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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 Obtain No Credit Car Loans

How to Obtain No Credit Car Loans

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

How to Obtain No Credit Car Loans

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

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

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

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

No Credit Car Loan Minimum Qualifications

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

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

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

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

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

Increase Your Chances of Approval

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

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

Check Your Credit History

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

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

Set a Budget

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

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

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

Consider a Higher Down Payment

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

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

Consider a Co-Signer

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

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

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

A co-signer is a great option to consider.

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

Gather Appropriate Documents

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

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

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

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

Work with an Online Lender

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

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

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

Tips for Building Your Credit Score

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

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

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

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

Apply for No Credit Car Loans Today

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

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

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

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

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

4 Ways High-Risk Merchants Can Cut EMV Chargebacks

Don’t let chargebacks sink your profits!

 Data breaches at Target, Facebook prompted the major U.S. credit issuers to insist on the EMV chip in October 2015. The move has made it much more difficult for fraudsters to create counterfeit cards, saving both companies and consumers money and headaches. According to Stephanie Erickson, vice president of risk products at Visa, the shift working: merchants are reporting less counterfeit fraud.

We applaud anything that reduces expenses to both businesses and their customers, but EMV has created another, although less costly, issue: chargebacks. Chargebacks occur when the card issuer holds the merchant liable for a payment transacted by a thief using a stolen or counterfeit card. Where once the banks absorbed much of these charges, today they are not so amenable. One payment network reported 250,000 merchants had experienced an 50% increase in chargebacks on card transactions. In effect, the banks, card processors and issuers are putting the burden of vetting for fraud on the merchants.

A few merchants aren’t accepting this responsibility. Claiming a lack of preparation time, they are now suing issuers. Networks counter that five years was plenty of time for even the smallest business to prepare for the increase in chargebacks they warned could follow the shift from magnetic stripe to EMV.

Merchants must know that if they have not yet switched to EMV terminals, they are liable for most of the chargebacks the banks had been absorbing. The top merchants affected have been gas stations, restaurants and quick service merchants like vending operations. It seems that large cities, college towns and border areas are the most likely to be the most tempting targets for thieves looking to take advantage of those who haven’t switched to EMV equipment yet. Smart criminals are avoiding the EMV terminals, another reason to get them into your stores. When a criminal successfully uses a magnetic stripe card at your business, you will get a chargeback and be liable for the purchase.

What can you do?

As mentioned above, Visa, Mastercard, and others have been adamant that merchants pay these charges. However, there are solutions that can limit the damage the EMV shift has brought to your high-risk business.

  • If you are not fighting chargebacks, start now. Won chargebacks do not count against your chargeback ratio. So, it means that a 75 percent win rate lowers your chargeback ratio by 300 percent. A better chargeback rate also helps you to keep your merchant account in good standing.
  • Fighting chargebacks can be a somewhat technical process. Consider getting an expert or service to fight these charges for you.
  • Lock down your eCommerce site or bricks-and-mortar business with front-end fraud prevention measures. These help identify the IP address of the customer by requiring them CVV and AVS. In this way, you filter most frauds and increase your chances in winning fraud disputes in chargebacks.
  • Use a chargeback alerts when you operate a service business. A chargeback alert is a type of alert that notifies you every time a customer initiates a chargeback. You have 24-72 hours to respond to it. If you are a service business such as technical support, you can always cut your losses by stopping your services whenever you get chargeback alerts.

 

Getting your merchant services streamlines is a great relief.

Most of All: Make the Shift to EMV Technology Today!

Magnetic strips on credit cards are just too easy for thieves to copy. Beyond this fact, credit card issuers now levy fees—often in the form of chargebacks—on merchants who do not use EMV technology. They want their customers to feel protected by offering the best, most secure, products. But this system doesn’t work if the merchants refuse to hold up their end.

When considering your options for taking credit cards, know that you’ll need a merchant services processor or merchant service account to safely process your transactions. A+ rated First Financial specializes in high-risk merchant accounts. Simply click here to apply and you’ll be able to start taking credit cards within 48 hours!

 

 

7 Ways to get Your Credit Score Over 800

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 Having an excellent credit score opens up so many more possibilities for you. But if you suffer from a low credit score, all hope is not lost. Here are seven ways to be one step closer to getting a credit score over 800…

1. Pay On Time

Think back to when you were in grade school, and your teacher drilled you to always turn in your homework on time, on the date it’s due, no exceptions. Credit card payments are the same. Make sure to turn in payments to your cards on time, without running a balance on them.

2. Consider Using Payment Tools

If remembering payment dates proves too difficult for you, you can always set up an automatic bill pay, or set up payment reminders. There are even some banks out there that will provide complimentary bill pay reminders via texts or emails.

3. Look for Large Limits on Credit Cards:

It is better to have a large credit limit on a card, as it doesn’t affect your rating if you spend more on that card. Conversely, if you have a lower credit limit, then it is easier to hit the limit, and that will negatively affect your credit score. Don’t fall for the temptation of thinking that just because you have a $50,000 credit, you have $50,000 to spend. To maintain a high credit score, you should use very little of that. In fact, you should keep it under 10% of the credit limit.

4. Don’t Over-Apply

Don’t be swayed by every credit card offer that arrives in the mail. Each time you apply for a new credit card, your overall credit score drops. Instead, work on getting higher limits on the cards you have.

