Improving Credit Score: Utility Payments, Secured Cards

improving credit score secured cards

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over some of the basic ways to go about improving your credit score if you’re unhappy with its current level. Credit score plays a huge role in your ability to take on debt for various reasons, and improving it can benefit you in multiple major ways.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we offer a variety of short-term loans that are often utilized to assist in raising credit scores, including installment loans, title loans and many others – and we don’t offer harmful payday loans, which are predatory and should not be offered by any reputable lender. Today’s final entry into our series will go over some of the additional ways to improve your credit score.

improving credit score secured cards

Get Credit for Utility and Rent Payments

You want to be sure that all your forms of debt payment are being recorded on your credit report so that you can be given full credit for those payments. While many lenders and creditors will self-report these forms of payments to the credit bureaus, there are some that don’t; this is especially true of rent and utilities.

To make sure that your non-traditional debt payment activities are being reported as well, you can look into third-party services like RentTrack or Clearinghouse that will gather the data from your rent and utility payments, then report this information directly to the credit bureaus. This is a great way to ensure that you’re getting full credit for all the responsible debt payment activities you’re engaging in.

Use Secured Credit Cards

One great hack for rebuilding credit is to make use of secured credit cards. These are credit cards that require a cash collateral deposit before you can use the card; this deposit then becomes your spending limit on the card. You can then use this card just like any other credit card, but as all your payments are being reported to the bureaus, it will help build up your credit score.

If you’re serious about improving your credit score, using a secured card is an ideal way to get started. You can also look into various lenders that specialize in providing these types of cards specifically for those with bad or low credit scores.

Add Robust Credit Accounts

Finally, if possible, you’ll want to add Robust Credit Accounts as one of your credit-building strategies. These are accounts that can vary from major lines of credit, like mortgages and car loans, to things like memberships in a certain organizations or even certain utility bills.

The idea here is to have multiple and diverse forms of debt on your report that you can be reliably responsible for paying back. This can help build your credit score over time, as it will demonstrate to potential lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.

No matter what kind of credit situation you’re in, there are always ways to go about improving your credit score – and here at 1st Choice Money Center, we have the tools and resources that can help you do just that. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services, or visit our website for further information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Improving Credit Score: Errors, On-Time Payments, Collections

improving credit score payments

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some basic ways of improving your credit if your score is a problem. Credit score plays a huge role in several financial areas, including getting approved for many kinds of loans, and those with a low credit score will often be looking for simple ways to raise it up to more acceptable levels.

At 1st Choice Money Center, our short-term loan options like installment loans, title loans and others are often ideal for those looking to raise their credit. They may allow them to establish a payment history in a short period of time, raising their score and helping to qualify for better terms on future loans. In addition, here are some more simple tips on how to raise your credit score.

improving credit score payments

Dispute Any Credit Report Errors

A key area to be cognizant of when trying to raise your credit score is to ensure that all the information reported and held by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) is accurate. If you believe that any of the information in your credit report is inaccurate, it’s important to contact the relevant bureau directly and dispute the errors.

These bureaus are required to investigate any disputes, and if they determine that an inaccuracy has been reported, they must correct it. Doing this can help you be removed from negative reports which would otherwise harm your score, or prevent inaccurate information from negatively influencing it.

On-Time Bill Payments

Whether we’re talking about credit bills, home bills or any other kind of payment, it is important to make sure that you pay them on time. It may seem obvious, but even a few late payments can have a significant effect on your credit score.

If you are not used to this practice or if for some reason you are having trouble meeting payment deadlines, consider setting up auto-payments or using calendar reminders. There’s no simpler way to lower your credit score than missing payments, and any practical steps you can make to ensure it does not happen could be beneficial.

Pay Off Collections Accounts as Quickly As Possible

If you have any collections accounts appearing on your credit report, it’s important to pay them as soon as you can. Not only will this remove the negative effect of the account on your score, but it can also help improve your debt-to-income ratio, which is what potential lenders look at when considering you for a loan.

However, it’s important to note that you should only pay the debt if it is legitimately yours. If you are not sure, contact a financial expert and have them review your credit report first.

