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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.
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.
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.
Offline, bricks-and-mortar bank don’t see any profit in it. A cash advance is typically for a smaller amount of money: $1,000 or less, for a shorter amount of time: one month or less. By the time you fill out the forms, take the loan officer’s time and absorb the light and heat the bank needs to keep branches open, their profit has dissipated. Online banks, on the other hand, have automated the process so efficiently, they can stay in business while offering small amounts of money for very short terms. The online banks are now even creating convenient cash advance apps for use on smart phones.
The teller isn’t as interested in what you need as in meeting his or her sales quotas for the month. If you hate the hard-sell, stay out of bank branches at the ends of months or quarters when sales numbers get submitted. All tellers and loan officers are sales people with new account goals set by their managers. They even spend time cold calling in the back office. The tellers get points when they encourage people to apply for a loan with the loan officers waiting in the desks and offices beyond the counters. The loan officers get points for every loan they close. 90% of new teller training is SALES training.
Probably not. Signing up for online bill pay, getting a debit card for a hobby business and setting up free checking all serve to get you more and more entrenched into that bank. In fact, these free/low costs offers are called “sticky.” If you saw a bank offered better rates down the street and wanted to move your account, you may be reluctant because the thought of setting up automatic bill pay, changing the checking to savings instructions on your accounts and getting issued new debit and other cards can feel pretty overwhelming. The more of these “products” tellers get you to accept, the more entangled you are in the bank.
Understanding the motivation behind what your local, brick and mortar bank teller offers can attune you to better offers at alternative financial institutions. Know that you can pick and choose the interest rates, terms and other details from a range of banks depending on what fits into your financial picture at the moment.
We also bet that—today—these same people order all kinds of clothes, books and electronics online. That fact that, back then, they were too careful, too “smart,” to shop with credit online is a distant memory. They may not even admit to being so short-sighted!
These days, people willingly upload all kinds of personal information. The magic of ever-improving “encryption” and other tools enable one consumer to interact with a store on a one-to-one basis, just as if they were standing right at the Macy’s counter. These days, more and more people, too, are turning to cost-effective, convenient online banking for their financial well-being.
Because some are still a bit leery of banking over the internet, we’d like to reassure you that even for cash advances and payday loans, banks utilize extensive protections to keep your banking and personal information safe. The following four measures keep critical details private.
Read these to ease your mind about the safety and security of obtaining a cash advance online through your computer or even your smart phone using a cash advance app.
When all you need is a checking account, an email address, an internet connection via smartphone or computer, why not transact your cash advances and payday loans online? Once you are approved, you can handle the details of your cash advance or payday loan from the comfort of your home or office, where you have time to think and review your financial documents if need be. Online banking is open 24/7, too, making it convenient for you to get cash when you need it and set up the next day for success!
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.
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 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.
A credit card can be a great source of cash if you need it. Learn how to get a cash advance on a credit card and how to be smart with it here.
You use your credit card at the checkout and online, but did you know you can use it as a source of cash?
A credit card cash advance allows you to withdraw a percentage of your credit limit in cold, hard cash. You can get it from the teller at the bank that manages your credit card or request a PIN to hit the ATM.
However, getting a cash advance differs from swiping your credit card. If misused, it can transform your credit card from a helpful tool into a monthly nightmare.
Here’s what you need to know about how to get a cash advance on a credit card (and how to pay it back).
Can you get a credit card cash advance? Your credit card agreement spells out the answer.
If you don’t have the original agreement, log-in to your online banking portal and download it a second time. Can’t find it? Request a new copy from your bank.
Under the credit line section, you’ll see two numbers: your total credit line and your cash advance credit line.
If you have a cash advance credit line available, it will be a fraction of the total credit line.
Your cash advance line is part of your total credit line–not an addition to it. If you have a $500 cash advance line, but only $300 available on your entire credit card line, then you can only take out $300 in cash.
To access your credit line, you need access to your PIN.
You may do this one of two ways depending on your card provider. Most banks now allow you to do this online. However, other banks may require you to call customer service to request your PIN. Either way, your PIN will arrive in the mail.
No matter what credit card you have, you need to know that your cash withdrawal differs substantially from a typical swipe transaction.
Credit card cash advances usually come with two fees: an upfront transaction fee and an interest rate.
Let’s start with the transaction fee.
For the privilege of taking out cash, you will either pay a percentage of the transaction or a flat fee. You need to know what this fee is and factor it into your withdrawal. Not only is it one more item to pay back, but it will remove the remaining credit you may count on to do things like pay bills.
Most companies charge around 5 percent of the transaction or a fee of $10. The greater of the two applies based on the size of your withdrawal.
So if you take out $50, then your fee would be $2.50. But if you ask for $500 in cash, your payment is $25.
A credit card cash advance almost always comes with a higher interest rate than your total credit line. And if you are in an introductory period that offers a reduced or zero interest rate, then it likely doesn’t apply to your cash advance.
You might think that paying off the cash advance at the end of the month will save you the hassle of the higher APR. However, your credit card doesn’t work that way.
When you make a payment, you pay off the oldest balance first. To pay off your cash advance, you generally need to pay off your card balance in its entirety.
Plus, credit card companies typically start counting interest the day you take the cash out. If you take out a cash advance on the first day of your billing cycle, you will pay a month’s worth of interest if you don’t pay it off until your due date.
The final fee is the ATM fee.
If you use an American card, you already know that using an ATM outside your network comes with a fee between $2 and $10, depending on who owns the ATM.
If you use the ATM to withdraw your cash advance, keep the fee in mind when you calculate your balance and your budget.
