• Articles

First Financial cash advance

The Intricate Workings Behind the Cash Advance or Loan Offer Scam

We will never ask you to send us money upfront for any reason.

*We do not have foreign call centers or automated phone dialers. We do not do direct mail, email or phone solicitation for any service we offer.

*All applications must be completed online at our website. Do not send money or give anyone your banking information over the phone, thru email or on a paper application you received. Our applications online are the safest and most secure way to submit your application.  

Every day in the United States, hundreds of people turn over the last of their hard-earned money to scam artists. According to the FBI, scams related to cash advances and loan offers add up to millions each year.

How can so many be defrauded so easily? Careful criminal planning.

American and overseas operations start by creating websites that resemble those of a government agency or a familiar banking institution like Citibank, Money Mutual or First Financial. They advertise loan offers at very low rates on these websites, but they never make a single loan. They simply collect your personal data including bank account numbers, social security numbers and more. They deny every applicant, BUT the information they’ve collected is a gold mine.

They sell it to a second operation. Using a familiar bank name and the target’s personal information, this second company has little problem convincing unsuspecting consumers that it’s legitimate. Often, it explains that it has “more flexible” loan requirements because it is larger or more efficient or specializes in a certain area. The borrower need only prove they can make the first payment to win the loan. Here’s where alarm bells should go off. The “loan agent” then asks the borrower to put the first payment on a Walmart Green Dot or other cash card or wire the money electronically.

When the loan amount doesn’t arrive in the borrower’s bank account, the “loan agent” explains that another sum is needed for insurance. This technicality can be taken care of, again, by putting the amount on a cash card and providing the cash card numbers to the “loan agent” . . . as soon as possible, of course. To learn more signs of certain fraud, read the Beware Common Cash Advance and Loan Scams: Clear Signals of Fraud page in our consumer notices section.

Cash Advance and Loan Fraud Will Always Be with Us

Most of us can’t comprehend taking someone else’s money let alone spending months constructing elaborate schemes, telephone scripts and letters to defraud people in sometimes desperate situations. Our own rejection of such malicious acts sets us up to believe the friendly “loan agent” at the other end of the line really does have our best interests at heart. When a loan proves to be fraud, many prefer to keep the incident to themselves. If you’re in this situation, please don’t let embarrassment paralyze you. These criminals worked hard to concoct the perfect fraud. You didn’t stand a chance. BUT by reporting everything you know to the proper authorities, you can help keep more people from becoming victims. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FBI both work hard to find and shut these scams down. If you or a loved one has become a victim of fraud, report the crime to the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. If an illegitimate “loan agent” uses the name First Financial, please call us right away at 800-315-7791 so we can report it to the state attorney general’s office.

Report a crime: FBI – https://www.ic3.gov / Federal Trade Commission – https://www.ftc.gov

A+ Rated First Financial Gets Money to You Fast . . . and Ethically

First Financial proudly adheres to strict ethical standards set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If you need funds for medical bills, car or computer repair or anything, fill out one of our easy loan applications. With automated services and low overhead (no physical buildings to staff and power), we can charge lower rates and fees than neighborhood banks. Stay connected to First Financial’s offers through our Facebook.

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

blank

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.

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

Offline banking

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

We also bet that—today—these same people order all kinds of clothes, books and electronics online. That fact that, back then, they were too careful, too “smart,” to shop with credit online is a distant memory. They may not even admit to being so short-sighted!

These days, people willingly upload all kinds of personal information. The magic of ever-improving “encryption” and other tools enable one consumer to interact with a store on a one-to-one basis, just as if they were standing right at the Macy’s counter. These days, more and more people, too, are turning to cost-effective, convenient online banking for their financial well-being.

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

Because some are still a bit leery of banking over the internet, we’d like to reassure you that even for cash advances and payday loans, banks utilize extensive protections to keep your banking and personal information safe. The following four measures keep critical details private.

Read these to ease your mind about the safety and security of obtaining a cash advance online through your computer or even your smart phone using a cash advance app.

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

When all you need is a checking account, an email address, an internet connection via smartphone or computer, why not transact your cash advances and payday loans online? Once you are approved, you can handle the details of your cash advance or payday loan from the comfort of your home or office, where you have time to think and review your financial documents if need be.  Online banking is open 24/7, too, making it convenient for you to get cash when you need it and set up the next day for success!