By following these simple tips, you can begin to raise your credit score and increase your chances of qualifying for better loan terms in the future. Stay tuned for the final entry in our series, where we’ll go over even further tips here. For more on how to raise credit, or to learn about any of our title, installment or other short-term loans, speak to our team at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Improving Utah Credit Score: Balances, Higher Credit Limit

improving credit score balances

If your credit score isn’t as high as you’d prefer, this can be an issue for you in several areas — from an inability to obtain many types of loans to multiple others. However, there are also a number of simple steps you can take to go about improving this situation for yourself, many of which are entirely realistic even if you’re in a rough spot financially.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we offer a number of short-term loans that are often ideal for helping boost your credit score. We offer Utah clients options like signature loans, personal loans and other alternatives to harmful payday loans, which we refuse to provide. What are some of the ways you can utilize funds like these, plus take related approaches that will help boost your credit score? In this multi-part blog series, we’ll go over several.

improving credit score balances

Strategic Approach to Paying Credit Card Balances

One of the first and most straightforward ways to begin boosting your credit score is to pay off any outstanding credit card balances you may have. This can be payments for items like doctor’s visits, over-the-counter purchases and more.

However, this involves more than just throwing whatever money you have at balances randomly. Rather, you should be looking at which of your balances comes with the highest interest rates. For example, you could pay the minimum on your other balances and put more money toward eliminating whatever debt is associated with a credit card that has higher interest rates. Not only will this help save you money in the long-term — due to the fact that you’ll end up paying less in interest fees over time — but it will also help give your credit score a boost. The more you reduce what you owe, the better your score will be.

Become an Authorized User

If a close friend or family member of yours has very good credit, they may be willing to add you to their primary credit card account as an authorized user. This means that you can easily benefit from their excellent score, even if your own isn’t quite up to par. However, it’s important to remember that if they have any late or missed payments on the account, this will be reflected in your own score too — so it may not be a permanent solution, and the person authorizing you needs to be confident nothing will go wrong.

Request Higher Credit Limits

One key variable used in credit score calculation is credit utilization, or how much of your available credit you’re utilizing at any one time. A common method for improving this figure is to request higher limits with the credit cards and other financial accounts that you have — which allows you to charge more on them without having a negative effect on your credit score, since it looks like you’re using less of your total available credit.

In parts two and three of our series, we’ll go over some further tips here. For more on how to improve your credit score, or to learn about any of our installment loans for Utah clients, speak to our team at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Qualities of a Good Personal Loan: Discounts, Flexibility, Experience

qualities personal loan flexibility

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the primary qualities you should be prioritizing in any personal loan you’re considering taking out. Doing your research ahead of any such loan is very important, and one vital part of this involves looking through your options and determining which areas of value are most important to you.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re happy to not only offer a wide range of different personal loan types, including signature loans, title loans and other quality alternatives to predatory payday loans (which we do not offer), but also to provide clients with some expertise on which loan program might be ideal for them. Here are a few of the other simple personal loan features you might be prioritizing as you choose from our list of options.

qualities personal loan flexibilityPossible Rate Discounts

While these won’t always necessarily be available to every personal loan applicant, many of our clients are able to take advantage of rate discounts that can save them a significant amount of money on the overall cost of their loan. If you have an offer code, or if you’re able to apply some kind of discount at the time of your loan application, be sure to ask about what might be available.

For instance, we will often offer a 0.25% rate discount to new clients who choose to apply for their personal loan online, as opposed to coming into one of our many brick-and-mortar locations.

Flexibility for Payments

Another important consideration when taking out a personal loan is how easy it will be for you to make your payments. At 1st Choice Money Center, we offer a few different payment options for our clients, all of which are designed to be as convenient as possible.

For instance, you can choose to have your payments automatically deducted from your bank account each month on the day that your payment is due. Alternatively, you can opt to make manual payments via check or money order each month. And finally, if you happen to have cash on hand when your payment is due, you’re more than welcome to come into one of our locations and make a payment in person.

A Good Customer Experience

Finally, it’s always important to make sure that you’re working with a lender who is committed to providing a good customer experience. At 1st Choice Money Center, we understand that our clients are trusting us with their financial well-being, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We know that the process of taking out a loan can be stressful, which is why we do everything in our power to make it as straightforward and easy as possible. Our loan representatives are always happy to answer any questions you might have, and we’ll work with you to tailor a loan program that meets your specific needs and budget.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our loan programs or services, speak to our team at your convenience.

