First Financial Low Credit Score

When Loans Do a Lot of Good

Bad Credit borrowers photo

 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 2020, 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.

man with money after his bad credit personal loan
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 fin

5 Reasons to Take a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial

5 Reasons to Take a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial

Applying for a Loan Approved

Did you know First Financial can offer you no credit auto loan options? Learn all about them in this detailed article.

According to reports by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 107 million Americans have auto loan debts. This data shows more Americans have car loans than mortgages.

Borrowers able to get auto financing at reasonable rates access larger and amounts than before. This sounds appealing to individuals with a solid credit history, but what if you are just starting off in the world of credit and have no history at all? The good news is that even with poor credit you can still get car financing by opting for a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial.

But how can this happen? Read on to find out.

5 Reasons to Take a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial

First, you need to understand the meaning of a No Credit Auto Loan. As the name suggests, this is a car loan extended to an individual with either no credit history, poor credit or limited history. Therefore, you can get an auto loan even without having a credit history, or with a bad credit history.

Below are the reasons why you need to take a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial.

1. Fast Approvals on All Subprime Cases

Can you get a car loan with bad credit? This is a question asked by many people and you might be surprised to find out that of nearly 50% of American borrowers have a tarnished or limited credit history.

In other words, their credit scores lie in the subprime category, which means they have limited options for accessing loans. This category of people will find First Financial their best option since they can place their application regardless of their situation, whether its bankruptcy, poor credit, or no credit.

If you want to make a major purchase like a car or a truck and your credit history is not appealing, then this is the best website to turn to. You will be able to access the loan in the convenience of your laptop at the lowest possible rates you can ever imagine. The process is easy and confidential and you are sure to get a quick email response to update you on the progress of your application

2. Able to Manage Your Loan in the Comfort of Your Laptop

First Financial is an online lender which means it is accessible 24/7 anytime, anywhere. Some of the conveniences you are certain to enjoy:

  • Deposit payments using your laptop or handset.
  • Read your statement anytime on your devices.
  • Update your account profile which includes changing your logins for better security.
  • Compare interest rates of different dealers in the site.

First Financial believes that obtaining a No Credit Auto Loan should be hassle-free because this is a long-term financial decision you are making. You should not be under duress by auto-dealers whose main concern is the interest they get for every client they bring on board.

Working on your car loan from home will give you the freedom to check on different prices and options available so that you are sure to make an informed decision.

3. Reasonable Qualifications for Auto Financing

The requirements of getting an auto loan without credit on this website are so easy you may think it’s too good to be true. While the requirements are stringent enough to avoid liability to the borrower, they are also “loose” to ensure that most of the applicants get approved. The following are the only qualifications for auto financing:

  • Applicant should be a U.S. or Canadian resident of legal age-18 years and above.
  • Gross monthly income of $1,500 if the credit score is less than 625.
  • If the applicant has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, he/she should have completed the “341 Meeting of Creditors.”
  • If the applicant has filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, he should show an “Authorization to Incur Debts” from the trustee.
  • Commitment to buy a car from their various approved car dealer partners.

Even if you have been declared bankrupt, you have a reason to smile because First Financial will sort you out. Such financial hurdles will no longer deter you from obtaining a loan for your vehicle or truck.

4. Special Package for Military Personnel

Members of the armed forces both on active duty or retired and struggling with bad credit may wonder how they may qualify for a car loan. First Financial has tailored made auto financing programs that helps them to obtain auto loans in spite of their poor credit scores.

First Financial understand the difficulties encountered by these military men and women in their effort to maintain safety and that is why they have specialized programs dedicated to them. Military auto loans are different from normal civilian loans because they are often offered on lower interest rates, require lower down payments and come with special discounts.

The rate of approval is high mainly because of the stability of their income. Military workers should not put off buying a car because of the demand of their duties but should embrace this enticing opportunity

5. Having Access to a Wide Range of Dealers

As mentioned earlier, First Financial is an online provider of bad credit car loan that partners with hundreds of authorized and licensed car dealers. This site will allow you to shop for dealers while comparing prices and interest rates.

To crown it all, you will be able to get several preapprovals using only one application. So don’t allow yourself to be limited by the car dealers or the financial institutions in your area, browse through our website for an array of choices.

