “very poor”.

A poor credit score can have a serious impact on your personal life and can affect your business negatively as well.

While no one can guarantee that you will hit an exceptional score, there are steps you can take to improve your credit score.

Here are seven tips to raise your credit score quickly.

1. Check Your Report for Errors and Omissions

The very first step to take is to get a copy of your credit card report. This is the only way to know where you stand before you figure out the specific actions to take to make things better.

This is, however, not all you will be doing with your report. Go through it carefully, checking for any error and omissions.

Look for things like a repaid debt that’s been listed as a default or a loan you repaid on time that is not listed.

If you identify any of these issues, move to have them corrected. This action in itself can add a few points to your rating.

2. Negotiate on Outstanding Balances

You will be surprised at how helpful your creditors can be. Unfortunately, if you never ask, you will never find out.

If you are having trouble making payments, make contact with your credit card issuer and communicate this with them.

Most providers have temporary hardship programs you can take advantage of. The benefit of this is that you can have your repayment amounts reduced until you get back on your feet.

Smaller, more manageable installments mean you can pay a lot more comfortably. This is better than skipping payments and having a creditor send a negative report that sheds a few points off your score.

3. Get Added as an Authorized User

This is a great way of giving your credit score an immediate boost. This works particularly well if you are just starting out and have little information on your credit rating.

You do this by getting someone with a high credit card limit and an even greater repayment history. Their card issuer sends them a card with your name on it.

Legally, you are not obligated to make payments on any debt accrued on the card. But its usage reflects positively on your credit score.

The key is finding someone with above board transactions. In a sense, you inherit the person’s positive credit history.

However, not all credit card companies report authorized users. Before you get on it, do your research and find out if it will be reported.

4. Ask Creditors to Delete Late Payments

It’s not uncommon to fall behind on payments from time to time. However, these small mistakes lower your credit score.

If you are in good standing with your creditors, it does not hurt to request them to delete some of the reported late payments. Financial institutions regularly communicate with Credit Referencing Bureaus, and all it would take is a quick phone call on your behalf.

If the request goes through, then you will have fewer negative reports, which will add some points to your credit rating. Nevertheless, try and restrict your late payments to 30 days. Creditors will not report late dues failing in this time frame.

If your issue is forgetfulness, rather than availability of funds, you can have your banker or employer make direct payments if this facility is available. If not, there are numerous software tools you can use to remind you when your payments are due.

5. Old Debts Can Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

You might be eager to forget about your car loan or student loan debts once you make the final payment.

However, as long as you completed your payments promptly, those records may help your scoring. The same is true for credit card debt.

All you need to do is keep these debts on your record. If they were entirely left out, then provide all the information to the credit Reference Bureau so they can use it to calculate your credit score.

Bad payment histories are deleted with time. However, bankruptcies stay on your report for 10 years and late payments for seven years. You don’t have much leeway with these.

6. Watch Your Credit Utilization Rate

Credit utilization is the amount of credit card balance you have compared to your credit limit.

This is the second largest factor affecting your credit score. The first is your credit repayment history.

The more credit you use on your credit card, the further down your credit rating drops. This trend indicates you are spending a significant portion of your income to repay debt, which makes you likelier to default on payments.

The best credit utilization is 0, which means your credit card limit is untouched. This defeats the purpose of applying for a credit card in the first place.

As a rule of thumb, keep your credit utilization ratio at 30%. This means using less than 30% of the credit limit availed to you. Anything above this can cause your rating to drop.

Under the FICO system, people with the highest scores have a utilization rate of 7%. The lower your utilization, the better.

7. Jump on Score Boosting programs

The average age and number of accounts you have held are an important consideration in evaluating how you handle debt.

This tends to disadvantage people with a limited credit history.

UltraFico and Experian Boost allow people with limited credit histories to puff it up using other information.

Experian requires access to your online banking data and allows Credit Referencing Bureaus to add utility payments to your history.

In the same way, UltraFico allows you to give permissions for savings and checking accounts to be used alongside your report when calculating your credit score.

