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93% Approved Auto Loans: 2-Minute Smart-Application

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Explore your auto loan options and apply SAFELY while waiting for meetings, watching television or in the doctor’s office!

We’re excited here at First Financial to offer you top-of-the-line mobile bad credit auto loans you can apply for completely through your iPhone or android device. Our “bank-level” 128-bit encryption is just as safe if not safer than going into your local branch, filling out forms and handing them to a teller. In fact, it’s highest level of security currently allowed by U.S. law.

Don’t let one or two banks ruin your excitement about trading in or buying a car.  It’s more than likely that they WILL turn you down. . .  along with over 50% of your American neighbors who also  have “subprime” credit. Most banks are not specialists in bad credit auto loans. We’ve closed 1 million bad credit auto loans in the past 15 years!  

 A Bad Credit Auto Loan’s Limited Limitations

You may be surprised to learn that you need to verify just $1500 in monthly income, that you are a U.S. or Canadian resident and have had no repossessions in the past 12 months.  Those with bankruptcies that have been discharged or are in possession of Authorization to Incur Debt from the bankruptcy trustee still qualify.

Find Out How Much You’re Approved for Fast with First Financial

Our mobile bad credit auto loans mobile application gives you all the information you need in easy-to-read, smart phone format. You can:

  • estimate your loan approval amount
  • read car loan F.A.Q. so you can make the right choices
  • scan testimonials from happy customers
  • APPLY for the auto loan!

Our fast and simple online auto loan application and mobile auto loan application can get you driving within days. Want to keep an eye on lots of low cost online auto, mortgage, personal loans as well as the loan industry?

Getting Auto Loans in 2020 Just Got Easier . . .

car dealership lot

Recently, credit tracking giant broadcast some great news for those needing fair, poor and bad credit auto loans. It reveals that during the second-quarter of 2020 U.S. banks:

  • Approved 44% more bad credit auto loans than they did in the same period in 2019
  • Approved 22.4% more good, fair and poor credit auto loans than in in 2019

Banks are now more willing to lend to those whose credit scores dropped below “prime” or excellent . . . 700 or higher at this writing.

Before you start feeling thankful to the banks, however, keep in mind that this move is in their best interest as over 50% of all American consumers today fall into the “subprime” categories . . . namely good, fair, poor, and bad. To stay in business, the banks need to be more open-minded and “open the purse strings” more frequently. More, with unemployment still at historic highs, loan and car sales have been increasing but not at the rate a more robust recovery would create. Auto dealers and loan officers need customers! They need YOU, even if you have poor or bad credit.

 Tips for Getting Fair, Poor or Bad Credit Auto Loans

  • put at least 20% down, more if you can
  • consider a used car, even a one-year-old car. (Cars depreciate at least 20% in the first year alone. After that, depreciation slows.)
  • search the financial institutions that offer auto loans online. Internet banks have far lower marketing and overhead costs, and pass the savings on to the consumer. Their automated processes also help them keep fair, poor or bad credit auto loans interest rates affordable.

First Financial Has Fair, Poor and Bad Auto Loans that Make You Mobile!

While of course those in the prime or “excellent” credit category get the lowest auto loan rates, paying 7% to 10% or more for an auto loan still keeps reliable, attractive cars affordable. Ask a parent or grandparent what they paid for an auto loan at various times. Interest rates peaked in 1981 at 16% and only dropped under 10% as recently as 1997. Our fast and simple online auto loan application and mobile auto loan application can get you driving within days. Want to keep an eye on lots of low cost online auto, mortgage, personal loans as well as the loan industry?

 

 

Answering: “Why Doesn’t My Bank offer Cash Advances?”

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Question 1:  Why doesn’t my bank offer cash advances?

GET STARTED

Offline, bricks-and-mortar bank don’t see any profit in it. A cash advance is typically for a smaller amount of money: $1,000 or less, for a shorter amount of time: one month or less. By the time you fill out the forms, take the loan officer’s time and absorb the light and heat the bank needs to keep branches open, their profit has dissipated.  Online banks, on the other hand, have automated the process so efficiently, they can stay in business while offering small amounts of money for very short terms. The online banks are now even creating convenient cash advance apps for use on smart phones.

borrower getting cash advance

Question 2:  Does the teller really have a one-time great deal on loans I should consider?