5. Variety is the Spice of Life

Having a variety of diverse loans (including credit cards) in your overall credit collection also boosts your credit score. This can include not just credit cards, but also mortgages, automobile loans, et cetera. If you can prove that you can pay on several accounts reliably, your credit score will be higher.

6. Don’t Forget About those Under-Used Cards and Don’t Cancel Them

You need to prove that you can pay your cards on time, including those underused cards. It’s highly recommended that you not cancel those cards you don’t use regularly, because doing so will reduce the total amount of credit you’re approved to borrow. You also want to show that you indeed have a history of paying all of your cards on time, including the lesser used ones.

7. Check for Errors on your Credit Report
Yes, it is a fact that even the credit score agencies are not perfect, and sometimes have errors on their reports. Be sure to locate these mistakes and then call and have them corrected. Your credit score will benefit as a result.

8. Try Asking for a Break
It doesn’t hurt to call and ask to have late payment penalties taken off of your credit history. Sometimes if you’re polite about it, companies will remove the causes of your bad scoring, so you won’t need to wait. You have nothing to lose in asking.

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First Financial Personal Loans Provide the Savings that 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. 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!

5 Ways to Avoid Going Upside Down in an Auto Loan

Upside down car loan

“Upside down” is only fun for kids.

 Adults know too well it’s all about owing more money on a large asset than it’s worth. More, they are responsible for that debt. Many homeowners were upside down in their home loans from 2008 to 2012.

Some don’t realize that a car buyer, particularly a new car buyer, can spend several months to two years upside down in their car loan. You may ask: what’s the big deal about owing more than the car’s worth if you’re going to keep the car for several years? Problems arise when the car gets stolen or crashed. More serious problems arise when buyers realize they bought too much car and can’t afford it anymore. Unexpected medical expenses, job changes, new babies and even floods and fires have a way of tightening budgets very quickly. Sell the car, and you end up paying the bank an additional $1,000 – $5,000 to fulfill loan requirements.

Car buyers who are smart with their finances take a long-term view. Just a few adjustments to the car-buying plan ensures you won’t go upside down on your car loan.

Buy Used and Make a Good Deal
It’s common knowledge that a brand new car loses 11% of its value the minute the car buyer drives it off the lot. After one year, this new car loses 20% of its value and by five years, many cars have lost half their value. These average numbers don’t reflect the wide variety of car depreciation rates. Depreciation rates are faster for unpopular cars, slow for the popular models. But who knows what will be popular in 5 years?

The bottom line is to let the original owner to pay the first few years’ depreciation costs (one of the highest costs of vehicle ownership). Buy a car that holds its value. Financial planning and organization website Bankrate.com lists the makes and models of autos that hold their value most tenaciously. For 2014, these are the Hyundai Accent, Mazda 3, Chevy Corvette, Toyota Avalon, Kia Soul and Chevy Camaro. Any of these tickle your fancy?

The other advantage of buying a used car with a low depreciation rate is that you’re less likely to have a hangover loan amount into a new loan when you buy a new car.

Put Down a 20% Down Payment
This move will take care of the annoying taxes and fees outright. Paying interest on these taxes bumps these abstract fees even higher. Since car buyers get nothing for these charges, it’s best to dismiss them ASAP. Also, putting down 20% jumps you ahead of depreciation so that you leave the lot with a vehicle worth as much as or more than your loan. Also, manufacturers’ cash-back rebates can go right to that 20% down.

Consider A Loan Term That Is No Longer Than How Long You Plan To Keep The Car.
Some people are in the habit of buying a new car every two years. Others have just as much pride driving a 20-year-old “beater.” While, typically, car loan terms extend to just 5 years, recently, six and even 10-year loans have come into the market. If it’s your nature to keep a car until it dies, a 10-year loan makes sense. If you’re family is changing either by adding or removing members (kids born; kids off to college), you may be trading up or down when those events occur.

Get the Best Interest Rate You Qualify For
Online, and other alternative banks can offer lower auto loan rates because they labor under a fraction of the marketing and operating costs that saddle the large, bricks and mortar banks. More, online banks typically don’t have shareholders demanding higher profits every year. While the difference in the loan rate may be one-half of one percent, these charges add up to thousands of dollars saved over five years.
ALWAYS Comparison Shop to Get the Lowest Price for the Model You Want
Aside from homes (and maybe shoes?), cars evoke more emotion than most other large purchases. Cars reflect our identities. They are accessories we live with from two to 20 years. If you’ve found the perfect pumpkin-spice-colored Kia Soul, rest assured there will be another one across town or in another month. Go into the car dealership with your emotions fully under control. This experience must be ruled by the mind, rather than the heart. Remembering that you’re not just saving another $2,000, but $2,000 plus six to nine percent yearly interest keeps you sober and PICKY.

First Financial Provides Auto Loans, Bad Credit, Good Credit and More!
First Financial has been in business long enough to recognize the subtleties in each borrower’s financial situation. We also know that more than 50% of Americans fall into the subprime category. Their credit ratings range from “fair” to “poor” to “bad.” Our lending partners accept auto loan applications and approve these borrowers every day. Apply for an auto loan here today! Follow us on Facebook to get frequent financial planning tips and research.


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