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Category Archives: Finance

Financial Emergencies That Could Require a Loan to Fix

When you don’t have the money to pay for something you want or need, it is natural to borrow the money. Though convenient to use on occasion, all too often, consumers rely on loans too much to get them out of jams and splurge on big-ticket items only to end up digging a deeper hole for themselves. The most efficient way to ensure that loans remain a convenience and not a hindrance is to only borrow funds in emergent situations that can be resolved in a short period of time.

Car Repair

One common short-term emergency when you need an unsecured personal loan is an unexpected car repair. Though many individuals budget for common car expenses like gas, oil changes, and tire rotations, many don’t account for expenses like car repairs. Should the car break down and you need to get it fix, a short-term personal loan would cover the costs and provide you with enough time to pay the balance in full.

Utility Bills

Although utility costs should be a line item in your household budget, it goes without saying that the prices can change without a moment’s notice. When rates increase due to fluctuations in the market or the time of year (like increased energy costs in the winter), this can throw you off budget. In this instance, a short-term loan would cover the increase while you adjust your budget to handle the costs going forward.

Home Repair

While you probably shouldn’t take out a short-term loan for a home improvement, there are some home repair emergencies that just can’t wait until you’ve saved enough. A plumbing or electrical issue, for instance, needs to be repaired to prevent further damage to the property and to improve the functionality of the space. Since home repairs like this can be several hundred or thousand dollars, a short-term loan can be used to pick up the expense.

Personal Injury

Accidents happen all the time and you never know when it might happen to you. If you’ve suffered injuries that will require you to be out of work for a while you’ve likely filed for disability. Since disability coverage can take a while to kick in, you may need to apply for a short-term loan to tide you over. This can cover immediate expenses and bills until your regular disability starts depositing.

Medical Expense

Although it is best to have a health savings account for financial emergencies such as these, sometimes the costs can be more than you have tucked away. If you’re dealing with a medical expense like copays, hospital stays, medical devices, or prescription costs, you can apply for a small loan to cover the costs and repay it over time.

You just never know when a financial emergency could arise. When it does, borrowing is a safe and effective solution. Be that as it may, you should only consider borrowing funds in short-term emergencies like those described above. Trying to get by on a loan for other circumstances like being unemployed, a major home renovation, or getting out of debt isn’t ideal in that you may not be able to repay it. Therefore, analyze your circumstances carefully, and budget your repayment plan prior to applying to ensure you’re borrowing responsibly.

 

How to Safely Secure a Small Business Cash Advance

More and more businesses are flocking to the rapid funding options online lenders are offering the small business world. Merchants can easily and quickly get a business cash advance, regardless of credit issues. In fact, some online lenders like First American Merchant specialize in offering business funding to those who would normally struggle to find financing (“high- risk” business types).

However, like most things that seem too good to be true, there can definitely be a catch. This type of financing can be more expensive, and not every lender will be the ideal choice. Not all merchant cash advance providers are created equal. The following information will help you avoid being scammed, and find the online lender that is right for your business’ situation.

What to Look For

The following guidelines will help you carefully weigh your options:

  • Minimal Documentation Requirements – Unlike working with a traditional lender, alternative lenders typically require minimal documentation. Using a provider that handles your merchant processing makes greatly simplifies the process of securing a cash advance. For example, you may only need a few months of bank statements, a driver’s license, a copy of a lease/mortgage statement.
  • Straightforward Application Process – A strong cash advance provider will have straightforward approval standards and a higher approval rate than others in the industry. They will also be able to offer higher efficiencies not found anywhere else. For example, FAM is a full-service provider that offers multiple payment gateway options, high risk processing, flexible business funding options and check processing services. In addition, the application can be completed in a matter of minutes.
  • Fast Funding – One of the biggest advantages of a cash advance is the speed in which you can receive much needed capital. With traditional lenders, the process can take weeks or even months – only to find out you have been declined. With FAM, on the other hand, merchants can receive their cash in as little as 24 hours.
  • Flexible Repayment Process – Make sure you choose a lender that will allow repayment to change, based on the slow and busy months your business experiences. That is, the lender should allow repayment to be based off the performance of your business. During slow periods, your business pays back less. During busy months it pays back more.
  • Solid Reputation – The lender you choose should have years of experience in the industry. Make sure they have a long track record working with merchants, thoroughly understand the processing industry and offer an experienced support team. A provider with a solid history will have the financial strength to place capital in the hands of business owners quickly.

BIO: Business Funding expert, Nathan Hale, founded First American Merchant with his eyes set on helping the backbone of our country, small business owners. His passions include writing/producing music, and travel. First American Merchant is America’s Best get a business cash advance company, serving both traditional and high-risk Businesses.

