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7 “Best” Credit Repair Companies for 2020 (Quick Reviews)

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All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

Do you have bad credit? It has a way of hanging over your head like a financial curse.

Bad credit can even prevent you from accomplishing major life tasks — like taking out a mortgage or buying your first car. Or it can stop you from taking out student loans, vacationing with your family, or worse.

In the most extreme cases, bad credit can make it hard for you to live a normal life.

It’s no wonder people look for assistance when they’re trying to get out from under the specter of bad credit. Credit repair companies are agencies specifically designed to provide this assistance.

They can work with you as you try to repair your credit and negotiate with credit bureaus on your behalf. While they can’t fix your credit for you outright, they can help share the load and make the burden manageable as you take steps to recovery.

Let’s take a look at some top credit repair companies and explain why they might be a great fit for your financial needs.

Top Credit Repair Companies


The following list is a result of more than 100 hours of research:

1. Credit Saint
Best Overall
2. Sky Blue
Best Premium Service
3. CreditRepair.com
Easiest to Use
4. Lexington Law
Excellent Customer Service and Reputation
5. AMB Credit Consultants
Best for Married Couples
6. The Credit People
Very Affordable
7. The Credit Pros
Best for Hands-On Repair

Best Credit Repair Companies

There are plenty of companies out there that can legitimately rectify your credit. Here’s our take on the top credit repair companies available.

1. Credit Saint – Best Overall Credit Repair Company

Pros

  • Provides customized letters to credit bureaus
  • Multiple packages depending on how much service you need
  • Provides plenty of online resources
  • Frequent progress reports

Cons

  • Prices can be a bit much if you don’t need that much help

Credit Saint is one of the best credit repair agencies you can find overall; they’ve really earned their name, as can be seen not only from our recommendation but from the A+ BBB rating they currently hold.

For starters, they’re priced pretty competitively, offering monthly packages between $79 and $120, although they do have some initial fees ranging between $99 and $195.

Still, they’re worth the asking price because they write custom arguments for all their clients. They don’t use pre-made templates when petitioning credit bureaus on your behalf; they’ll look at your situation individually and figure out a strategy that works best for your needs, then compose unique arguments to use on your creditors.

Even better, they offer a moneyback guarantee. You’ll be eligible for a refund if they can’t find any negative or questionable items to remove from your credit report within the first 90 days of your arrangement.

The packages offered included are:

  • Polish, which helps to repair medium levels of credit. It basically covers up to five items on your credit report every cycle, so it’s great if you don’t have super bad credit but still want to make significant improvements
  • Remodel, which costs a little more and has the firm challenge up to 10 items on your credit report. They’ll also tackle things like erroneous bankruptcies or repossessed items
  • Clean Slate is the most expensive, but it provides the most aggressive credit repair services. The credit repair firm will challenge an unlimited number of credit items in every cycle. It can be a great choice if you have lots of potentially negative items on your credit report that you need to be taken care of

You’ll also find lots of other things to like, such as a personal advisory team, several informative online resources you can use to educate yourself, and regular progress reports. Figuring out whether their repair services are worth your time is easy thanks to this transparency. 

2. Sky Blue – Best Value

Sky blue logo

Pros

  • Pretty good pricing all around
  • Good discounts for married couples
  • Provides free credit reports
  • Comes with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Can’t customize the service/number of challengeable items

Sky Blue is another good choice, and they offer slightly better value for money if you don’t need a full-on, top-down credit repair overhaul. They’ve been in the industry for a long time, so they have a great track record and plenty of experience that they can bring to bear on your credit report needs.

They offer a single package that’s pretty affordable at $79 per month. The firm will dispute up to 15 items on your report, or 5 items per credit reporting agency, every 35 days.

They provide fantastic customer service that’s lauded by both customers on websites like the BBB. They provide all new subscribers with basic evaluations to show those new customers where they might be able to fix their credit report themselves without paying an extra cost. Sky Blue literally forgoes charging you money if it works better for your needs.

They also provide a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, without extra conditions or fine print. If you want to find a credit repair service as a couple, you get a $39 per month discount, too (but only if you’re married). They also don’t require you to pay for credit reports, so you get free credit reports as an added bonus.

It’s easy to see why Sky Blue has such high marks considering its ease-of-use, simplistic pricing scheme, and excellent value-forward initiatives.

3. CreditRepair.com – Easiest to Use

Pros

  • Very easy to track progress and sign up
  • Provides free access to your credit report
  • Has easy to follow three-step plan for challenging credit report items
  • Free consultation available

Cons

  • Tends to throw around potentially misleading average point gains for customers 
  • Don’t provide as much in-depth info as some other companies

CreditRepair.com is an ideal credit repair agency if you don’t want to deal with complex websites or difficult-to-follow credit repair procedures. This company provides a straightforward service and user-friendly guidelines that make it easy to see their value, even if you aren’t very technically or financially inclined. You can see what they offer by signing up for a free consultation that requires no upfront fee on your part.

Signing up for the service will have you follow three major steps. The company first looks over your credit reports from all three bureaus, then begins to send letters challenging those disputes over the following week.

CreditRepair.com regularly follows up on those letters and will repeatedly challenge the same items over and over if needed. This can make them a great choice if you know that there are improper negative items on your credit report that bureaus may be unwilling to change because of bureaucratic legwork. Sometimes insistence is key, and this company provides it in spades.

The company also provides you with a way to easily follow their progress online through your account portal. Furthermore, their pricing is pretty decent at about $100 a month. They also give you free access to your credit report summary, which is a nice bonus in any credit repair agency.

