First Financial Personal Loans

Is It The Right Time for a Personal Loan?

Making a decision about the economy

Is your job stable enough to justify a personal loan? 

Until recently, many viewed having a personal loan as risky. Having to pay for money you didn’t have would drive a consumer further into debt, jeopardizing their financial situation.

Today, the economic outlook has changed. Economists predict that 2017 will see a slight rebound.

First: wages are actually growing. According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Board, wages have enjoyed their fastest in crease in the past year. With unemployment at a low 4.6% today, most economists explain that the U.S. is at “full employment.” As workers get harder to come by, wages will rise.

The rise in consumer spending of 3.8% in just the last six months, too, boosts the U.S. Gross Domestic Product which helps the overall economy. This may have been a result of the rise of the employee’s wages over this time also. This is highly comparative to the 3.6 percent of gain for the take-home pay, thus a noticeable drop in the savings rate. The perceptions of the individual also about sending is better than the average and this has come to be stable for the previous months of observation. It is highly likely that they would have their expenditures increasing as directly proportional to the wages that they get to receive in their respective jobs.

Another factor that can be viewed as an advantage is the construction of more houses. The more of them that are built, the lower the prices could go. Houses with lower prices than the usual average price can be a driving force for the individuals to avail, thus setting the economy to be rocketing. The apartments have the most gain for this, though. This is because multifamily starts have an increase of 14 percent over the previous year while the single family has an increase of a mere 1.3 percent.

However, if you do not feel that there is an increase in your wage over the previous months, then you should ask for a raise. The U.S. Census Bureau has already increased the median incomes during the previous year after it has its years of falling or just being stagnant. You can just as your employer to give you a raise. If not, then it are better for you to look for another company that could serve you well as you have served them.

What could this say about the economy of the country? It can be that the business all over the place is booming in such a way that it creates a great many opportunities for the employees to get their own savings and even encourage personal loans.

Unlike a housing loan or a car loan for that matter, a personal loan can be used for the tuition fees of your children, or for the expenses of your travels when you feel like paying another place a visit just for mere relaxation, or anything else that you may want in your life. Further, if you want your personal loan to be secured as you should, you will be required to have a collateral such that it could back your personal loan. Some common cases for this are having a house or a car to comply the said requirement. You can also have your personal loan unsecured, and in this case, you would not need a collateral for your loan.

week1_monday

Does a Better Economy Translate into Favorable Personal Loan Rates?

We certainly think so!

As economic conditions continue to improve, the Federal Reserve Bank will increase interest rates. That means rates on all loans will increase, although not too fast and not by too much.

Those considering a personal loan should do it right now while it is still early. Most Americans have been putting off home improvements and car upgrades because of concern over the economy. The above information should give you the confidence that we are in a stable period.

Trust A+ Rated First Financial to Get You a Personal Loan Fast and at the Best Rates!

When considering personal loans, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing personal loans for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. Just fill out some forms, upload documents and get the money in your account in a matter of days. The Better Business Bureau rate First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

 

 

5 Top Signs It’s Time for a Personal Loan

cash from personal loan

While the prospect of a personal loan can be intimidating, trepidation didn’t stop Donald Trump, the founders of Starbucks or flamboyant Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson when they needed funds. A short-term loan goes a long way in providing a better quality of life and setting up a flush future.

In our blog post, “When the Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card,” we explain that the personal loan can:

• raise a credit score
• save a borrower half in monthly interest charges when compared to credit card rates
• help borrowers plan (because the monthly payment is fixed.)

The personal loan can actually brighten your financial picture. Considered an installment loan rather than revolving credit, when you use it to consolidate credit card debt, banks see it as your dedication to paying it off rather than defaulting or going into bankruptcy in order to escape it. Experian and TransUnion often raise your credit score within a month or so. See? The personal loan isn’t so bad!

While you will be in debt with a personal loan, the regular payments (often sent automatically from your account through bill pay), help you budget better for the month. Knowing a set amount will come out of your bank account keeps your urge to splurge under control.

Now that you know the personal loan is a common way people pay for purchases and/or emergency expenses, read the following most common scenarios where people use personal loans.

1. You are paying credit card debt at the average rate of 15% or more (23%? 29%) when you can most likely get an unsecured personal loan for 7 to 10%.
2. Collections agencies are calling you about medical bills. NerdWallet Health’s survey found that 56 million Americans have trouble paying their medical bills. More frightening, 35 million American adults get collections agencies calls for them bills and they cause 17 million Americans to receive a lower credit rating.
3. Moving expenses become overwhelming. U.S. News found the average cost of a move within a state is $1,170, and between states, $5,630. These expenses are most often necessary for family members to earn a living. When a company doesn’t foot the bill, they land on individuals. Putting these expenses on credit cards just sets you up for high interest expenses. The personal loan only calculates interest on the principal amount, not the principal plus the interest the way credit cares do.
4. Your car or computer isn’t running. Unless you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that has reliable public transportation, you’re going to need a car. Even GoCars and ZipCars prices add up, particularly if used regularly. Most important, however, a car adds to your quality of life.
5. Your home equity isn’t sufficient for critical home repair expenses. Failing to qualify for a second mortgage doesn’t mean you have to go without a working water heater, air conditioner or mold remediation. All of these things are critical for your family’s health and well-being. Home prices have remained steady for several years now and chances are your home value will go up if you stay in it long enough.

It’s in these five circumstances that most Americans seek out personal loans.

A+ Rated First Financial’s Personal Loans: Manage from Home and On-the-Go!

First Financial has the most competitive rates for high-credit-score borrowers. We even welcome those with fair, poor and bad credit because they make up 56% of the current American population. Use your laptop or tablet to make payments, review statements, and update account information. You can even check your rate without impacting your credit score!

Apply now for a personal loan with First Financial, A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau!

Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card

big7stock-Business-man-pointing-the-text-87994328
Most of us have emergency or other expenses that require quick funds. While many resort to credit cards for these expenses, a better option may exist: the personal loan.

The personal loan is a contract created between a bank, credit union or other lending entity and an individual. It states an amount to be lent to the individual and terms like interest rate and duration of the loan. Because establishing a personal loan requires discussion with a bank or credit union representative, however, many feel intimidated to embark on this kind of funding. This said, the personal loan may be the more financially savvy option in several situations.

Apply Now

First we want to cover the biggest advantages of using personal loans over credit cards. These include:

1. the personal loan can be “unsecured,” requiring neither collateral (like a credit card) nor a credit card inquiry that can lower credit scores; this said, some personal loans DO require collateral and perform a credit inquiry. Get these items straightened out with a loan agent BEFORE signing the contract;
2. personal loan interest rates are typically lower than credit card rates and negotiation with the loan officer for even lower rates is possible;
3. unlike rates for credit cards, the interest rate stays fixed for the entire repayment period;
4. monthly payments stay even. Credit card payments change as charges accrue.

With the advantages clear, you can determine whether the money you need should be gained through a credit card or personal loan. The following includes the situations that we think make the most sense for a personal loan.

1. Unexpected Income Shortfall
People make errors. Sometimes these fallible people have jobs in payroll and forget to cut checks. The good news is that banks and credit unions issue small personal loans relatively easily, requiring a few pay stubs and the last few months of bank statements. While going to the bank to discuss the situation can be uncomfortable, people in this situation get money within 24 hours when they use convenient online personal loan solutions. Online banking solutions often have lower interest rates and better terms because these alternative lending institutions do not need to satisfy shareholders or spend exorbitant amounts on marketing. As Bill Gates said in the nineties, bricks and mortar banks “dinosaurs.”

People looking to finance an adoption, in vitro fertilization, a cross-country move or other big activity without traditional financing (like a car or RV loan) turn to the personal loan to move life forward at reasonable cost.

2. Consolidating Credit Card Debt to Increase Credit Score
Who wants to pay 19% when they can pay 11%? An 8% difference per year can save the borrower with a $10,000 credit card balance $800 each year or $67 monthly. Fill out our convenient personal loan application. First Financial lenders’ lower loan rates and better terms may surprise you! We have all the security of the big, bricks and mortar banks, namely 128-bit “banking level” security. We have to. The Security and Exchange Commission and other federal institutions demand it.

3. Borrower Prefers or Needs a Fixed Rate and Term
Borrowers (or their parents or spouses) often advocate for the personal loan because it involves making the same payments at the same schedule until the loan is paid off. Credit card rates are variable and could rise several percentage points yearly. Those who make a clear decision about one large purchase appreciate the clarity of paying for it consistently over a limited period of time.

First Financial Personal Loans Provide the Savings only Online Functionality Delivers
First Financial’s lending partners can provide low cost personal loans because of their cost-saving, online structure. Apply for an affordable personal loan here, even if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” Our comprehensive application was designed by financial professionals who understand that an applicant’s financial history can be complex, particularly in the post-recession era. Fill out the application in minutes and learn how much you qualify for within 48 hours. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

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 Mistakes to Avoid when Getting a Personal Loan

Don't waste your money on penalties and fees!

Don’t waste your money on penalties and fees!

 Between mortgages, car loans and department store cards, nearly every American has borrowed money at one time. The federal U.S. government is indebted to private lenders and other countries to the tune of 15 million dollars. States owe each other and their citizens in the form of bonds. If you need a personal loan to help you with education, an emergency, medical expenses and more, you have lots of company.

Since the loan will be amortized or spread out over years, every point of interest saved helps. When considering a personal loan, make sure you don’t make the following common mistakes:

  1. Applying only at your bank or your neighborhood banks.  Both credit unions and online banks offer lower rates and better terms because they spend far less on marketing, human labor and overhead. Many of their processes are automated. All those saved costs allow them to offer lower personal loan interest rates.
  2. Not knowing eligibility terms and incurring dings to credit. Every loan officer must check an applicant’s credit during the approval process. If you apply for loans that require excellent credit score when you only have a fair credit score, you won’t get the loan and your credit score will be impacted.  Some people apply for so many loans that they ruin their chances of applying for anything!
  3. Agreeing to the first loan terms offered. Most loan officers have some wiggle room on interest rates and terms. It’s important to at least attempt to get the numbers more in your favor to increase the chances that you’ll be able to repay on time.
  4.  Borrowing Money You Can’t Pay Back.  Asking for more than what you really need can get you into trouble. The interest on the extra builds up, raising payments and interest in a selfperpetuating cycle.
  5. Rushing through the fine print in the contract.  To avoid late payment penalties that could swell the principle, make sure you know the loan’s terms:
  • Amount of interest
  • Maximum debt
  • Penalties for skipping payments
  • Penalties for late payments
  • Length of loan

Get a Personal Loan Safely Online with A+ Rated First Financial

An online bank, First Financial provides a quick application that you fill out in the comfort of your home. Once you’ve been approved, the cash usually appears in your account that evening. To get daily financial tips remember to like our Facebook page.

 

4 Power Tips for Getting Personal Loan Approval Even with Bad Credit

Where achieving a healthy weight depends on limiting food (energy) intake and increasing energy expenditure, healthy financial profiles spring from a similar balance of limiting expenses and maximizing income over time. Personal loans support both sides of this balance, optimizing wealth if not in the next year, at least in the next five or 10.

Personal loans often serve to:

  • consolidate debt owed to high interest rate credit cards to lower rate loans. Lower monthly debt payments add up significantly over months and years.
  • provide the capital to finance the classes, degrees and business ventures that supplement income. Additional monthly income eventually increases exponentially.

Even if your credit score is under 640 (currently considered the lower end of “good credit”), you can get a personal loan.  Here are some tips for becoming proactive and getting the personal loan that balance your cash flow in your direction, bad credit or not.

