3 Ways to Get the Best Interest Rate on Your Next Loan

If you are like most people in America, you have or will likely take out a loan at some point. Whether you need a mortgage for a new home, a car loan for a new car or a student loan for university, loans are sometimes needed.

When getting a loan, your goal should be to spend as little as possible, while still getting a loan that satisfies your need. In order to do that, you need to try and get a solid interest rate on your next loan. While the interest rate isn’t the only thing to consider, it is quite important and will dictate how much you pay over the lifetime of your loan.

With that in mind, this article is going to take a closer look at three solid and proven ways to get a better interest rate on your next loan. Whether you get your loan from a traditional lender like a bank or credit union, or an online lender like Loanable, getting a low interest rate should be at or near the top of your checklist when securing a new loan.

Have a Solid Credit Score

One of the most important things that factor into the quality of your interest rate is your credit score. Your credit score is a three digit number that is a quick and easy way for lenders to see the health of your credit. These scores range from 300-850 in the USA, and anything over 700 is considered a good score, and a score at this level should grant you access to great interest rates.

If your credit score is bad, you might want to take steps to increase it before applying for a loan. You can improve your credit score in a number of ways such as making payments on time and using your credit responsively.

In addition to your credit score, you should also make sure that your credit report is up to par as well. Your credit report will have information on your credit history, any active credit you currently have and more. The better the health of your overall credit, the better chance you will get at a low interest rate.

Shop Around and Do Your Homework

If you simply get a loan at the very first place you visit, the chance of you getting a good rate is not going to be that high. Instead, you want to shop around to different locations and do your homework. The more places you look and the more comfortable you get negotiating an interest rate, the better a rate you will eventually secure.

Your local area likely has dozens of potential lenders, and the online lending industry has opened up millions of people to even more options. Each lender will have different terms, prices and rates, so the more places you look, the better chance you have at finding a place that will offer you a good interest rate.

Get a Secured Loan

A secured loan is a loan in which collateral is put up to protect the lender. You can put your car, home, or even savings account up as collateral. If you default on the loan and miss payments, the lender will legally be able to seize the asset and sell it to get the money back that they loaned to you.

Because these loans are less risky for lenders, they will often give out lower interest rates. So if you are sure you won’t default and can make all the payment on time, a secured loan is a solid way to get the best interest rate on your next loan.

In conclusion, we hope that this article gave you some solid information about how to get a solid interest rate on your next loan. While there are other things you can do to help, these three tips will get you on the right track.

Getting a Mortgage with Bad Credit

Buying a home can be stressful. One of the major stressors is getting a mortgage. There is so much involved and it is quite the process. To add to that stress, if you have bad credit, it can be more difficult to acquire. Is it possible to get a mortgage with bad credit? Are there ways to avoid any issues with getting a mortgage? Your answers are below.

Can you still get a mortgage with bad credit?

The short answer to if you can get a mortgage with bad credit is “yes”. You may have to shop around and may have to pay a higher rate because of it. A product called a Bad Credit Mortgage is available to consumers in this situation.The bad credit mortgage is often called a sub-prime mortgage and is offered to homebuyers with low credit ratings. Due to the low credit rating, conventional mortgages are not offered because the lender sees this as the homebuyer having a larger-than-average risk of not following through with the terms of the loan. Lenders often charge higher interest rates on these mortgages in order to compensate for the higher loan default risk that they are taking.

Are there ways to help you get a mortgage with bad credit?

Your credit score is just a piece of the puzzle the lender uses for deciding if they will give you a mortgage. Things such as employment and paying your bills on time are also indicators of approval. Often times mortgage lenders put applications through automatically and the system may reject you. If you tell them to manually review your application and look at the other positive credit factors on your file, you may have a chance. You still may need to explain your low score, but if you can prove you pay your bills on time (especially over a 12 month period) or hold a consistent well paying job, then that is a plus. If your credit score is bad because of late medical bills or student loans, they may look past the bad score as well. So this is something to bring up.

Another way to get a mortgage with bad credit is to make a bigger down payment. If you make a large down payment than the loan amount will be for less so it may increase your chances of being approved. A down payment of 20% or more puts you at an advantage.