Consistency Is Key

All in all, while it is possible to raise your credit score quickly, expect a few bumps along the way and allow yourself some time.

At First Financial, we understand that while you work on your credit rating you might still need help from time to time. No matter your credit score, we have a financing solution for you. Contact us today for more information.

Take the Pain out of Monitoring Your Finance

Go from bad credit to good credit without beating yourself up

Can there be any joy in monitoring your finances? Your bank balance is disappointing more often than not. Trimming expenses doesn’t bring any joy. Reminders of irresponsibility can be a gut punch.

Still, a different mindset can help you make the changes to put you on the path to good credit.   

Begin by forgiving yourself for financial mistakes

The shame and blame we heap upon ourselves for not being where we want to be financially can make our situations worse. It leads us to avoid confronting credit spending, recurring debits from bank accounts, balances on personal loans or car loans, and important conversations with family members.

Shame springs from an idea that the individual has departed from social norms. Start dismissing your shame when you understand that one in three others you’ll meet today also have credit under 601. That’s right—one-third of Americans today have bad credit.

The individual experiencing bad credit has lots of company. And is this all their fault?  With aggressive companies relentlessly bombarding us with messages that we deserve their products and that we must keep up with our peers, it’s no wonder we overextend ourselves.

If you can grab your financial issues “by the horns” so to speak, you have made the first

 step on the path to success. Some psychologists tell us that, “a willingness to endure discomfort and capitalize on challenge is a trademark among successful, fulfilled individuals.” While it will require a little effort, put a budget in place, inform those who may impact it, stick to it. You’ll quickly find positive feelings about yourself and your financial situation multiplying. As Benjamin Franklin told the framers of our constitution, “Once begun, half done.” Those quill pens got to writing, despite their enormous task. 

Gamify Your Savings

Rather than tracking every $3 coffee, focus more on a positive indicator: your savings level. As that rises, set a reward after reaching certain amounts. The reward could be you get to buy a new piece of clothing or 10 shares of SnapChat stock. Set these levels up ahead of time and stick to these commitments. These rewards can offset the sense of loss from avoiding day-to-day overspending.

Take the pressure off when you avoid social media

First and foremost, understand that social media is simply carefully selected snippets of your friends’ and family members lives. What they choose to share is designed to elicit envy. Those of us here at First Financial are constantly surprised at friends’ life-is-so-great posts and how these compare to what we know are their real struggles.

What’s more, when you focus on others, you remove your attention from your own issues. If you have bad credit, all your attention needs paid to your spending and savings plans.

Let the social world turn without you when you use a religious tradition, mindfulness, meditation or good old smart reading to understand how pointless it is to compare yourself to friends, relatives.

Deepen Your Relationships when You Lay It All Out for Loved Ones

Serious conversations with loved ones can be intimidating, particularly when they’re about money. Strategize how to take the sting out of belt-tightening before you tackle it with those you love. In other words, have alternate plans to take the place of lavish habits so that your new financial regimen doesn’t translate as 100 percent loss.  

First, explain how it’s important now to join forces for common goals and how these efforts will unite you. Emphasize that working together for financial fitness by cooking meals together, going to resale and thrift shops and competing for better money saving strategies will get you talking and sharing more. Also, make sure you include your family members’ long- and short-term goals in your planning. Study after study reveals that children and spouses prefer experiences and time spent together over material goods anyway. Shared experiences just connect us better and for longer than shared material consumption. Use that research if you have to!

Your new financial fitness system may benefit from gratitude journals. Everyone should jot down at least one thing they’re grateful for every day. Sharing is optional, but when these grateful moments that include others are shared, it strengthens bonds. These journals, particularly effective when an individual is feeling particularly short-changed, have proven to increase happiness significantly.

How to Keep Cash Advance Costs Low

Because cash advance interest rates can start accruing on the first day, the borrower’s best strategy is paying the amount off as soon as possible. If that means two days, at least this loan is behind you. Thank it for:

  • Allowing you to pay other bills on time with no penalties.
  • Preventing any late payment notices from going to the credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.
  • Helping you get your car or computer fixed so you can keep earning money.
  • Your freedom to jump on a cash-only purchase you’re competing for.

