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  1. The IT revolution has yielded smartphones, digital banking and cloud services, forever changing the financial services sector. Now anyone with even a simple smartphone can be connected to a wealth of digital services. But there is one major issue with the IT revolution. It is now easier than ever for criminals to steal personal information and funds, all without ever leaving their homes. The spread of digital financial services has not come without consequences, but there are ways of protecting personal information and personal finances. TransUnion, one of the major credit bureaus, has launched an identity theft protection service named TrueIdentity. Credit bureaus like TransUnion are well equipped to handle identity theft issues. These companies already deal with fraud and falsified information on credit reports. There are also forced to comply with many kinds of regulations. TrueIdentity is a free service provided by TransUnion to help consumers protect vital personal information and keep up to date with the best identity protection methods. TransUnion firsts ask the question “How does identity theft happen?” directly on the front page of the TrueIdentity website. TransUnion believes the first step of protecting against identity theft is understanding how the theft works. The TrueIdentity service has a wealth of facts and information readily available for customers to help them adapt to the changing face of identity theft. The next step of the TrueIdentity service is a three-step process to protect against identity theft . Touch Credit Lock TransUnion offers a 1-touch credit lock tool in case of emergencies. With this tool, customers will be able to disable access to their TransUnion credit report with either the swipe of a finger on a mobile device, or the click of a mouse on a computer. If customers suspect suspicious activity on their credit report, they can easily disable any new inquiries and block any attempt by thieves from apply for new credit lines. If the customer wishes to apply for credit, they can easily turn the TransUnion credit score back on. Instant Alerts By signing up for the TrueIdentity service, customers can receive instant alerts whenever anyone applies for credit in the customer’s name. If the customer is applying for credit themselves, the alert will be expected. But if an identity thief attempts to apply for a loan or credit card using the customer’s name, they’ll be able to see the credit check in real time. TransUnion Reports & Alerts TransUnion also offers a 24/7 service that runs at all times on customer’s credit report. All the customer’s personal details are laid out and the credit report can be refreshed instantly with an unlimited number of refreshes. The TransUnion service running in the background will scan for strange names or addresses on credit reports, which can be the first sign of fraudulent activity. Identity theft is both troublesome and on the rise. Now more than ever are people uploading personal and vital information into computers, cloud services and smartphones, leaving many vulnerable to cyber thieves. But with TrueIdentity by TransUnion, people can start fighting back with knowledge, alerts and protective services to stop identity theft before it happens. TrueIdentity is a completely free service, but offers premium features such as your TransUnion credit score and 3 credit bureau monitoring for $9.95 a month.
  2. Financial fraud is widespread and feared by most of the public. One of the most gut-wrenching feelings is opening a credit card statement and seeing huge payments for items you didn’t order. With the proliferation of the internet across the world, especially poorer countries like China, the number of hacking attempts against personal information and credit cards continues to increase. It is now easier than ever to steal someone’s information and use it to purchase something while remaining completely anonymous. But there are various tools you can use to protect yourself should you find yourself the victim of one of these attacks. Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Billing Act The Fair Credit Billing Act is your first line of defense. The Federal government limits your liability for credit card fraud to $50 a transaction. If your credit card has already been stolen, your liability is zero. There are also no time limits for reporting fraud under this law. The Fair Credit Billing Act covers all credit cards, so if you feel your credit card company isn’t following through on this law, make sure to remind them of it. There are other older laws protecting against fraudulent withdrawals or debit card fraud. But the Fair Credit Billing Act is considered the most robust, making credit cards the most protected against fraud. Credit Card Networks offer Additional Protection On top of government protection, various credit card networks such as Visa and MasterCard have built in fraud protection. Under most circumstances, Visa and MasterCard will not hold you liable for fraudulent purchases. Some credit card networks vary on the time period you’re allowed to report fraudulent purchases, but most are around two billing cycles. Passing this time frame is considered “gross negligence”, as most people would have noticed odd purchases within two billing cycles. Why You Should Report Fraud as Soon as Possible There are various benefits to reporting credit card fraud early. Immediately after you report the fraud, your credit card company will freeze your account so no new fraudulent purchases can be made. Additionally, your credit card company cannot charge interest or fees on the fraudulent charge while its being investigated. If the charge is considered fraudulent, your company will issue you a new card immediately. Filing a Complaint with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau When the options above fail, there is still one more route to take. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows Americans to submit a complaint against fraudulent charges. If your credit card company doesn’t help you out, this is the next step. Before filing a complaint, collect as much evidence for your claim as possible. Once your complaint has been received, the CFPB will forward your complaint to the relevant company. That company has 15 days to respond. According to the CFPB, all but the most complicated complaints are closed within 60 days. The CFPB will also forward your information to any relevant state and federal agencies. The benefit of using the CFPB is that your credit card company is likely to take your complaint much more seriously once the Federal government becomes involved. Final Thoughts Although the Fair Credit Billing Act allows fraudulent claims at any time with no limit, it is a much healthier practice to report the fraud as early as possible. Remember to check up on your credit cards and online payment history on a regular schedule to ensure nothing fishy is going on. Most financial companies now have text or mobile notifications whenever a purchase is made. Also remember to never share your passwords with anyone, especially not over email. Finally, remember to use strong passwords on all of your sensitive online accounts.