  1. Apply for a secured personal loan.  If your name is on the title to a car or home, a bank may not even check your credit score. The asset, rather than your spending habits, gives the banker the reassurance that the loan will be repaid. Do consider whether you’re willing to lose this asset, however, should you be unable to pay back the loan. Get an idea of how much the car is worth through and how much your home is worth through. Lenders will typically lend only a portion of that amount.
  2. Consider requesting the least amount needed. Loan requirements get easier and easier the less you ask for.
  3. Research online and offline personal loan vendors up front BEFORE applying for one loan. Because each credit inquiry impacts your credit, the more banks that check your credit, the lower your score goes.  If your credit is under 640 and the bank only loans to those with “good credit,” you won’t win the loan and your credit score will drop, a lose-lose situation. Consider instead applying to financial institutions that specialize in bad credit loans. These firms have the products and resources to tailor a loan to your specific financial situation. More, you’re more likely to win the loan with just one inquiry.
  4. Consider Credit Unions and Online Financial Institutions.  Smaller and online lenders spend far less on marketing, labor and overhead. The online lender needs no bricks and mortar branches and a fraction of the labor as many decisions and actions are automated. Our blog post 4 Ways Online Banks Keep Cash Advances & PayDay Loans covers just how online lenders have the same level of security if not more than offline lenders.

 

Is the Personal Loan a Solution for You?

Consumers often find that once they begin their new financial habits (reducing expenses and increasing income), the process becomes addictive. Just taking charge of your finances will help you feel more confident and happy. Even if you’ve spent yourself into the “bad credit” category, having a plan and acting on it provides the reassurance that you won’t be there forever!

3 Common Situations When a Cash Advance is a Good Idea

woman with money problems

 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.

  1. You’re trying to avoid a credit check that impacts your credit score. When bills are due but funds are insufficient, some turn to the new credit card offers that come in the mail regularly. If you’re working to build your credit, however, you know that every credit inquiry lowers your score. A cash advance or payday loan doesn’t require a credit check. The requirements do include:
    • proof of employment
    • employment income of $800 per month
    • U.S. Citizenship
    • proof of a checking account
    • a short telephone call

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.

 

Payday Loans 101: How Do Payday Loans Work?

Payday Loans 101: How Do Payday Loans Work?

How to payday loans work? Learn everything you need to know about the precautions and benefits with our guide to understanding payday loans.

How Do Payday Loans Work?

Payday loans can be a real life-saver. Used wisely they are your knight in shining armor. They’re there to rescue you from financial ruin when all else has failed.

How do payday loans work? Find out how you could get yourself out of an impossible situation with a quick injection of much-needed cash.

Hard Times

Many people have moments in their lives when they’re short of cash. You may well have managed your finances well. But sometimes something unexpected comes up and your budget can be stretched to a breaking point.

Let’s say a heating system breaks down unexpectedly. It could be very cold, and there may be a few more weeks to go until your next paycheck. If you’re already stretched, there could just be no money left to pay for the repairs.

It could be that you don’t have time to apply for a bank overdraft. You may not even be confident that your application will be successful. Your credit cards may also be maxed out.

The Payday Loan Solution

It’s in these kinds of circumstances that a payday loan could be a solution. They’re a quick way to get the funds you need. They’re a stop-gap to enable you to keep your finances on track.

You’ll then repay the loan by the end of the month when you get paid. It’s a potentially life-saving choice for those who have poor credit or no credit history at all.

It’s often possible to get the cash you want on the same day if you can get an online application submitted early in the morning. You’ll need to be sure that you fill in any forms accurately.

How Do Payday Loans Work?

With these kinds of loans, lenders may keep a check from the borrower until their next payday. That would typically be when the loan and any finance charges would need to be paid back.

There are also lenders who offer longer-term installment loans. They’d require authorization to electronically withdraw multiple payments from your bank account. That would typically be on each pay date.

Payday loans are usually for amounts that range from one hundred to one thousand dollars. The maximum will depend on what is permitted in any given state as well as your monthly income. A normal loan term would be around two weeks.

The downside of payday loans is that the interest rates tend to be high. There could also be arrangement fees on top of this. Rates can be even higher in states which do not cap the maximum cost of the loan.

It’s important not to let a payday loan become a ‘debt trap.’ That can happen if you can’t afford the loan and the fees. You might end up repeatedly paying even more fees to delay having to pay back the loan. The debt can then spiral out of control.

Applying for a Payday Loan

Lenders will need your personal details. They will want to know how they can contact you. That usually means that you will need a phone that accepts calls and texts.

Lenders will also want information about your employment status and financial income. They may also want to see bank statements from the past few months. This is so that they can see evidence of the regularity and size of your paycheck.

Before you apply for a payday loan, gather together all this information. If you don’t do this, then you might slow down the whole process.

Lenders often will not carry out a full credit check or ask too many questions when deciding if a borrower can afford to repay a loan. Loans are usually granted based on the lender’s power to collect, rather than on the borrower’s capacity to repay.

Understand Your Credit Score

If you’ve just begun a college course, then you may find that you don’t have a credit history. Some lenders may still allow you to borrow in these circumstances. This will typically mean that the cash must be spent on books or college fees.

If your credit score is poor, you might still be able to get a payday loan. You must not be in a state of bankruptcy and you will require an active bank account. Lenders generally only let you borrow up to a smaller percentage of your income.

Limited Options

You should consider taking out a payday loan only in a time of real need. It shouldn’t be your first or ideal option. To an extent, it needs to be considered as a last resort.

That’s because there are real consequences if you fail to repay the loan. There will be a negative impact on your credit score. This will be a red flag for any future lenders.

Payday loans are not the right way to pay for luxuries you could do without. They’re there for necessities rather than something that you want.

You may want to go on a luxury vacation or buy a new and expensive computer. A payday loan would not be the most appropriate way to make the purchase.