Pay off the online cash advance fast by linking it with the checking account where your paycheck gets deposited. That way, the minute that paycheck goes in, the cash advance gets paid off. If you use your checking account as the hinge between your income and your loan, highest interest payments come out first. Borrowers can thank the CARD act of 2009 for that backup.

The second way to save on cash advance costs is to borrow as little as absolutely possible. With interest accruing daily, the smaller the amount, the less the interest.

Finally, if you don’t pay the cash advance off within days, you must pay it off on the date you initially agreed to. Rolling over a cash advance sets you up for additional fees on top of the interest rate you get charged daily. The worst situation to get into is if you’re only paying off the cash advance’s interest month after month. Have more questions? Get answers to the most common on our cash advance FAQ page.

Think you can manage a cash advance responsibly? Apply today!  

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How to Pay Off your Cash Advance with a Crafty E-commerce Side-Hustle

hands knitting
Craft your way to paying off bills and cash advances.

Did you think those oven mitts and coffee cozies were just heart-felt gifts for family? Think again! By selling your crafts online, you can get ahead financially and even pay down credit cards or a cash advance due soon.

Yes, 55% of all retail shopping happens on Amazon, but that’s the place people get products from the brands they’re always familiar with. Generic, dull products! Big brand electronics, books, tin foil, toilet cleaner. Nothing made with love and unique vision.  

As Amazon.com, Walmart.com and others continue to take over the retail space for generic products, American consumers are craving handmade, unique items for themselves and for gifts. Even better, several online platforms offer websites (LINK to other post) where crafty types can put up their own stores (beyond selling on Etsy.) These platforms have made selling online simple, even fun.

You may be even more encouraged by knowing the biggest issue ecommerce entrepreneurs face: uncertainty about what products to sell. As a craft artisan, you HAVE the rare skills to create the products  that will appeal to shoppers.

Here, we’ve listed 20 low-cost, do-it-yourself crafts that you can shape with your own color, texture and creative skills. None takes advanced skills, but they do take originality, which if you’re reading this post, you most likely have in spades.

Bath Bombs

In today’s go-go culture, who doesn’t need a bathbomb pampering. You might be surprised to learn that the ingredients of bathbombs are just: baking soda, epsom salts, food coloring, citric acid, and a bath bomb mold (~ $5).  Ambitious crafters can also add products like dissolving glitter and essential oils. These inexpensive ingredients amount to about $2 to $3 per bomb. Sell them for $5 each and you have a 100% mark-up. More, unlike crocheted or knitted items, bathbombs can be made quickly and in bulk. There are countless websites describing exactly how to make bathbombs, but more, how to make money making them.

Candles

While candles are everywhere, no one turns them down as a gift. And unique, quality candles can provide months of pleasure for the gift recipient. Crafters who make candles for birthdays, anniversaries and even unusual holidays like Opposite Day know their customers need them all year.

They key is to diverge from the low quality candles one finds in the large retail stores. With high mark-ups, these generic candles burn rapidly, often with little to no scent. Quality candles, often fashioned with essential oils, fill a room with rich ambiance and fragrance.

Getting started requires a website (and/or Farmer’s Market tables), raw materials costing under $200 and your hard work. People have made livings from creating candles infused with the spent grain from local craft breweries, excess grapes from wineries and more. Often, candle crafters can sell their company-inspired candles right to the company. Now that’s smart entrepreneurship.

Pet Toys

You thought the kids were bad? Pets go through toys fast, both by getting bored with them and destroying them at a high rate. Each year in the United States, pet owners spend $60 billion on their pets. If you can convince a dog or cat owner that your product will make their beloved happy, you should go online with it. After all, impulse buys made on emotions tend to have higher profits.

Adding an extra twist to your pet toy can push your sales even further. For instance, using eco-friendly materials can lower a shopper’s resistance, as can stating that a percentage of your profits goes to animal charities. You can create toys just for large dogs, senior dogs or puppies going through teething. Consider, too, creating toys from materials that come to you at the lowest cost. Get them online, promote them on social channels and you have a new income stream!