  3. Do you have any revolving or installment credit lines on record right now? Do you even know the difference between the two? Don’t worry if you’re confused, we’re about to clear things up. If you already have a basic understanding of how your credit score is determined, then you’re ready to move on to the more advanced stage of understanding. What is Revolving Credit Revolving credit is exactly as it sounds. You open a line of credit and although you have a credit limit, you can use as much or as little of that credit line as you’d like. Obviously, this sounds exactly like a credit card. In fact, credit cards are considered revolving credit. But there are other forms of revolving credit as well. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is also an example of a revolving credit line. Installment Loans An installment loan is a predetermined amount of credit distributed to a borrower that is paid pack in equal amounts every month. Technically, not every installment line of credit is paid back in equal amounts each month. Financial issues can damage a borrower’s ability to pay back a loan, but in practice an installment loan is supposed to be paid off in equal proportions every month. The most obvious examples of installment credit are mortgages, student loans and car loans. Impact on Your Credit Score Your credit score may be a bit too perplexing for you to understand. But if you want to get your credit score into the excellent range, you’re going to need to know the impacts that these two forms of credit can have on your credit score. The first and most important factor that determines your credit score is your payment history. All financial companies, including the ones servicing your credit lines, report your monthly payments to the respective credit bureaus who determine your credit score. The biggest chunk of your credit score is determined by how often you make on time payments towards your debts. Miss more than two payments and you should expect a major hit against your credit score. The Major Difference Between the Two But there’s an interesting difference between revolving credit and installment loans. Remember that credit utilization also plays a role in determining your credit score. Your credit utilization is your current outstanding debts owed as a percentage of your total credit limit. So if your credit limit is $10,000, and you have a balance of $2,000, your credit utilization is 20 percent. Generally, the credit bureaus will begin shaving points off your credit score once you reach the 30 percent utilization threshold. If you have a credit card, which is a revolving type of credit, and you have a low limit but you spend too much too quickly, your credit score is going to take a major hit. However, in the case of installment credit lines, such as a mortgage, the total size of that loan and how much you have left to pay back is not factored into your credit utilization score. Say you have taken out a mortgage of $280,000 and so far you have paid $50,000 towards it. You still have $230,000 left to pay back, or about 82 percent of the total loan. But your total credit utilization will not take into account this $230,000 if the credit line is installment based, meaning your credit utilization will not be 82 percent. Because of this, installment loans are less damaging to your credit score than revolving forms of credit. But in either case, responsible and on time payments are required to maintain a decent credit score.