The Costs Involved

It’s very important to read all the small print when taking out a payday loan. Check thoroughly so that you understand what the fees and charges are. You need to be aware of what you are getting into with payday loan.

The best advice is only to borrow the exact amount you’re going to need. It might be tempting to add on a little extra for the treat you think you deserve. This is never a good idea because of the fees you’re likely to have to pay.

Remember that the more you borrow, the more it will cost you to pay the loan back. That’s because you’ll be paying more interest and probably more in fees too.

When There’s an Emergency

How do payday loans work? They can be the lifeline you’re looking for when you have an unexpected expense and need a quick solution. You should always use them responsibly and with care.

Find out more about payday loans here and how online banks keep them safe and secure.

Personal Loans | First Financial

6 Advantages of Taking Out a Short-Term Personal Loan with Bad Credit

6 Advantages of Taking Out a Short-Term Personal Loan with Bad Credit

Believe it or not, there are ways that a short-term loan can help improve bad credit. Find out the advantages of taking out short-term personal loan here.

Over 43 million Americans have bad credit.

If you have bad credit, you might think you are stuck in a never-ending cycle. You need good credit to be approved for a loan, but you need to be approved for loans to build your credit.

If you can get approved for a loan, the terms are usually less than favorable.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your credit quickly and easily. One option is to take out a short-term personal loan.

These types of loans come with many benefits and few disadvantages. They can help build your credit and don’t come with the tradeoffs that bad credit loans usually do.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of short-term personal loans.

1. They Improve Bad Credit

Short-term personal loans allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

Most loans that those with less than stellar credit are approved for aren’t worth taking. The cost is often too high to the borrower.

And that’s if you can even get improved.

So if your credit doesn’t qualify you for a loan, how do you build your credit? This is where short-term loans come into play.

Short-term loans are less risky for the lender and the lender can expect to be paid back more quickly than with long-term loans. Short-term personal loans are customizable by the borrower.

This means you can choose a loan that works for you. If you simply want to use this type of loan to improve your credit, you can take out a loan for a few months.

So long as you repay the loan within the agreed-upon time frame, your credit score will improve.

2. You’ll Save on Interest

For the most part, short-term loans will save you money.

When you have a long-term loan, you end up paying more interest. This is simply because you will be paying interest for such a long time.

With short-term loans, you pay back the loan in a much shorter amount of time. This means you’ll pay less interest.

Even if the interest rate for the short-term loan is higher because of your bad credit, the interest paid will be less in the big picture because of the shorter time paying interest.

The loan amount might also be smaller, meaning the interest paid will be less. Short-term personal loans usually have much lower interest rates than credit cards.

3. Ease of Access

If you need a loan quickly, a short-term personal loan is the loan for you.

They are similar to payday loans in the fact that they are usually approved within just hours. Waiting to find out whether you will qualify for a loan can be torture, especially if you aren’t sure if your credit score will measure up.

While it depends on your lender, in most cases you will receive your funds either the same day or the next business day. This offers a level of convenience that is unique to the type of loan.

Short-term personal loans offer convenience and flexibility to the borrower. As mentioned above, the loans can be customized to fit your individual needs.

Most lenders are online and you can access their website 24/7. This means you can apply for a loan at any time and from anywhere.

4. Reduced Stress

Short-term loans are significantly less stressful than long-term ones.

You will avoid the dread of viewing your statements and continuously accruing interest for years at a time. Instead, you’ll see your loan being paid off quickly, boosting your confidence and your credit score.

When you have a long-term loan, the end is often not in sight. It’s easy for the looming loan to cause emotional stress.

Watching the interest accrue month after month and year after year can be downright torture. Even if you are making the minimum payment each month, you are barely making a dent in the principle.

Short-term loans avoid this problem and instead offer satisfaction upon repayment.

5. Less Risk

With short-term personal loans, you’ll know exactly how much you owe each month and for how long you will need to make payments.

These loans are sometimes offered unsecured as well. This means that you won’t have to put up collateral.

Common forms of collateral include personal assets like your home or car. Instead, your credit history and credit score will be enough for your lender.

If you have bad credit, you might be required to put up collateral. However, short-term loans are much easier to manage.

There is less risk of things getting out of control and you not being able to pay back the loan. As mentioned above, it’s easier to keep interest in check with short-term loans.

Therefore, your assets are at less risk. If you do end up going with a secured loan, you will have access to more favorable terms and lower interest rates.

6. Flexibility

Short-term personal loans offer you more time to pay than other fast cash options.

Payday loans, for example, have much shorter payback time frames. With short-term loans, you can set the repayment time frame so that it works with your life’s schedule.

You will also have more flexibility when it comes to choosing the amount of the loan. Borrowing limits are often significantly higher than you could borrow using a credit card.

Apply for a Short-Term Personal Loan Today

If you are looking to secure a loan with bad credit or improve your credit score, considering applying for a short-term personal loan. Your loan will help you establish good financial habits.

Click here to start your application to see if you qualify.

Personal Loan Vs Car Loan: Whats The Difference?

Personal Loan Vs Car Loan: Whats The Difference?

Personal Loan Vs Car Loan: Whats The Difference?

personal loan vs car loan

It’s important for an individual to distinguish between a personal loan and a car loan. We share how to tell the difference between a personal loan vs car loan.

Keyword(s): personal loan vs car loan

An average new car in America will set you back $32,000. This amount is too steep for many to pay for in cash.

For most people, taking a car or a personal loan is the most viable option but which should you go for between the two?

To answer that question, it’s important to understand what each of these options entail. In this article, we shall make an analysis of personal loan vs. car loan to help you make the right choice.

Personal Loans

A personal loan is an unsecured facility that provides the borrower with funds from the lending institution. The institution is most often a bank.

The funds are advanced in a lump sum, and the borrower can channel their loan funds towards any venture they see fit. These loans typically range from $1,000 to $ 50,000.