The teller isn’t as interested in what you need as in meeting his or her sales quotas for the month. If you hate the hard-sell, stay out of bank branches at the ends of months or quarters when sales numbers get submitted. All tellers and loan officers are sales people with new account goals set by their managers. They even spend time cold calling in the back office. The tellers get points when they encourage people to apply for a loan with the loan officers waiting in the desks and offices beyond the counters. The loan officers get points for every loan they close. 90% of new teller training is SALES training.

Question 3:  Do I really need all these cards and accounts?

Probably not. Signing up for online bill pay, getting a debit card for a hobby business and setting up free checking all serve to get you more and more entrenched into that bank. In fact, these free/low costs offers are called “sticky.” If you saw a bank offered better rates down the street and wanted to move your account, you may be reluctant because the thought of setting up automatic bill pay, changing the checking to savings instructions on your accounts and getting issued new debit and other cards can feel pretty overwhelming. The more of these “products” tellers get you to accept, the more entangled you are in the bank.

The Smart Financial Consumer

Understanding the motivation behind what your local, brick and mortar bank teller offers can attune you to better offers at alternative financial institutions. Know that you can pick and choose the interest rates, terms and other details from a range of banks depending on what fits into your financial picture at the moment.

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

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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!

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3 Common Situations When a Cash Advance is a Good Idea

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blank 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.

 

Click, Click, Apply: How to Find Online Car Financing

Click, Click, Apply: How to Find Online Car Financing

Buying a car doesn’t have to be hours of paperwork in a dealership – sometimes you can get online car financing, learn about it here.

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Did you know that you can get online car financing with just a few clicks? Say goodbye to tedious paperwork and a slow approval process with the digital way of getting an auto loan, and drive off in your new set of wheels in no time.

Online financing has made it easy for people to apply for loans. The rates are very competitive, the process is fast, and one of the best thing about such loans is the ability to process bad credit car loans.

In as much as getting a car loan from the comfort of your house sound like a good idea, you need to be careful about who you borrow from. Take your time to find a lender with the best rates, quick approval process, and can accommodate your credit score.

Choosing an Online Auto Finance Company

Just like you took your time to choose the make and model of the car you want, you need to put the same effort when selecting an online auto finance company.

Even though it is possible to apply for an online auto loan with bad credit, you might have to pay a higher interest rate. Make sure you know what you are expected to pay monthly based on your current credit scores, your down payment, loan term, and the much you want to finance.

Here are four tips that you should have in mind:

1. Check for Options

Get quotes from different online lenders. Do not just settle for the first one you come across.

2. Pay Attention to the Fees

Lenders charge many fees that you need to know before settling on one. Be aware of such fees and do not forget to read the fine print so that you do not miss out on anything.

3. How Much Can You Afford?

Stay within your budget. Americans are highly in debt because of auto loans and you do not want to find yourself in this bracket. Therefore, consider all other costs of owning a car such as insurance, maintenance, etc. and factor them in.

Know how much down payment you are required to make and if you can afford it.

4. Your Credit Score

Some lenders do not give bad credit car loans. This means if you have a poor credit score, you need to look for a lender who can be able to accommodate it.

Benefits of Online Car Loans

Getting a car loan from an online lender is a very good option, especially if you have poor credit and need to have a car. There are several benefits of online auto loans:

1. Highly Competitive Interest Rates

Compared to a traditional lender like banks, online auto loans have very competitive rates. This makes it very affordable.

For example, with good credit, the APR on a 60-month car loan can be 2% points higher from a bank than online lenders. It’s a small difference but the interest can add up very fast.

2. Speed and Convenience

The application process for an auto loan is very fast. You can apply for the loan regardless of the time and your location. Some lenders only take 3 minutes to let you know if your application was successful or not.

You can also easily check your auto loan application status online. With this loan, you do not need to go to the dealership to know how much you can afford. You will get to know all that during the application process.

Comparing Online Car Loans

There are so many options to choose from in the market today. However, you want to get a lender who offers not only what you need but also what you can afford.

When comparing online loans, you need to keep in mind that you are going to have a very long relationship with your lender. Therefore, choose to work with a lender that is giving you the best and you are very content with their services.

Here is what you should compare:

Down Payment

Check if the lender can accept a trade-in as part of the down payment. The amount you give as down payment will affect the rates that you will be given and the loan term. Make sure you can afford it.

Application Process

How fast is it? What do they require? A good lender should have a very fast system that can give you an answer in no time.

Documents Needed

Are there any documents that you should send to the lender? Can they be verified online? Remember, online verification saves time, you need a lender who can handle the entire process online.