The combination of all the fees and the interest means that a cash advance works best when borrowing a quick $40. Borrowing hundreds of dollar quickly adds up and puts you at a disadvantage from the day you borrow.
As a result, the best and safest way to use a cash advance is only to borrow what you can pay back after your next paycheck.
A cash advance isn’t a long-term loan or credit option. You need to pay it off fast–as in days, not weeks or months.
Paying it off quickly is the best way to avoid the combined high-interest rates, which turn your one-time need into a month’s long battle.
If you can, don’t wait until your next due date to pay it off. Do it as soon as feasibly possible to avoid growing your balance.
In some cases, a personal bank loan or collateral loan are better alternatives. Both of these loans offer a higher limit and fairer interest applications, which means it will take less time to pay off and cost you less in the long run.
Keep in mind that both these loans also include fees. However, the fee tends to be lower than that of a cash advance once you reach the higher figures. You can also avoid the ATM fees, which saves you at least a bit of cash.
Now you know how to get a cash advance on a credit card, but remember, it’s best suited for those who need to borrow $100–not $1,000. Borrowing large lump sums becomes expensive very quickly because the interest rate is not only high but the bank applies it immediately.
Do you need cash quick? Click here to learn about our financial products for all credit types.
43 million Americans have bad credit, with the bulk of these being young consumers.
While student loans and tough economic times can be blamed for this, poor planning and a low comprehension of credit facilities are partly to blame as well.
Cash advance loans are very convenient and can be hard to resist, but they can also put you in trouble.
How do these loans work, and how can you ensure to get the most out of them?
Here is an in-depth cash advance guide.
Your credit card lets you use your credit card to get a short term loan at an ATM or a bank. This is then paid back in the same way you pay for anything you put on your credit card.
In a way, this is like using your credit card to ‘purchase’ hard cash, which you then use to buy goods and services. In this way, you get to borrow cash against your credit card limit.
The same way you use your debit card to get cash from an ATM, you get cash from a credit card to be repaid with interest.
The difference between a credit card advance and a payday advance loan is that the latter is not dependent on your credit card.
If you typically do not carry paper money for your day to day spending, you might run into trouble when you need to pay for something at a business that only accepts cash payments.
In such cases, being allowed to convert your credit card limit into cash becomes very convenient.
Most credit card companies allow their clients to convert a percentage of their credit limit into cash, as opposed to the entire amount.
For most people, this translates into a couple of hundred dollars. This is therefore useful for smaller emergencies purchases and should not be dependent on for larger purchases.
While getting a credit card advance is easy, the interest rates can be a bit high.
Here are some of the associated costs that make it so:
These are determined by the financial institution that processes a transaction. This can be a bank or an ATM where you get your cash advance from.
If you use a bank outside your card issuer’s network, expect the fees to be higher.
These are determined by the company that issues your credit card.
These are charged in three different ways.
The first is by charging a percentage of the amount advanced. This can be as high as 5%.
The second way is by charging a flat fee per cash advance. For example, you can be charged $5 to $10 per advance, irrespective of the amount.
The third one is by charging the higher figure between the percentage or the minimum amount. An example of this is $5 or 10% of the withdrawal amount; whichever amount is higher.
To begin with, the interest charged on credit card loans is always higher than that charged on a credit card purchase.
Secondly, while you get a grace period with credit cash purchases, interest on cash advances starts accruing immediately.
It might be impossible to avoid this loan facility altogether.
For this reason, it’s key to know how to keep the costs low and avoid getting into unmanageable debt.
Here are a few tips.
The amount available for you to convert to cash is lower than your credit card limit. Exceeding this amount can result in higher interest rates and other over-limit charges.
Ensure to find out your card limit when you get a new card so you can adhere to a safe limit.
The key information to look out for is the one-off payable cash advance fee and the applicable APR as well.
If you are unclear on any terms of your contract, ensure to engage your service provider’s customer care representative.
Limit the use of this facility to emergencies you cannot use your credit cards on. It’s also important to create an emergency fund to draw from when needed.
If used without caution, credit card advances can spiral out of control making it difficult for you to make timely repayments. Consequently, this has the potential to lower your credit score.
Aside from only using this facility as a last result, limit your withdrawals to only what you need.
Resist the temptation to take out more because the higher you take, the higher the interest you will pay.
While this might seem like much, these amounts add up to a significant figure over time.
Taking out this facility does not directly impact your credit score, but it might have some indirect consequences.
The first one is that it raises your credit utilization ratio. This is among the benchmarks used to calculate your credit scoring. A high utilization ratio positions you as a high-risk borrower and may lower your scoring.
The other one is tied in with the costs of repaying a credit card advance. If you are not able to afford the high-interest rate, you may resort to late payments or even default.
When this information makes its way into the credit bureaus, it can negatively affect your scoring as well. As a rule of thumb, avoid making payments 30 days past the due date. Timely payment could help improve your credit score.
Ensure you understand all processing costs, the applicable APR and your ability to repay before taking out the loan.
“It comes as a surprise to some that you have the ability to remove negative credit issues from your credit report. If you have been subject to identity theft or involved in late payments, bankruptcy, repossessions, or foreclosures from over 7 years ago, you may be able to remove these credit dings from your history to improve your score. Should you find any information in your credit report that is simply wrong, you also have the ability to contest the issue using the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) ”
Until April of 2021, the three major credit bureaus are allowing you to check your credit score on a weekly basis (rather than yearly). This is a great opportunity for you to see how making healthy financial decisions can quickly raise your credit score — and in real time.”
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