3 Common Situations When a Cash Advance is a Good Idea

woman with money problems

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.

 

Personal Loans | First Financial

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

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

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

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

cash advance

43 million Americans have bad credit, with the bulk of these being young consumers.

While student loans and tough economic times can be blamed for this, poor planning and a low comprehension of credit facilities are partly to blame as well.

Cash advance loans are very convenient and can be hard to resist, but they can also put you in trouble.

How do these loans work, and how can you ensure to get the most out of them?
Here is an in-depth cash advance guide.

What is a Cash Advance?

Your credit card lets you use your credit card to get a short term loan at an ATM or a bank. This is then paid back in the same way you pay for anything you put on your credit card.

In a way, this is like using your credit card to ‘purchase’ hard cash, which you then use to buy goods and services. In this way, you get to borrow cash against your credit card limit.

The same way you use your debit card to get cash from an ATM, you get cash from a credit card to be repaid with interest.

The difference between a credit card advance and a payday advance loan is that the latter is not dependent on your credit card.

When to Get Cash Advance

If you typically do not carry paper money for your day to day spending, you might run into trouble when you need to pay for something at a business that only accepts cash payments.

In such cases, being allowed to convert your credit card limit into cash becomes very convenient.

Advance Limits

Most credit card companies allow their clients to convert a percentage of their credit limit into cash, as opposed to the entire amount.

For most people, this translates into a couple of hundred dollars. This is therefore useful for smaller emergencies purchases and should not be dependent on for larger purchases.

Interest on Cash Advances

While getting a credit card advance is easy, the interest rates can be a bit high.
Here are some of the associated costs that make it so:

ATM or Bank Fees

These are determined by the financial institution that processes a transaction. This can be a bank or an ATM where you get your cash advance from.

If you use a bank outside your card issuer’s network, expect the fees to be higher.

Cash Advance Fees

These are determined by the company that issues your credit card.
These are charged in three different ways.

The first is by charging a percentage of the amount advanced. This can be as high as 5%.

The second way is by charging a flat fee per cash advance. For example, you can be charged $5 to $10 per advance, irrespective of the amount.

The third one is by charging the higher figure between the percentage or the minimum amount. An example of this is $5 or 10% of the withdrawal amount; whichever amount is higher.

Interest

To begin with, the interest charged on credit card loans is always higher than that charged on a credit card purchase.

Secondly, while you get a grace period with credit cash purchases, interest on cash advances starts accruing immediately.

Credit Card Advance Tips

It might be impossible to avoid this loan facility altogether.

For this reason, it’s key to know how to keep the costs low and avoid getting into unmanageable debt.

Here are a few tips.

1. Know Your Limit

The amount available for you to convert to cash is lower than your credit card limit. Exceeding this amount can result in higher interest rates and other over-limit charges.

Ensure to find out your card limit when you get a new card so you can adhere to a safe limit.

2. Understand your agreement

The key information to look out for is the one-off payable cash advance fee and the applicable APR as well.

If you are unclear on any terms of your contract, ensure to engage your service provider’s customer care representative.

3. Use It for Emergencies Only

Limit the use of this facility to emergencies you cannot use your credit cards on. It’s also important to create an emergency fund to draw from when needed.

If used without caution, credit card advances can spiral out of control making it difficult for you to make timely repayments. Consequently, this has the potential to lower your credit score.

4. Limit the Amounts

Aside from only using this facility as a last result, limit your withdrawals to only what you need.

Resist the temptation to take out more because the higher you take, the higher the interest you will pay.

While this might seem like much, these amounts add up to a significant figure over time.

Credit Card Advance and Credit Score

Taking out this facility does not directly impact your credit score, but it might have some indirect consequences.

The first one is that it raises your credit utilization ratio. This is among the benchmarks used to calculate your credit scoring. A high utilization ratio positions you as a high-risk borrower and may lower your scoring.

The other one is tied in with the costs of repaying a credit card advance. If you are not able to afford the high-interest rate, you may resort to late payments or even default.

When this information makes its way into the credit bureaus, it can negatively affect your scoring as well. As a rule of thumb, avoid making payments 30 days past the due date. Timely payment could help improve your credit score.

Ensure you understand all processing costs, the applicable APR and your ability to repay before taking out the loan.