Total cost

This should be included as the APR. Compare two loans for the same amount given, the fees and interest rates affects the total cost.

Applying for an Online Auto Loan

Even though each lender is different. There are some basic steps that you will need to follow:

  • Find the lender that fits your need
  • Go to their site and select their application page
  • Fill out the application form making sure that you provide all the necessary details
  • Submit your application

Once done, you should be able to get a response within minutes after which. You can check on the loan terms, view the interest rates and any other fees.

You will then sign all the necessary documents and click submit. It is as easy as that. With that, you will be on your way to a dealership, with your financing as your back up and drive off with your new car.

Consider Online Car Financing and Get Your Dream Car Fast

Online car financing is a good option. If you have bad credit, all you need to do is to consider getting a less expensive car. This will make it easy for you to get financing, and manage to pay for the down payment as well as the monthly payments.

We offer online auto loan financing to those who want it irrespective of their credit scores. Check out our website, go to our auto loans page and start the process of applying for your car loan today. We are fast, easy and very professional.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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.

Is it Possible to Buy a Car With Bad Credit?

Is it Possible to Buy a Car With Bad Credit?

Buy a car with bad credit.

The average credit score in the United States in 675. This would be considered a ‘good’ credit score.

However, any score lower than that could be considered ‘fair’ and then plummet to poor or exceptionally poor. Sometimes it’s qualified as ‘bad’ depending on the company.

A poor or bad credit score can make life a little more challenging. It’s harder to acquire a loan, buy a home, or even a car with bad credit. Is it even possible to buy a car with bad credit?

The short answer is, yes! But what are the details of that yes? Let’s dive in a see how you can get a car with bad credit.

Buy A Car With Bad Credit: Hard, But Not Impossible

Purchasing a car, even with low credit is doable, though no doubt challenging. Here are a few key ideas to keep in mind.

1. Comb Through Your Credit Score

Before you visit any dealers, you need to have a solid grasp on your credit score and also your credit report. You can acquire your credit report for free and overlook it to make sure there’s no fraudulent activity and better gage reasons where you could improve your credit. If you spot inaccuracies on your report, it could be contributing to your low score.

2. Clean Up Your Credit

Some people need a car right away, but if you don’t, use this time to address those red marks on your credit report. For example, paying your bills on time has a significant impact on your credit score. Making on-time payments can boost your credit score and signals to lenders that you’re trustworthy.

If you’re not in a hurry to buy a car, take some time to evaluate your score and report. It could pay off especially when it comes to ease of securing a loan and the loan rate.

3. Budget, Budget, Budget

Often, low credit scores are a result of a chain reaction in your financial life. Not sticking to a budget, racking up debt, and the inability to pay it affects your score dramatically.

It can be tempting to buy the fanciest car possible but doing so could leave you with a large monthly payment. As a result, if the car payment is out of your budget, your payments could be late. This further destroys your credit.

Go over your monthly budget and bills to determine how much you can comfortably afford before you go car shopping. Researching current loan rates could help you negotiate when it comes time to buy.

4. Research Lenders

Some lenders are very restrictive about who they lend to. It’s recommended that you shop around and research lenders before applying for any loan, especially with bad credit.

Reaching out to your local credit union to pre-apply can make the application process smoother, as credit unions are more friendly to people with bad credit. Take into consideration lenders who work solely with those who have bad credit.

Avoid applying to several different lenders as this creates a hard inquiry on your credit report. A hard inquiry lets lenders know you’re interested in acquiring debt and can lower your score. Knowing this is one reason why researching lenders first are vital.

5. Inspect Your Terms

If you’re approved for a loan, pay attention to more than just the monthly payment, even though that’s the deciding factor for most buyers. A monthly payment amount is one part of your agreement, yet you could be paying more over the life of the loan if your payment is small. You might think you’re getting a good deal (at first), but over time you’re paying more than you want.

5. Save for A Down payment

Stock away as much money as you can to use as a down payment if you have plenty of time before you need a vehicle. A down payment shows lenders or dealers that you’re serious about purchasing a car and making the payments. In some cases, it can even lower your interest rate and also your monthly payments.

If you’re the overachieving type, save up your money and pay for the car in cash. Doing this avoids having to work with lenders, and you don’t want to worry about a monthly payment.

6. Think About A Co-Signer

A co-signer is a person with good credit who signs the loan with you. This seems less risky to lenders because they have someone who will pay the loan if you cannot. Bringing along a co-signer increases your chances of getting loan approval.