Signing up for the service is easier than with many other companies, as you can fill out a mobile application on your phone or tablet. You can also use these devices to track your progress even while on the go.

4. Lexington Law – Best Customer Reputation and Experience

Lexington Law Logo

Pros

  • Several discounts available for military or spouses
  • Provides you with a personalized credit repair expert
  • Lots of financial tools to take advantage of
  • Has a long history of getting results for their customers

Cons

  • Pricing can be a bit high for some

Sometimes, the best credit repair agencies are those who have lots of experience. Lexington Law is one of those companies. They’ve been in business since 1991 but have focused on credit repair exclusively ever since 2004.

Supposedly, they’ve removed 10 million negative items from their customers’ credit reports just in 2017 – these are good predictions for further success.

All customers get to pick between three packages: basic, moderate, and advanced. Pricing ranges between $89.95 to $129.95. They also include a first work fee of the same price of whatever package you decide to pick.

A free consultation is provided, however, which is nice since things can get pretty pricy with both charges added together. Even better, they provide a 50% off discount if you are a veteran or active military. Furthermore, spouses get a one-time 50% discount when their partner signs up for their service.

Lexington Law provides a mobile app so you can check your progress reports on the go and keep in touch with the company as they represent your interests. They attach you to a personalized representative, so you can give them details about your situation and so they can figure out the best negative items to work on for your credit report.

Their staff is extensively knowledgeable, and if you pay for one of the higher-priced plans, you’ll get several personal-finance tools to help you tackle your debts and stay on top of how the credit repair company is performing.

All told, it’s a well-constructed and comprehensive credit repair service. They’ve got a good track record and plenty of expertise under their roof in exchange for relatively high prices.

5. AMB Credit Consultants – Best for Married Couples

AMB Credit Consultants Logo

Pros

  • Good prices overall, but especially for couples
  • Has a single but comprehensive package with unlimited disputes
  • Provides some credit educational materials
  • Has a moneyback guarantee 

Cons

  • Free cancellation only lasts for three days, then there’s a fee

AMB Credit Consultants are another good choice if you want an agency with experience – they have 13 years of it. They’ve also got an excellent A rating with the BBB, and only six complaints as of 2020.

The company offers only two packages AMB Credit Empowerment Individual and AMB Credit Empowerment Couple packages, making it simple to apply for their service. Sometimes it can be irritating to have to pick between several services when you just want someone to help you with your negative credit report items.

The individual credit empowerment package can be purchased for a one-time fee of $149 and an additional $99 fee for every month you want to subscribe. If you want to pick up joint accounts, then you can apply for the Couple empowerment package for $198 (one time and monthly), which is pretty affordable compared to other credit repair agencies on the market. As a result, it’s affordable for married couples or any joint account; you don’t have to be legally intertwined to take advantage.

The service provides unlimited and advanced disputes for all the major credit bureaus, plus a secured account management portal so you can track your credit repair service progress. Credit educational materials, cease-and-desist letters and templates, and inquiry disputes are all included with this comprehensive package.

We also like that they offer a moneyback guarantee up to six months if they can’t find or fix any items after that time frame. You’ll also be able to cancel without any penalty within three days of signing on to the package. All in all, it’s a great credit repair company for just about everybody, but an especially good choice for couples or joint account holders due to its affordable prices.

6. The Credit People – Best Price

The Credit People Logo

Pros

  • Very affordable overall
  • Offers a pricing model for indefinite assistance
  • Has a great moneyback guarantee
  • Good monthly rate as well

Cons

  • Not as many new features as other companies

Need a credit repair agency but can’t afford to shell out lots of cash? The Credit People might be the perfect choice. They’re a bit newer than other agencies on the market, but they have a lot to like.

For starters, you can try out their package for $19 over seven days. This is a pretty reasonable fee for what essentially amounts to a trial period. The only downside, of course, is that credit improvements are unlikely within this timeframe for any credit repair company.

However, if you decide to stick with them, you can opt to pay a one-time flat rate of $420 to get everything they offer indefinitely. You read that right.

You’ll never need to pay another dime for their credit repair services. You can also choose a month by month payment plan of $79 a month, which is pretty affordable and at the lower rate for average charges in this industry.

You’ll also get a moneyback guarantee – this comes in the plate if you don’t see any positive results within 60 days, which is a generous period compared to other moneyback guarantees.

There are a few downsides to all this affordability. They only provide customer care during central time zone business hours, and they also don’t offer additional features like identity theft protection that more established companies can boast.

Still, they provide solid credit repair services for all the major credit bureaus and can help you find and repair negative items on your credit report for affordable prices. They might be a great choice for you if your budget is tight, but you need to start fixing things soon.

7. The Credit Pros – Best for Hands-On Credit Repair

The Credit Pros Logo

Pros

  • Provides several packages ranging from basic to comprehensive services
  • Decent prices across the board
  • Provides you with a FICO expert
  • Lots of educational resources and bonus features

Cons

  • A bit more hands-on than other credit repair companies
  • May require a bit more time investment on your part

Those looking for a credit repair company that they can work with more as a partner will appreciate The Credit Pros. This agency gives you a one-to-one relationship with a certified FICO professional who acts like your personal credit repair expert. They’ll work with you to create a plan to repair your credit over time and they can be an invaluable resource for pointing out where you can avoid going wrong in the future.

But you’ll also get budgeting tools, prescription discounts, store lines of credit, payment reminders, and plenty of other bonus goodies to make them worth your while.

They also have lots of innovative benefits like identity theft restoration, cease-and-desist letter templates, and will even go above and beyond by writing goodwill letters to various creditors. They’re extremely easy to sign up with, requiring only about 90 seconds to register. Once in the site, you’ll benefit from a detailed blog that has plenty of credit education resources to help you maintain good credit over the long haul.