FHA Loans

There are FHA loans which is a mortgage issued by federally qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans are designed for low-to-moderate income borrowers who are unable to make a large down payment. This is another option that may be able to help you as well.

As you can see, there are many resources and professionals available to help you with the mortgage lending process in the event you have bad credit or low cash reserve. It is important to use those resources so you can make your home buying dreams a reality regardless of your financial situation.

Common Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen and What to Do About It

Identity theft isn’t always at the top of our worries list (which seems to annoyingly expand on a daily basis), but as the years go on, the problem only seems to get worse. The more advanced our security systems get, the more wily identity thieves seem to become. Identity theft is probably more common than you think, so check out some common ways thieves tend to gain access to funds and personal information and ensure you don’t become a part of the statistic.

Filing Your Taxes

Imagine this: You’re doing your duty as a law-abiding American citizen, sitting with a financial advisor to determine any taxes you might owe to the government (or how much you might receive back), when to your surprise, the IRS informs you that you’ve already filed. That’s right, fake tax returns happen every year, and many identity thieves have found great success filing tax returns under other people’s names and collecting the returns they were owed. If this happens to you, and you’re able to prove to the IRS that a fake return was filed, it could take months or years to finally receive the return that was rightfully yours. It’s important to keep an eye on your taxes and be sure to file as soon as you’re able to shorten the window of time in which fake personas may file them for you.

Giving Too Much Away

When we think about the dark side of social media and online interactions, many of us may conjure up images of the aptly titled “Craigslist Killer”, and shy away from posting our personal information to “friends” that may be strangers in disguise behind a foreign computer screen. While many social media outlets will prompt you to ender personal information including your full name, birth date, address, and phone number, it’s in your best interest to leave as many of these queries blank as possible. Even the most minimal personal information tidbits can be used by wily con artists to hack into bank accounts, credit cards, and more. It’s best to follow a “less is more” policy when entering information onto your Facebook or Instagram. If you have children, be certain that they aren’t posting this types of information on their social media profiles as well.

If You Rent a Home

Many Americans are choosing to rent instead of purchase a home these days, as financial constraints and cultural shifts have seen a desire for the flexibility that a home rental can offer. Unfortunately, identity thieves have caught onto this trend. Be careful when searching through listings on sites like HotPads.com, and do your research before meeting up with a potential landlord. Never wire money before seeing the property in person, as there’s no way to get it back (hint, hint: just the word “wire” should tip you off that a prospective landlord might not be who they say they are). Landlords will be asking you for access to a collection of bits of personal information, including your address and social security number. It’s never a bad idea to request a prospective landlord provide proof their screening service. If they don’t use one, consider asking them to use something like MySmartMove landlord credit checks so that your information stays in safe hands.

Invest in a Shredder

Luckily, these days documents are increasingly available online, decreasing the amount of important papers that we must keep and store hidden away from wandering, criminal eyes. However, there are still the occasional physical documents that contain our personal information, so it’s important to properly dispose of these papers so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Purchasing a high-quality shredder is a good life investment, and you’ll find the peace of mind that comes with knowing your information is safe from prying hands is well worth the cost.

Identity theft can have lasting consequences that affect your life for years, including a damaged credit score, so it’s important to take precautions and prevent identity thieves from gaining easy access to your information.

How to improve your credit score in 5 easy steps

financial docs

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Your credit score is important, and you’ll want to protect it as best you can. With a decent credit score, you can apply for a mortgage, loan, credit card or bank account with relative ease. If a bank or lender sees a poor credit score on your file, this could affect your ability to obtain that product.

Money Saving Expert says that your credit score is more important than you might think, “Since the credit crunch started, way back in 2007, the importance of credit scoring to our financial lives has grown rapidly.”

Tip 1 – Register to Vote

If you’re not on the electoral roll, it’s unlikely you’ll get credit at all, so sign up immediately. If you aren’t eligible to vote in the UK, you could consider sending credit reference agencies proof of residency (utility bills, a UK driving licence, etc) and ask them to add a note to verify this. This should help you get credit.

