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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are seven tips to raise your credit score quickly.

1. Check Your Report for Errors and Omissions

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

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

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

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

2. Negotiate on Outstanding Balances

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

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

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

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

3. Get Added as an Authorized User

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

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

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

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

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

4. Ask Creditors to Delete Late Payments

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

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

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

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

5. Old Debts Can Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

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

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

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

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

6. Watch Your Credit Utilization Rate

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Jump on Score Boosting programs

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

This tends to disadvantage people with a limited credit history.

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

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

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

Consistency Is Key

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

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

3 Ways Online Banks Keep Cash Advances & PayDay Loans Safe & Secure

Offline banking

 We bet that, ten years ago, you had at least 3 friends who proudly refused to submit their credit card numbers to online stores like Amazon.com. YOU may have been among them!

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.

Online Banking for Cash Advances and PayDay Loans is Just as Secure as Offline Banking

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.

  1. Encryption: turns the written information coming from you (the browser software installed on your computer) into a code that only our online banking technology can crack. The minute you sign on to our financial institution, the software on our end prompts your browser software to establish a “secure session.” Our Cash Advance App uses “banking level encryption” which just means the code is much more difficult to decipher than most. In fact, our 128-bit encryption is at the highest level of security currently allowed by U.S. law.
  2. You stay in control because you can monitor whether or not security measures are working while you’re interacting with the site. Your browser tells you information is being encrypted with either a closed padlock or a key symbol. These symbols generally appear on the bottom of your browser screen.
  3. Online banks have whole teams of internet security professionals running audits to ensure encryption is functioning every hour of the day.

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!

Consumer Advocates: Banks Bringing Back Payday Loans

Although North Carolina outlawed payday lending over a decade ago, the state is again seeing the short-term, high-interest loans — this time from banks. Alabama-based Regions Bank offers a product called “Regions Ready Advance,” which lets consumers borrow up to $500 by pledging their next direct deposit. “If they weren’t a bank, they wouldn’t be able to offer this product in North Carolina,” said Chris Kukla, senior vice president at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). Kukla says the effective interest rates for Ready Advance loans could amount to 365 percent annually. However, the bank says that the product is essentially a small-dollar line of credit and does not fit the term “payday loan.” North Carolina allowed cash advance from 1997 until 2001, but lawmakers passed legislation that authorized the store-front shops to expire. The fees, though usually small, amounted to annual percentage rates that exceeded North Carolina usury laws. Regions Bank began offering its Ready Advance product 18 months ago, essentially breaking a de facto embargo on the practice. SunTrust, a much larger bank, is considering a similar product. Fees for payday products were typically $16 for every $100 borrowed, compared to Regions’ Ready Advance product, which charges $10 per $100. Although that seems like a small amount, CRL says that it amounts to an effective annual percentage rate of 365 percent. Kukla said that consumers have better options, such as a low-cost, small-dollar loan from the N.C. Employee’s Credit Union, which charges only a few dollars upfront. Across the country, regulators like the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau are noticing this trend of bank products that are similar to payday loans, but most banks operate under state banking laws rather than federal regulators

Groups Drop Lawsuit to Get Payday Loan, Minimum Wage Initiatives on Missouri Ballot

Two Missouri groups confirmed that they are abandoning a legal challenge to a ruling that they did not have sufficient signatures to get a payday lending initiative and a minimum wage measure onto the November ballot. Last month, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan told Missourians for Responsible Lending and Give Missourians a Raise that they failed to collect enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. The organizations decided that legal hurdles posed by “the payday lending industry, their allies and their lawyers” were too high to overcome before the September deadline. The payday lending measure would have capped annual interest rates and fees for the loans at 36 percent, down significantly from the average of 445 percent. Rev. James Bryan — treasurer for Missourians for Responsible Lending — said supporters of the ballot measures faced harassment, dishonest ad campaigns, fake petitions in the field, and an “interminable legal process.”

California Cracks Down on Illegal Online Lending

California officials have cited at least nine Internet payday lenders for illegally offering “quick-cash” loans online and being overly aggressive in collecting on the debts. The state Department of Corporations issued a “consumer alert” warning about unlicensed online lenders, many of which advertise on Facebook or online sites like PaydayLoanApplyToday.com. “These loans are a last resort for some people, particularly if they have unusual or unexpected expenses,” said department spokesman Mark Leyes. In California, payday loans are limited to $300, with fees up to $15 per every $100 borrowed. Unlike a storefront payday center, online lenders require borrowers to provide access to their bank account for automatic depositing of funds and debiting of repayment. Leyes said some unlicensed online lenders are dodging the law and “gouging consumers” by charging excessive interest rates and fees. “If you give out your bank account information online, they’ve got their hooks in you,” he warned. “They can get in there anytime they want.” Since the start of the year, the state Department of Corporations has issued nine complaints against online payday lenders, more so than usual. TIOR Capital LLC in particular was ordered to “desist and refrain” making loans and to return all funds to borrowers. The state gave an example of a $300 payday loan with a $90 finance fee, due in two weeks. When the consumer failed to repay the loan on time, it was automatically “refinanced” for an additional $90 fee. This amounted to an annual interest rate of 782.14 percent.


First Financial

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