Your client portal provides you with live updates on your credit scores and any progress that your FICO expert is making at the moment. They offer several comprehensive packages that range between $69 a month all the way up to $149 a month. But they also have a basic credit monitoring package for $19 a month if you just want to keep an eye on your credit score and don’t need extra assistance. 

A Buying Guide to the Best Credit Repair Companies

How do you know whether a credit repair company is legitimate? What purpose do these companies actually serve? Let’s dive into credit repair companies in more detail.

How Do Credit Repair Companies Work?

In a nutshell, credit report companies work for you by getting negative items from your credit report taken off in exchange for fees. Negative items are any incidents on your credit report that lower your overall credit score.

In this way, credit repair companies don’t deliberately add more points to your credit score. They just remove negative influences so your whole score goes up.

💡 Helpful tip: The best way to keep your credit from dropping even further is by carefully watching it. While this is quite labor intensive to do yourself, there are a number of top credit monitoring services that will do this for you — automatically.

What Do Credit Repair Companies Actually Do?

Credit repair companies do this by ordering credit reports and reviewing them for various errors or negative items they think they can contest. In lots of cases, minor negative events on your credit report can be contested with the credit bureaus and they’ll remove them just to avoid the hassle of a fight. In other incidences, there really are negative items on your credit reports that were improperly placed and can be removed after a review.

Some of the negative items credit repair companies can get removed include:

  • charge-offs
  • bankruptcies
  • late payments
  • tax liens
  • and more

Credit repair companies will send direct communications to various creditors to contest these charges or get the items removed. This may involve sending letters to dispute the information, sending cease-and-desist letters to debt collectors personally, and requesting validation for certain items on your credit report.

They’ll also normally begin their services to you by asking for your personal information, especially so they can compare it against items on your credit report.

What credit repair companies can’t do is arguably just as extensive. Knowing what they can and can’t do is one way you can spot a credit repair scam before you fall for their tricks. Credit repair companies cannot:

  • replace your credit file with a new one
  • charge fees if you cancel
  • charge upfront fees before they perform a service
  • promise specific results, especially within a certain timeframe
  • force credit bureaus to get rid of negative items – they can only ask or point out incorrect information
  • advise you to make false statements, like claiming that an accurate negative item on your credit report is inaccurate for the purposes of boosting your score

Furthermore, credit repair companies can’t do anything you can’t do by yourself. Their value comes from other factors, not from unique skills that only they possess.

Why Use Credit Repair Companies?

Credit repair companies can be worthwhile in the long run because, even though they don’t do anything you can’t handle yourself, they provide expertise and more man-hours to work on your credit score. Think of it as hiring specialists to help you improve your credit score over time instead of a fix-all approach.

Credit repair companies are staffed by financial or crediting experts. They spent every day negotiating with various creditors and credit bureaus, so they know exactly who to contact and what channels to use if you want to dispute an item on your credit report. They also know exactly what to look for.

For instance, you might be boggled at the number of items on your credit report. A credit repair agency can scan that list and find areas where there might be incorrect information or places where you can quickly improve.

Another good analogy is to liken them to a tax specialist. You can file your taxes yourself. But tax specialists have college degrees qualifying them to look at tax forms and find you tax breaks that you would otherwise miss.

So many people use tax specialists to net a greater return at the end of the year. You should look at using a credit repair agency the same way.

Are Some Credit Repair Companies Illegitimate?

Yes. Some credit repair agencies are actually scams or may not be legitimate business entities. There are some ways in which you can spot these scams, however, including:

  • if the agency doesn’t inform you of your rights – specifically, they should provide you with a written disclosure called “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law
  • if they don’t put your agreement in writing. Never trust any financial organization that relies on word-of-mouth for their agreements
  • if they demand payment before doing any work – this is explicitly illegal
  • if they can remove any legitimate or accurate information from your credit report
  • if they swear or “guarantee” that they can increase your credit score by a set amount. No credit repair company can provide guaranteed results; they just increase the odds of you improving your credit score over time and can possibly provide some benefits

Aside from all these bad signs, you can also check out the customer reputation or history of a credit repair company through resources like the Better Business Bureau or our guide. See what other people have to say before forking over some cash.

All in All, is Credit Repair Worth the Money?

Overall, credit repair companies can be worth your time and money. But you shouldn’t expect them to magically repair your credit score alone. In fact, we’d recommend working on your credit score through DIY measures in conjunction with the services a credit repair agency can provide.

This will put extra pressure on your credit score and help you maximize the improvement you can make in a short period of time. Credit repair companies can also sometimes save you time that you might otherwise have to spend investigating your own credit report or negotiating with creditors and credit bureaus yourself.

However, if you’re strapped for cash, there’s no reason why you can’t improve your credit score by yourself. Again, everything credit repair agencies do, you can do yourself, and almost always for free. Consider your budget and any debts you might need to pay off before paying for a credit repair company.

What Other Measures Improve Credit?

There are lots of ways you can “DIY” your credit repair efforts and find debt relief.

The most obvious of these is paying off your debts and making payments to your credit cards and other debt obligations on time. This will slowly but surely drag your credit score back up into the positive numbers. However, this takes a lot of time and you may need to eliminate negative items before you can see real growth.

To that end, it could be helpful to look into credit repair software. These software solutions can cost several hundred dollars, but they let you look into your own credit reports and provide you with several of the same tools, letter templates, and lists of things to look out for that credit repair companies already use in a professional context.