  4. One common theme in my articles is the ever increasing debt load facing Americans. Times are still tough, even though it’s been years since the Great Recession. People are still relying on debt to get them through these tough times. When things really start to get out of hand, it might seem that all hope is lost. When debt piles up and becomes impossible to pay off, some people consider bankruptcy. But before taking that option, consider debt settlement. First, you should know that debt settlement should be avoided if at all possible. Selling non-essentials property and goods, lowering your monthly bills and other strategies should typically be used first to pay down your debt. But if that doesn’t work, you can attempt to negotiate with your creditor to accept a lower payment instead. It is, in fact, possible to negotiate your credit bill. Even large financial institutions use debt settlement strategies when they begin running into trouble. Understand then act First, understand what debt settlement is and how you can use it. Under normal circumstances, usually only unsecured debt, in the form of things like credit card debt and medical costs are available for negotiation. One exception to this is student loan debt. Although student loans are generally unsecured, they are normally not available for negotiation. Mortgages and car loans are usually secured debts, meaning your creditor will most likely be unwilling to negotiate with you. But it wouldn’t hurt to try anyway. Once you sort out your debts, try to find the debt with the highest interest rate. This debt will cost you more in the long-run and should be squared away first. It will likely be credit card debt. Once you’ve picked the debt you would like to negotiate, find that name of the institution that issued you that debt. You’ll need to find pertinent information such as the company’s telephone number and if your lender has a local branch in your area. However, before calling your lender, you should know of the three main approaches to debt negotiation. First, you can opt to negotiate yourself. Second, you can hire a debt settlement company to negotiate on your behalf. Finally, you can also look for a non-profit credit counselor. Debt Settlement Service You have the option of choosing a debt settlement company to negotiate on your behalf with your creditors. But this option is a bit riskier than the others. These firms are for-profit, meaning they will charge you a fee. Often times, these fees are expensive. Sometimes debt settlement companies will charge you a percentage of the debt they’ve negotiated, which is counterintuitive considering you’re trying to get rid of this debt in the first place. Moreover, understand that your creditors do not have to negotiate your debt at all. They are under no legal obligation to forgive or reduce your debt. If your debt negotiator fails to reduce your debt load, you’ll likely be stuck with a hefty fee nonetheless. If you decide to take the risk and go with a debt settlement company anyway, there are a few things you should watch out for. First, they will likely recommend that you stop paying your monthly dues as a negotiating tactic. Whether or not this strategy actually works is debatable. But what is not debatable is the negative impact this will have on your credit score. Second, if the company charges you a fee before even negotiating any of your debt, you should be extremely skeptical. Be careful of companies that make grand claims. Settling Debt Yourself Arguably the best form of debt settlement is doing it yourself. There are no fees involved because you wouldn’t charge yourself money to negotiate your own debts. This method is also considered better because some lenders may be more willing to work with you. When a lending institution learns that you have hired a company to negotiate on your behalf, they may become more stubborn and aggressive. This is because some debt negotiators are cut-throat and engage is practices that lenders do not like, such as having you stop making payments as a negotiating tactic. It also might be the case that your lender will be more willing to work with you on a personal level. If you’re considering debt settlement, it’s likely the case that you’re in serious financial trouble. If you explain your situation to your creditor, they may have sympathy for you and be more willing to negotiate. But you cannot rely on sympathy alone during your negotiation. Before making the call, lay out all of your options and understand how much you will realistically be able to pay towards your debt. You will need to know the details of your finances, such as your income, assets and total debt load, before calling your lender. They may ask for proof of this information before agreeing to reduce your debt load. If you plan to settle your debt on your own, don’t wait around. You need to be proactive. Gather all of your information, crunch some numbers, and find your negotiating starting point. You will have to either pay a lump sum less than the amount of your total balance, or your total balance will be reduced overall. Call the company that issued you the largest and highest interest rate debt and start there. Approach your creditor in a professional and polite manner. Remember to stay firm in your position while negotiating, but do not make unreasonable requests. Remain calm and patient throughout the process. Your company may delay the process for a while. Don’t give up so easily. Credit Counseling The final option available to you is talking to a non-profit credit counselor. Although there are not many, there are some free debt settlement and credit counseling groups available. These groups may be around your neighborhood or city at a local rec center. With a little internet searching, you may be able to find some free materials on debt settlement and resources. You can use these tips when negotiating on your own. However, it’s unlikely that these credit counselors will negotiate on your behalf for free. Considerations Before you take the path of debt settlement, consider a few things. You need to understand the impact this process will have should your creditor actually forgive some or all of your debt. If your creditor forgives any or all of your debt, it will report this to the relevant credit agencies. Lending institutions look down on debt settlement from a practical point of view. If your debts are settled for less than your total balance, your credit score will take a hit. Also understand that any debt relieved greater than $600 dollars is liable for taxes. This one is important. The government considers any forgiven debt over $600 to be similar to income, and it will be taxed as such. If you owe $8000 and settle with your creditor for $3000, you will likely owe taxes on the difference of $5000. So be sure to check with your tax advisor.