Get a No Credit Auto Loan with First Financial

It may seem daunting at first but it is not impossible. A few tips will help you navigate the murky waters of credit even with no credit history to back you up.

Engaging a co-signer with an excellent credit history in your auto loan will increase your chances of approval. Also, a reasonable down payment will show the potential buyer that you are serious about buying a car despite your bad credit history and may serve to reduce the total cost of your loan. Finally, shop around to explore the options available in the market and compare various interest rates and the payment plans that suit your budget.

Remember, First Financial will offer you the best financial support irrespective of your credit history. Apply for your No Credit Auto Loan today in less than three minutes.

 

What Is a Cash Advance and When Should I Use One?

What Is a Cash Advance and When Should I Use One?

A cash advance lets you use your credit card to get a short-term cash loan. Learn all about cash advances and when to use them in this guide.

https://www.firstfinancial.com/cash-advance/

cash advance

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.

What is a Cash Advance?

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.

When to Get Cash Advance

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.

Advance Limits

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.

Interest on Cash Advances

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:

ATM or Bank Fees

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.

Cash Advance Fees

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.

Interest

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.

Credit Card Advance Tips

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.

1. Know Your Limit

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.

2. Understand your agreement

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.

3. Use It for Emergencies Only

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.

4. Limit the Amounts

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.

Credit Card Advance and Credit Score

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.

How Does Debt Consolidation Work and Other Facts About Consolidation

How Does Debt Consolidation Work and Other Facts About Debt Consolidation

When it comes to trying to pay of your debt it can be hard when you have multiple accounts open. Read on to learn how does debt consolidation work.

Did you know that Americans now have more debt than ever?

In fact, this debt amounts to a hefty $13 trillion–and this number is likely on the rise.

Debt can sneak up on all of us, especially given life’s range of expenses. Student loans, vehicle financing, and mortgages may grant education, mobility, and home ownership, but they still all equate to debt.

Luckily, if you are struggling with debt management, there are options. One of these is debt consolidation.

How does debt consolidation work, and is it right for you? In this post, we answer these questions and more.

Keep reading for insight!

What is Debt Consolidation?

Most people accrue debt from a variety of sources. You may, for example, have credit card debt in addition to an auto loan or home mortgage.

This is very common, and it’s not necessarily a problem. It is possible to have “healthy debt” if you are a responsible borrower and if you can comfortably make your monthly payments.

Yet healthy debt can be hard to come by. Plenty of loans have high-interest rates, which can quickly get burdensome and keep you from saving what you need to be saving!

A lot of people also juggle multiple monthly payments. It can be tough to meet these, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. (In fact, most Americans do!)

Unexpected situations such as family emergencies or medical expenses can be an additional challenge. These can add more to your debt and stress levels.

If you find yourself missing payments on any of your loans, you may face late payment fees. Credit card balances are also subject to potentially high-interest rates.

Debt consolidation strives to alleviate the stress of these potential situations. When you consolidate your debt, you lump your debt into one, single loan. This results in just one monthly payment and–in most cases–less interest due.

How Does Debt Consolidation Work?

Debt consolidation sometimes sounds too good to be true. How does it work?

First, it’s important to note that there are, in general, two ways to consolidate debt: with a credit card balance transfer or a debt consolidation loan.

Both of these have the same goal, which is to get all of your debt into one monthly payment. Plus, they also strive to reduce interest and fees.

Credit Card Balance Transfer

For people with a lot of credit card debt, this is a great means of consolidating. Users simply transfer all of their debt to one credit card. They must then pay off this balance within a given time frame.

Most people will seek out new cards that offer a 0% balance transfer APR and/or a $0 balance transfer fee. Plenty of credit cards offer these terms!

These terms mean that balance transfers won’t be subject to any fees. Once you transfer a balance, you won’t have to pay interest on that balance for a given period of time (sometimes up to a year).

If you aren’t eligible for such offers for any reason, have no fear. You can always transfer your credit card balances. These, however, will be subject to APR and/or transfer fees according to your card’s terms.

For this reason, identify your card’s balance transfer terms before you make a decision.

Debt Consolidation Loan

Another way to consolidate your debt is to take out a debt consolidation loan.