How to Keep Cash Advance Costs Low

Because cash advance interest rates can start accruing on the first day, the borrower’s best strategy is paying the amount off as soon as possible. If that means two days, at least this loan is behind you. Thank it for:

  • Allowing you to pay other bills on time with no penalties.
  • Preventing any late payment notices from going to the credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.
  • Helping you get your car or computer fixed so you can keep earning money.
  • Your freedom to jump on a cash-only purchase you’re competing for.

blankPay off the online cash advance fast by linking it with the checking account where your paycheck gets deposited. That way, the minute that paycheck goes in, the cash advance gets paid off. If you use your checking account as the hinge between your income and your loan, highest interest payments come out first. Borrowers can thank the CARD act of 2009 for that backup.

The second way to save on cash advance costs is to borrow as little as absolutely possible. With interest accruing daily, the smaller the amount, the less the interest.

Finally, if you don’t pay the cash advance off within days, you must pay it off on the date you initially agreed to. Rolling over a cash advance sets you up for additional fees on top of the interest rate you get charged daily. The worst situation to get into is if you’re only paying off the cash advance’s interest month after month. Have more questions? Get answers to the most common on our cash advance FAQ page.

Think you can manage a cash advance responsibly? Apply today!  

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

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.

blank

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 Pay Off your Cash Advance with a Crafty E-commerce Side-Hustle

hands knitting
Craft your way to paying off bills and cash advances.

 

Did you think those oven mitts and coffee cozies were just heart-felt gifts for family? Think again! By selling your crafts online, you can get ahead financially and even pay down credit cards or a cash advance due soon.

Yes, 55% of all retail shopping happens on Amazon, but that’s the place people get products from the brands they’re always familiar with. Generic, dull products! Big brand electronics, books, tin foil, toilet cleaner. Nothing made with love and unique vision.  

As Amazon.com, Walmart.com and others continue to take over the retail space for generic products, American consumers are craving handmade, unique items for themselves and for gifts. Even better, several online platforms offer websites (LINK to other post) where crafty types can put up their own stores (beyond selling on Etsy.) These platforms have made selling online simple, even fun.

You may be even more encouraged by knowing the biggest issue ecommerce entrepreneurs face: uncertainty about what products to sell. As a craft artisan, you HAVE the rare skills to create the products  that will appeal to shoppers.

Here, we’ve listed 20 low-cost, do-it-yourself crafts that you can shape with your own color, texture and creative skills. None takes advanced skills, but they do take originality, which if you’re reading this post, you most likely have in spades.

Bath Bombs

In today’s go-go culture, who doesn’t need a bathbomb pampering. You might be surprised to learn that the ingredients of bathbombs are just: baking soda, epsom salts, food coloring, citric acid, and a bath bomb mold (~ $5).  Ambitious crafters can also add products like dissolving glitter and essential oils. These inexpensive ingredients amount to about $2 to $3 per bomb. Sell them for $5 each and you have a 100% mark-up. More, unlike crocheted or knitted items, bathbombs can be made quickly and in bulk. There are countless websites describing exactly how to make bathbombs, but more, how to make money making them.

Candles

While candles are everywhere, no one turns them down as a gift. And unique, quality candles can provide months of pleasure for the gift recipient. Crafters who make candles for birthdays, anniversaries and even unusual holidays like Opposite Day know their customers need them all year.

They key is to diverge from the low quality candles one finds in the large retail stores. With high mark-ups, these generic candles burn rapidly, often with little to no scent. Quality candles, often fashioned with essential oils, fill a room with rich ambiance and fragrance.

Getting started requires a website (and/or Farmer’s Market tables), raw materials costing under $200 and your hard work. People have made livings from creating candles infused with the spent grain from local craft breweries, excess grapes from wineries and more. Often, candle crafters can sell their company-inspired candles right to the company. Now that’s smart entrepreneurship.

Pet Toys

You thought the kids were bad? Pets go through toys fast, both by getting bored with them and destroying them at a high rate. Each year in the United States, pet owners spend $60 billion on their pets. If you can convince a dog or cat owner that your product will make their beloved happy, you should go online with it. After all, impulse buys made on emotions tend to have higher profits.

