First Financial loan types

Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An In-Depth Guide on How to Take out a Loan for a Car

An In-Depth Guide on How to Take out a Loan for a Car

An In-Depth Guide on How to Take out a Loan for a Car

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Taking out a loan can be beneficial in many ways. We share our in-depth guide on how to take out a loan for a car and the benefits it has.

Did you know that 107 million people have taken out an auto loan to help pay for their car or truck in America?

Purchasing a car can be a costly expenditure. Most people don’t have the cash on hand to pay off the debt of a car immediately, which is where auto loans and personal loans come in handy.

Discover our guide on how to take out a loan for a car and familiarize yourself with the process of buying a car.

What Are the Different Types of Loans Available?

If you have never dealt with loans and credit scores, it can be a very difficult thing to navigate and understand.

There are many different types of loans available. Some of which are great for buying a car, and some that aren’t as good for this type of purchase.

For example, the best types of loans are auto loans, bank loans for a car, or alternatively, you can use a personal loan to buy a car.

Personal loans for car purchases sometimes have costly interest rates, so some people prefer not to use personal loans when they are purchasing their car.

Research has found that car loans are typically cheaper because they are secured by an asset (i.e. the car, which the lender can repossess to cover the costs if you can’t pay your loan).

Federal Reserve found that in May 2018, a 24-month personal loan from a commercial bank had an interest rate of 10.31%, whilst a 48-month new car loan from a commercial bank had an interest rate of 5.05%.

How to Take out a Loan for a Car

Unlike buying a car outright with cash in hand, like you might have done for your very first car, taking out a loan for a car needs to be thought through.

These are the key things you need to do when you want to take out a loan for a car.

Calculate Your Budget

The very first thing you need to do when you want to take out a loan for buying a car is to work out your budget. Calculate how much you can comfortably pay off each month.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a record of 7 million Americans are at least three months behind on their car loan payments. It is critical that you work out how much money you have coming in each month, and how much you can pay off.

The best way to work out what you will actually be paying for your car is by calculating how much you will be paying each month and for how many months. This calculation needs to include interest rates, too.

Check Your Credit Score

Whether you want a personal loan for a car or an auto loan for a car, you need to check your credit score and history.

Poor credit history might mean that you pay higher interest rates than if you have a good credit history. If this is the case, you might want to hold off getting a loan and focus on improving your credit score.

If you have a good credit score, you might be able to negotiate a better deal with your loan lender.

Find out how you can secure an auto loan without having previous credit experience or a credit score.

Research Your Options

Once you have an idea of how much you have to spend and what your credit score is, you can research your options. There are a number of loan lenders available, however, not all of them will be right for you.

You can get car loans from banks or credit unions, dealerships, or online lenders. Compare the different types of deals and payment plans each of them offer and work out which one is best for you.

Car loans typically come with 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-year terms. The longer the payment plan, the more interest you’ll end up paying, so make sure you work out which plan is the most cost effective for you.

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Once the lender has given you a quote for the loan, you will be pre-approved, which doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed. Once you have been pre-approved, you the lender will then check your credit.

Once you are pre-approved for a loan, the lender will give you a letter that you can take when you go car shopping. This letter can help you see if you can get a better deal from the car dealership.

Even though you have been pre-approved, it doesn’t mean that you need to sign up for the loan. It is still your choice whether you pursue this loan or you can choose another one.

You also can adjust the terms of your loan, for example, if you find a cheaper car and don’t need an as bigger loan, you can apply for a smaller loan instead.

Find Your Car

The final step is the most enjoyable one. Once you know how much you can afford each month, and you know what kind of loans you can get, you can go car shopping.

Make sure you do your research and find a car that is the right price and has the right features that you need.

Car Loans

Applying for a car loan doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. Just follow our guide on how to take out a loan for a car and you’ll soon be driving away with a new vehicle.

Apply for one of our auto loans now and see how we can help you.

Alternatively, if you need help with your loan process, get in touch with our team and discuss your loan requirements.

Pay Off a Cash Advance with a Seasonal Job

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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!

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

bride and groom holding hands in heart shape

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

How to Save For Your Wedding Without Going Broke

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

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

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

Kinda makes sense, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proof of income:

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

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

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

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.

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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First Financial’s Online, Mobile Mortgage Loans for Subprime Borrowers

First Financial’s lending partners can provide lower interest rates on mortgage loans because of their cost-saving, online structure. Apply for an affordable mortgage loan here, particularly if your credit rating is “fair,” “poor” or even “bad.” We specialize in getting families with subprime credit into homes. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

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