There are some risks that accompany having a co-signer. This debt also shows up on their credit report, and their score takes a hit if you cannot make payments on time. The relationship between you and your co-signer could be severed or damaged if you default on your payment.s

7. Shop Where You Can Finance

Some dealerships offer their financing which could work in your favor. In this case, you avoid having to apply to a third-party lender. Certain dealerships work primarily with those that have low credit.

It’s important to note that it’s possible these dealer-lenders offer interest rates that are sky high and could include repossession in their terms if you cannot make the payments. Usually, they do not report to the credit bureau, so using these loans to build your credit is out of the question.

Don’t Let Bad Credit Stop You

If you have to buy a car with bad credit, don’t stress. Even though it might be hard, there are ways to own your car and rebuild your credit.

Are you looking for more information on auto loans? We’re here to help! Here’s some answer to questions you may have.

Take the Pain out of Monitoring Your Finance

Go from bad credit to good credit without beating yourself up

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Can there be any joy in monitoring your finances? Your bank balance is disappointing more often than not. Trimming expenses doesn’t bring any joy. Reminders of irresponsibility can be a gut punch.

Still, a different mindset can help you make the changes to put you on the path to good credit.   

Begin by forgiving yourself for financial mistakes

The shame and blame we heap upon ourselves for not being where we want to be financially can make our situations worse. It leads us to avoid confronting credit spending, recurring debits from bank accounts, balances on personal loans or car loans, and important conversations with family members.

Shame springs from an idea that the individual has departed from social norms. Start dismissing your shame when you understand that one in three others you’ll meet today also have credit under 601. That’s right—one-third of Americans today have bad credit.

The individual experiencing bad credit has lots of company. And is this all their fault?  With aggressive companies relentlessly bombarding us with messages that we deserve their products and that we must keep up with our peers, it’s no wonder we overextend ourselves.

If you can grab your financial issues “by the horns” so to speak, you have made the first

 step on the path to success. Some psychologists tell us that, “a willingness to endure discomfort and capitalize on challenge is a trademark among successful, fulfilled individuals.” While it will require a little effort, put a budget in place, inform those who may impact it, stick to it. You’ll quickly find positive feelings about yourself and your financial situation multiplying. As Benjamin Franklin told the framers of our constitution, “Once begun, half done.” Those quill pens got to writing, despite their enormous task. 

Gamify Your Savings

Rather than tracking every $3 coffee, focus more on a positive indicator: your savings level. As that rises, set a reward after reaching certain amounts. The reward could be you get to buy a new piece of clothing or 10 shares of SnapChat stock. Set these levels up ahead of time and stick to these commitments. These rewards can offset the sense of loss from avoiding day-to-day overspending.

Take the pressure off when you avoid social media

First and foremost, understand that social media is simply carefully selected snippets of your friends’ and family members lives. What they choose to share is designed to elicit envy. Those of us here at First Financial are constantly surprised at friends’ life-is-so-great posts and how these compare to what we know are their real struggles.

What’s more, when you focus on others, you remove your attention from your own issues. If you have bad credit, all your attention needs paid to your spending and savings plans.

Let the social world turn without you when you use a religious tradition, mindfulness, meditation or good old smart reading to understand how pointless it is to compare yourself to friends, relatives.

Deepen Your Relationships when You Lay It All Out for Loved Ones

Serious conversations with loved ones can be intimidating, particularly when they’re about money. Strategize how to take the sting out of belt-tightening before you tackle it with those you love. In other words, have alternate plans to take the place of lavish habits so that your new financial regimen doesn’t translate as 100 percent loss.  

First, explain how it’s important now to join forces for common goals and how these efforts will unite you. Emphasize that working together for financial fitness by cooking meals together, going to resale and thrift shops and competing for better money saving strategies will get you talking and sharing more. Also, make sure you include your family members’ long- and short-term goals in your planning. Study after study reveals that children and spouses prefer experiences and time spent together over material goods anyway. Shared experiences just connect us better and for longer than shared material consumption. Use that research if you have to!

Your new financial fitness system may benefit from gratitude journals. Everyone should jot down at least one thing they’re grateful for every day. Sharing is optional, but when these grateful moments that include others are shared, it strengthens bonds. These journals, particularly effective when an individual is feeling particularly short-changed, have proven to increase happiness significantly.

What personal loan amount can I get?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Know the 4 Most Common Auto Loan Mistakes Before you Go to the Dealer

cash and car for auto loan
Be aware of auto loan pitfalls and save! 