Adding an extra twist to your pet toy can push your sales even further. For instance, using eco-friendly materials can lower a shopper’s resistance, as can stating that a percentage of your profits goes to animal charities. You can create toys just for large dogs, senior dogs or puppies going through teething. Consider, too, creating toys from materials that come to you at the lowest cost. Get them online, promote them on social channels and you have a new income stream!

Handmade Soap

The power man-made chemicals unleashed astounded us . . . until we realized the damage their overuse could cause. Consumers are attracted not only to organic food, but organic cleaning compounds as well. These include mixtures made of vinegar, baking soda and other common household item. Handmade soaps have the added benefit of being less expensive and potentially plastic-free.  

With the amazing varieties of scents and dyes available, it’s easy to develop products for specific markets. In the United States, one woman makes a living using the spent grain from breweries to make soaps the brewery then brands and sells as keepsakes. Hostesses, parents and friends feel spoiled when they get to use lovely soaps that smell far better than grocery store brands.

Printed Throw Pillows

You may have gotten a deal on that new couch, but putting coordinating pillows on it will cost you another $200. If you have a sewing machine and an eye for distinctive fabrics and trims, maybe your future is in pillows.

American’s spend $62.5 billion each year in home decor. Keep up with decor  styles and colors through the design magazines to get an edge on the slower-moving corporate brands. For 2019, people are talking about bright “jewel tones” which really means just bold primary colors. Grays are out (finally!). Take photos of your creations, don’t be afraid to mix stripes with polka dots. Eclectic is in! (as long as the colors coordinate). Fabric stores constantly have sales. If you go shopping knowing with an idea of what you’re looking for, you can get your raw materials at low prices.

Resin Jewelry

With a special plastic called resin, hardener, dyes, glitter, photos and whatever you can think of, you can create beautiful pieces to sell online. Don’t forget the silicon or metal molds of course. Make a quick photo keepsake by pouring clear resin into a mold and then covering it with a carefully trimmed, small photo. Cover the photo with a sealant (like ModgePodge) and then let your masterpiece rest for 24 hours. Once it dries, pop it out of the mold and your photo sits behind a glass-like substance. Some artists like to layer in different pieces like beads, natural objects before putting a final backing on the piece. They even finish it with a layer of glitter.  Once the piece is finished, you can adorn it with wooden elements, silver or gold wire as well.

Keychains

The keychain never goes out of style. Today, keychains come in the forms like initials, animals and scenes from tourist attractions. All of these shapes indicate the user’s identity. People can’t resist items that reflect their egos. If you can shape leather, canvas, plastic, or cloth into pieces that reflect interests and habits, you have a winner. Sell to both men and women, keeping your market large. Bonus: keychains’ small size ensure your materials go a long way.

 

Ceramics

Don’t you just get fascinated by people shaping clay on a wheel with muddy hands? A pinch here and a squeeze there reshapes the piece entirely. Ceramics amy seem challenging but you can start with a simple bowl. If this tactile hobby feels irresistible, you could be on your way to a whole new side-hustle.  Adding acrylic paint, glitter, and even nail polish can further hone your brand.

Whichever of these craft avenues you choose, rest assured you can find a market for your work. Reaching your market is easier than ever with an online store and social advertising. Don’t let money worries overtake you. Use your spare time to create something beautiful and profit from it!

 

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

blank

 

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.

blank

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.

View Post

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

BBB A+ Rated Cash Advances for Everybody!

Emergency cash needs befall nearly every American. First Financial provides the quick cash advance and payday loan offers so that you can:

  • Avoid bounced checks and credit dings
  • Keep cars, computers and other work-related equipment running that keeps your income consistent.
  • Avoid late fees.
  • Avoid pawning the meaningful family jewelry and heirlooms that pawn shops pay cents on the dollar for.

First Financial is America’s leading source of short-term cash advance – payday loan offers for everyone, even those with low and bad credit scores. We put you first by letting you arrange the cash transfer from home through easy online transfers. Once you’ve completed the process by filling out the final page of the form, your cash is deposited in your bank by the next business day. Apply for a convenient cash advance today!

3 Common Situations When a Cash Advance is a Good Idea

 

Apply Online

woman with money problems

blankWhen 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 Verisign and Norton 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.

 

How to Stop the Cash Advance Habit

saying no to a cash advance

blankLike any financial option, the cash advance serves consumers well when used properly. We reveal the best ways to manage the cash advance in our previous posts about when to use it and strategies to pay it off.

