How to Know if You Are a Victim of Fraud
Recently, we published an article about the importance of checking your credit report annually. We cannot stress enough as to the importance of this activity. After all, doing so allows you the opportunity to dispute potentially erroneous information on your report, and you can become aware of negative information in your file. Another benefit, however, to checking your report annually comes from the ability to ensure that you are not a victim of identity theft or other fraudulent activities.LEARN MORE
Setting a Budget and Living Within Your Means
Last week, we provided insight into the importance of checking your credit report once per year. On a parallel path to working through inaccuracies or negative information on your credit report, your next step is to establish a budget that will help you get ahead. Though many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, this can be dangerous territory. It is simply not a sustainable process. And, if something goes wrong such as you incur an unanticipated medical expense, you experience a job loss, or other, you can quickly find yourself in a position where staying on top of your bills is no longer possible.LEARN MORE
Start 2020 Off Right with a Credit Report Review
2020 is here - a new year and a new decade. If you are like most Americans you have probably established a few New Year’s resolutions. If 2020 is like 2019 (and many years before that), you are likely resolving to get in shape, lose weight, eat healthier, improve your approach to self-care, learn a new skill, get a new job, or manage your money better. And managing your money better is a critical lifestyle change that will help you become financially healthier (and mentally healthier too).LEARN MORE
The Importance of Credit Scores
You are more than a number. You are a living, breathing person with hopes and dreams. You are a truly unique and special soul.
But when it comes to your credit, well, you’re kind of a number.
As many people know — especially people with bad credit — credit scores are very important to lenders. These three-digit scores are calculated using a variety of factors and banks use them when determining if they should give you a credit card, line of credit or loan. The lower your score is, the bigger a risk a lender thinks it will be that they’ll get their money back from you.
Holiday Survival Guide: Finance Edition
The holidays are full of joy and cheer to end your year. The time with family and friends is a gift that never ends.
OK, let’s be real. The holidays are hard. There’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones and see everyone in a limited amount of time. And we won’t even get into what it’s like to try to have a conversation with that uncle. You know the one.
Another reason the holidays can be difficult is because of your finances. Every commercial, every store, and every event is encouraging you to spend a little bit more than you should.
How can you survive the holidays with your finances intact? We’ve got you covered with this survival guide.
How Do Interest Rates Actually Work?
They say it takes money to make money. The hard truth is that it also takes money to borrow money, though it kind of works in reverse.
The general idea behind loans is that a lender provides a sum of money in return for a promise that the borrower will pay that money (and some more) back within a specified period of time. So, any loan is a tradeoff where you as the borrower say, “Having X dollars today is important enough to me that I’m willing to pay you back Y dollars.”
How Financial Fees Pack a Punch
Credit cards, bank accounts and loans all have a few things in common — none more obvious than fees. There are so many potential fees that it’s hard to keep track of all of them.
By doing your homework before you borrow money or rack up credit card debt, you can determine the right path for you. Spotloan, for instance, is a short-term installment loan that prides itself on having no hidden fees.LEARN MORE
5 Ways to Use Reviews to Choose a Lender
As a consumer, you like to know what you can expect from the products and services you purchase. You like transactions to be, you know, transactional. You give someone X dollars in exchange for Y product or service, and you both go on your respective ways, better off for it.
In the short-term loan industry, though, not all transactions are that straightforward. The fine print can include details that come as an unpleasant surprise later. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you know what you can expect.
What You Should Know About Prepayment Penalties
Prepayment penalties just seem wrong. It doesn’t seem like you should be able to be punished for going above and beyond to deliver something better (or sooner) than what you had promised. Despite that, prepayment penalties on loans are legal and enforceable due to the fine print found in many of them, especially payday loans.
Let's take a step back. What exactly are prepayment penalties? These are clauses written into loan agreements that allow the lender to enact a financial penalty on the borrower for paying off (or significantly paying down) the principal of a loan before its specified term is over.