 

Want to hear something scary? “The big mistakes are made in the financing office,” explains Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, the auto research website. “Making the right decisions can save thousands over the life of the loan.”

A car is a big purchase with a lot of moving parts. Dealers makes their profits between the gaps in buyer’s knowledge and they may try to confuse by unleashing lots of terms like “negative equity” and “origination fees.” Use these recommendations from experts to save thousands over the life of your car loan.

Don’t let the dealer define your credit score or credit “worthiness.”

Walk into the showroom with your credit report snugly in your back pocket. Otherwise, you run the risk that the salesperson leaves your negotiation only to come back with bad news about your credit. And of course that score isn’t high enough to get you the best rates. Who knows if he or she was checking your scores or playing a quick game of hacky sack? Dealers know that most consumers do not check their credit before being lured in by deals. Don’t make yourself vulnerable to this unethical treatment.

We discuss how to find your credit score easily in our previous blog post on rebuilding your credit (LINK). Just go to Annualcreditreport.com, fill out a few fields and your report arrives in you inbox instantly. Trust these results from the only free site authorized by the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission. Typically, anyone with a credit score of 720 or higher gets the lowest interest rates as they’ve demonstrated the most responsible money management. Still high 600s to low 700s is considered a “good” score. Those with lower scores can still get loans, but they will pay more in interest and fees.

Another way to check your credit is to get pre-approved from an outside lender like your bank or by applying for an online auto loan.  If you can manage to shave just 1 percent from your car loan, you’ll pay hundreds less over the next five or six years.  

Don’t make the wrong choice between a loan interest rate and a cash rebate.

Sure, the cash rebate feels enticing. And it might be the right choice if you use it to pay off other, higher interest loans like cash advances or credit cards. Basically, you need to decide if you want a lump sum up front or lower monthly payments over the next five or six years. Of course, not every car buyer is offered low-interest car financing, only those with the best credit scores. Again, know your score before you go to the dealership.

Don’t roll negative equity forward.

Some like to get new cars every two years. Often, they walk into the dealership with their auto loan “upside down.” That means they still owe more on the car than it’s worth. While those loving shiny new cars can get their next ride even if their loan is upside down, they’re putting themselves on a downward financial spiral.

Dealers don’t care what financial shape the car buyer puts themselves in. They will just add the negative equity–what you owe–into the purchase price of the new car. Chances are, this frequent buyer will just roll even more negative equity into the next new car, too.

Rather than enter this vicious cycle, consider buying a used car. A car loses much of its value in the first two years off the lot. And today, most cars are built to last 250,000 miles. Consider keeping the car longer and buying used to get the most for your car budget.

Don’t finance costly add-ons.

Just as movie theaters make most of their money on the popcorn, 37% of auto dealer’s profits come through aftermarket add-ons. These add-ons include  extended warranties, fabric protection and paint sealant and they are always less expensive from vendors other than the dealer. These costs feel like a no brainer when amortized over the life of the loan. The salesperson is quick to tell you that they add just a few dollars to every payment. Still, even $20 more over 60 payments is an additional $1200–real money.  

Don’t hesitate to question all fees.

With the deal wrapping up, a buyer’s guard is down. Salespeople know this well. The deal takes so long for a reason. It’s at the end that a salesperson may bring up unusual fees that may have official sounding names. Review all of the legitimate fees here and don’t hesitate to push the salesperson to drop anything that sounds suspicious.

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A+ Rated First Financial Approves Auto Loans Up to $45,000

Better Business Bureau A+ rated First Financial has helped arrange over 1,000,000 auto loans, some with approved amounts of up to $45,000. We have loans for borrowers with all credit scores, even fair poor and bad credit. Take three minutes to apply here for a new or used car loan and get your answer fast!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

 

Credit Score Hit by Holiday Shopping? How to Rebuild with Credit Cards

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The bill for the holiday fun comes due in January when the credit card statements arrive. You may even have used a quick cash advance to get all your gifts purchased during November and December. Prepare now to tackle those bills AND improve your credit score throughout the new year.

Step 1: A Few Clicks Gets Your Credit Report in Your Inbox

The first of the year inspires all kinds of resolutions. If you want this new year to be when you get your financial house in order, it’s time now to tackle that daunting document: your credit report.

You’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months. Annualcreditreport.com is the only free site authorized by the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission. Don’t be intimidated. Just fill out a few fields, check some boxes and it comes right to you.