It’s essentially an automated assistant to help you do the credit repair company’s job, but on your own time. You still have to negotiate with the creditors yourself, of course.

You can also look into credit counseling, which may even be free if you find someone to help you from a nonprofit organization. You have to be careful about scams just like with credit repair agencies, though.

Credit counselors are essentially financial specialists that can review your free credit reports and help you figure out a credit repair plan. They don’t negotiate with creditors for you but give you insight into your problems and possible DIY solutions.

When it comes to managing your debts, you can consolidate lots of your high-interest debt into a low-interest loan through debt consolidation. Our guide on debt consolidation can tell you more; it’s a great way to increase your credit score and make lots of debt significantly easier to manage.

Debt settlements are an option, too. Settlements relieve you of existing debt by deleting charges like late fees and the like. But be careful when using these, as they may show up as charge-offs or otherwise hurt your credit score in the long run.

Does Paying Off Collections Improve Credit?

Debt collection accounts are credit report entries that show that you defaulted on a previous debt or loan. Your creditor eventually sold the loan to a collection agency or a debt buyer, who is now more than likely trying to collect your debt with frustrating persistence.

Naturally, collections debts and their associated accounts are extremely bad for your credit score. However, paying off collections doesn’t directly increase your credit score; it just stops more negative items from accruing over time.

How Can You Raise Your Credit Score By 100 or 200 Points?

Remember that building credit takes a lot of time. Credit bureaus usually only collect the payment information that they use to build their scores once a month. This means that your score will only update once a month, and not by very much.

Raising your score by 100 or 200 points (or even more) is likely to take you several months, even with more aggressive credit repair efforts. However, the best ways to raise your credit score significantly include:

  • paying all recurring payments on time
  • paying off debts procedurally and aggressively
  • not taking on additional debt
  • not opening new credit cards
  • closing credit cards or credit accounts you don’t use
  • eliminating negative items on your credit report

Doing all these things, with or without the help of a credit repair company, will go a long way toward progressively raising your credit score over a couple of months.

How Long Do Closed Accounts Remain on Your Credit Report?

It depends on whether the account was in good or bad standing with the credit bureau in question. Most credit bureaus remove any closed accounts after 10 years if the accounts were in good standing. They remove accounts that were in bad standing (i.e. with a history of late payments) 7 years from the date of the account’s closure. All this is to say that your closed accounts can still affect your credit score positively or negatively for a long time, so treat every account you open carefully.

What Credit Score is Acceptable for Buying a House?

Technically, you can buy a house with any credit score. Your credit score just affects the types of loans you might be approved for. Lower scores usually lead to lenders giving you loans with high-interest rates and extra fees. The reverse is true if you have high credit. 

In most cases, those with credit scores of 700 or above will enjoy excellent loan options. If you have a credit score in the 600s, you’ll likely have to deal with subpar loans. Anything below 600 and you may not be approved for a home loan at all – beware of scammers or bad mortgage deals if someone claims otherwise.

Is It Better to Use a Credit Repair Company or DIY Methods?

Ultimately, neither option is specifically better than the other. Credit repair companies have significant advantages that include:

  • the expertise of individuals who know what they’re doing
  • relieving you of the time and effort needed to fight for a better credit score
  • the advice of professionals who can tell you what to work on first
  • and so on

However, your credit score is your own responsibility and you shouldn’t shy away from taking some DIY steps to build your credit back up to a high score. We’d recommend using a credit repair company to some extent if you can afford it while also working proactively on your own credit repair efforts.

Credit Repair FAQs

How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?

This can vary dramatically from company to company. Most credit repair agencies will charge you around $70-$150 every month depending on how many actions they take. Remember that any legitimate credit repair company won’t charge you an upfront fee unless they fully onboard you into their services or make some progress with your report. If they ask for money before doing anything, like if they approach you unprovoked, they’re likely a scam.

How Long Does it Take to Repair Credit?

With or without the help of a credit repair company, it’ll take you between 3 to 6 months to repair your credit from a low (400-500) score to a middling to high (600-700) score, if you’re aggressive with paying your debts and use the help of a credit repair company. Of course, this timeframe can vary based on how many negative items you need to handle. Those with only a few errors might be able to repair their credit in as little as one month.

Can Credit Repair Companies Guarantee Credit Improvement?

No. If they do, they’re likely trying to scam you. Remember, a credit repair company could look at your credit report and find no item they can directly affect or contest, meaning they’d be no help to you at all.

Does Paying Off All Debt Immediately Fix Your Credit?

Not entirely. Paying off all your debts as fast as possible (or immediately if you get a sudden lump sum) will have a positive effect on your credit score. But some negative items, like bankruptcies or loan defaults, stay on your credit report for quite some time. It doesn’t immediately boost your score into the 700s if you eliminate all your debt.

Summary

All in all, credit repair companies can be valuable tools in your kit when you need to repair your credit and overcome your debts. If you have bad credit and don’t attempt to responsibly fix it, further problems could arise.

If you need to borrow, for example, you could be stuck with a bad credit loan. While there are some bad credit loans with guaranteed approval, their interest rates are far from ideal.

At the same time, credit repair companies aren’t magical miracle workers. Keep your expectations in check, look for and use credit repair companies wisely, and be prepared to do some legwork yourself. You’ll be well on your way to repairing your credit score.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Taranaki rental woes to get worse, say property managers | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Taranaki rental woes to get worse, say property managers

With the country’s new tenancy laws in effect, Taranaki property managers are predicting the region’s rental crisis is set to go from bad to worse.

Pam Hight, McDonald Real Estate Rental division manager, described the situation in Taranaki as – much like the rest of the country – desperate.