With this, borrowers take out a loan valued at their total debt. Generally, this loan is fixed-rate, meaning that its balance will have the same interest rate for the entire repayment period.

With this debt consolidation loan, borrowers pay off all of their existing debt. They will then work on repaying that loan in a given amount of time, generally at a lower interest rate.

Debt consolidation loans are ideal only if they do offer lower interest rates and fees than a borrower is paying on other loans.

You can get debt consolidation loans from a variety of sources. What’s more, they don’t have to be called a “debt consolidation loan” to count. Low-interest personal loans can also suffice.

Is Debt Consolidation Right for You?

Debt consolidation can be a relief for most borrowers, especially when it comes to reducing payments, interest, and fees. But is it right for you?

In general, debt consolidation is ideal for people who could benefit from a single monthly payment (rather than several).

It’s also the right choice for individuals who aren’t 100% drowning in debt. In general, your debt shouldn’t be more than half of your current income. If it is, it will be really tough to pay off that debt, even after it is consolidated!

Credit score can also play a role. In general, people with good to excellent credit are more eligible for 0% balance transfer terms on credit cards and low-interest consolidation loans.

If you have a lower credit score, you may struggle to find a consolidation method that actually saves you money.

It’s also important to have a plan in place once you do consolidate your debt. This plan should incorporate income sources and repayment terms.

Remember: debt consolidation doesn’t get rid of your debt. It only reorganizes it, in an attempt to reduce interest paid.

Next Steps

If you’ve decided that debt consolidation is right for you, begin by choosing how you wish to consolidate your debt. Is credit card consolidation right for you, or is a debt consolidation loan the way to go?

Next, start researching. Take your time to identify the best balance transfer terms and/or low-interest consolidation loan.

If you do intend to take out a loan for debt consolidation, browse lenders wisely. There are a lot of scams out there when it comes to debt consolidation, so look only for reputable lenders.

We also recommend inspecting your credit score before you hunt for offers. Remember: the higher your score, the better for securing terms likely to make debt consolidation worth it.

Final Thoughts

How does debt consolidation work? Debt consolidation involves lumping all of your debt into one loan to reduce payments and interest.

In general, debt consolidation can be a useful tool for individuals with debt that doesn’t surpass half of their income.

Are you ready to consolidate your debt? Apply for a loan now!

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.

New Programs Give You Control to Raise Your Credit Score

For too long, consumers had little control over the subtleties of their credit scores. One forgotten payment dings a score by 10 points. Signing up for a department store credit card can take it down by 20 points. Most Americans don’t learn how to build their credit until they learn their credit score is so low, they have to pay far more than others for a car or home loan.

Waiting to check your credit score until you’re in the mortgage broker’s office is like showing up at the marathon after sitting on the couch for the previous six months. Why not condition for optimal performance now?

The good news is that there are now two, brand new programs that give you extra control over the key number that reflects your financial responsibility. These programs come from credit bureau Experian and credit analyst FICO (FICO uses Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to calculate your score. The credit bureaus do not calculate the score.)

Experian Supports the Consumer, Finally!

The Experian Boost program lets consumers report their on-time utility, phone and cable payments. Demonstrating reliability in making these payments can help a borrower improve how a credit bureau perceives his or her trustworthiness. While this idea may seem new to you, alternative lenders have used information from monthly bills for a few years now with great success. It allows them to make more loans and broaden their businesses with little increased risk. It turns out that those who prove they pay these typical monthly bills are good credit risks, even if they’ve forgotten a payment or picked up a new credit card.

Experian claims that of those who have tried the program so far, 64 percent have raised their credit scores.

To get started, all you need to do is give Experian access to your bank account. They need to see your payment history. Once this connection is made, you can calculate your score right away. Experian predicts that eight million Americans could move from poor to fair or fair to good credit with this new program. With better credit, they are more easily able to qualify for apartments, insurance, credit, mortgages and loans. It should only take a few minutes to set up and will jump start your credit repair efforts!  

FICO Finds Its Heart, too

As with Experian Boost, FICO’s UltraFICO links with your checking, savings and money market accounts. It reads whether you:

  • keep healthy average checking and savings balances
  • have maintained a bank account over time
  • avoid overdrafts
  • pay your bills regularly

In other words, it monitors your banking habits. FICO estimates that 15 million Americans can raise their FICO scores by opting into UltraFICO.  This program will be available soon. You can sign up to be notified when they’re ready to take your bank information.

