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7 Reasons Working on Your Credit Score Is Worth the Hassle



Having trouble staying motivated to improve your credit? You just need to know what you’re working towards.

If you need to build or rebuild your credit, sometimes it can be tough to stay motivated. There are so many different types of credit scores out there, and the way they’re calculated isn’t exactly a breeze to understand. Progress can take months or years, and at points, you’re bound to question whether it’s worth all that hard work.

Don’t get discouraged, though, because improving your credit is one of the smartest financial moves you can make. Once you have good credit, there are all kinds of ways you’ll benefit from it.

1. You qualify for the best credit cards

Consumers with average or bad credit have slim pickings when it comes to credit cards. Cards for bad credit are available, but they don’t offer many benefits, and you’ll be lucky to find a card that earns even a small amount of cash back or travel points.

There’s a huge difference in the value that the best credit cards offer. The amount of cash back or travel rewards you can earn with these cards is much higher, both from sign-up bonuses and what you earn on your spending. With the right credit card, a good credit score can easily be worth hundreds of dollars per year or more.

2. It’s easier to find a home

Your credit plays a significant role when you’re looking for an apartment or a house to rent. Most landlords, and especially property management companies, will run a credit check on prospective tenants. If your credit is lacking, you could get declined on rental applications, either because you don’t meet the minimum requirements or because the landlord decided to choose another applicant with better credit.

Good credit is just as crucial if you want to buy a home. Not only will it be easier to qualify for a mortgage, but you’ll also get a better deal.

3. You get lower interest rates

Lenders reserve their lowest interest rates for applicants with the highest credit scores. That’s true of any type of loan or line of credit, and it means good credit saves you quite a bit if you borrow money.

On a small personal loan, you could save hundreds. On an auto loan, you could save thousands. And on a mortgage, a good or excellent credit score could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

4. You spend less on security deposits

A frustrating fact of life for consumers with subpar credit is that they often need to put down security deposits, meaning even basic necessities cost more. 

We’ve already gone over how bad credit makes it harder to rent a home. If you do get approved, you’ll likely also need to pay a large deposit to the landlord.

Service providers may also require a security deposit from new customers who don’t meet certain credit score requirements. Customers in that situation could end up paying deposits for gas, electricity, internet, cell phone service, and any other monthly services they need.

5. Car insurance could cost you less

In all but a few states, car insurance companies can use your credit score to determine your premiums. Since data shows that claims are less likely from drivers with good credit, these drivers pay much less for their car insurance.

This isn’t just a small difference, either. Research by The Zebra, an insurance comparison company, showed that drivers with the highest credit scores pay less than half in premiums than drivers with the lowest. 

6. You qualify for higher credit limits and loan amounts

Good credit makes you more trustworthy to lenders, and that means they’ll be willing to let you borrow more money.

Ironically, this can help you improve your credit score even more. When you qualify for a high credit limit, it’s easier to maintain a low credit utilization, which is the ratio of your credit card balances compared to all the available credit you have across those cards. Credit utilization is one of the biggest factors used to determine your credit score.

While you should be aware that high credit limits and large loans can get you into trouble, they can also be beneficial when used wisely.

7. You don’t need to worry about your credit holding you back

This may not have anything to do with money, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you have good credit, you won’t need to get nervous about the results of a credit check. And you won’t have to explain your past financial missteps and hope for leniency. Putting in the time and effort to improve your credit means you’ll avoid a lot of future financial stress.

It’s easier than you think

While credit may seem like a complicated subject, it’s surprisingly simple to get good credit. All you need is a credit card that you use for at least one purchase per month. Make sure you always pay both your credit card and all your other bills on time and don’t use more than 20% to 30% of your credit limit. If you follow that advice, your credit score will be on the way up.

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Evicted California renters at greater risk of getting COVID-19



After 70 years in Monterey County, 87-year-old Mary Martinez moved in the middle of a pandemic, evicted from her modest one-bedroom, second-floor apartment at 1118 Parkside St. in north Salinas.

According to her former landlord, Martinez was evicted because she allowed a “violent man” to live with her, violating the conditions of her lease. Martinez said the man is her epileptic nephew.

Advocates say that while evictions like Martinez’s are rarer during the pandemic, landlords are feeling the financial squeeze. Some have sold rental properties to make up for lack of income. That can leave renters out in the cold when their new landlord raises the rent by hundreds of dollars or requires all renters move out before they take over the building.

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New program to help Black-owned online businesses | Technology



ATLANTA _ Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to get bank loans and professional help to launch new businesses. A new program aims to remove those stumbling blocks.