Handmade Soap

The power man-made chemicals unleashed astounded us . . . until we realized the damage their overuse could cause. Consumers are attracted not only to organic food, but organic cleaning compounds as well. These include mixtures made of vinegar, baking soda and other common household item. Handmade soaps have the added benefit of being less expensive and potentially plastic-free.  

With the amazing varieties of scents and dyes available, it’s easy to develop products for specific markets. In the United States, one woman makes a living using the spent grain from breweries to make soaps the brewery then brands and sells as keepsakes. Hostesses, parents and friends feel spoiled when they get to use lovely soaps that smell far better than grocery store brands.

Printed Throw Pillows

You may have gotten a deal on that new couch, but putting coordinating pillows on it will cost you another $200. If you have a sewing machine and an eye for distinctive fabrics and trims, maybe your future is in pillows.

American’s spend $62.5 billion each year in home decor. Keep up with decor  styles and colors through the design magazines to get an edge on the slower-moving corporate brands. For 2019, people are talking about bright “jewel tones” which really means just bold primary colors. Grays are out (finally!). Take photos of your creations, don’t be afraid to mix stripes with polka dots. Eclectic is in! (as long as the colors coordinate). Fabric stores constantly have sales. If you go shopping knowing with an idea of what you’re looking for, you can get your raw materials at low prices.

Resin Jewelry

With a special plastic called resin, hardener, dyes, glitter, photos and whatever you can think of, you can create beautiful pieces to sell online. Don’t forget the silicon or metal molds of course. Make a quick photo keepsake by pouring clear resin into a mold and then covering it with a carefully trimmed, small photo. Cover the photo with a sealant (like ModgePodge) and then let your masterpiece rest for 24 hours. Once it dries, pop it out of the mold and your photo sits behind a glass-like substance. Some artists like to layer in different pieces like beads, natural objects before putting a final backing on the piece. They even finish it with a layer of glitter.  Once the piece is finished, you can adorn it with wooden elements, silver or gold wire as well.

Keychains

The keychain never goes out of style. Today, keychains come in the forms like initials, animals and scenes from tourist attractions. All of these shapes indicate the user’s identity. People can’t resist items that reflect their egos. If you can shape leather, canvas, plastic, or cloth into pieces that reflect interests and habits, you have a winner. Sell to both men and women, keeping your market large. Bonus: keychains’ small size ensure your materials go a long way.

Ceramics

Don’t you just get fascinated by people shaping clay on a wheel with muddy hands? A pinch here and a squeeze there reshapes the piece entirely. Ceramics amy seem challenging but you can start with a simple bowl. If this tactile hobby feels irresistible, you could be on your way to a whole new side-hustle.  Adding acrylic paint, glitter, and even nail polish can further hone your brand.

Whichever of these craft avenues you choose, rest assured you can find a market for your work. Reaching your market is easier than ever with an online store and social advertising. Don’t let money worries overtake you. Use your spare time to create something beautiful and profit from it!

Pay Off a Cash Advance with a Seasonal Job

nylon display in retail store

You can do anything for a few weeks, right? You might even have fun selling in a fast-paced department store. You’ll certainly get some deals. And if the extra income helps you pay off your cash advance, all the better! More, paying your cash advance off early saves significant money. Keep all the income from your paycheck and use only your side-hustle money to pay off your cash advance.

This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that their retail clients will hire nearly 700,000 seasonal or temporary workers. You can get work anywhere, including “big box” stores, local dollar shops, department stores and warehouses. You may even get a gig singing holiday wishes!

Perks of Seasonal Jobs

Seasonal retail jobs can offer some surprising benefits. Temporary employees can get the same protections and benefits as part-time or full-time workers; the U.S. Department of Labor mandates it. This includes being paid overtime and receiving at least the state’s minimum wage.

Seasonal work can also be more stable than it first appears. Your first job sets you up to come back for that same job the next year. You may even get an offer to stay on permanently, even if it’s just a one-day or two-evening per week shift. Extra money, particularly early in your career, sets you up to meet long-term financial goals.