Deal with Hire Purchase Debt

On ordinary credit agreements, the goods you buy belong to you from the time you take out the credit. The lender cannot take the goods back. They can only ask you to pay the money you owe under the agreement.

WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY?

If you fall behind with your payments on a Hire Purchase or Conditional Sale Agreement, the creditor may be able to repossess the goods. Look at your agreement. There will be a box telling you how much you need to have paid to stop the creditor taking the goods back without a court order. This should be a third of the total amount payable under the agreement.

If you have paid a third or more of the total owing, the creditor must go to court to ask for the goods back. They cannot just come round and remove them. Even if you have not paid more than a third of the agreement, the creditor will need an order from the court to remove the goods from “any premises” they are on.

This appears to include your garage or drive but not a car park or roadside. If your car is parked on the road, or in a public car park, then it would be at risk.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE IF THE CREDITOR HAS TO GO TO COURT BEFORE THEY CAN GET THE GOODS BACK?

There is still a chance that you can keep hold of the goods, as the court has the power to agree to this as long as you can pay the debt back in reasonable instalments.

If you have a third or more of the total payable under the agreement, the creditor will ask the court to send you a Claim Form asking for the goods to be returned.

This is called an application for a “Return Order”. Notice of a hearing date with a District Judge is included. This hearing should be in your local County Court.

There will be form with the Claim that you should fill in and send back to the court within 14 days. You must fill this in if you want the court to suspend the Return of Goods Order and allow you to keep the goods at home. You need to offer to pay the debt back in monthly instalments you can afford. It is important to treat this debt as a priority over ordinary credit debts and offer as much as you can.

Send the form back to the court, not the creditor. The court will send a copy of your form to the creditor. If the creditor accepts the offer the hearing will be cancelled. If the creditor does not accept the offer the hearing will go ahead.

You must attend the hearing. The court will decide at the hearing whether they will suspend the Return Order and what monthly instalments you should pay from now on. If you do not fill in the admission form there will be a hearing anyway. If you don’t go to the hearing the court will probably grant the creditor an order telling you to return the goods.

WHAT IF I HAVE PAID LESS THAN A THIRD AND THE CREDITOR WANTS THE GOODS BACK?

If you want to keep the goods you should ask the creditor to agree to a payment arrangement with you. The creditor is most likely to accept if you can afford the full monthly instalments plus something towards the arrears. If you can’t make the full payments, the creditor may agree to reduce the payments, but usually by a small amount and only for a short time. In certain circumstances you may be able to go to court and ask to pay less than the full monthly instalment and extend the length of the agreement.

HOW MUCH WILL I OWE IF THE AGREEMENT ENDS?

If you have to decide whether to end a Hire Purchase or Conditional Sale agreement there are two options:

* return the goods voluntarily;

or

* let the creditor end your agreement and repossess the goods.

There can be a difference in the amount you end up owing depending upon how the agreement is ended.

Rewards Cards

How does a reward program work? Typically, the program awards points, “dollars” or a cash value based on the amount you charge. The rate at which you collect points varies depending on what you charge or where you charge it. Some programs offer extra points for using their card at a specific place such as a supermarket or fast food restaurant or for certain items.

Some programs offer a variety of rewards. Consumers can earn meals, tickets to sporting events, airline tickets, electronics, or even create their own reward program.

The goal is to get you the consumer to use your credit card as much as possible. Why? FEES! The credit card issuer makes money from two sources each time you use their card. First, from the merchant who pays the issuer a merchant transaction fee and secondly, from you through finance charges and late fees.

A recent survey found that nearly half of U.S. cardholders enrolled in a credit card rewards program have never redeemed their points. However, 60% of consumers said rewards program influences their decision when deciding which credit card to use for a purchase.

When considering an offer for a card that offers rewards, be sure to read the fine print. Find out what you have to do to earn points. Look carefully for any restrictions as to when you can redeem them. Also check to see if your points carry over from one year to the next.

Rolling Over Credit Cards

Credit limits

Use of cards comes with a credit limit that you can buy for. This is set by the bank issuing it and is dependent on monthly income. Each bank has a different limit setting as well as some of the cards having budget payment facilities where as others do not offer this kind of service.

Acquiring a card is usually easy to get as long as you qualify financially. In fact, the banks are only too willing to give them to you so they can make some easy money. The bank charges on overdue card payments are high and it is not difficult for people to end up not meeting their commitment by the due date. Instead of being careful about their spending they run up their cards to the maximum. If you have surplus money rather put it into a savings account and gain interest.

Making minimum payments

If you only pay the minimum amount due on your credit card you are going to end up paying astronomical amounts of interest that compound monthly. Overall, it is far wiser to pay the full amount due as hen all you have to pay extra is the monthly charge for card usage.