Safety in these Two Programs

Today, Americans are more concerned about safety and privacy than ever. Experian and FICO have the most secure systems in the world. Both new programs involve sign-in verification, during which consumers grant read-only permission to connect to their online bank accounts. All of this information is encrypted so that no individual at either entity can know bank details. The algorithms crunch numbers and data. Use the links above to advocate for your credit worthiness and finally have some sway over your credit score.

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 Manage Employee Expenses with Prepaid Debit Cards

We’ve all seen movies depicting employees whipping out the corporate credit card to pay for extravagant meals and entertainment. Business owners shudder at these scenes, and they should. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners tells us that 15 percent of all employee expenses can be categorized as fraud. In another study, 66 percent of employees admit to abusing the company card with:

  • High-priced dinners
  • Office supplies for home use
  • Mobile phone and app purchases and upgrades
  • Airline upgrades

Another portion admit to inflating transportation expenses, getting a cash refund from an expensed item and even creating a fake expense. These last three are full-on fraud. Still, with every opportunity, some people will take advantage. The credit card with a limit of thousands of dollars just trips some kind of spending wire in some employees. When a card’s limit set at $5,000, a $75 dinner for one seems reasonable.

Business owners can reduce their exposure to “expense padding” and fraud when they give their employees secure prepaid debit cards as opposed to credit cards. Like a teen with a set spending amount, employees must budget within a the debit card’s finite amount.

When presented positively, the prepaid debit card can be just as appreciated by employees as the credit card. Simply explain that the debit card works best for your taxes and/or accounting structure. Make this expense tool a decision based on business goals, not something to keep employee spending in line. Avoid mentioning potential expense abuse or fraud all together.

Other benefits of the prepaid debit card for business includes:

  • Easy availability: get instant approval from the best online sources. With online banking now as secure as traditional, bricks-and-mortar banking, anyone can apply for and receive prepaid debit cards within days of ordering. Pay using your credit card or business bank account.
  • No credit card dings: prepaid debit cards do not intersect with your business’s credit rating in the least. From the moment you buy it until the moment the employee spends the last $5, the debit card involves only up-front cash transactions.
  • Convenience: Prepaid business cards are accepted everywhere the issuers’ cards are accepted. In-store, online and phone purchases all work with a prepaid debit card.
  • Better employee spending controlLoad the card with a set limit of money and task the employee to stay within that amount. As with a credit card, debit cards allow you to track exactly what the employee spends. Some companies even let you monitor business card transactions from your computer or mobile app. Business owners can even freeze and unfreeze the debit card as needed.

Prepaid Debit Cards Control Employee Spending So You Don’t Have to!

Some businesses choose company credit cards rather than debit cards because of the potential for rewards and the lower fees. Debit cards can also come with more fees than credit cards. Still, when compared to the financial losses due to abuse, these fees are negligible.

When a small business becomes a mid-sized business, expenses accounts follow quickly, especially for sales professionals. Then, additional office locations can mean travel expenses. Debit and credit cards empower employees to make their own decisions while keeping spend under control.

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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When and Why to Use a Personal Loan to Buy a Car

Given that they’re secured loans, auto loan interest rates can be low, making them the obvious choice for buying a car. Still, there are certain situations where a personal loan for a car purchase makes sense, too.

First, ever seen a line of cars outside of your favorite grocery store? They’re all for sale, and often several buyers are milling around looking to get a cool ride at a great deal. Sellers always want money immediately, and they certainly don’t want to mess around with being paid over months. That means you need the cash on hand in the form of a cashier’s check. The online personal loan puts the funds in your checking account within days. If you have it ready to go when you make an offer, you have a better chance of getting the car.

Then, if tail fins and hood ornaments are your thing, you have classic cars on the brain. Vintage collectors know that lenders hesitate to finance a car if it’s under a certain age or is over 200,000 miles. Personal loans come in handy to snatch that old Corvette or Mustang from the market.

Finally, low-credit-score borrowers can sometimes get lower interest rates when they go the personal loan route. Some lenders, like First Financial, specialize in providing personal loans to those with credit challenges.