A personal loan can also be secured, meaning you attach an asset of value to your loan. On default or inability to repay your loan, the lending institution can seize the property to recoup their funds.

However, most borrowers opt for the unsecured loan.

Interest Rate

Because of the risk involved, unsecured loans attract higher interest rates than secured ones.

Their requirements are also more stringent, with the borrower’s ability to repay and previous credit history being scrutinized.

It does not end there, the amount you qualify for, and the interest rate at which a lender advances your loan are both dependent on your credit rating.

Even though there are things you can do to improve your credit rating, you will have to contend with high interest rates if your rating is less than stellar.

Loan Term

Personal loans have a repayment period attached. The longer the repayment period, the higher the interest you will pay by the time the loan comes to term.

The reverse is also true; you pay less interest with shorter loan terms. However, you should go for these only when you are absolutely confident that you can comfortably pay the higher amounts.

Car Loan

These loans are considered a secured loan.

The security, in this case, is the car you intend to buy. If you default on your payments, the dealer repossesses the vehicle to recoup his money.

The borrower makes fixed payments over the duration of the loan. As the borrower, you take physical ownership of the vehicle, but the financier owns the asset until you make your final payment.

Interest Rate

Because the car you buy is also collateral for your loan, a car loan is deemed to be low-risk financing.

It, therefore, attracts lower interest as compared to a personal unsecured loan.
The interest rate is also fixed from the onset, cushioning borrowers from increases experienced with personal loans.

Loan Term

Most car repayment terms are under 36, 48, or 60 months. Again, the monthly payments are higher for shorter repayment terms and lower with longer repayment terms.

Conversely, the interest paid is higher for more extended repayment periods than for shorter ones.

Unlike a personal loan where your credit history features prominently, your credit rating does not significantly affect your car loan application.

Similarly, an unfavorable credit rating does not significantly impact your borrowing amount nor interest rate.

This means you can still go for a pricey car with a poor credit rating.

Personal Loan vs. Car Loan: Pros and Cons at a Glance

As already discussed, these loans have their similarities and differences. They also have their advantages and disadvantages.

Personal Loan

The merits or personal loans are two-fold.

The first is that you can use your personal loan for a car, or channel it to other uses, partially or wholly. As such, a personal loan also offers more flexibility in repayments.

Personal loans do have a downside, however.

Due to their unsecured nature, personal loans employ stricter eligibility criteria and requirements. Upon qualification, you also pay higher interest rates.
Personal loans also lock out people with poor credit scores.

Car Loan

Car loan applicants enjoy lower interest rates, with faster approval processes. If you need a car and have a poor credit history, a car loan might be the only financing option available to you.

This notwithstanding, you need to put up a deposit to get a car loan. The amount will be dictated by the total cost of the car. This can be limiting.

In addition to this, you do not fully own the car until you have made your last payment.

Tips for Shopping for Financing for a Car

Whether you go for a personal or a car loan, there are tips to help you find a good financing option.

1. Determine How Much You Can Spend

Determine how much you can afford to spend. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to repay the loan within three years.

This cuts down the amount of interest and prevents you from paying more than the real value of the car.

2. Make Loan Comparisons

Contact your local banks and credit unions to see if you can be pre-approved for a loan, and what the interest rates are.

Compare bank rates with dealership rates, and do your research on any discounts that can be offered to you.

Find out if setting up automatic loan repayments or switching banks will lower your interest rate as well.

All this information will point you towards the most affordable option.

3. Have Your Financial Information Ready

The pre-approval process may include producing proof of income documents.

Be ready with this information, as well as any other financial information that can help your loan be approved and disbursed faster.

4. Start Shopping Around

When you reach advanced stages of loan approval, you can get to the fun part, which is shopping for and test driving different cars.

A personal loan offers more leverage in terms of bargaining power on your car of choice.

Do not shy away from negotiating with a dealer either. Shop around and find out the going rate for the car you want.

If you have an older car, it might seem easier to trade it in. While this is one way to go about it, selling your old car independently will give you a better return than trading it in.

Which Should You Go For?

The key take away on the personal loan vs. car loan question is to understand the differences and measure either type of loan against your circumstances to find the best fit.

First Financial is a leading financial solution provider to people with a poor credit score. Contact us today if you are in need of a personal or a car loan.

How to Obtain No Credit Car Loans

How to Obtain No Credit Car Loans

Though good credit is valuable, is there a such thing as no credit car loans? Yes! Find out how to easily obtain an auto loan without credit experience.

How to Obtain No Credit Car Loans

Did you know that approximately 45 million Americans have no credit score at all?

If you’re part of this group, you might think that it’s impossible for you to get approved for a car loan. That’s not exactly true, though.

There are lots of loans out there designed for people with low credit scores, as well as those with no credit score.

Read on to learn more about no credit car loans and how you can increase your chances of getting approved for one.

No Credit Car Loan Minimum Qualifications

If you have a bad credit score or no credit score, you can still qualify for a car loan. You just have to make sure you meet some other basic qualifications, including the following:

  • Have a gross monthly income of at least $1,500
  • Provide proof that you are a legal U.S. or Canadian resident
  • Provide proof that you are at least 18 years of age or older

If you have filed for bankruptcy in the past, you may also need to complete some additional paperwork to show that you authorized to purchase a car.

Many car dealerships also work with specific lenders to provide financing to people who might not otherwise qualify for an auto loan.

When you begin looking to purchase a car, consider asking the lender which dealerships they work with or recommend purchasing a car from.

Increase Your Chances of Approval

If you meet these minimum qualifications, there’s a good chance your auto loan application will be approved.

There are some other steps you can take to increase your chances even more, though, including the following:

Check Your Credit History

You may think you have no credit history, but it’s a good idea to double check before you apply for an auto loan. You might find out that you do, actually have a credit score.