Applying a sensible strategy to spending is the best way of making monthly purchases. A credit card is ideal for paying grocery shopping, or, for any other items needed for the household, or any other payments. The problems with plastic purchasing arise if you overstep buying your necessities and spend freely on expensive unnecessary luxury items.

Costs of living today have risen to such an extent that it is difficult to maintain the standards you are used to and which was the normal way of life in the past. Thrift has unfortunately had to enter our existence on a daily basis.

Credit Misconceptions

Closing old accounts will improve your credit score – To close or not to close, that is the question. Many people advocate closing old and inactive accounts as a way for improving your credit. In most cases, closing accounts will actually have the opposite effect. Canceling old credit accounts can lower your credit score by making your credit history appear shorter. Think twice before closing the oldest account on your credit report. If you want to reduce your levels of available credit, ask for your credit limits to be reduced or close newer accounts instead.

Once you pay off a negative record, it is removed from your credit report – Negative records such as collection accounts, bankruptcies and charge-offs will remain on your credit report for 7-10 years after they are first posted. Paying off the account before the end of the set term doesn’t remove it from your credit report, but will cause the account to be marked as “paid.” It is still a good idea to pay your debts, it can improve yourcredit score, but the major improvement will come when the record expires.

Being a co-signer doesn’t make you responsible for the account – When you open a joint account, co-sign on a loan or become an authorized user on someone’s credit card, you are taking on legal responsibility for the account. Any activity on these shared accounts, good or bad, will show up on both people’s credit reports. If you co-sign for a friend’s auto loan and they don’t make the payments, your credit profile will be hurt by their actions and visa versa. The only way to stop this double reporting is to refinance the loan or to have the creditor officially remove you from the account.

Paying off a debt will add 50 points to your credit score – Yourcredit score is calculated using a complex algorithm that takes into account hundreds of factors and values. It is very hard to predict how many points you can gain by changing one factor. For a person with a high credit score, just one late payment can cause a significant drop. If a person has a low credit score, it may not cause a large drop at all. There is no magical way to improve your credit score, just keep paying your bills on time, reducing your debts and removing negative inaccuracies from your credit report. Good financial behavior and time are the two most important factors on your credit score.

Creditors Measure Credit Rating

1. Capacity

The very first question is whether you have sufficient income to repay the debt. Creditors will definitely check to see if your income exceeds your expenses so that you ca comfortably pay the debt. A creditor will then want to know:

  • Your income – from all sources
  • Your fixed expenses
  • Your other debts

The amount remaining from your total net income, after deducting your fixed monthly expenses and other debts, is your capacity. If your net income is $3,000 a month and your total living expenses is $2,500, then your credit capacity is an amount that requires no more than $500 in monthly payments.

If you now pay $400 a month for other credit obligations, then your remaining capacity is a $100 a month, and a creditor should extend you that amount of credit.

There are three techniques that will allow you to maximize your income:

  • Increase your income
  • Decrease your expenses (easier to do than the first one)
  • Reduce your other debts

2. Collateral

A lender or creditor can be secured or unsecured. Secured lenders hold a lien against specific assets, such as real estate, an automobile, or boat. If you fail to pay, the secured lender can sell the pledged asset to recover debt owed. Secured lenders seldom loan more than the auction value of the collateral.

Secured credit, is an almost guaranteed way to rebuild your credit. Even with poor credit, a lender may advance your credit if you ca secure the credit with a lien against some valuable asset. Many creditors extend credit entirely on the strength of the pledged assets.

Other credit considerations are either ignored or carry comparatively little weight in the credit decision.

What can you use as a collateral to secure your debts and rebuild your credit? You may be appreciably wealthier than you think. Add the value of your various assets (property that you own) and subtract any existing mortgages or lies against those assets. The difference is your equity or net worth in the asset.

This is what you have available to secure a loan. Do not overlook any asset:

  • Home
  • Investment real estate
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds,
  • Automobile
  • Boats, planes, recreational vehicles
  • Notes and mortgages due you
  • Art, jewelry, antiques
  • Pensions, IRAs, and Keoghs
  • Royalty income
  • Income from trusts

You may have other assets to pledge. The point is that collateral gives you a borrowing power approximately equal to your equity in your assets. Regardless of your credit history, if you have collateral worth a solid $100,000, you should be able to borrow close to that amount.

Prevent Fraudulent Credit Card Transactions

AMEX, VISA, and MasterCard implemented a security feature known as “CVV2” and “CVC2”. These are the three-digit or four-digit numbers printed on the back side or front side (depending on card company) of the card (signature panel) to the far right. The three/four-digit code helps to validate that the cardholder has the card in his possession. You can include the code in your transaction processing and need to receive a match to successfully complete the transaction. If you are using a shopping cart for your hosting sign-up process, make sure that it is capable of collecting and processing these numbers. IMPORTANT: The ToS of the credit companies state that you are not allowed to store these numbers.