“It’s bad, it’s really bad,” she said. “I don’t see it getting any better… I can only see it as getting worse.”

On Friday, there were 42 rentals across the region listed on Trade Me for $450 and under.

READ MORE:
* Tenancy law changes: What do they really mean?
* Landlords won’t let their rentals sit empty, but tenant selection will be tougher
* Law to protect renters may see landlords reluctant to take risk on tenants with bad credit

The latest Ministry of Social Development figures show there were 642 applicants waiting for public housing across Taranaki in December 2020, up on 523 applicants in the previous quarter.

Put off by some aspects of the new tenancy laws, landlords were now selling their rental properties, Hight, who has been in the sector for 20 years, said.

Other landlords have been prompted by the skyrocketing house prices to cash in their rentals.

“Our rental portfolios are getting smaller but the number of tenants are growing.

“How are we going to house them?”

The latest changes to the Residential Tenancies Act came into effect last month and are aimed at providing more security and power for tenants.

Rental properties often don’t even make it to market before being rented out again.

Andy Jackson/Stuff

Rental properties often don’t even make it to market before being rented out again.

Included in the changes is that landlords will no longer be allowed to end a periodic tenancy without cause simply by providing 90 days’ notice.

Rent bidding has been outlawed, rent increases have been limited to once a year, and landlords are required to allow tenants to make minor alterations to a rental property such as baby-proofing, hanging pictures, and earthquake-proofing.

Provisions to improve compliance have also been introduced and both landlords and tenants can now apply for name suppression if they are successful in a Tenancy Tribunal decision.

Stacey Kemp, of Taranaki Property Managers, said she was receiving up to 70 applications per property.

Sometimes the rentals don’t even get listed before they’re filled.

“It’s pretty rough,” she said.

“I use the term crisis to describe it every day.”

Property managers have described Taranaki's rental housing situation as desperate.

ANDY JACKSON/Stuff

Property managers have described Taranaki’s rental housing situation as desperate.

With landlords selling and the new lending restrictions for property investors soon to come into effect, the rental property supply would further decline, Kemp said.

Rents had also increased by around $100 per week in the past year and more families were being pushed into emergency housing, she said.

Kemp, who manages properties across the region, knows of people who were already sleeping in cars and bunking with family and friends.

“It’s only going to get harder.”

Loans Bad Credit Online – Taranaki rental woes to get worse, say property managers

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Loans Bad Credit Online – 7 Top Online Car Buying Sites | Fintech Zoom

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Top online car buying sites

Carvana

Pros

  • Choose delivery or pickup
  • Seven-day return policy with up to three swaps
  • 100-day limited warranty

Cons

  • Must purchase extended warranty before delivery or pickup
  • Financing terms are nonnegotiable

Carvana is an online vehicle retailer with more than 25,000 used cars for sale at the time of publishing. Each car goes through a 150-point inspection and comes with a free CARFAX report. In-house financing is available, but you can also pay cash or finance with a third party, such as your bank or credit union. Carvana also accepts trade-ins, and it can pick up your trade-in at a location of your choice if you opt for delivery.

Carvana offers a seven-day test drive and return policy, and its cars come with a 100-day, 4,189-mile limited warranty. Available options include an extended warranty plan and gap coverage.

Edmunds

Edmunds

Pros

  • Pricing insights help ensure you’re getting a good deal
  • Supports AutoCheck vehicle history reports

Cons

  • Doesn’t sell cars directly

Edmunds doesn’t sell cars directly, but it hosts listings for new and used cars from local dealers. You can shop based on a number of factors, including Edmunds’ own pricing insights, to help you identify a good deal.

Edmunds also offers a variety of car buying resources, including rankings, reviews, a price checker and an online car appraisal service. Its appraisal service is particularly useful if you’re trying to sell your existing car or wondering what you can get for it as a trade-in.

CarMax

CarMax

Pros

  • Finances people with most credit profiles
  • 30-day return policy

Cons

  • No cars more than four years old

CarMax sells used cars online, letting you shop by budget, car type or monthly payment. Curbside pickup and delivery options are available. CarMax also offers 24-hour test drives and 30-day, money-back returns (if you’ve driven less than 1,500 miles). All major systems are covered for 90 days or 4,000 miles.

CarMax provides financing through several lenders, including Ally, Capital One, Chase and Exeter Finance. However, you can handle your own financing through your bank or credit union if you prefer. If you find better financing after you complete your purchase, CarMax has a three-day pay-off program that lets you take advantage of a better deal.

Autotrader

Autotrader

Pros

  • Broad search coverage
  • Trade-in option available for online purchases

Cons

  • Doesn’t sell directly
  • Possible delivery fees for online purchases

Autotrader lists used and new cars for sale online from local dealers and private sellers. In some cases, the dealer will bring you the car for a test drive and deliver the paperwork and car to your home when you’re ready to buy. Autotrader also provides instant cash offers for your current vehicle.

Autotrader has an accelerated online process that lets you expedite the sale, secure financing, value your trade-in, apply for financing and schedule a test drive before visiting a dealership.

Vroom

Vroom

Pros

  • Can file DMV paperwork for you
  • Seven-day test-drive

Cons

  • Some purchases require paper documents
  • Delivery could take 10 to 14 days

Vroom offers a completely online car buying and delivery experience, specializing in low-mileage used cars. It also lets you test-drive vehicles for seven days. Cars on Vroom must pass multiple inspections, and every car comes with a free CARFAX report. Vroom provides a limited warranty with most purchases, covering the car for 90 days or up to 6,000 miles.