Step #2: Take a Look at Your Credit Utilization

Statement in front of you? Good. We’ll take it step by step.

The first element of your credit card examine is your credit utilization–basically, how much credit you have used compared to the total that banks are willing to lend you. Those using 50% of their available credit on any one account or 50% of credit offered across ALL accounts have lower scores than card holders using less than that halfway point. If you’ve spent $10,000 of a $15,000 limit, you’re using 67% of your available credit. Your annoying brother-in-law using only $5,000  of a $15,000 limit has a 33% credit utilization rate.

Credit utilization accounts for a whopping 30% of your score. It’s also rather simple to improve. How? Apply for new credit cards and ask for the highest limits. Then, assuming you start with the $15,000 credit limit we discussed above, an additional $10,000 in new credit available to you gets you to a new limit of $25,000.  $10,000 out of an available $25,000 credit line creates a 40% credit utilization, far lower than 67%. Keep working on it and you’ll be below 30% in no time.

Credit card limits are tricky. Even if a credit card issuer approves you for $10,000 or $20,000, it doesn’t mean they think you have the income to spend all of that. Approved for $20,000? Best to keep your debt to $10,000 and under.

Your new January approach will be to work your credit card balances down below 50% of your limits or the amount your bank permits you to borrow. Whether that’s through paying down balances or opening new credit lines depends on your financial situation.

Step 3: Look at Late and Missed Payments

Where credit utilization accounts for 30% of your credit score, late payments impact it even more. Even one payment that’s late 30 days starts shaving points, but 60 and 90 day late payments wreck real havoc. At 120 days, most card issuers hand the account over to a collections agency. Now you’re talking about having your credit score drop into the 500s.

If you see that you have late payments, don’t despair. These three options may get them removed:

  • Ask the creditor for a “goodwill adjustment,” based on the responsible payments you have made.
  • Tell the creditor you will sign up for automatic payments debited from your bank account if they remove the late payment.
  • Claim the late payment is inaccurate. This works only if you have documentation, however.
  • Employ a professional to negotiate with the creditor.

After you’ve addressed your credit utilization and payment history data, you can go forward knowing exactly how to put your best foot forward in rebuilding your credit.

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Step 4: Rebuild with Secured Credit Cards

With a firm understanding of how credit scores are calculated and how your behavior contributes to them, you can be confident about finding credit cards that will stabilize your finances.   

Keep that positive in mind when you find out that you most like will need to start out by using “secured” credit cards that have fees, low limits and may even require a deposit. Banks and the U.S. government want you spending, so the secured credit card is the way they make it happen.

These credit cards work just like a regular credit card, except you deposit often the same amount of cash collateral that they permit you to spend. What’s the benefit, then? These secured credit cards report to the three credit bureaus ( Experian, TransUnion and Equifax ) that you’ve shown responsible use of your secured credit card. Every on-time payment gets documented.

Eventually, the secured credit card company should approach you about using an unsecured credit card, where you don’t have to put up the cash. If they don’t after six to nine months, by all means apply for a different unsecured credit card or approach your current company for the same opportunity. The credit card company will consider how you’ve managed –not only your secured card– but all of your credit cards and loans.

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Once you get the unsecured card, your collateral from the secured card comes back to you, given you’ve paid all charges.  

Come Back from Your Holiday Spend the Smart Way

Holidays are not ALL about the gifts, but they sure make these few days out of the year more fun. And the fun is not just in receiving, but giving. In fact, studies have shown that those who spend money on others feel happier  and have more of a sense of purpose than those who don’t. Gift exchange has promoted connection and well-being since prehistoric times. If your generosity is crushing your credit score, rest assured you can work your way out slowly but surely.

 

Pay Off a Cash Advance with a Seasonal Job

nylon display in retail store

You can do anything for a few weeks, right? You might even have fun selling in a fast-paced department store. You’ll certainly get some deals. And if the extra income helps you pay off your cash advance, all the better! More, paying your cash advance off early saves significant money. Keep all the income from your paycheck and use only your side-hustle money to pay off your cash advance.

This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that their retail clients will hire nearly 700,000 seasonal or temporary workers. You can get work anywhere, including “big box” stores, local dollar shops, department stores and warehouses. You may even get a gig singing holiday wishes!

Perks of Seasonal Jobs

Seasonal retail jobs can offer some surprising benefits. Temporary employees can get the same protections and benefits as part-time or full-time workers; the U.S. Department of Labor mandates it. This includes being paid overtime and receiving at least the state’s minimum wage.