  5. The dreaded word bankruptcy. This word has carried a negative connotation with it for some time. The truth is many people file for bankruptcy. Financial hardships are just a part of life. Last year, a total of 911,086 bankruptcies were filed, so don’t think you’re alone in this. There is a life to be had after bankruptcy if you manage to fix the mistakes of the past. A Fresh Start You can think of bankruptcy as a fresh start. Yes, things will be more difficult for some time. But you can use this time to build healthy personal finance habits. As you may already know, bankruptcy will show up as a black mark on your credit report and can stay there for up to a decade. Companies that see an applicant with a previous bankruptcy will be far less likely to do business with that applicant, especially in the beginning. If they do decide to do business with you, it will usually come with strings attached, such as very high interest rates or a cosigner. Rebuilding You Credit Rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy is a bit of a catch-22. You absolutely must rebuild your credit to fix the damage from the bankruptcy. But at the same time, the bankruptcy itself makes building credit extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. Before embarking on your credit rebuilding journey, make sure your other finances are in order. Make sure you stay up to date with any bankruptcy payments you still have to make, if any. If you have a mortgage, keep paying that off on time each month. That’s the first step to building your credit. You should also immediately apply for a secured credit card. These credit cards function as normal cards, but come with no added frills. They are mostly for rebuilding credit. Get a Secured Credit Card Before even thinking of a personal loan, you’ll need that secured credit card. Companies need to know you can handle credit responsibly. It will take some time, but once you have an established history of on time payments following your bankruptcy, your credit score will improve and companies will take you more seriously. Generally, it takes six months to a year of consistent on time payments towards a secured credit card before companies will even consider you for a personal loan. Bad-credit Personal Loans Even after you’ve partially rebuilt your credit with a secured credit card, you still may find it difficult to acquire a personal loan. At this point, you’ll want to look for a bad-credit personal loan. These are loans that are specifically made for people with no credit history or a weak credit history, such as those with bankruptcies in their past. Please note that we do not recommend you apply for payday loans. Those are not the same as bad-credit loans. Instead, look for reputable companies that have a history of dealing with low credit score consumers. They’ll take a look at your situation and see what they can offer you. But be prepared to be rejected. If you’re approved, be prepared for higher interest rates and other factors such as required collateral. Staying Positive Our final piece of advice for those who’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past is to remember to always stay positive. Time heals all wounds, as they say. With the right attitude and financial habits, just about anyone can rebuild their credit. Stay patient and keep looking forward.