Tip 2 – Meet all repayments on current loans and show how trustworthy you can be

Any forgotten or late payment gets makes a mark on your credit file. So if you have any loans to repay, make sure you meet repayments on time.

You need to amend your current spending and repayment habits and after about a year, your credit file should show a dramatic difference. Yes, it requires patience, but it is definitely achievable.

Tip 3 – Cancel unused credit and store cards

Money Saving Expert says, “If you have a range of unused credit cards and lots of available credit, it could be a good idea to cancel some of them. This lowers your available credit and should help.”

BUT, long-standing bank accounts with good credit histories can be a benefit to your credit score, so try leaving them open.

Tip 4 – Pay for insurance up front and not monthly

Monthly insurance payments can have an impact on your credit score. So, if you can pay it all in one go, try and do so.

Tip 5 – Keep personal details the same between applications

If you different job titles or phone numbers/addresses, try to use the same one on every form. It is important to be consistent. If you use different details, you might be flagged up by fraud scoring. Simply keeping some consistency can improve your credit score.

My credit score: A love/hate relationship

Screen shot 2009-12-09 at Dec 9, 2009, 10.37.26 PMWhat’s that saying? Oh that’s right, “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” I’ve never really had a reason to use this phrase before, but when it comes to my FICO score, it is the first thing that comes to mind. The only way to have a high FICO score is to continually be borrowing money. This causes a problem when your blogs name is Punch Debt In The Face. How can I possibly strive to have a high FICO score, but swear off virtually all debt? Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can answer that question, but I’m gonna give it my best shot.

For those that don’t know, your FICO score is basically a measure of how likely you are to repay your debts. A high FICO score, means you will probably make most payments on time, with few (if any) hiccups. A low FICO score, indicates a high probability you will make late or no payments rather frequently.

There are five main categories that make up each individuals FICO score…

* Payment History (timliness of repayment)
* Amounts Owed (available credit compared to credit used)
* Length of Credit (length of time you’ve had the account)
* New Credit (how frequently are you opening new accounts)
* Type of Credit (student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc)

Now that you know the components of your FICO score, lets talk about why it’s important. I assume most of my 20 something readers are like myself and  hope to one day purchase a home. I would also assume most of us plan to take out a loan to purchase said home (if you are planning on paying 100% cash, you need not continue reading).

Did you know your FICO score plays a huge factor in your ability to purchase the home of your dreams. Let’s run through a little hypothetical situation…

Johnny has a terrible credit score and walks in to his local bank to apply for a $200,000 mortgage on his dream home. Ninja also walks in to the same bank to apply for a $200,000 mortgage, but Ninja has a very high credit score. There is a good chance the bank is going to reject Johnny’s application, therefore crushing his dreams of being a homeowner. But let’s say they don’t. Let’s pretend they decide to qualify Johnny for that loan. The bank gives Ninja a low interest rate of 4.75% because he is not a risky person to loan money to. With Johnny however, the bank has taken on some risk by giving him a loan, so they decide to charge him an interest rate of 6%. Ninja’s total interest paid over 30 years is going to be $175K, meanwhile Johnny’s going to have paid over $230K in interest. That’s a $55K difference for taking out the same loan from the same bank. High credit scores generally result in better financing options.

Here’s the problem. The only way to have a high credit score is to be continually borrow money. You’ll notice all five components of the credit score require you to have credit available to you (aka you have to be in debt). What if you are like me and have sworn off incurring future debt, except for a mortgage, and are aggressively working to get rid of all current debt? Fortunately there is at least one way to continually be “borrowing” money, without actually being in debt.

I use my credit card for every purchase I make. By the end of each month, my balance is usually around $1,500. I then pay off this balance in full, so I incur no interest charges. My CC company will then report this information to the credit agencies. Since I made my payment on time, my credit score is going to continue to increase. It’s a simple, yet effective way, to raise your credit score, without having to pay for it.

This is the only free way to raise your credit score I know of. Does anyone else know of other ways to raise your credit score without going in to debt? Let me know ’cause I’d be very curious to hear them! At the end of the day I really wish credit scores didn’t exist, but the reality is they do, and they are frustratingly important.