You can supply your own financing, but Vroom also provides its own lending options by partnering with banks and lending institutions, including Chase, Santander Bank and Ally. Vroom accepts trade-ins too.

AutoTempest

AutoTempest

Pros

  • Search millions of car listings on one site
  • Helps you sell or trade in your current vehicle

AutoTempest brings together listings from other used car sites, including eBay, Cars.com, TrueCar, Carvana and CarsDirect. You can find millions of used car listings and shop by budget, make, model, year, mileage and other factors. AutoTempest also offers three advanced keyword search options to help narrow your search by negative keywords, optional words or phrases.

If you’re looking for a new car, AutoTempest can help you compare quotes from multiple dealers. Other buying tools include insurance and shipping quotes. Financing is available through Carvana.

You can also sell your car on AutoTempest. You get a real offer in two minutes, and Auto Tempest picks up your car when you decide to sell. Payment is available upfront or as part of a trade-in agreement.

CarsDirect

CarsDirect

Pros

  • Search thousands of local listings
  • Find updated pricing insights

CarsDirect helps buyers find deals on new and used cars for sale from local dealers. You can compare cars side by side and check deals in your area. You can also browse by price, style, make, model, region and monthly payment. CarsDirect also has a section for top deals on new cars and leases.

CarsDirect helps find financing options for buyers with bad credit, no credit and bankruptcy. Most cars come with a free CARFAX report.

How we found the best online car buying companies

To find companies for this guide, we looked at 15 brands and pared them down to these seven top online car buying sites. We considered available vehicle options, financing offerings and return policies. We also looked at reviews from online sources, including ConsumerAffairs and Google, and we only included companies with a rating of 3 stars or higher.

Compare online car buying websites

ProviderOffers financingAvailabilityReturn policy
CarvanaYesFree delivery to 31 states; paid delivery elsewhere7 days
EdmundsNoExclusively onlineVaries by seller
CarMaxYes41 states30 days
AutotraderNoExclusively onlineVaries by seller
VroomYesDelivers to 48 states7 days or 250 miles
AutoTempestNoExclusively onlineVaries by seller
CarsDirectYesExclusively onlineVaries by seller

Online car buying vs. traditional car buying

The main difference between buying a car online and in person is that you may not be able to see the car with your own eyes or take a test drive before making the purchase. To make up for this, many online car purchases come with a return policy, typically five to seven days (with limited mileage).

Like cars from a dealership, new cars purchased online should come with a mechanical inspection and warranty. However, dealerships might offer certified pre-owned vehicles with a manufacturer’s warranty — these cars might not be available from online car buying sites or private sellers. Some online car sellers also accept trade-ins, and many offer common dealer features, including financing options and add-ons like extended warranties and gap insurance.

How to buy a car online

Buying a car online is a new experience for a lot of people, but the process usually isn’t too different from buying at a dealership. Here’s a step-by-step guide to buying a car online:

  1. Find out your credit score: If you plan to finance the vehicle, look up your credit score so you won’t be surprised when the lender performs a credit check. This also helps you know what kind of interest rate to expect.
  2. Determine your budget: Setting a budget helps narrow your search by identifying which cars you can afford and giving you an estimate of what your monthly payment should be.
  3. Find the right vehicle: Figure out which model years fit your budget and your needs. Compare your options, then search a variety of online car buying sites to find a vehicle matching your criteria.
  4. Look for deals or incentives: Check for deals from the seller or search the internet for financing incentives or manufacturer promotions, such as 0% financing or trade-in deals.
  5. Get preapproved: Once you have a car in mind, you can get preapproved for financing through a lender or, in some cases, the car buying site itself. Some online sellers will put a hold on a car while you work out the details of your financing. While getting financing through the seller or dealership is an option, preapproval has multiple benefits, like letting you shop around for a better rate.
  6. Talk with a sales manager: Having a conversation with a sales manager helps you answer any questions you might have. It should also give you an explanation of the online buying process from that company. Let the sales manager tell you about any deals or incentives available, but don’t commit if you’re not sure yet.
  7. Take the car for a test drive: If a test drive option is available, schedule one. It might be at a dealership, or the seller may bring the car to you. With a new car, you shouldn’t have to carefully check for damage or malfunctions, but it’s still important to get a feel for the car and see how you like it. If the test drive goes well and you have your finances together, it’s time to buy.
  8. Read and sign the paperwork: When you’re ready to make a purchase, be sure to read all the paperwork before signing. Make sure you’re only paying for what you want and getting everything that you’re paying for. If you don’t understand anything in your contract, ask about it. Some online sellers accommodate e-signatures, while others will overnight paper documents for your signature.
  9. Head to the dealer or get your car delivered: Once you sign the contract, the dealer should deliver the car or arrange for you to pick it up locally. If you’re buying from a private party, you may have to arrange your own auto transport.

Tips for buying a new car

If you are planning to purchase a new vehicle, here are some tips worth considering:

  • Get insurance quotes: Think about the cost of insurance as well as your monthly payment. Insuring a new car is typically more expensive than insuring a used car. Shop around for rates on the make and model you’re considering to find out what you should expect to spend.
  • Plan for fuel costs: If you’re looking at a new car online, the gas mileage should be listed with the specs on the vehicle. If not, check the manufacturer’s website. Calculate your weekly gas costs to make sure the vehicle is right for you.
  • Check the warranty: Online car sellers should offer the same warranties as physical dealerships. Find out what the manufacturer’s warranty covers. Powertrain or drivetrain coverage is standard, but most new car warranties should also have bumper-to-bumper protection. Roadside assistance is sometimes included too.
  • Plan ahead: Some car dealers offer maintenance packages with the purchase of a new car, such as free basic service up to a certain number of years or miles. Dealerships may also try to sell you an extended warranty that covers your vehicle against malfunctions and breakdowns. These can be worth the cost, but you should also consider working with third-party warranty providers.