  6. Oh great. Another person is about to lecture you about the importance of fiscal responsibly and credit scores. Take a deep breath and relax. We’re going to cover what credit scores actually are and how to use this information to increase your own. Whether you like it or not, your credit history is of extreme importance. It is nearly impossible to be approved for a credit card, a mortgage or a decent auto loan without a solid credit score to back you up. With the right knowledge, you’ll be able to implement new behaviors and strategies to grow your credit quickly and reach the next level of financial independence. A credit score is a number determined by a set of specific equations that ranks your credit worthiness and the risk associated with offering you credit. The most commonly used credit ranking system is FICO. Although there are various credit ranking systems, FICO is used at 90 of the top 100 largest financial institutions in the US. The equation they used it kept secret, but they do offer some details about the structure of their system. FICO breaks down each person’s credit score into five categories; payment history, the amount the person owes, the average length of credit history, the diversity of credit and the number of new credit lines. Payment History (35 percent) The payment history category is the most important and influential to your credit score. Your monthly payments towards your credit card and loan balances are reported by each of the three main credit bureaus. Should you miss a payment, it will be recorded on your credit report. Making consistent on time payments shows that you are a responsible spender and that you live within your means. Amounts Owed (30 percent) The amount you owe on your credit cards and outstanding loans is the second most important factor to improving your credit score. Say you have a total credit limit of $5,000. If you have a $1,000 balance on your credit cards, your credit utilization would be 20 percent. This is on the higher end of what FICO considers a healthy credit utilization rate. Maintaining a high amount of debt on your credit cards, or even maxing them out, shows risky and unstable behavior. Keep your credit utilization rate below 20 percent for a decent credit score, and below 10 percent for an excellent credit score. Credit History (15 percent) Your credit history is important, but not quite as much as the amount you owe and your payment history. For each credit card or loan you have, the amount of time you’ve had each of those credit lines will be averaged. Lenders prefer borrowers who have a history of taking and spending money at a healthy rate. Combined with a strong payment history, a long credit history shows that you’re able to manage debt responsibly. FICO recommends that you do not close your oldest credit cards because this would lower your average credit history significantly. Types of Credit and New Credit (10 percent each) The type of credit you have and the new credit lines you have each constitute 10 percent of your total credit score. The FICO equations look at the diversity of your credit lines. Credit cards are not the only form of credit. Diversifying your credit report with loans, brokerages or retail accounts could help to boost your credit score. However, FICO recommends not to open new credit lines unless you need them. Lastly, FICO will take into account how many new accounts you’re opening. Try to avoid applying for too many credit cards all at once, as this may lower your credit score in the short-term.
  7. A new app is making headlines with its innovative approach to improving users’ credit score. Lenny has launched a hybrid peer-2-peer (P2P) and credit building app that is directed towards millennials. By utilizing P2P initiatives, Lenny helps users increase their credit score and take more responsibility over their personal finances. Building your credit is one of the most important factors in personal finance. That little number on your credit report sets the interest rate on just about every loan you will ever take. The difference between an average credit score and an excellent credit score could be the difference between thousands of dollars in fees and interest payments, or just hundreds of dollars. Lenny helps people build their credit by allowing users to access a credit line between $100 and $10,000. The amount of money users receive is based on their credit score and other metrics. When balances are paid off in full and on time, the interest rate on the loan remains at zero percent. If payments are not made on time, the interest rate will slowly increase for each missed payment. Interest rates start as low as 4.9 percent and can go as high as 22 percent, with the average interest rate coming in at 9.8 percent. Those are some pretty decent numbers, especially when compared to the average credit card interest rate of 15.07 percent. Lenny also allows users to be rewarded for paying off their balances on time and in full. If you make your payments on time consistently, your credit limit will be increased by $1,000 every quarter (three months), up to a total of $10,000. At the same time, when balances are paid back in full, you will not have to pay any interest. When your loan is approved, you will receive a transfer to your bank account instantly. These funds can then be used to pay your bills, start a business, fund a trip, or anything else that you might need to pay for. There are many new apps and financial technology startups that are taking advantage of computing power to provide more services for cheaper compared to traditional banks. Like many other young startups, Lenny is utilizing the internet and mobile platforms to add more services to its platform. For example, Lenny has a built in P2P payment system integrated directly into the app. Once you receive your loan, you can send a payment to your friends or family instantly. Lenny provides a convenient payment platform through its app that helps users make or send payments directly through their phones. Another innovative aspect of Lenny is its unique credit score ranking system. Because the startup is offering loans to people, it first must assess each user’s ability to pay off a loan, and how large a loan they should receive. Lenny does utilize the traditional credit score system, but it also uses other metrics to determine loan sizes and interest rates. For example, Lenny will look at variable such as education, saving and spending habits, bank account balance and earning potential. By combining these metrics, Lenny can offer better loan conditions to users while also reducing risk. Like all financial products, apps like Lenny should be used intelligently. Just because you’re offered a $10,000 loan doesn’t mean you should take it. But for responsible individuals who either need a loan or just want to build their credit in a healthy way, Lenny may be the perfect product.