Use Address Verification Service (AVS) on all US transactions to verify the billing information provided in the order with what is on file with the card issuing bank. As a bare minimum, the zip code should successfully match before the transaction is approved and you hand out the account information. You should retain the response information for some time in case of a chargeback.

The possible AVS messages are:

Y – Exact match on street address and 5 or 9 digit zip code.

A – Address matches, zip code does not

Z – zip code matches, address does not

N – No match.

U – Address information is unavailable or Issuer does not support AVS. These transactions are only applicable for Visa and the merchant isn’t responsible for chargeback liability.

R – Issuer authorization system is unavailable, retry later

E – Error in address data – unable to complete check.

G – non-US Issuer not participating in AVS – Visa only. The error messages will vary from one provider to the next. Contact your provider for more information.

S – Address information is unavailable or Issuer does not support AVS – MasterCard only.

The most important warning sign of fraudulent transaction are international orders. It is very sad to be so generic with this statement but the percentage of having a fraudulent orders goes up immediately if the order comes from a non-US location. Be aware of cities or countries with high rates of fraudulent transactions. Malaysia, Indonesia, and most countries of the former Soviet Union tend to be source of many fraudulent orders.

The most effective way to help eliminate fraud or chargeback’s is to simply call the customer. A confirmation over the phone is most definitely advised for any large transactions. If you process a fraudulent transaction, not only do you lose the funds, but the product/service as well. A phone – even if it is international will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

What if you find a transaction to be suspicious? Contact your authorization center and let them know you are concerned about the transaction. They will look at the transaction and may give you advice. You should also call the customer to request additional information (copy of drivers license or Passport as an example). Check the IP address of the sign-up and see where it is globally. Does it matches the customers address at least by country? Send a confirmation email to the customer verifying their order.

About Clean Credit Report

Getting Your Clean Credit Report

If you’ve been denied credit, insurance, or employment because of information supplied by a credit reporting agency, the FCRA says the company you applied to must give you the agency`s name, address, and telephone number. If you contact the agency for a copy of your report within 60 days of receiving a denial notice, the report is free. In addition, you’re entitled to one free copy of your report a year.

If you simply want a copy of your report, call each credit bureau listed since more than one agency may have a file on you, some with different information.

The three major national credit bureaus are:

Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241; (800) 685-1111.

Experian (formerly TRW), P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013; (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742).

Trans Union, P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022; (800) 916-8800.

Correcting Errors For Clean Credit.

To protect all your rights under the law and to keep your credit clean contact both the CRA and the information provider.

First to get clean credit reports, tell the credit reporting agency in writing what information you believe is inaccurate. Include copies (please keep your originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request deletion or correction. Always keep copies of your dispute letter.

They must reinvestigate the items in question, usually within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all relevant data you provide about the dispute to the information provider. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the CRA, it must investigate, review all relevant information provided by the CRA, and report the results to the CRA. If the information provider finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, it must notify all nationwide CRAs so they can correct this information in your file. Disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file, then you will receive a clean credit report, with that item removed.

If your report contains erroneous information, the CRA must correct it(clean credit).

If an item is incomplete, the CRA must complete it. For example, if your file showed that you were late making payments ( 30 days or more), but failed to show that you were no longer delinquent, the CRA must show that you’re current.

If your file shows an account that belongs only to another person, the CRA must delete it.

When the reinvestigation is complete, they must give you the written results and a free copy of your clean credit report, if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, they cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies its accuracy and completeness.

Also, if you request, they must send notices of clean credit report corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. Job applicants can have a corrected copy of their clean credit report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes. If a reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, ask the CRA to include your statement of the dispute in your file and in future reports.

Credit Scoring Works

Your credit score is a number that reflects on the likelihood at which you will pay back a loan. Scores range from 350 (high risk) to 950 (low risk). Credit scores do not take into consideration your income, how much savings you have or demographic factors such as gender, race or nationality. Your credit score is affected by your current debt level, your past delinquencies, your credit history and how many times your credit report is pulled up by various agencies. Your score considers both positive and negative information in your credit report. For instance, recorded late payments will lower your credit score while a good track record of making payments on time will raise your credit score. Timely payment of your bills is important to ensure you maintain a good credit score. The amount of balance you have left on your credit card, how many credit card accounts you hold and your use of revolving credit also affect your credit score to a great extent.

Your credit score and credit report is formed on the basis of your credit history and you need to have at least one account which has been open or updated in the past six months to get a credit score. If you do not meet the minimum criteria for getting a score, you may need to establish a credit history prior to applying for a mortgage.

All in all, if you can pay for all your debts in a timely and consistent manner and not take more debt than you can handle, your credit score shouldn’t be able to trouble you in life. So take care and be wise with your finances.