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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.

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

How Terminated Merchants Get Card Processing Services

blank Have you been surprised with a terminated merchant notice? You’re not alone. Each year, tens of thousands of business owners get the same notice for both legitimate and unnecessary reasons. Terminated merchants have several options available. Landing in  “Terminated Merchant File” (TMF) doesn’t mean you’re out of business. While these designations are confusing and even infuriating now, rest assured that A+ rated First Financial can help get you back to accepting credit cards fast.

Terminated merchants turn frown upside down

 

Who Controls TML and MATCH?

For a long time, the term “terminated merchant list” served as a casual designation indicating that a merchant has become “black-listed” with even high risk merchant account service providers. MasterCard made the system official by creating a database about businesses and their owners whose merchant account services providers had terminated them. They gave the new system the acronym MATCH for “Merchant Alert to Control High Risk.” At this time, most in the industry use this terminology.

Understanding Why Your High Risk Card Processor Dropped You

When terminated merchants get in contact with us, their designation “MATCH-listed” has come as a surprise. Many only realize their business is on this list after seeking a new credit card processor. The MATCH list was the first place the new processor went when considering this new high risk merchant account. Presence on the MATCH list is the quick and easy way the new processor finds rationale to turn a business down—AFTER collecting the application fees. If you’ve been placed on the MATCH list, the only way of removing your name is by contacting the processor or bank that put you there. Only that entity has the legal authority to remove you. Disputing the designation with the bank or merchant processor may require a lawyer’s help, and some lawyers specialize in this niche. Legal expenses can be worth it considering the MATCH listing remains active for five years. Understanding why your processor placed you on the MATCH list will prevent this hassle from happening again. Generally, the acquiring bank or processor finds out that while you were with your previous processor, you committed one or more “disqualifying acts” that exceeded the level of risk they contracted to undertake. Typically, your contract listed these acts and informed you that committing them qualified as a breach of contract and justification to end the relationship. Disqualifying acts include:

  • Excessive deposits for transactions without cardholders authorization
  • A conviction for credit or debit card fraud in any federal, state or county court
  • Evidence of counterfeit activities
  • Excessive chargebacks caused by business practices or procedures
  • Evidence of money “laundering”
  • Sufficient evidence that merchant is engaging in fraudulent activities.

On the other hand, keep in mind, too, that banks and card processors SOMETIMES MAKE MISTAKES. If you feel your MATCH listing is an error, by all means fight it. Beware “Guaranteed Acceptance” Offers for Terminated Merchants In an effort to bring in application fees, some shady businesses imply or even claim that their high risk merchant account processors accept all terminated merchants. Merchants apply and wait a few weeks or even a month, only to learn that they didn’t qualify after all. First Financial’s carefully screened and selected processors specialize in terminated merchants in high risk industries. These processors are aware from the beginning that the merchant is on the MATCH list. They strive to make the relationship work. Further, A+ rated First Financial merchants get:

  • the most competitive rates in the high risk niche
  • highest levels of security and encryption permitted by the U.S. government
  • the most current processing equipment
  • quick response time and courteous support
  • simple approval process and set-up

The ability to accept credit cards can make or break many businesses. Get your business

Payday Loans 101: How Do Payday Loans Work?

Payday Loans 101: How Do Payday Loans Work?

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

How Do Payday Loans Work?

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

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

Hard Times

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

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

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

The Payday Loan Solution

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

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

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

How Do Payday Loans Work?

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

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

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

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

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

Applying for a Payday Loan

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

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

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

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

Understand Your Credit Score

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

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

Limited Options

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

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

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

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

The Costs Involved

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

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

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

When There’s an Emergency

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

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

Personal Loans | First Financial

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

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

5 Great Reasons for a Personal Loan

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

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

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

Keep reading to find out.

Why Are Personal Loans Popular?

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

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

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

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

5 Reasons for a Personal Loan

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

1. Consolidate Credit Card Debt

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

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

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

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

2. Start a New Venture

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

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

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

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

3. Add Value to Your Home

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

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

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

4. Cover Unexpected Expenses

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

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

5. Build Up Credit Score

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

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

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

That will also help you increase your credit score.

Ready to Get a Personal Loan?

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

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

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

How 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!  