  8. Data released by Lending Club recently shows that both credit markets and credit scores are under-performing. The data revealed that people’s average credit scores were actually falling, which implies that those people are being too risky with their credit. This could partially be attributed to the growth of the peer-2-peer lending scene. Or it could be attributed to the growth in confidence since the economic recovery set in. At the same time, credit markets are also tightening, making it more and more difficult for people to acquire new lines of credit. It now appears that credit markets will remain subdued for some time. Regardless of your situation, take a look at our credit score tips to keep your credit score healthy. 1.) Maintain healthy habits Maintaining reasonable credit practices is arguably the most import factor to keeping your credit score healthy. This includes making monthly payments on time, every time, and ensuring that all of your bills also get paid back in a timely fashion. You can use alerts on your phone to remind you to check your credit card balance so you can track your spending patterns and limits. Alternatively, you can use apps like Mint to keep track of your spending patterns. Watching your spending patterns and keeping track of your credit levels is vital to maintaining a healthy credit score. 2.) Build Your Credit Safely Now that credit markets are tightening, you may find it more difficult to build your credit score. If you’re just entering the market, you will find it especially difficult to find ways to build credit history. For those with little to no credit history, it might be best to look for a credit building loan. Some institutions, usually credit unions and community banks, will allow you to borrow money simply for the purpose of building credit. The borrowed money will be stored in an account with the lender, and the payments will be automatically deducted from that account. This is a very safe way to build credit. Alternatively, you could apply for a secured credit card. These cards are for individuals with little to no credit history who otherwise would be unable to be approved for a regular credit card. You will have to provide a deposit for the card, usually $100 to $1000, which will be paid back once you decide to close the card. Your credit limit is your deposit and there are usually no rewards benefits or other perks for secured credit cards. 3.) Get Help Getting Credit With tightening in credit markets, lenders are going to be less willing to give you a line of credit, even if your credit score isn’t that bad. But there are alternatives. If you need help getting a loan or a credit card, you can ask someone to be a co-signer. By co-signing a credit card or a loan, the co-signer agreed to bear responsibility for the loan or credit card should you fail to payback the debt. Another option is becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. A friend or a relative can allow you to use their card and build credit, without you bearing any legal responsibility to pay back those debts. Both of these methods are usually used for younger people who need help building credit, or spouses who’ve never had a chance to build credit in the past.
  9. Millennials are the new up-and-coming generation in America. The sons and daughters of the baby boomer generation, millennials, are a rather unique bunch. Born in a period of rapid and advanced technological growth, millennials tend to have a different approach to life than their parent’s generation. However, it isn’t just the generational age gap that has led to this major difference. It is also the severe economic conditions millennials were met with when they began entering the job market. Many millennials came into the adult world during the global financial crisis and found it difficult to survive on their own. Over the past several years, the economic recovery in the nation has been very lopsided, with long-term employment and wage growth performing abysmally over the past decade. Many millennials are facing high property prices, low wages, shaky employment stability and high student debt. This had led many in the financial world to question what role millennials will play in the economy. Even analysts at Goldman Sachs are becoming concerned about the property market. One major trend that analysts are seeing is that millennials are finding it difficult to move out of their parent’s houses. Some people have offered up explanations for this phenomenon, suggesting that millennials are either lazy or too dependent on their parents. In reality, the real reason for this phenomenon is both the lack of job prospects and little to no credit history. The housing market is still in a weird position, and many millennials have not yet had the chance to build their credit score to an adequate level to be approved for a mortgage. Many millennials are saying this themselves, claiming they attempted to get approved for a mortgage but were denied. But there may be a solution to this problem. A young financial technology company called Backed is allowing the baby boomer generation to lend their credit scores to younger millennials who lack credit history. The startup uses advanced data analytics to rethink the co-signing process. Millennials can now get a jump start on their credit history by using their parents as backers, while also using Backed’s advanced data analytics to ensure that the loans are safe from default. Backed is already established in Arkansas, Florida, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia because these states do not require a lender’s license. But the startup plans to expand into even more states before the end of the year and has acquired $1.5 million in seed funds so far. Backed said it is currently in talks with federally insured banks in 45 other states to help provide loans in collaboration with Backed. Over the rest of the year, Backed hopes to receive even more funding and to expand to the rest of the United States. Many young financial technology companies like backed are offering innovative services like this to provide solutions to problems facing our country. Peer-to-peer lending has been a particularly innovative new venture, providing both investment opportunities and less-risky loans to millennials across the nation. “Then we learned about peer-to-peer lending. We really like emerging industries and we wanted to see where there was space for optimization and improving conversion rates,” said Backed cofounder Gilad Woltsovitch. “That is where we came up with idea of parent lending kids their credit score rather than cash. We believe this solution helps both sides, because it allows kids to build a credit history and relieves the financial burden on parents.”