8 ways new grads can manage student debt
Have a lot of student loan debt? Join the club. About 70% of college grads today have significant debt from student loans, CNBC reports. The average amount is just over $37,000, up $20,000 from 13 years ago. And Americans owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student loans, nearly double the amount owed ten years ago, according to The Federal Reserve.
Here are 8 tips to help you manage your student debt:
How TILA keeps you from getting fooled
As the calendar turns to April, we welcome in one of the most glorious times of the year. The days are getting longer. The sun once again kisses our skin, some of which has been clothing-covered for four consecutive months. Trees and plants begin to flower. But there is a darker side. Also as the calendar turns to April, the friends and family you know and love transform into prank-loving demons.
April Fools’ Day has the ability to turn even the honest souls among us into deceptive lie-mongers whose only objective is to trick you into believing something false. And, unfortunately, there are no rules in place to help you avoid finding your car covered in Saran Wrap, or getting a pie in the face, as the result of one of these pranksters.
When it comes to the lending industry, though, there is a rule to help prevent you from being tricked. The Truth in Lending Act, commonly referred to as TILA, has a number of provisions that regulate how lenders and creditors can act and what they can say. The TILA is working for you to keep that pie out of your face, so to speak, by requiring lenders to be more trustworthy.
10 ways to save and make money in 2019
Nearly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. But only 8% actually keep them, according to Fast Company. The secret is to set realistic goals and then take small, consistent steps toward meeting them.
With that in mind, we’ve put together 10 simple but effective strategies to help you save and make money in 2019.
What you should know about holiday loans
Backed by a strong economy and low unemployment, U.S. online holiday spending is expected to rise 14.8% this year compared to 2017, while brick-and-mortar retailers should see a 2.7% boost, according to Adobe Analytics.
Clearly, the holiday shopping party is already in full swing. But will you wake up afterwards with a financial hangover? After all, it’s way too easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season. Plus, retailers have extended their sales well beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday. How can you resist all those great deals?
If you’ve still got gifts to buy but maxed out your credit card and cash is tight, consider a holiday loan. Here are answers to questions you might have about holiday loans.
Paying off debt — where do you start?
If you’re in debt, you’re in good company. Americans’ debt climbed to a new high of $13.29 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
But when you’re in debt, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And it’s difficult to know exactly where to start to climb out of the financial hole. Here are some tips to help you begin tackling your debt.LEARN MORE
How to start repairing your credit in 7 steps
You’ve been denied a bank loan because your credit score is low. Or you’ve been issued a new credit card. But the APR is higher than you expected. You call the card issuer to find out why, and you’re told it’s because your credit score is low.
Both are bad news. But in time, you can repair your credit. Here are 7 steps to get you started.
How to protect your personal information from getting hacked
The more you buy and bank online, the more your personal information—birthday, social security number, banking account details—is stored online. But how can you protect that data, especially given 2017’s high-profile data security breaches at Equifax, Verizon, Uber, Yahoo, and other companies?LEARN MORE
How to get the best deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond
The period beginning with Thanksgiving and going until after New Year’s is prime time for finding great deals from retailers. Here’s how to shop wisely for consumer electronics and other merchandise as the 2017 holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.LEARN MORE
How to cut your credit card interest rate and fees
7 tips for reducing your cell phone billLEARN MORE
How to save money eating out
Americans spend more at eating and drinking establishments than at grocery stores, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Clearly, many of us would rather let someone else cook.
But when you eat out, you pay a premium for food and beverages. Most food establishments markup food items by 300%, Fox Business reports. And restaurant buyers told SFGate they charge about four times as much for a glass of beer, and four to five times as much for a glass of wine, than they actually pay.LEARN MORE
7 ways to save money on broadband internet
Broadband internet is practically like water and electricity—a utility that just about every household needs. But broadband can be pricey. The average monthly cost of residential broadband globally was $104 in 2016, according to an internet research firm.
Here are seven tips for cutting your monthly broadband internet bill.LEARN MORE