Checking your credit report also allows you to notice and correct any errors that might affect your credit in the future.

Set a Budget

Figure out how much money you are able to spend on a car before you apply for a loan, too.

Think, specifically, about what you can afford to spend each month on the car and insurance. Don’t forget about maintenance and gas, too.

Doing these calculations and putting together a budget first will help you figure out how much money you should ask for when you fill out your loan application.

Consider a Higher Down Payment

You’ll have an easier time getting approved for a car loan — even if you don’t have a credit score — if you’re able to put down a larger down payment.

This makes you a more credible lending candidate. It will also help to lower your monthly car payments, so it’s a good strategy for every car buyer to use.

Consider a Co-Signer

You can also increase your chances of getting approved if you find someone who can co-sign your loan.

A co-signer is someone with a high credit score who agrees to take over your loan payments if you default.

Having someone co-sign your loan can help to bring down the monthly payments and give you better terms and interest rates.

A co-signer is a great option to consider.

Just keep in mind that it’s a big responsibility, and it can be difficult to find someone who’s willing to co-sign your loan. You may have to ask a few different people before you get a “yes”.

Gather Appropriate Documents

Make sure you have all the necessary documentation ready to go when you apply for your auto loan, too.

The following are some documents that will help you make a good case for yourself and prove that you can pay back the loan:

  • A copy of your bank statement to verify your monthly income
  • Documentation of recurring bills like your cell phone or utility bills — this helps to show that you pay your other bills on time each month
  • Pay stubs or other documents that provide proof of employment

If you can provide these documents when you’re applying for a loan, you’ll have a much better chance of getting approved.

Work with an Online Lender

You can also increase your chances of having your auto loan application approved if you work with an online lender.

Online lenders are often more flexible than traditional lenders and are willing to work with a wider range of customers.

Keep in mind that online lenders also tend to have better loan terms and rates, so it’s worth working with them even if you do have a good credit score.

Tips for Building Your Credit Score

If you want to build up your credit score before you apply for a car loan, there are a few different steps you can take, including the following:

  • Make all of your loan payments on time
  • Pay your utility bills and other bills on time, too
  • Open a credit card account and pay your balance in full each month (it’s a common mistake to assume that you should carry a balance over from month to month)
  • Don’t apply for too many credit cards or loans at once (this has a negative effect on your credit score)

Once you have your auto loan application approved, you can also use that loan to build your credit score.

If you make the monthly payments on time, you’ll start building credit and will have an easier time getting approved for loans in the future. You might also be able to refinance your loan later to get better terms.

Apply for No Credit Car Loans Today

If you don’t have a credit score but need a car, you still have options (that don’t involve taking public transportation for the rest of your life).

There are lots of no credit car loans that you can apply for.

If you meet the minimum qualifications listed above and keep these other tips in mind, you’ll have a much easier time having your application approved.

Are you ready to apply for an auto loan? If so, we can help at First Financial.

Contact us today to learn more about our auto loan requirements or to fill out an application.

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

Whether faced with an emergency or you need to borrow, discover the benefits of a credit product that suits your needs and great reasons for a personal loan.

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

We live in one of the strongest economies in the world. Yet, despite that strength, wages haven’t kept up and about 40% of Americans struggle to make ends meet.

Fortunately, there are financial tools that people can use to help them meet their monthly obligations or dig out of debt. Personal loans have easily passed credit cards as a preferred form of debt.

What are 5 outstanding reasons to take out a personal loan?

Keep reading to find out.

Why Are Personal Loans Popular?

Personal loans have moved past credit cards to become the fastest growing type of debt. To understand why let’s look at what personal loans are.

Personal loans are loans that you can take out for any reason. When you take out an auto loan or a home loan, it’s for those specific purposes. You borrow a certain amount of money at an interest rate determined by your lender and you make monthly installment payments for the term of the loan.

The terms of the loan can be anywhere from 6-60 months, depending on the amount you borrow. The great thing about personal loans is that they are available to people with good credit and bad credit.

Personal loans offer a lot more flexibility and stability than other forms of debt because you can take them out for a number of reasons, and you know what the monthly payments will be every month.

5 Reasons for a Personal Loan

Would you like to improve your financial situation? In that case, a personal loan may be a smart move for you. Let’s look at some of the more common reasons for a personal loan.

1. Consolidate Credit Card Debt

The most common reason why so many people turn to personal loans is to consolidate credit card debt. The average person has about three credit cards, which means three separate debt payments.

Depending on your interest rate, you can be paying much more in interest over the long haul than what you actually paid for.

What a personal loan can do for you is you can pay off those credit cards completely and just have one monthly payment. The monthly payment is likely to be lower than what you’re paying out every month.

The interest rate is likely to be lower than credit card debt, too. That means that you’re saving on your monthly payments and paying less in interest.

2. Start a New Venture

Starting a new business is an exciting opportunity that does require some start-up capital. Most small businesses cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to start up.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you are in debt or you are having trouble making ends meet, a personal loan can be a lifeline.

You can avoid the trouble of having to present a formal business plan when trying to get a business loan by getting a personal loan.

A personal loan won’t have the same strict requirements as a business loan, and you have the flexibility to invest the borrowed money as you see fit.

3. Add Value to Your Home

One of the reasons why people take out personal loans is because they want to take on a major home renovation project. A remodel could cost anywhere from $18,000 to $36,000 depending on the size and scope of the project.

Not many people have that kind of cash lying around, so they’ll turn to personal loans to finance the project.

It’s a smart move because these projects can add a lot of value to the home, which will increase the sale price. You’ll often see people renovate when they’re getting ready to sell, knowing that they’re going to see a return on those funds.

4. Cover Unexpected Expenses

Car repairs, a medical emergency, home repairs, pet emergencies can all take a bite out of your finances. If you’re having a hard time making ends meet as it is, how will you be able to come up with the funds to these possibilities?

