First Financial  
 

First Financial Low Credit Scores

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.

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?

Get Started

 

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!

Get Started


First Financial

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

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

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

 

First Financial® is a Federally Registered Trademark

©1994-2019 First Financial®, All Rights Reserved. All other products and company names are trademarks of their respective companies.