Qualities of a Good Personal Loan: Low Fees, Immediate Funding

qualities good personal loan

Due diligence is vital for any loan you’re considering taking out, and this includes direct loan options like title loans and personal loans. As you do your research for a quality personal loan, for instance, there are several specific qualities of the loan that you should be prioritizing to ensure you get a good deal and aren’t being taken advantage of.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re happy to explain the details of any of our personal loans or other short-term loan types to clients who want to know more about them. As you’re evaluating your options here, what are some of the top things you should be looking for in your loan? This two-part blog will look at several considerations.

qualities good personal loan

Low (Or No) Fees

Fees will typically be part of the conversation when it comes to personal loans, but lenders vary pretty widely when it comes to how they’re used. Generally, the most common fee that usually can’t be avoided is the origination fee — this is just the fee a lender takes in exchange for processing your loan. Other possible fees might be things like late payment penalties, check processing charges or even something called a prepayment penalty (which is exactly what it sounds like: a fee you’re charged for paying off your loan early).

In an ideal situation, you want to avoid as many of these additional fees as possible. Many personal loans can be obtained for nothing more than a small origination fee (1-5% of the total) and don’t penalize you for prepaying, for example. You can check the fine print of any loan agreement to see what kinds of fees might apply.

Immediate Funding

Many people are taking out personal loans for immediate expenses, such as emergency home or car repairs. In these kinds of situations, you obviously don’t want to wait around for days or weeks to get the money you need — you want it as soon as possible.

The good news is that, in general, personal loans can be obtained pretty quickly after approval. At 1st Choice Money Center, for example, we can fund personal loans within 24 hours in most cases. Other lenders may have a similar timeline, or it could be even faster. It’s definitely something you’ll want to ask about when you’re considering different loan options.

In fact, many of our personal loans are funded on the very same day as the application is made. We take pride in offering quick funding for our clients because we know that when they need money, they need it fast.

For more on what you should be looking for in any personal loan you’re considering, or to learn about our personal loans, title loans and other installment loan types, speak to our team at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Idaho Debt-Free Habits: Cash, Savings, Tracking Spending

debt-free habits savings

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the simple habits that debt-free people tend to take in their lives. For those dealing with debt issues, emulating some of these habits may be helpful for not only getting back on track financially, but also avoiding falling into a harmful debt cycle again in the future.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re happy to offer several quality short-term loans for those with debt needs in Idaho, including installment loans, title loans and other alternatives to harmful payday loans (which we do not offer). We also regularly offer clients tips and expertise on how to stay in good shape financially and avoid major debt obligations. Here are some of the other habits that debt-free people tend to have, and which you should consider adding to your life if you’re struggling with debt.

debt-free habits savings

Pay With Cash or Debit Where Possible

While utilizing your credit is sometimes a necessity, using it for everyday purchases is not a good idea if you’re trying to get out of debt. This will increase your debt and interest payments, putting you further behind.

Instead, think about using cash or your debit card for regular expenses like groceries, gas and entertainment. You can still use credit when needed, but make it a point to use it sparingly.

Try to Put Aside Money for Savings

Another habit of people who stay out of debt is saving money on a regular basis. It may be difficult to do if you’re already struggling to make ends meet, but even setting aside a small amount each month can help you in the long run.

An emergency fund is a good place to start, as it can help you cover unexpected expenses without having to put them on a credit card. Once you have an emergency fund in place, you can start working on other savings goals, like retirement.

Keep Track of Your Spending

It’s also important to be aware of your spending habits if you want to avoid getting into debt. People who stay out of debt typically keep close track of their finances, so they know where their money is going.

There are a number of ways to do this, including writing out your budget, tracking your expenses in a software program or even using a simple notebook. Find a method that works for you and make sure to keep an eye on your spending.

Create a Debt Repayment Plan

If you’re already in debt, one of the best things you can do is create a repayment plan. This will help you focus on paying off your debts and getting out of the hole you’re in.

Start by listing all of your debts, along with the interest rate and minimum payment for each one. Then, come up with a plan to focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Once that debt is paid off, you can move on to the next one.

Making these changes in your life won’t happen overnight, but they can make a big difference if you’re trying to get out of debt. If you need help getting started with debt reduction or related needs in any part of Idaho, contact 1st Choice Money Center today!