That’s where a personal loan can help you. One of the reasons why people turn to personal loans for emergency expenses is because they will be able to pay it back in monthly installments.

5. Build Up Credit Score

Your credit score determines so much in life. Your ability to get a home, an apartment, a job, or any other forms of credit all hinge on those three numbers that make up your credit score.

Do you have to start building up a credit history or rebuild your credit?

Taking out a small personal loan will help you do that. With a small personal loan that’s paid back on time and in full, you’re showing creditors that you’re responsible with debt.

That will also help you increase your credit score.

Ready to Get a Personal Loan?

There are many reasons for a personal loan. When you do take out a personal loan, you want to make sure that you can either save money or make money.

Starting a business, consolidate debt, or start a home project that will pay off down the road are great reasons for a personal loan. The great thing about a personal loan is that you can take them out for any reason, even finance a vacation or a wedding.

Would you like to find out more about getting a personal loan for your financial situation? Find out more about First Financial’s personal loan programs here.

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.

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

How to Get a Personal Loan for a Remodel

 

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

-Jane Austen

a man nailing a board in a home remodel

Home has a magical place in Americans’ hearts, and lenders know it.

Because much of the U.S. economy is built on home ownership, the federal government encourages banks to lend to homeowners looking to remodel. If you want to get a personal loan for a home remodel, rest assured, many lenders will be happy to help. Interest rates on personal loans range from as low as 3.49% to as high as 36%. On average, they run from 10% to 32%.  Those going for a 32% loan typically plan to remodel the house, sell it fast and repay the loan as quickly as possible.

Today’s remodeler can get more money than ever (even with bad credit), but finding the right deal has gotten challenging. Use these guidelines to get clear on your needs and limitations before evaluating different lenders. Your first step is understanding how much you will need.

A Shortcut to Your Estimated Remodel Costs

HomeAdvisor.com provides estimates of how much your remodel will (or should) cost. It gives you the high, low and average prices. You can even fill in your zip code to get the most accurate figures. Lenders will ask for an estimate and accounting of your costs. They will also want a bid from a contractor that specifies labor, materials and other costs.

Create a spreadsheet or list of all the new features you’re looking for. In our kitchen example, a new stove can run anywhere from $400 to $5,000 for a premium gas range. In the bathroom, color-bathing with LED lights is the new rage. Get on board with your spouse or anyone else determining what will go into your remodel. Create a spreadsheet or list of all elements and their prices using a checklist from the internet that focuses on your specific room. Baseboards may be boring, but they cost money and that should be figured in (plus they make a room look really finished!)

Some costs homeowners tend to forget include:

  • Permits
  • Equipment rental
  • Clean-up and hauling charges

Going to a contractor with a spreadsheet of remodel elements sends the message that you know prices. When he or she then estimates labor, you can check those figures against. Labor typically runs 30 to 35% of the entire remodel. Once you get all potential charges, add 20% to 30% because, as contractors often say, “there’s always a wrinkle in the rug.” Unexpected issues will arise.

Elements that Figure Into Your Loan Amount and Terms

Lenders consider two elements when evaluating how much of a personal loan you can get for a remodel: your credit history and your income

To prepare for lenders’ offers (several is better than one), use CreditKarma or another service to uncover your credit score. The highest loan amounts and best interest rates go to those with good or excellent credit (no late payments in the last year and credit utilization (LINK to other blog post) 50% or lower). Still, as mentioned above, lenders like home remodeling loans because the federal government likes them. Therefore, even those with fair credit can get a personal loan for a remodel. You’ll just pay more in interest and possibly get a smaller amount.

To lower their risk, lenders evaluate your ability to make your monthly payments by examining how many other debts you currently have. They add up your monthly credit card, auto and student loan payments and then divide that figure by your monthly gross income. Many banks see a debt-to-income ratio or DTI of 35% as manageable. They recognize that you have some spending money left after paying your bills. They want this extra spending money to come to them, and will be eager to provide a personal loan.

A DTI of between 36% and 49% doesn’t mean you won’t get a loan. Lenders may want you to have a cosigner. Make these calculations before you apply for a personal loan so you can be prepared to select the right loan with the best terms.

Ready to Apply

The last piece of information you need when choosing a personal loan is the interest rate and fees the bank will charge. Lenders do NOT do a “hard pull” or serious credit inquiry when evaluating personal loan applicants. Instead they run a “pre-approval” or “pre-qualification” check.  This means you can review several offers before making a decision without any impact to your credit score. Once you select your lender, they make the hard pull ONCE.

A+ Rated First Financial Has Personal Loans for All Credit Scores!

Don’t let important home remodels go. A leaking roof can cause damage that multiplies your costs. First Financial has helped arrange tens of thousands of low-cost personal loans for home remodels. We have MORE loans for MORE applicants because working 100% online helps us reduce costs. Apply today!

 

How Wedding Expenses Pay for Themselves Long-Term: Recent Research

bride and groom holding hands in heart shape

Couples getting married today may wonder if the investment in a big wedding is worth it. And of course all kinds of family members have their opinions. And they have a point: the average cost of a wedding in the United States in 2017 was nearly $26,000. That money could go to the down-payment on a house, a superstar honeymoon or zucchini spiralizers for everybody!  (Millennials love their vegetable pastas.)

How to Save For Your Wedding Without Going Broke

Don’t jump to thrifty Aunt Gargamel’s notion that a wedding is a waste of money, however.

Psychologist Charles Kiesler studied the correlation of weddings and long-term marital success. He found all kinds of advantages to spending for that once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

After decades of research Kiesler concluded, “commitment is strengthened when it is publicly declared because individuals strive to maintain consistency between what they say and what they do.” In other words, a big wedding with many witnesses typically leads to a drive–even a need–to follow through on the commitment. The couple says their vows in front of their community, making a pact, not only with each other, but with all the onlookers as well.

Kinda makes sense, right?