While a cash advance can help you keep your computer, car or apartment, some use a second cash advance to pay for the first and then get caught up in an ever increasing interest rate and fee cycle. This habit erodes your long-term financial health.

When you get your very first cash advance, to ensure you can pay it off, try to make these lifestyle changes:

  1. Check your credit card statements every month: too often, what an online service told you would cost $1, ends up having a subscriber fee of anything from $9 to $99 per month. They disguise this fact adeptly.
  1. Pay yourself automatically with automatic transfers from checking to savings or retirement IRA. Money left in checking is far easier to spend on unnecessary items.
  1. Schedule a time to take a “money minute:” monitor expenditures for the day. Check each account each day.
  1. Establish an effective spending “mantra.” This can be “I spend only on essentials” or “I treat myself with walks, books from the library or time with friends. . . not new clothes or furniture.” When we articulate our values, we feel guilty when we do not abide by them. Create a specific spending mantra to remain in control.
  1. Let a friend know about your money goals. Go an extra step and ask them to check in with you about how well you’re meeting these goals. Knowing you’re accountable will help you avoid spending.

While the cash advance does come in handy in many situations, before applying for a cash advance, make sure you can answer the following questions positively.

  1. Can you pay the money back at a designated date?
  1. Is the cash advance your best or only alternative?
  1. Do you really need what you want to buy or pay for (like cars, living arrangements, computers that keep you earning?)

Break the cash advance habit to save

A+ Rated First Financial Gets You Money without Eroding Your Credit

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 cash advances 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 rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

 

Cash Advances: 3 Best Times to Use Them

blankEven though people love their plastic debit card, cash still serves in many situations. For years, groups have lobbied for the end to the penny and even the nickel. The American people won’t have it. Cash is convenient. It makes discounts possible. Many times, it even makes sense to get a cash advance.

Cash Only Transactions

With Craigslist, Close5 and more consumer to consumer marketplaces gaining in popularity, sellers tend to want cash. Considered, the most convenient mode of payment, they also unlock discounts. Stores that don’t take credit cards (yes there are some!) can put you through the wringer if you’re trying to write a check. Handing over cash just makes everyone happy.
Sometimes, too, vendors have a credit price and a cash price, with the cash price coming in 10 to 15% lower than credit or debit. We’ve run into this at small, independent auto and computer repair shops, as well as thrift, pawn, and antique stores. Many pet breeders also insist on getting cash.
If you’re able to pay off the cash advance within the month time frame, using a cash advance to get what you need makes sense.

To Capture an Immediate Opportunity

When an individual or company is selling something that many want, a buyer can stand out from competition by offering cash. Industries that respond well to cash offers typically include real estate, automotive, antique and jewelry.
Having cash on-hand can be smart when you’re going to shop at thrift shops, swap meets, antique stores and more. Be it from being able to have discounts off your favorite goods to grabbing an opportunity that otherwise unattainable.

Lending to a Loved One

It can be tough to lend money to family member or friend because you run the risk of not getting it back. Your borrower, particularly when struggling, may quickly put you at the bottom of the repayment list. This leads to resentment and a loss of trust.
One way to offload the responsibility is to use a cash advance and make it clear what the interest rate is and your debt to the lender. This can add the pressure to your borrower to make sure that he pays the money that he owes. This way you would be quite sure that he is certainly going to pay you back.
A very good example of this would be a typical home scenario wherein the son, employed but without a credit card, goes to you as his parent for help buying something he cannot afford in his monthly salary. To teach him a lesson about paying on time and paying regularly until such time that the debt is fully paid, make sure he understands that you will have to pay the debt soon. Even 20-year-olds need financial lessons.

Trust A+ Rated First Financial Secure and Speedy Cash Advances to Get You What You Need!

When considering a cash advance, 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 cash advances for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. The Better Business Bureau rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

14 Forgotten Items and 14 Places to Sell Them to Pay Off Your Cash Advance

blank As much as we want to believe the future is bright, many Americans still struggle to get ahead.  Saving enough for a home down-payment or credit card consolidation can seem daunting.

Renowned online financial planning publisher Bankrate explains that that more than three in four Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 76 million Americans struggle to keep food on the table. Believe it or not, 80% of American adults are in some form of debt. Even though the majority of us depend on debt to maintain our current lifestyle. Many depend on the cash advance to repair cars and computers or pay the medical bills that keep us earning.