Tips for buying a used car

While buying a used car has much in common with buying a new car, there are several notable differences to keep in mind. Here are a few tips if you’re purchasing a used car online.

  • Get a vehicle history report: Many online car sellers offer free vehicle history reports. If not, these reports are readily available for a low cost from such sites as CARFAX or AutoCheck. Enter the VIN to find out about any accidents, recalls or maintenance gaps that may affect the car’s value. Some reports will also show how many previous owners a car has.
  • Make sure the car is in good shape: Online sellers should be able to verify that a vehicle’s maintenance is up to date, whether it’s through a vehicle history report or physical records from a previous owner. Many sellers also have a certification process that includes maintenance and a multipoint inspection. If the seller is willing, you can also get a pre-purchase inspection from a third-party mechanic.
  • Take a test drive: If a test drive is available, don’t pass it up. Look for any dings, paint damage, glass cracks and imperfections that might not have been in the listing photos. Inspect the engine bay, check the tire tread and try all the power features to make sure they work. Check for strange smells, leaks or sounds as well.
  • Consider the gas mileage: Information about the gas mileage of used cars is more difficult to find. As a rule of thumb, gas mileage gets worse as a car ages, so expect to spend more on fuel than you would for a new version of the same vehicle. You can get an estimate of a car’s actual gas mileage from the U.S. Department of Energy. Think about how much gas will cost for the vehicle now and in the future as its efficiency decreases.
  • Verify the title is clear: A clean title is good, but a salvage title means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company and repaired. Though the car was repaired and it’s possibly in drivable condition, it could still have problems. Its value should also be significantly lower if it doesn’t have a clear title. This information is usually available via a vehicle history report.
  • Talk to the seller: When purchasing a car online from a dealership, it helps to talk with the sales manager or customer service. Ask questions about the inspection process, test drive, financing and return policy.

Bottom line

Online car buying is convenient and lets you search thousands of listings, compare prices and arrange financing without leaving home. If you decide to purchase a used car online, do the research and make sure the car’s title is clear. If a test drive is not available before you buy, make sure you have some recourse, like a return policy. Finally, understand all the fees and costs associated with the vehicle before signing on the dotted line, just as you would for any car purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions about online car buying

It depends on your situation and preferences. There are many websites that can help you buy a car, and some offer more functionalities than others. To get started, look for a site with a lot of listings that lets you filter by the features that are most important to you.

Yes, it is possible to buy a car completely online. With online car buying sites, you can go from finding the right vehicle to purchasing entirely online. However, it’s still a good idea to see the car in person and ensure everything is correct if you can.

Yes, it is generally safe to purchase a vehicle online. However, you want to ensure you’re on a legitimate website. Be sure to read terms and conditions, privacy policies and other “fine print” materials before handing over your information online. Also, be careful with wiring funds or handing over your credit card details to someone you do not know online.



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Loans Bad Credit Online – Sasfin profit drops on increased y/y credit impairment provisions | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Sasfin profit drops on increased y/y credit impairment provisions

NOMPU SIZIBA: Specialist financial services player Sasfin Bank released half-year results. For the six months ended December 2020, the company reported a decline in total income of 1.5% at R633 million, while headline earnings were down 65.8% at R26.9 million – and the board will not be giving shareholders an interim dividend this time around. The company attributes the decline in profit to an increase in year-on-year impairment provisions, and the generally adverse economic effects brought about by the pandemic.


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Well, to discuss the results further, I’m joined on the line by Michael Sassoon. He’s the CEO at Sasfin. Thanks very much, Michael, for joining us. You saw a decline in your profits; has the Covid experience proved quite adverse for the group?

MICHAEL SASSOON: Yes, very much so. You know, we have two businesses. The wealth-management business has actually done very well under Covid owing to markets being strong. But our banking business, where we really lend to businesses in South Africa, has taken some increased credit provisions, and this has resulted in the huge drop in  profits.

NOMPU SIZIBA: I do see that your loans and advances, for example, contracted quite a lot –  by over 13%. I suppose it just speaks to the lack of activity and the lack of risk-taking among businesses.

MICHAEL SASSOON: I think that’s right. I think that when business confidence is low, people who are business entrepreneurs buy less stock, they invest less in their businesses, which means that the demand for credit has dropped to some degree. We also have to be a bit more conservative just to understand the full Covid impact on business clients.

In the last month or two we have seen some green shoots. There has been a bit of an uptick in demand for credit, and hopefully that is a sign for the future. But we remain cautious, given the potential of a third wave or a fourth wave, and the end of May’s vaccine rollouts, and how effective the vaccine rollout will be.

So, while there are some positive signs, we remain cautious.

NOMPU SIZIBA: I don’t suppose you ask when your clients withdraw money – but you do indicate having seen a decline in deposits. To what extent do you think this was influenced by perhaps businesses having to withdraw money to tide themselves over during a period when they were not receiving any revenue?

MICHAEL SASSOON: There was quite a small drop in deposits – about 3%. It was really one or two depositors who may be invested in the markets, rather than anything which I think suggests that businesses were drawing down on their money and all other deposits. It’s more like high-net-worth individuals, who invest in markets versus being invested in cash, and that might have an impact on the deposits more than businesses relying on their own cash at this point.

NOMPU SIZIBA: So, but for the wealth business, do  you think that the numbers would have been far worse?