The other advantage of a having a meaningful wedding is the effect it has on the two families involved. During the run up to the event, family members and even friends of the two partners get to know each other. They work together on different projects and share their experiences with the couple. Any time more connections are made throughout our society, the better. New friends are made at weddings. New couples even form when members of the wedding party peek around the bride and groom to bat eyes at each other. We are a social species after all, and extensive research has proven that the stronger and more numerous our connections, the happier and healthier we are as individuals. Having the wedding creates a strong network for the couple to rely on as they tackle big challenges like children, work stressors and deaths in the family. This safety net is priceless.

We know: the wedding is still $26,000! And with the economic downturn of 2008 – 2012, many parents of the those getting married are working madly to save for their own retirement rather than a child’s wedding.

One way to make the price a little more bearable is to take out a personal loan that you pay off monthly for several years. A $26,000 loan at a 7% rate for a 5-year term will run a couple $515 per month. Cost-cutting couples who marry in a park and follow it up with dinner at a reasonable venue can get away with a $10,000 wedding. Amortized at 7% for 5 years, the monthly payment comes down to $198 per month. Both of these figures assume borrowers have “good” credit in the 700 to 720 range.

The personal loan at 7% is a far better option than running up credit card debt where rates run from 15% to 29%. With the money coming up front, however, couples must learn how to budget carefully and with discipline. Having a big lump sum tends to tempt even the cautious to be more loose with cash, getting those extra centerpieces or consenting to let extra people come to the wedding.

With this in mind, take these steps to stretch every penny of the personal loan you qualify for.

  • Get quotes for all venues and services up front
  • Create a spreadsheet that makes comparing venues clear
  • Use cash for the down-payments to reserve venues and vendors
  • Enter all down-payments and payoffs into a budget spreadsheet, including dates

This way, when the loan arrives in your bank account, you can quickly send it to the appropriate vendors before you’re tempted to spend it. Luckily, you have an accountability partner: your betrothed!

But this could be where it gets tough. You don’t want this exciting time to be marred by bickering and disagreement. Be ready to compromise and give up some of your own wishes. Set expectations from the beginning and try to keep it fun rather than stressful. Of course, no two people approach finances similarly. Consider even working with a pre-marital counselor to figure out how you will negotiate different decisions and the budget. That $150 (per session) will come back to you many times over.

Get a Personal Loan for a Wedding: What the Bank Wants

That you’re even reading this post indicates your sincerity about doing everything you can to plan your wedding the right way. Because you won’t need to put up any “security” (car and home loans are “secured” loans), it’s considered an “unsecured loan.” Prepare to apply online for a personal loan for your wedding when you get these documents together.

Proof of income:

  • Bank statements
  • Any and all debts you may have including student loans
  • Basic income and identity documentation such as W2’s, drivers license
  • Social Security card
bride and groom after wedding

A+ Rated First Financial Has the Low-Cost, Online Personal Loans for Your Wedding

First Financial has connected thousands of brides and grooms with low-cost personal loans for weddings. Financing your wedding with an online personal loan is smart money-management. Online lenders can offer lower cost-loans because they don’t have the bricks-and-mortar branches, labor and marketing costs traditional banks do. More, online lenders offer MORE loans to MORE applicants because, with lower costs, they can take risks on more applicants. In fact, online lenders are renowned for acceptance rates far higher than those of traditional banks.

5 Best Budgeting Apps for People Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Man walking using a budgeting app

These apps take a little set-up, but after that, enjoy taking the brainwork out of every spending decision. Whether you’re just trying to cut down on needless spending or saving up for a big purchase, these apps help you reach your goal quicker.

Every Dollar

Available on Android, iOS and on desktop, Every Dollar has a very simple user interface that makes budgeting simple. User can expect to take less than ten minutes setting their first budget. The service ditches spreadsheets and offers many helpful visuals so you can see where your money is going. Tracking your spending and managing your money is super convenient with the app, and it syncs across devices so whenever you open it, you’re looking at the most up to date information. Every Dollar lets you budget confidently – the app is based on a proven plan that has helped millions of people get out of debt.

Mint

Available on both iOS and Android, Mint is one of the most popular money managing apps. Users can easily view all of their bank accounts in the app and categorize all of their expenses by category, such as utilities or food. Unique to Mint is that it lets you set spending limits for each category, and will send you an alert when you are approaching the limit. Users can also get a free credit score within the app. Lastly, users should feel safe using Mint, as it was developed by Intuit and backed by their security system.

Digit

Digit it perhaps the most unique app on this list. It does the basics like connecting to your bank account and view your transaction history just like the others. What sets it apart is that it analyzes your income and spending habits over time, and by using a unique algorithm it sets aside small amounts of money into a separate “Digit savings” account that it thinks you would have spent wastefully. Many users claim it has helped them save a lot of money, but if you don’t like it you can easily transfer the money back to your checking account for no fee. Lastly, the service has a “no overdraft guarantee” and promises to not take more money than you can afford out of your account.

Level Money

Level money is a great app for people who know the importance of saving and want to do it, while also spending their hard money however they choose. Level money lets you set a savings goal for a time period and helps you plan for future expenses, like bills. The app then informs you of any money you have left over – called spendable money – and illustrates this nicely with a helpful graph. The app also has a daily spending guide to help you stay focused on your financial goals, and will alert you if you’re spending more than usual.

Spendbook

This one is only for iOS users, and will cost $1.99. Spendbook has built in expense tracking and lets you set budgets. The app is very user friendly, adding a new income stream or expense transaction can be done with just a swipe down. The app lets you take photos of receipts and items you have purchased and then categorize them. Lastly, the app gives users a daily and monthly summary of their expenses, as well as charts and infographics to help users spot trends in their spending habits and look for ways to improve.

 

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)

First Financial® is a Federally Registered Trademark

©2020 First Financial®, All Rights Reserved. All other products and company names are trademarks of their respective companies.