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How to Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Up to 80% of Americans use credit, yet many don’t realize the importance of their credit score and do nothing to increase it. Some people don’t have a high score because they have never taken a loan and usually these are people in their early 20s. Many Millennials use student loans, but their credit score tends to be below average, making it difficult to obtain a loan later in life.

Interestingly, 6 in 10 Americans have no clue what their credit score is and don’t understand the role it plays as an indicator of their financial health. Here’s how you can check your credit score and get a credit report.

Know your credit score

There are four credit score tiers:

How to check Credit Score & Credit Report

  • Poor Score: 400-549
  • Fair Score: 550-649
  • Good Score: 650-700
  • Great Score: 701-850

If you want to find out which of these four grades you fall in, there are three ways to do it:

  • Check it online: If you are curious about your credit score, you can easily check it online for free. You can also obtain your full credit report for free as it is a federal law that you are able to access it annually. An account with CreditKarma.com is free and will give you access to your consumer credit score, allow you to track your score, send you instant updates and notifications when a new account is opened or when you apply for credit. It is a great way to keep an eye on suspicious activity and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. www.AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to download your credit reports from all 3 credit agencies once a year. AnnualCreditReport.com does not offer you a free credit score – that comes as part of their paid credit monitoring program.
  • Consult the 3 Credit Bureaus: You can get your credit reports directly from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, but, again, you’ll have to pay for your credit score. You can either get all 3 of your credit reports once a year or request them one by one every four months. Note that these bureaus are completely separate and you will need to pull your reports individually.
  • Ask your bank: Fair Isaac Co can pull your credit report, but keep in mind that it is not free of charge. Make sure you go to your bank and ask them if they can pull your reports for free – most banks started offering this service to their clients. Among these banks are Discover, Barclays, Citi, Chase, Bank of America, Ally, Capital One and Wells Fargo.

Check the accuracy of your credit score and report

Your credit report is the key to accessing credit cards, loans, renting and buying property, getting lower interest rates, receiving job offers, and more. Make sure you review all the information provided in the reports you pulled because data shows that 1 in 20 people have credit report errors which drastically change their credit score.

Take a close look at your name, address, accounts, and payments. Review your reports for errors, like foreign accounts; unauthorized loans; someone else’s collections; late payments which you, indeed, paid on time; and debts that are not yours. These could mean that you were a victim of identity theft and can ruin your credit history.

If you detected errors in your credit report, contact all 3 credit bureaus right away and have them corrected. It is your right to file a dispute and some bureaus offer easy and convenient way for you to get that job done. It can be as easy assending a letter where you thoroughly explain the issue and attach proof of errors.

Your proof can be a document or a letter, payment records, receipts, monthly payment statements and anything else that can show what actually took place. Keep in mind that you must keep all correspondence with bureaus and banks. In addition, you need to have a tracking number for your mail in case it gets lost. File your dispute right after you notice the errors because sometimes a dispute can take up to 45 days to be processed.

Know the difference between credit score and credit report

An important thing to remember is that credit score and credit report are two completely different things. Your credit report is a complete history and record of your use of credit, like credit cards, student loans, car title loans, and credit amounts. Your credit score is a creditworthiness grade you are given based on a calculation by a credit bureau. This calculation is based on how much debt you have, your payment history, accounts in collections, credit card use and more.

In other words, if your credit report looks good your credit score will be good as well and vice versa. Your score can affect your future plans for renting your dream apartment in downtown Long Beach, for example.

A good credit score is crucial especially for those who sooner or later will need to invest in their first apartment or house, a car or a small business. Reaching that high score is important if you want better interest rates for your mortgage, or if you want a car, insurance, credit card offers, and other benefits. If you have a good credit score you will have better loan terms, higher chances for credit approval, and less payments to make.

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Get extra cash for Christmas

Ways to get extra cash for Christmas

Christmas is almost here, and with many Americans spending over a $1000 on Christmas gifts this year, we can’t help but think of ways to save some money this season. If you are in need of some extra cash for the holidays, we have a few ideas for you.

Give people a lift

This is the time of the year when people rush to the malls and grocery stores more frequently than any other time of the year. Not everyone has a car, and if you live in a city, you know that using public transportation with armfuls of gifts can be a nightmare. Not only that, with holiday parties already in full swing, and many people are finding themselves a little too “cheerful” to drive home. You can turn this into a money-making opportunity by offering rides through Lyft or Uber or you can simply spread the word to friends, neighbors or coworkers.

House-Sitting or Pet-Sitting as a way of making money

Get extra cash for Christmas | Title Loans

So many people this season will leave their house to visit family members and friends. This is your chance to earn a little extra cash! Offer your neighbors to house-sit while they are away this Christmas.

You can also pet-sit and plant-sit. Pet-sitting companies are too expensive for most people, and they end up asking a friend or neighbor to look after their pets while they are away from home. This person could be you. You can also go to Care.com to look for pet-sitting opportunities!

Granted, house-sitting or pet-sitting probably won’t make you any money before Christmas, it is a great way to boost cash right after and pay off those credit cards you used to buy gifts or catch up on the bills you were a little short to pay after you did all that shopping!

Teach on VIPkid.com

It takes some experience, indeed, to be a teacher, however, it is a fun activity and a year-round way to get extra cash. Some parents whose children have fallen behind with their studies need a private teacher even during the Christmas break. Offer your services to your neighbors or teach children overseas from the comfort of your own home with VIPKid.com. This is a win-win for both you and the parents.

