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How to Stop the Cash Advance Habit

saying no to a cash advance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Break the cash advance habit to save

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

When considering personal loans, don’t forget that online lenders have the automation and reduced overhead to offer the best loans and terms. First Financial is the national leader in providing cash advances for borrowers of all types, even bad credit borrowers. Just fill out some forms, upload documents and get the money in your account in a matter of days. The Better Business Bureau rates First Financial A+ because we make customer service our highest priority.

 

 

Student Loan Consolidation Services Industry Outlook for 2016

Students learning about loan consolidation business

 If you are in the business of providing student loan consolidation services, you may be concerned about the negative news coverage. Recent findings tell us concern over reliability is nonsense. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declared the student lending crisis overblown.

The truth remains that banks consider student loan consolidations less risky than school-issued loans. Original loans go to students in the midst of their studies. Some haven’t even declared a major yet. Consolidation loans, on the other hand, require that the student has graduated, is employed, and has a track record of repayments on outstanding consumer debts. These three criteria reflect an individual in a far less risky situation.

Another benefit of student loan consolidations over government loans is that the enrollment application process is easier to navigate and less complex than enrolling for a Federal student loan.

Industry growth

The whole student loan consolidation service industry has grown. In the United States, the outstanding student loan debt currently stands at more than $1 trillion dollars. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s did an analysis that indicated 1.58 million student borrowers were enrolled in a repayment plan that was income-driven.

Changing Trends

The student loan consolidation industry is starting to change. The latest trend indicates that rather than focusing solely on a student’s FICO score, loan consolidators are looking more towards a student’s earning potential based on the college diploma earned. Even with a low FICO score, a student can still be considered creditworthy with a degree in a high-salary subject (engineering, e.g.).
Another trend bodes well for the industry. Graduates are still able to refinance a federal student loan through a private consolidation service without losing the protections from a federal student loan.

Federal Student Loans Are Not Necessarily Secure

Once you convince your clients that private student debt consolidation works as well for recent graduates as public version, success in the student debt consolidation industry follows.

Explain to clients that the government itself in in currently debt by more than 19 trillion dollars. If a student gets a federal loan, it is basically backed by that national debt. Federal funding for a student’s education runs the risk of becoming null and void. A private firm student loan, however, is backed by private lenders, and potentially more reliable.

silhouetted students against city backdrop

The Merchant Account Connects the New Grad and the Loan Provider

You may have already learned that your student loan consolidation business falls into the high risk category. Don’t panic about obtaining a merchant account. First Financial specializes in high risk industries and will make sure you can process the payments coming in. Read about our student loan services merchant accounts here!

Mortgage Rate Predictions for 2016

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

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.

bigstock-Older-woman-with-a-laptop-76848398

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!

Refinance: A lower mortgage rate is one of many benefits

Mortgage rates remain at near record lows, and many homeowners are finding it cost effective to take advantage of today’s terms. Regardless of whether your mortgage has been in place for years or even months, it may be wise to consider refinancing.

A refinance loan essentially replaces your old mortgage with a new mortgage. There may be closing costs associated with a mortgage refinance, but those fees can often be rolled into the new loan to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Refinancing can be an excellent way to reduce monthly payments by lowering your interest rate, especially if your income has increased, your credit score has improved or the value of your home has stabilized. But it can help you meet other goals too.

  • Become mortgage-free faster. If a lower rate reduces your monthly payment sufficiently, you might be able to opt for a shorter term loan. Paying off your mortgage in 10, 15, or 20 years can help you save thousands in interest.
  • Pay for college tuition or other major expenses. Homeowners can refinance to pay for college tuition for themselves or their children.
  • Provide extra money. A refinance loan with a cash-out option can provide extra funds to consolidate debt, make home repairs or pay off medical bills.
  • Get better terms. When you get a new mortgage with a refi, you may be able to negotiate terms in the loan package such as prepayment penalties.

First Financial

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