Debt-Free Habits: Budget, Credit Cards, Frugality

debt-free habits budget credit

At 1st Choice Money Center, many of our most-used services fall in the realm of debt reduction and related themes. Many clients utilize our personal loans, title loans and other alternatives to predatory payday loans as great methods of helping them pay off some immediate debt, and this is an area where we’re happy to offer tips and expertise to clients to assist them.

For many, the goal here is to slowly begin pulling themselves out of debt and, eventually, to reach a much more comfortable place in this regard. One theme that’s often important in such situations: Taking on the habits of debt-free people, and doing some of the same kinds of things they do to maintain that position. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over several ways you can do this.

debt-free habits budget credit

Stick to a Planned Budget

Budgets are a vital part of staying debt-free, but not all budgets are created equally. In fact, it’s often the unplanned or poorly executed budget that leads to debt problems in the first place. If you’re serious about reaching a debt-free state, then you need to sit down and create a budget that actually works for you – one that accounts for all of your regular expenses, leaves some room for incidentals and can be followed week in and week out without fail.

Part of this, of course, is getting creative with your spending and learning to cut costs where you can. But another big part is simply being mindful of your budget at all times and not letting yourself stray too far from it. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

Keeping Track of Credit Cards

For some, it can be easy to lose track of credit card balances and end up in debt that way. After all, it’s not like you get a bill for your credit card balance every month – you just have to keep an eye on it yourself.

The best way to do this, of course, is to avoid using credit cards altogether. But if you do need to use them from time to time, make sure you’re monitoring your balances carefully and paying them off in full as often as possible. That way, you can avoid paying interest and fees and keep yourself out of debt.

Avoiding Unnecessary Spending

The theme of frugality is one that comes up a lot when discussing debt-free living. And for good reason – it’s one of the most effective ways to stay out of debt and save money at the same time.

Frugality doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit, of course. But it does mean being mindful of your spending and avoiding unnecessary purchases. If you can learn to do that, you’ll be in much better shape financially – and you’ll be well on your way to becoming debt-free.

For more on how to start taking on the habits of people with low or no debt, or to learn about how any of our instant funding loans or similar loan programs can help, speak to the team at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Paying Off Debts While Living Paycheck to Paycheck

paying debts living paycheck

For many people who are living on a paycheck to paycheck basis, debts you still have to pay off may seem insurmountable. With the right kind of management, though, you can find ways to pay down debt despite being relatively tight on your overall funds.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re proud to offer quality personal loans, title loans and installment loans that serve as great alternatives to predatory payday loans, which we steadfastly refuse to offer. Debt reduction is often a chief reason clients come to us for some quick cash needs, and we’re happy to not only provide this, but also to offer some general tips on money management and debt payment if you’re tight. Here are a few of the themes we recommend.

paying debts living paycheck

Evaluate Your Spending and Debt Habits

First and foremost, it’s important to get a handle on where all of your money is going. This means evaluating both your spending and your debt habits. Every month, make it a point to sit down and map out what you’re spending, as well as what you’re paying in terms of bills and other debts.

Once you have this data in front of you, it will be easier to spot trends and problem areas. From there, you can work on making changes to your spending and debt repayment habits.

Create a Debt Reduction Plan

Once you have a good idea of where your money is going, it’s time to start working on a plan to pay down your debts. The best way to do this is to create a budget and make debt reduction a priority.

Start by listing out all of your debts, including the interest rate, minimum payment and total balance. Then, focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Make the minimum payments on all of your other debts, but put any extra money you can towards the debt with the highest interest rate.

As you pay off each debt, you’ll have more money to put towards the next debt on your list. This will help you get out of debt faster and save money on interest in the long run.

Get Help From a Personal Loan

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, a personal loan can be a great way to get some extra cash to help you make a dent in your debt. At 1st Choice Money Center, we offer personal loans with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. We can work with you to find a loan that fits your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for a way to pay off debt and get your finances back on track, a personal loan from 1st Choice Money Center can be a great solution. We offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms to help you get back on your feet. Contact us today to learn more about our personal loan options.