Photography

The family portraits with Santa Clause might be a bit cheesy but they are part of the Christmas spirit and people like to send them as Christmas cards to family and friends. If you love photography and have invested money in a good quality camera you can offer your services as a family photographer. This is yet another win – win for you and your clients. You will charge a lot less than a professional studio (that’s probably booked a month ahead already)

Rent out a second property

If you happen to have second property somewhere, consider putting it up for a rent because there are so many travelers out there who need a place to call home away from home. Young couples like to travel on Christmas and they especially prefer cosy houses over cheap hotel rooms. Take nice photos of your second property, register on Airbnb.com, and you will get to choose who you want to let in your house and at what price. Enjoy the Christmas break from your house while your second property adds money to your account.

DIY is cheaper

This year you can make Christmas presents more meaningful by DIYing. In the world of overconsumption, smaller and cheaper can be better. It doesn’t make you money, but it sure saves you some. If you make a few extra things, you can try selling them through Facebook Buy-Sell groups, too.You can use your own hands and imagination to create mindful, unique and special gifts for the people you love. Make handmade jewelry or cards, knit Christmas socks or a sweater, make a mason jar with homemade cinnamon and chocolate cookies in it, make pottery and color it, bake peppermint and chocolate cookies, put together a photo album or create a painting. Try these Pinterest board for some inspiration.

https://www.pinterest.com/bhg/diy-gifts/

https://www.pinterest.com/studentrate/diy-gifts/

https://www.pinterest.com/dawnchats/diy-gifts/

Save money and make a special present for those who are important to you.

Get a loan

You can always use a loan. It’s Christmas, after all. It is understandable if you want to treat yourself, put some tasty meals on the table, get the best presents for the ones that you love. A car title loan will be just enough to give your budget the boost that it needs. You can get approved within 15 minutes, no credit check is required, you get the money in cash and you keep your car to drive.

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Top 5 mistakes you are making when you borrow money

Top 5 Mistakes you are making when you Borrow Money

It has happened to most of us. We run into some financial trouble and end up borrowing from friends, relatives or lending institutions. Often times though, we are so focused on the problem that we hope to solve with the Money that don’t consider the cost and consequences of borrowing.

Here are five most common mistakes that you make when borrowing money.

mistakes you are making when you borrow money

Not taking the time to research current rates and consider all options

When you need money, no matter if it is to repay debt or buy a new car, borrowing is the easy means to an end. There are many options that you can choose from – some more traditional like bank loans, more emotional – like family or friends, more innovative – like peer lending, or quicker – like payday loans or car title loans. They all offer different terms and conditions, rates and repayment options and entail different risks in the event of default. It is critical to evaluate your current financial situation, credit, actual financial needs and future repayment options before borrowing. Sometimes, other solutions are available that will serve your family better in the long run. For example, if you are behind on bills, you can negotiate payment plans or deferments. Or, if you are being offered high interest, it may make sense to wait, get credit counseling  and raise your credit score prior to financing a large purchase.

Not thinking in the long-term

If you need money urgently to cover medical expenses or very overdue bills, you are usually focused on the current situation and how to resolve it as soon as possible. This means that sometimes you approach the borrowing process emotionally, without considering the long-term effect it will have on your finances. Loan repayment, however, is a long process that takes a few months to a minimum up to several years. This is why you need to consider very carefully how this will affect your month-to-month living expenses. Setting up a weekly or monthly budget to follow is a good way to keep track of your finances and avoid any further trouble. At the end of the day, you do not want to solve one problem for today and create another in the long-term. This also means that you should not approach a lending institution emotionally. Make sure to think your decision over before deciding to take a loan, especially if it is not urgent. Perhaps if you just want to buy a newer car or take a vacation, you should wait until you can afford it, get a better interest rate or put more money down rather than borrowing the entire sum.

Not reviewing the documentation carefully or asking questions

Loan documentation is quite complicated and you need to read it carefully before agreeing to the terms. Be especially careful with the fine print. Do not approach the loan application form as a simple questionnaire that you can fill in between your other responsibilities. Take time to review all the documents carefully and even note down any questions you might have. Ask the lender as many questions as you need until you are sure that you understand everything. Another reason to pay great attention to the documentation is that your application may be turned down simply because you have not filled in your form properly. So, take your time prior to signing anything.

Not telling the truth

Lying on your loan application form may have very negative repercussions on you. You may end up not receiving the money you need but what is more important it is illegal to provide incorrect information about your income or credit history. While not all lenders check your credit score, car title loan companies don’t for example, or verify all the information you provide, it becomes clear eventually that you have lied. Lending institutions are aware that some people go as far as to provide the social security number of a spouse, relative or friend in an attempt to receive a more favorable loan. While this won’t happen, the result will be a fight with the person whose information you have misused and even worse – you might be accused of identity theft. Therefore, it is advisable to be as honest as possible about your financial situation, current, and future plans so that you can get proper advice on which loan is better for you.

Continue spending as usual

One of the significant mistakes made by people, who have borrowed money, is to continue with their unhealthy spending habits. Quite often the borrowed money is perceived as free cash or an option to continue life as usual without thinking about the repayment schedule. The other reason for people to fail changing their routine is the thought that they got away this time and repaid their debt by borrowing money, which means they can do it over and over again. This quickly turns into a vicious circle where you take one loan to repay another, which diminishes your credit score and respectively worsens the conditions under which you receive the next loan. Plus, the money you spend repaying interest could have been used to create an emergency fund that would have allowed you to avoid borrowing money next time. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to change your spending habits and get used to living with a budget. Take some financial counseling on how to do it if necessary or use any of the free mobile budgeting apps to help you with that.

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