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How to Get a Personal Loan for a Remodel

 

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

-Jane Austen

a man nailing a board in a home remodel

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

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

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

A Shortcut to Your Estimated Remodel Costs

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

blank

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

Some costs homeowners tend to forget include:

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

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

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Elements that Figure Into Your Loan Amount and Terms

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

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

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

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

Ready to Apply

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

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

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

 

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

 

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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.

 

5 Best Budgeting Apps for People Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Man walking using a budgeting app

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

Every Dollar

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

Mint

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

Digit

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

Level Money

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

Spendbook

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

 

7 Tough Financial Situations a Small Personal Loan Can Solve

woman sad at need for personal loan

The small personal loan has gotten many out of difficult situations.

blankDid you know the personal loan has interest rates 5 to 10 points lower than a credit card? Read these situations where a small personal loan makes more sense than additional credit card debt.

Finance a Funeral with a Small Personal Loan

 Unfortunately, death is a fact of life and often strikes at the most unexpected times. Not only is it hard to go through the emotional trauma of losing someone close to you, but making the funeral arrangements in just a few short days, while also figuring out how you’re going to pay for them is extremely rough. Funerals aren’t cheap, even with relatively affordable caskets the cost can still easily run up to the thousands. If the deceased person’s assets cannot cover the expense of the funeral service, taking out a small loan with a low interest rate is one of the best routes you can take to cover the cost and work your way towards paying it off. 

A Small Personal Loan Consolidates your Debt

Most people who receive a small personal loan get one to consolidate their debt. Consolidating your debt allows you to combine multiple types of debt, such as car loans or debt accumulated from credit cards, into one total loan with a fixed interest rate, consistent monthly payment, and a closed-end term. Doing this can have multiple advantages. It can lower the interest rate on the debt, and you may also qualify to have a lower monthly payment that is paid off over a longer period. Either way, consumers with multiple outstanding debts should definitely explore consolidation.

hand of man calculating costs of small personal loan

Escape Credit Card Debt

Another effective use of a small personal loan is to use it to pay off credit card debt. Of course, this may sound counterproductive, taking out a loan and possibly going into debt again just to pay off existing debt. However, many loans are available at a low rate, which limits the amount of interest you will have to pay, along with along with an end date to help you plan out your financial future. According to Ryan Bailey, who is in charge of consumer deposits, payments, and non-real estate lending at a TD Bank branch, who says that “With an unsecured loan, you pay it off in 5 years, generally at a much lower interest rate, so it saves payment, and you actually get it paid off.”

Paying off HealthCare Bills

 Life is unpredictable and sometimes you or a loved one may end up in the Hospital. Even with health insurance, costs can often be extremely high, especially for long stays. That is why so many people take out personal loans to cover unexpected health care costs. Don’t wait to do this – credit reporting agencies may be notified of missed payments and this will damage your credit score. A personal loan can allow you to pay off your medical expenses while keeping your credit score intact.

 Make a Big, Critical Purchase

Did your old car suddenly break down and you need to buy a new one but don’t have enough money saved? Or can you afford one, but don’t qualify for a secured loan because of your credit history? A personal loan could very well be the answer. People who qualify for personal loans are more than free to put them towards a big purchase, such as buying a car, motorcycle, a small house or a boat.

Pay for a Wedding with a Small Personal Loan

Your wedding day will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your life, and it is totally reasonable that you may want to spare no expense. You already know the cost is going to add up quickly. Between the reception, the dress and tuxedo, to hosting possibly over a hundred guests, weddings are very expensive. This does not even include the cost of the rings as well as a possible honeymoon afterwards. Many couples look to personal loans to help them finance their big day. They can be used towards the expenses previously mentioned, and can ensure your wedding day will be one of the highlights of your life.

Finance Unplanned Expenses with a First Financial Personal Loan

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As you’ve gathered from reading this article, personal loans have many practical uses and cover a wide variety of expenses. First Financial knows how unpredictable life can be and how hard it is to keep a large sum of money sitting idle just waiting for something to happen. That’s why our loans cover more than just mentioned above. A small personal loan can also help you finance veterinary care for your pet. Or say a loved one in a different country has suddenly fallen very ill and you have to find a way to be there with them. Whatever it is, rest assured that our loans are consumer friendly with low interest rates and set end dates. In a perfect world, money shouldn’t decide if your pet can get a surgery to extend its life or if you can visit a sick relative, and with a loan from First Financial, it doesn’t have to.

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!

A Personal Loan Keeps You on Your Path

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