Holiday seasonal work is not just about cash however. Retail workers typically get 20% to 30% discounts on store items they couldn’t afford otherwise. In some cases, a retail store will pay to fly you to their location and put you up in a hotel. It is a zero-employment economy after all. Stores are getting desperate for workers who will push their merchandise during the busiest time of the year. The National Retail Federation tells us that retailers make between 25% and 30% of their annual revenues just during November and December. If they’re pushed to their labor limits, they will bend over backwards to get your behind a cash register.

Working seasonal jobs can also be a way to “try out” different brands and locations to explore what you want. Applicants without experience have a much better chance of getting a job during the holiday rush than other times of the year. Build your resume while exploring your work options.

Seasonal Job Limitations

While the opportunity for extra cash and exploration seem irresistible, these benefits may not cut it for some. Keep in mind that you may be working while friends and relatives are getting together to celebrate. You will miss out. Consider whether you will be willing to work on Christmas Eve, Hanukkah, or other holidays. Also, saying you can’t make a certain shift isn’t going to impress a boss desperate to fill shifts.

Working during cold and flu season may be a risk as well. If you are sick, you don’t get paid time off or sick days. You just miss out on that day’s pay. Finally, health insurance or retirement plans may be limited.

Those currently getting unemployment benefits may have them suspended or limited if they take on seasonal work. Check with your state’s labor expert to get reliable answers.

Non-Holiday Seasonal Jobs

Those who find themselves thriving in the seasonal workforce can extend their adventures. In January and early February, temporary workforces are looking for people to staff super-bowl and Daytona 500 related events. By March, they need Easter bunnies to keeps squirmy kids engaged in high-end restaurants at Easter brunch. In the summer, it’s not hard to find a tour guide job in most major cities. By Halloween, why not put on the face paint and stalk haunted house visitors, moaning with arms stiff in front of you? It could be the role you were made for!

How to Find Your Pick of Seasonal Jobs

Today, the first place we all go for good information is the internet. Those exploring to discover their options can start broad by first going to:

  • Monster and Indeed which list thousands of seasonal jobs. Search in your area to limit results.
  • com: founder Bill Berg started this site after finding his dream job in Yellowstone National Park. Search admin, educational, jobs with fish, ranch jobs or even jobs specifically for teenagers.
  • com brands itself as a “working-travel” website. Search summer jobs, ski jobs, gap year jobs, childcare, hospitality and sports, water and outdoor positions.

Already have a dream retailer in mind? When you see how many workers your favorites need during holiday 2018, your confidence will soar. We’ve linked each retailer with its job listings here:

Amazon Seasonal Jobs –  adding 100,000, all starting at a rate of $15 per hour.

Kohl’s Seasonal Jobs – adding 90,000 in 1,100 stores, distribution and fulfillment centers.

Target Seasonal Jobs – adding 120,000, all of whom will receive 10% discounts and opportunities to earn extra pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

UPS Seasonal Jobs –  adding 100,000 full- and part-time seasonal workers from November through January 2019. 35% of company’s seasonal workers get permanent jobs after the holidays.

Macy’s Seasonal Jobs – adding 80,000 seasonal workers. Employees also typically get 20% off on top of sales and discounts.

FedEx Seasonal Jobs – Adding 55,000.

J.C. Penney – adding 39,000.

woman working in retail

BBB A+ Rated Cash Advances for Everybody!

Emergency cash needs befall nearly every American. First Financial provides the quick cash advance and payday loan offers so that you can:

  • Avoid bounced checks and credit dings
  • Keep cars, computers and other work-related equipment running that keeps your income consistent.
  • Avoid late fees.
  • Avoid pawning the meaningful family jewelry and heirlooms that pawn shops pay cents on the dollar for.

First Financial is America’s leading source of short-term cash advance – payday loan offers for everyone, even those with low and bad credit scores. We put you first by letting you arrange the cash transfer from home through easy online transfers. Once you’ve completed the process by filling out the final page of the form, your cash is deposited in your bank by the next business day. Apply for a convenient cash advance today!


First Financial

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