Online lenders have the fastest, easiest processes for winning personal loans. You find out in minutes how much you qualify for and get the money the next day in most cases. Have more questions? Review our personal loan FAQs. Ready to apply?

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What personal loan amount can I get?

Happy merchant avoiding EMV chargebacksIn general, personal loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000.  Borrowers with credit scores over 680, low debt utilization and robust income win amounts toward $50,000. Those not hitting those marks tend to get less. What are the criteria for determining personal loan amount?

It’s certainly not what you need, no matter how much you need it. Your wedding expenses bill of $30,000 or your remodel estimate of $50,000 doesn’t win you that amount automatically. The amount you can borrow with a personal loan depends on your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio and the purpose for the debt. Lenders evaluate how much you’re most likely to pay off, not what you need. Of course, those with higher credit scores will get better rates, but even those with fair, poor and bad credit can qualify for personal loans should their DTI and borrowing purpose warrant it.

Since 2012, lenders have been assertive about asking the purpose of the loan. Unlike with a quick cash advance, lenders are more generous when the purpose may strengthen the borrower’s financial health. A remodel or debt consolidation put a twinkle in lenders’ eyes.  Lenders actually consider some purposes frivolous these days. They’ve been known to turn down vacations, hot tubs, and other non-essentials, particularly if DTI is high. In the end, however, most consider the purpose of the personal loan an “influencing” factor rather than a primary one.

The debt-to-income ratio measures the amount going to debt service every month compared to the income coming in. A good debt-to-income ratio is 35 percent or below. At just eight points higher—43 percent—most lenders will not approve a borrower for a loan. Debt includes personal loans, student loans, car loans, mortgages and credit card bills. Your cable bill, rent, and car insurance do not figure into this debt calculation. Calculate your debt to income ratio and know your credit score so you can understand whether your loan amount offers are the best you can get.

A+ Rated First Financial Specializes in Low-Credit-Score Personal Loans

You may be surprised to learn that different lenders like to specialize in niche loans and borrowers. Some go for very short-term loans with high amounts. Others want to write only loans for borrowers with excellent credit. They create loan “products” that work well for the needs of that audience and don’t want to spend the time and money finding clients in other niches.

Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, First Financial has developed a specialty in serving those with fair, poor and bad credit scores—also known as “subprime” borrowers. We get you the money you need, all in the comfort of your home. You will know whether you qualify in five minutes or less with NO IMPACT to your credit. Apply today!

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Do I have a low credit score?

First step is to get your absolutely free credit report & score, if you haven’t already. Your next step is to determine if your credit score is actually considered “low”. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what exactly is a good or a poor credit score. The best credit ratings are 770 points and up. Freddie Mac, for example, considers anything above 770 an “A plus.” A FICO score of over 750 will get you an “excellent” rating from Lending Tree, while Fannie Mae says a 740 is excellent. CBS reports that if you have a 720 or more, you have no worries at all, since that number is in the same level category as an 800. Fair Isaac has declared that anything over 700 is “golden.” Even a person with a credit rating of 650 or better can be considered a prime borrower, as long as there are no records of late payments on their record.

Which Auto Finance Companies Offer The Best Car Loans?

There are many different auto finance companies you can choose to apply for a car loan with. Getting approved for a car loan is a “must” for most car buyers today, as many car buyers do not have the financial means necessary to pay cash to buy a new or used car. Even those that do have the financial means to pay cash often don’t want to hand over such a large amount of cash and would prefer to finance their purchase. Before you apply for a car loan online, however, you do want to make sure that you find the best loan possible.

Poor credit cards are credit cards for people with bad or poor credit:

Poor credit cards are credit cards for people with bad or poor credit and want to rebuild or establish their credit.  Bear in mind, poor credit cards are capable of credit strengthening, that’s why your choice plays a great role.  Bad and poor credit cards are willingly marketed to customer’s most urgently needing credit and most of the deals can pull debtors out of their financial troubles.  Poor Credit Cards | Reviews & Credit Card Application Bad or Poor Credit cards are for those with less than perfect credit, these credit card offers help you establish credit when you have none, and then later when you have earned a history of good and prompt payment practices you could apply for another credit card with a lower APR.  Bad or Poor Credit cards are for those with less than perfect credit, these credit card offers help you establish credit when you have none, and then later when you have earned a history of good and prompt payment practices you could apply for another credit card with a lower APR.  Platinum Visa® or with no deposit, especially if you to NMB Secured cards that have poor credit cards are credit limit will be Learn more about Credit Cards for women.  My poor credit cards are sizzling right now because I’ve become addicted to shopping.  While most of the handiest credit card debt that it is best deal on borrowing money and how close are currently have a poor credit cards are aware of your payments all of available to use the other hard to be prepared for take some cushion, especially credit free score that you have obtained a better terms that the lender it comes to getting a very great alternative is.  Secured and consolidation is not realize how they may not select acne care cosmetic skin fill out more about 50% of debts with poor credit cards are registered marks of advance-fee scams.  It is to raise your rating, it is inviting card offers of it is finding these pre-approved invitations, you re facing card scam of poor credit cards are speaking with bad credit.  It is to raise your rating, it is inviting card offers of it is finding these pre-approved invitations, jewelry do than you re facing card scam of poor credit cards are speaking with bad credit.

Know what’s on your credit report and resolve any discrepancies.

Even if you believe you have a good credit score, it is still wise to check with credit reporting agencies to make sure they contain a similar view of your credit history. It’s also wise to make sure there are no errors on your report, such as name misspellings or incorrect addresses. Poor credit is the first obstacle to overcome on the path to attaining wealth.  Poor credit is not a problem because we are repaid directly by the estate or trust and you keep the rest.  Poor credit is not always an indication of your responsibility and most lenders will look at this fact.  Poor credit is not an obstacle to use.  Improve Credit Score Quickly and Legally If poor credit is holding you back, then come.  Refinancing with bad credit or poor credit is possible if the value of the home has increased.

Shop for a loan within a short, focused period of time.

FICO scores distinguish between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines, based in part on the length of time over which recent requests for credit occur. If you shop for a number of loans over too long a time period, it can count against you.

Contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor if you’re having financial difficulties.

This won’t improve your score immediately, but the sooner you begin managing your credit well and making timely payments, the sooner your score will get better.

Keep your credit cards – but manage them responsibly.

In general, having credit cards and installment loans that you pay on time will raise your score. Someone who has no credit cards tends to have a lower score than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.

Don’t open multiple accounts too quickly, especially if you have a short Credit History.

Opening too many accounts in too short of a time period can look risky because you are taking on a lot of possible debt. New accounts will also lower the average age of your existing accounts, something that your FICO score also considers.

Don’t open new credit card accounts you don’t need.

This approach could backfire and actually lower your score.

Don’t close an account to remove it from your record.

It’s a myth that closing an account removes it from your credit report. This is untrue—even closed accounts remain on your report, possibly for an indefinite period of time and may still be factored into the score. In fact, closing accounts can sometimes hurt your score unless you also pay down your debt at the same time.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score.

This is the best way to improve your score, and it’s never too late to start. Even if you’ve had serious delinquencies in the past, those will count less over time if you keep paying your bills on time.

Keep credit card balances low.

High outstanding debt can pull down your score. Don’t go maxing out your credit cards all the time.

Check your Credit Report for accuracy.

It’s possible that there may be inaccurate information on your credit report that can be easily cleared up (see How To Fix Credit Report Inaccuracies). If this proves to be the case, then you should contact one of the three credit reporting agencies—TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.

Pay off debt rather than moving it around.

Consolidating your credit card debt onto one card or spreading it over multiple cards will not improve your score in the long run. The most effective way to improve your score is by simply paying down the amount you owe.

Many people who have poor credit often find themselves in a difficult financial situation.

Most of the time this happens because of the reasons that are beyond control of the Borrower like getting laid off, divorce, or health problems.

If you have a history of poor credit or think that you might, it’s important that you find out and take the steps to improve it. It will take time, but with discipline, you may expect to see improvement in as little as six months. You see, creditors are interested in a track record. You’ll have to prove that you consistently pay your creditors on time and that you can effectively pay down your Debt.

We can help you even if you have:

Late payment on the Mortgage, car or credit card

Collections

Liens

Judgment

Foreclosure

Bankruptcy

We can help you even if your bankruptcy is only one day old or if your credit score is under 500.

First Financial

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