Seasonal work can also be more stable than it first appears. Your first job sets you up to come back for that same job the next year. You may even get an offer to stay on permanently, even if it’s just a one-day or two-evening per week shift. Extra money, particularly early in your career, sets you up to meet long-term financial goals.

Holiday seasonal work is not just about cash however. Retail workers typically get 20% to 30% discounts on store items they couldn’t afford otherwise. In some cases, a retail store will pay to fly you to their location and put you up in a hotel. It is a zero-employment economy after all. Stores are getting desperate for workers who will push their merchandise during the busiest time of the year. The National Retail Federation tells us that retailers make between 25% and 30% of their annual revenues just during November and December. If they’re pushed to their labor limits, they will bend over backwards to get your behind a cash register.

Working seasonal jobs can also be a way to “try out” different brands and locations to explore what you want. Applicants without experience have a much better chance of getting a job during the holiday rush than other times of the year. Build your resume while exploring your work options.

Seasonal Job Limitations

While the opportunity for extra cash and exploration seem irresistible, these benefits may not cut it for some. Keep in mind that you may be working while friends and relatives are getting together to celebrate. You will miss out. Consider whether you will be willing to work on Christmas Eve, Hanukkah, or other holidays. Also, saying you can’t make a certain shift isn’t going to impress a boss desperate to fill shifts.

Working during cold and flu season may be a risk as well. If you are sick, you don’t get paid time off or sick days. You just miss out on that day’s pay. Finally, health insurance or retirement plans may be limited.

Those currently getting unemployment benefits may have them suspended or limited if they take on seasonal work. Check with your state’s labor expert to get reliable answers.

Non-Holiday Seasonal Jobs

Those who find themselves thriving in the seasonal workforce can extend their adventures. In January and early February, temporary work forces are looking for people to staff super-bowl and Daytona 500 related events. By March, they need Easter bunnies to keeps squirmy kids engaged in high-end restaurants at Easter brunch. In the summer, it’s not hard to find a tour guide job in most major cities. By Halloween, why not put on the face paint and stalk haunted house visitors, moaning with arms stiff in front of you? It could be the role you were made for!

How to Find Your Pick of Seasonal Jobs

Today, the first place we all go for good information is the internet. Those exploring to discover their options can start broad by first going to:

  • Monster and Indeed which list thousands of seasonal jobs. Search in your area to limit results.
  • com: founder Bill Berg started this site after finding his dream job in Yellowstone National Park. Search admin, educational, jobs with fish, ranch jobs or even jobs specifically for teenagers.
  • com brands itself as a “working-travel” website. Search summer jobs, ski jobs, gap year jobs, childcare, hospitality and sports, water and outdoor positions.

Already have a dream retailer in mind? When you see how many workers your favorites need during holiday 2018, your confidence will soar. We’ve linked each retailer with its job listings here:

Amazon Seasonal Jobs –  adding 100,000, all starting at a rate of $15 per hour.

Kohl’s Seasonal Jobs – adding 90,000 in 1,100 stores, distribution and fulfillment centers.

Target Seasonal Jobs – adding 120,000, all of whom will receive 10% discounts and opportunities to earn extra pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

UPS Seasonal Jobs –  adding 100,000 full- and part-time seasonal workers from November through January 2019. 35% of company’s seasonal workers get permanent jobs after the holidays.

Macy’s Seasonal Jobs – adding 80,000 seasonal workers. Employees also typically get 20% off on top of sales and discounts.

FedEx Seasonal Jobs – Adding 55,000.

J.C. Penney – adding 39,000.

woman working in retail

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Know these 2019 Auto Loan Trends Before You Buy a Car

aston martin with a good auto loan

There are some pretty sweet 2019 automobiles hitting the markets right now.

Acura redesigned their luxury compact RDX. Subaru is doing it’s Outback one better with its the 3-row Ascent SUV. Pickup trucks have been re-tooled as well. The compact Ford Ranger gets a sporty new design, and Chevy has modernized its powerful Silverado.

And then there are the high-tech features!

Internet connectivity, which sounded space-age just a few years ago now comes standard on many models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto puts a range of entertainment and navigation options at drivers’ fingertips.

But before you let these new models and technological advances bewitch you, understand the trends in 2019 auto loans so you can get a deal.

Trend:  Slowing car sales

Why?:  Millennials and urban dwellers are avoiding buying cars because they find Uber and public transportation sufficient. Millennials also put less focus on material possessions reflect status. They are not enthusiastic buyers of cars OR homes.