An Atlanta nonprofit and another business have committed $150 million to the 1 Million Black Businesses effort, which will make loans and provide financial and business advice to Black-owned startups and established small businesses. Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation Hope, which helps consumers improve credit scores, is kicking in $20 million, and Shopify, the online e-commerce is adding another $130 million for the loans and website-hosting services.

Other services firms providing expertise or help include Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and First Horizon Bank.

It’s a package of products that many Black entrepreneurs couldn’t get through a bank or credit union, said John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope.

“A bank won’t lend you money unless you can prove that you don’t need it,” Bryant said. “That’s especially true with minority-owned small businesses.”

Small businesses with Black owners were half as likely to obtain business loans as whites, according to a Federal Reserve survey published earlier this year.

The initiative is the latest effort to help Black consumers and businesses enter the financial mainstream. Earlier this month, a group that includes rapper Killer Mike opened a digital bank aimed at Black and Latino consumers.

Banks and credit unions have tried for years to help Black consumers open checking and savings accounts. The efforts helped, as the number of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Monday.

Consumers who own checking and savings accounts typically have access loans with better rates and a wider variety of financial services.

The federal government’s $660 billion loan initiative for businesses hit by COVID-19, the Paycheck Protection Program, also helped few Black-owned businesses, Bryant said. PPP loans were based on a company’s number of employees and its rent obligations. many Black-owned small businesses typically didn’t have enough workers to qualify and are based out of the owner’s residence.

Bryant said a bad credit history may not prevent applicants from receiving a loan.

He hopes more companies will contribute services such as insurance advice or software typically available only to well-established businesses.

Bryant noted that 1MBB is not a charitable organization, as participating companies like Shopify will likely get a pipeline of new business customers through the program.

“This is not pure philanthropy,” he said. “Shopify believes that Black-owned businesses are good businesses if they’re properly supported.”

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This Week’s Top Car Deals & Analysis – October 30, 2020



The final days of October offer a chance to take advantage of outstanding model year-end deals. Most offers end November 2, which means there isn’t much time left to enjoy this month’s best lease deals and deepest new car discounts. We even found incentives that can help those with bad credit buy a new or used car.

2021 car deals. Interestingly, 2021 new car incentives are showing some surprises. For example, Audi is already offering up to $12,000 in savings when leasing the 2021 e-tron all-electric crossover. We even learned that the new Genesis GV80 SUV will debut with a $589/month lease deal plus special financing rates.

Believe it or not, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N could prove to be a great value despite a nearly $4,700 price increase compared to the previous year. That’s because our analysis finds that better incentives can make it just $10/month more expensive to lease than the 2020 model. Talk about getting more for your money.

Why are small cars bad to lease? Even though smaller cars typically come with lower price tags, that isn’t always the case when leasing. A mix of lower discounts, worse residual values, and smaller discounts can actually make a Nissan Altima cheaper than a Versa despite having an almost $10,000 difference in MSRP.

Shorter-mileage leases. More brands are offering shorter mileage allowances on car leases. Although this is typically used to offer consumers more flexibility, we’ve found cases in which you can end up getting less for your money. If you don’t read all the fine print, this could make comparison-shopping difficult.

Bad credit car deals. If you have subprime credit, you may find it harder to get financed. However, some manufacturers are offering special incentives to help make cars & trucks more affordable. For example, Chevy is offering $2,000 in down payment assistance plus 9.9% APR for 72 months on the 2020 Trax.

$0 down leases. If you’re adamant about now putting down any money on a lease, you’ll love Sign & Drive leases. In addition to requiring no money down, $0 down lease deals can cover your first month’s payment. Even hot sellers like the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer $0 down and as little as $330/month on a lease.

The high cost of safety? Even though most major automakers are offering more safety features than ever before, our analysis finds that the highest IIHS safety ratings still require costly options in 2020. That’s starting to change, but the cost of buying a car with the most bragging rights is still very high.

Disaster relief. Those affected by some of this year’s natural disasters should be aware that automakers are offering assistance. California wildfire assistance programs like Ford Employee Pricing can save thousands when replacing a car. Similarly, a 2020 hurricane relief program from GM offers $1,000 in savings.

Spooky loan situations. There are some scary scenarios you can avoid when getting a car loan. However, boosting your credit score is possible with some determination because negative items on your credit report fall off after 7 years. Our network of dealers is specially equipped to help those with bad credit.

Upcoming vehicles. Genesis finally revealed the new GV70, a small luxury crossover based on the highly-rated G70 sedan. Whether it’s a redesigned car, truck, or SUV, odds are you’ll find it on our Previews page. That said, as we reported last week, discounts ahead of a redesign can result in substantial savings.

This Month’s Cheapest Lease Deals »

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