Utah Home Upgrades on a Tight Budget: Needs, Long-Term, DIY

home upgrades tight budget

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over some simple ways homeowners can go about upgrading their spaces even if they’re somewhat tight on funds. You can make real improvements to your home without huge costs in many cases, and knowing how to do so is vital if such upgrades are needed and you don’t have too much money available for them.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re happy to offer a variety of installment loan types that are perfect for those who need a quick infusion of cash, such as title loans offered to a variety of Utah clients. In today’s final entry into our series, we’ll look at a few more ways you can go about arranging upgrades or home improvements without breaking the bank.

home upgrades tight budget

Needs Over Desires

While it’s just fine to occasionally treat yourself to a little something extra, it’s important to be mindful of what kinds of changes or additions will actually improve your quality of life as opposed to those that are simply nice to have. It can be tough to stay disciplined in this way, but doing so will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of any money you do spend on upgrading your home.

Think Long-Term

When you’re considering making changes to your home, it’s important to think about how those changes will affect you not just now but also down the road. Will that new sofa be comfortable enough to last for years, or will it start to show its age after only a few months? It’s often worth spending a bit more upfront on items that will last longer, as they’ll save you money in the long run.

Do It Yourself

In some cases, it’s possible to take on home improvement projects yourself instead of hiring someone else to do them. This can obviously be a great way to save money, but it’s important to make sure you’re actually capable of completing the project before taking it on. There’s nothing worse than starting a job only to find out half-way through that you’re in over your head!

Utilize Government Programs

In some cases, there may be opportunities to take advantage of government programs that can help you with the costs of upgrading your home. These programs vary from place to place, so it’s worth doing some research to see what might be available to you.

For instance, if your home needs an energy upgrade, performing an energy audit may allow you subsequent discounts on certain energy-saving products.

Get a Loan

Last but not least, remember that taking out a loan can also be a great way to finance home upgrades without breaking the bank. At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re happy to offer a variety of installment loan types that are perfect for those who need a quick infusion of cash, with helpful and robust programs that offer great alternatives to predatory payday loans (which we do not offer).

For more on this subject, or to learn about any of our short-term loans for Utah clients, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Home Upgrades on a Tight Budget: Renting, Trading, Shopping Around

home upgrades tight budget

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we looked at some of the ways homeowners go about upgrading their homes even if they have limited funds. It doesn’t necessarily take a fortune or even a significant amount of money to make some important upgrades to a given home — it just takes some know-how.

At 1st Choice Money Center, home upgrades are just one of many reasons why clients come to us for quick cash infusions in the form of personal loans, title loans and many other quality loans for people with bad credit. What are some other methods or themes you might consider if you’re looking to upgrade your space and don’t have a huge budget? Here are a few.

home upgrades tight budget

Borrowing and Renting

Where possible, instead of purchasing an item outright for your home, see if you can borrow it or rent it instead. This could be everything from lawn care equipment to larger tools or appliances you need for a one-time project.

The sharing economy has made this easier in recent years with companies such as Airbnb, but even beyond that there are plenty of ways to get items you need without necessarily owning them. For example, some companies will deliver and pick up large appliances for a fee.

You can also rent storage space as needed rather than purchasing a shed or other storage unit, which could be perfect if you’re in the middle of a decluttering project or are simply trying to find more space in your home.

Consider Trades

Especially if you have friends or acquaintances who work in home remodeling or upgrade industries, but even if not, it’s worth considering trade-offs for services or goods.

For example, if you’re good at mowing lawns but terrible at painting, see if you can work out a trade with someone who’s good at painting and could use help with their yard work. This could also be a great opportunity to build community and get to know your neighbors better.

The key is to be creative and to think outside the box when it comes to how you might acquire goods or services for your home without necessarily spending cash. By employing some of these methods, you can upgrade your home on a tight budget.

Shop Around

For any product or service you’re considering, it’s important to do your research and shop around before making a purchase. This is especially true when it comes to home improvement items and services.

There are often multiple options available for similar products, so take the time to compare prices and reviews before making a decision. In some cases, you may be able to find a cheaper or more effective option by doing a little bit of extra research.

The same goes for services such as home repairs or renovations. Get multiple quotes from different contractors before making a decision, and be sure to ask about any discounts that might be available.

For more on how to perform home upgrades even if you don’t have a large budget, or to learn about any of our installment loans or other quality short-term loans, speak to the team at 1st Choice Money Center today.