MICHAEL SASSOON: They would be worse – the wealth business of the group’s growth in earnings. But in the banking business income did drop about a percent or so across the group. That’s not too concerning. Given the drop in loans, we may have expected there to be more, but we have enhanced our margins somewhat and are growing some of our non-interest revenue lines – in particular in our digital business-banking area. The costs were well controlled, and that’s something. Where we had a drop in cost, our cost-to-income ratio improved.

So I think that the real question will be what happens to the credit environment in the future? Had we had a through-the-cycle credit-loss ratio, the banking performance would have been pretty good.

NOMPU SIZIBA: You talk about investment in digital. To what extent did you see that area increase in activity, obviously given the Covid situation?

MICHAEL SASSOON: Our digital banking income grew by about 14%, which we were quite happy with, even though some of the income in that is dependent on interest rates, and interest rates have come down. That has caused a little bit of lower income. Had it not been for that, income would have been even higher. And fortunately the big investment in digital we’ve made over the last couple of years enabled us to remove to remote-working capability pretty seamlessly, and be able to onboard services and engage with our clients throughout this period without there being any disruption at all, really.

NOMPU SIZIBA: I see that you’ve got an asset-finance business. You refer to your specialised equipment-finance business, which now accounts for 22% of your total asset-finance book. That’s up from 19% in the year prior. What does that segment cover?

MICHAEL SASSOON: There are various elements. We do some yellow-metal mining-related equipment. We also finance software, not equipment per se, but assets. We are growing some capabilities into the solar sector. So our traditional or historical business is very much office automation and kind of your more traditional ICT equipment. We are now moving into a slightly wider asset range that we finance.

NOMPU SIZIBA: Tell us about BYOND business banking. You do talk about having improved your operating loss there to R15 million. Just tell us about that business and how it’s different from the basic business.

MICHAEL SASSOON: This is our digital business-banking area, in which we’ve invested quite a bit. Off the back of our digital-banking platform clients can obtain banking, foreign exchange and credit. You can onboard yourself as a small business or medium business, yourself, and some ancillary services like payroll accounting integrated into Xero. So it’s quite a comprehensive integrated business-banking model which we’ve been investing in for some time. Those losses that you refer to are very much part of the investment that we make into the business, because we don’t capitalise that investment. And with the reduction in the losses to some degree now that we integrate our foreign exchange in there, we are seeing some synergies, given some of that growth in the digital banking revenue. But we are at the early stages of this journey to some degree.

Last year you may recall we obtained a loan guarantee from the ECB, European Central Bank, courtesy of the Dutch Development Bank FMO, which we are busy rolling out to smaller businesses that we would normally finance. We are building some capabilities, some automation in credit-score carding, to ensure that we can get to those clients and approve credit appropriately. That we think will further enhance our digital business-banking offering, which is so important for this country to really try and enable these small businesses to access financial services – which we know has been such a struggle in the past.

NOMPU SIZIBA: But how do you strike the balance? On the one hand it’s a great service to be able to extend financial assistance and more to SMEs, but we’re also in a very tricky time where the future is uncertain, and you also have to take care of shareholders and all the rest of it. So how do you get that balance right in terms of the risk mitigation and obviously fuelling SMEs that can help to grow the economy?

MICHAEL SASSOON: If there was an easy answer it would be great for the country, be great for business lenders. I think that a greater use of data and various data points to understand the credit risk beyond just the quarter historically of a bank, looking at management accounts or financial statements. I think there are other data points which can be understood better in granting credit. Historically we’ve always been very well secured by stock or debtors or equipment, and for these smaller businesses you might not be able to rely on that same level of security if they haven’t built up any meaningful assets. So understanding the individuals, understanding the various data points, I think will be important. And if we do that well I think there will be an opportunity to extend credit to segments of the economy which have struggled to obtain credit. And this is very much the concept of Naseera.

The FMO and the European Central Bank understand this challenge, and that’s why they’ve provided this loan guarantee, which means that we are able to kind of grow a little bit faster than we would have done without it, and understand and learn some of the credit elements of this market, while protecting shareholder value because of the nature of the guarantee.

But for it to be a sustainable long-term business for ourselves and for our clients, we need to make sure that we can recover the credit that we grant by and large.

NOMPU SIZIBA: Yes. Look, this is separate from anything to do with Sasfin, but you must have a view, given your experience. Why do you think the credit-guarantee scheme that was offered by the government through the banks just hasn’t worked? Why is it that only R18 billion of the R200 billion that’s been made available has been tapped by SMEs?

MICHAEL SASSOON: That’s a very good question. … the large banks, to their credit, did give a lot of payment relief and a lot of support, restructured loans, at the height of Covid and the lockdown. The experience I think was that there wasn’t significant demand. That being said, why wasn’t there such a large demand?

My sense is that if you were a business client of a bank, and you were a good credit risk, the bank would have lent you money in its ordinary course. If you were a very bad credit risk, I think that a bank would have been irresponsible to lend taxpayer money if it didn’t believe that it was recoverable. And therefore it actually only really catered towards the smallish segment of the business sector.

We also have participated in terms of the government’s loan-guarantee scheme, and to a small degree we’ve almost lent out our allocations, as it stands. But I think that in part there were many SMEs who aren’t really in the banking system, or don’t have credits on the banking system, who maybe could have benefited from the loan-guarantee scheme – which didn’t really apply because they weren’t already entrenched inside a banking system.

NOMPU SIZIBA: That was Michael Sassoon. He’s the CEO at Sasfin.

Loans Bad Credit Online – Sasfin profit drops on increased y/y credit impairment provisions

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