For You:Car manufacturers and dealers will offer more incentives. Car prices will stay steady from 2018 to 2019.

Trend:  Lower loan origination fees

Why?:  Cloud processing, automated application review, and digitized documents mean dedicated, in-house loan analysts now have to get jobs at Subway. It also means lower labor costs for lenders.

For You: In the competitive auto loan market, lenders have to compete on price. Therefore, the buyer has more power to negotiate the 1% to 2% loan origination fee.

Trend:  Eight-year car loans

Why?:  Cars are lasting longer. Toyotas and Hyundais tend to get the most praise for working well after 200,000 miles.  According to autobytel.com, however, American models like the Chevy Impala and Buick LaCrosse hold up well into the 200,000 mile range as well. “Every new car today is built to last a quarter of a million miles,” explains Mike Calkins, AAA technical services manager. Taxi drivers brag that their Priuses make it to 600,000 miles!

For You: Car buyers who like to keep their cars for a long time can get more car for their budget with an 8-year car loan. While they’ll be in for more interest payments, using that money in other better-performing investments offsets auto loan interest costs.

Trend:  Rising interest rates

Why?:  With the economy thriving, the federal reserve has raised the federal funds rate eight times since the end of the Great Recession. It’s now at 2.25%. Most economist predict “The Fed” will bump rates up three more times in 2019 and then at least once more in 2020. With a federal funds rate at 3.25%, you bet the average auto loan cost will rise.

For You:   The tricky thing is, as happens with homes, when auto loan interest rates rise, car manufacturers tend to compensate with lower prices. They know about how much their consumers can spend each month on a car payment. Still, when you go into the dealership, don’t be surprised that the 1% interest rates have disappeared.

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Mortgage Rate Predictions for 2016

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U.S. Consumers Offer Their Mortgage Rate Predictions For 2016

blank Buy now? In four months? In a year?
Some of the stress can be taken out of the home buying decision when you realize that mortgage loans can always be re-financed, although with some fees and hassle. Keep in mind, too, the old saying,
“The best time to buy real estate is always 10 years ago.”
Ten years into the future, you won’t remember how you fretted over whether you should wait or buy right now. You’ll have 10 years of family memories in the home and neighborhood you’ve come to love.

All this said, when making this huge decision, it’s wise to research where mortgage interest rates are going in 2016. This past spring the most influential economists predicted that the Federal Reserve would raise the prime rate this fall in the August meeting. But then China became unstable, Greece revisited bankruptcy and American employment figures disappointed many. Interest rates stayed the same.

So, once again, now in the fall of 2015 pundits expect Janet Yellen and “the Fed” to hold off raising the prime rate (which in turn raises the mortgage rates) until the beginning of 2016, if then. Keep in mind, too, that America is facing a new challenge. The millennials, many of which are going into their home-buying 30s, seem to be holding off on buying homes. With their parents impacted by the recession, students themselves took out loans, many of which were as predatory as the balloon and interest only home loans that got their parents into trouble. Recent grads now shoulder an average of $30,000, and some have $100,000. They’re paying interest and principle on this big debt, eating into their home fund monies.

Particularly after seeing parents and friends lose homes, this huge generation (90+ million by most counts) seems fine with renting for the foreseeable future. In fact, it’s the renting millennials who’ve driven rental prices up in the past three years. Millennials aren’t exhibiting the home ownership drive their parents did. They’ve learned that Europeans rent families rent the same homes for generations, and don’t necessarily see home buying as the only signal of success. Finally, the tiny home and simplicity movements tell us that the millennials may not buy into the 3,000 square foot, brand new home. Therefore, home prices may not rise as they did in in the early 2000’s.

For now, housing prices may rise a bit over the next year, but most agree that they won’t skyrocket. Federal Reserve officials keep dropping that they’ll raise rates only when the data indicates the economy is heating up. With this month’s disappointing employment report, yet again, that doesn’t look like a possibility soon. Keep in mind that for the last three years, quarter after quarter, economists have been saying that THIS is the quarter the economy will rebound with a vengeance. Still, we’ve had at least 12 quarters of just tepid growth.

If unemployment takes a big dip and inflation looms on the horizon, Yellen will have to tighten. If that first rate hike doesn’t torpedo the stock market, she will continue throughout the year, but ever so gently.

The bottom line? Mortgage rates creeping up but very slowly in 2016. Watch the employment reports. The minute “employment leaps,” rate increases will heat up.

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