The largest online marketplaces include:

CraigsList: while you set the price, people will still offer less. Still, you stand to get more on craigslist than selling to a pawn shop because you’re selling direct to the end consumer. There’s no middle man needing his or her cut.

Close5:  the reselling newcomer in App form, Close5 only lists people with items within 5 miles of you. Like CraigsList, you can set the price, but buyers will try to haggle.

eBay:  unlike CraigsList, eBay operates on an auction system where you set a starting price and hope it moves up from there. You can also choose to not sell if you don’t get the amount you want. An eBay account is very simple to set up. Keep in mind that you will pay shipping.

Pawn Shops:  the best place if you need cash fast. Managers have certain prices and set margins they must stick to, however, leaving less for you.

Those who looking to escape debt or pay off credit cards or a cash advance should look to the items in their homes they no longer need. This step not only brings down your interest payments, it declutters your home. Review this list for good items to sell and the best outlets to sell them:

  • tools: CraigsList, pawn shops
  • phones: gazelle.com and a GameStop near you
  • video games: GameStop, especially if you’re buying new games or Amazon’s Trade In program, now an eBay company, also takes used video games
  • music, videos and DVDs: Second Spin is the largest re-seller of used DVDs, Blu-Ray and videos. DeClutter and com are other possibilities
  • sporting equipment: A Play It Again Sports store near you. Otherwise, CraigsList, Close5 and pawn shops.
  • appliances: CraigsList, Close5 and pawn shops
  • books: bookscouter.com (especially for text books) and Amazon’s book buyback program
  • clothing: high quality, gently used clothing is best turned over to a consignment store. Popular lines get the best return on eBay or CraigsList. There’s also the new ThredUp which sends you a bag in which to send your old clothes. This outlet tends to prefer designers like Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, etc.
  • kid’s toys: especially when put together in age-appropriate bundles and sold on eBay, Close5 or CraigsList
  • jewelry: estate jewelry shops and consignment stores. Get appraisals first!
  • music instruments: Local music stores, but they will want a slice of the profit. With Close5 and CraigsList, you sell directly to the parent.
  • furniture: consider Close5 and offer to deliver. Shipping costs for big items will cut into your selling price. If that doesn’t work, look around eBay to see what your piece may be worth and try to get that at a yard sale.
  • cameras: Keh Cameras still takes film cameras, but better prices are for the DSLRs. It also takes vintage cameras for higher prices. Otherwise eBay. Again, look around to see where the better prices are.

 

Steps to Start Generating Cash from Your Forgotten Items

  1. Check unused rooms, basement, attics, trunks of cars and garage. List all of it and beside the list, write the marketplaces you’ll try first and second.

Don’t let your emotional response guide you. If you know you don’t need that item anymore, let it go. It will be of much use for others. Family members, living and dead, will be proud of you for getting your finances in order.

  1. Set up your accounts on sites like eBay and Craigslist.
  1. Take pictures of the items you are about to re-sell. Remember, make it appealing. Try many angles of the picture so the customers can check every side of the item. Borrow a friend’s DSLR to get the best shots and Google how to light items correctly.
  1. Check the shipping costs at usps.com so that so you won’t lose money when shipping an item.
  2. Finalize the list and check the complete list of items you have. Explore how much similar items are going for on eBay, CraigsList, Close5 and others. If you’re selling jewelry, silver or gold, make sure to get an appraisal first.
  3. Create listings for every item. There are many ways to simplify this process, but some find listing on Saturdays or Sundays keep them on track better.
  4. Check messages once in a while. Buyers will have clarifications or questions regarding your product and their messages will come frequently. If you have more bidders, higher prices in the end.
  5. If you already sold and shipped a product, immediately leave feedback for the buyer. Ship the items immediately as possible to avoid negative feedback and win good reviews.

First Financial helps Americans get the cash they need at the most competitive rates. In the digital era, we set up and help you manage your cash advance, business loan or merchant services 100% online. We specialize in products for all kinds of borrowers, including those with fair and poor credit. We’ve done the work to find appropriate lenders that keep you solvent!

Top Surprise Expenses

Personal loans can help with surprise, non-monthly expenses.

blank

top surprise expenses a personal loan can help

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.