  10. It may be the case that you’ve sat around wondering if you could be approved for an auto loan despite your bad credit. In the American way of life, a car is oftentimes a necessity. Even since the great recession from a few years back, both poor economic conditions and new legislation has make it more difficult to get approved for any kind of loan. If it is the case that you have bad credit, you should probably first ask yourself if a loan is even worth it. But if you have come to the conclusion that your finances can handle an auto loan, despite your bad credit, then you should know that not all hope is lost. According to recent reports, more Americans with bad credit are being approved for car loans. The number of subprime (low credit score) auto loans has risen to a level that is concerning to analysts. But at the same time, the number of 30-day delinquencies has also fallen. This could mean one of two things. It could be the case that lenders are picking and choosing individuals who have bad credit, but also may be more likely to pay off the loan despite having bad credit. It might also be the case that more people with bad credit are being more responsible and getting their finances in order. Whatever the case, the report shows that it’s not impossible for you to get an auto loan if you have bad credit. Taking the right steps When looking for an auto loan with bad credit, you should immediately put out of your mind getting a loan from sleazy companies that specifically appeal to those with bad credit. We’ve all seen the advertisements from companies saying “bad credit? No problem.” These may seem appealing in your situation, but you should avoid these companies at all cost. There is simply no good reason to take a loan from these types of companies. Payday loans and the sort have been caught committing acts of fraud continuously. So much, in fact, that the government is having trouble keeping up with continuously deceptive and sneaky maneuvers by the payday loan industry. Now that you’ve put those kinds of loans out of your head, you’re ready to approach the auto loan industry with your bad credit. Here are a few steps you should take, in addition to a few pointers. · Check your credit score so you know what you’re working with. Websites like CreditKarma offer instant access to your free credit reports and scores from TransUnion and Equifax. · Before applying for any auto loans, decide on what kind of vehicle to get. Although you’re more likely to be approved for an auto loan if you’re considering a newer car, it may be a better idea to stick with a cheaper used car. · When selecting a vehicle, be realistic. Don’t get any added bells and whistles, don’t go for luxury and don’t go overboard. Remember, you have bad credit. Not only are you using this loan for a car, you’re also using it to build your future credit score. · Shop around before applying for a loan. Talk with as many reputable institutions as you can and find the best deal. If you’re uncertain about your chances of being approved, apply for a few different auto loans at the same time. Oftentimes, credit agencies will not hold it against you if you apply for multiple loans in a short period of time. But be warned, continually applying for batches of loans will eventually impact your credit score negatively. · As you’re getting approved, or after you’ve been approved, you still aren’t done. Be careful of tricky games by some car dealerships. It would be better to get a loan from a financial institution than from a dealership directly. Do not drive the vehicle off of the lot before signing all of the required paperwork, including the loan. Sometimes people find out that their interest rate has been increased once they come back to finalize the deal. Finally, don’t let car dealerships pressure you into added packages. Know what you want before going in and stick with your plan.
  11. New developments in the technology and financial sectors may help you boost your credit score and have access to more loan options. Although standard peer-to-peer loans are always an option, there are new ventures forming to help bring loan accessibility and credit building opportunities to those in need. Continue reading..
  12. When people run into financial trouble, they seldom know how to act and what their options are. You may have found yourself in a situation where you didn’t have any idea how to proceed. One common situation that many people find themselves in is identify left. Hackers and thieves have found many different avenues of infiltration. If you’ve ever signed up with a reputable bank or other financial institution, it’s likely that your personal information is stored on the institution’s servers. Continue reading..