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A Pandemic Isn’t a Reason to Put Off Improving Your Credit Score

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A good credit score will go a long way for any present or future purchases. The key is planning and self-control.

Whether your plan is to launch your own business, raise a family, retire young, or travel around the world, in order to achieve your financial goals you will need to have adequate funds behind you. When it comes to financial planning, you will need to have a think about what is important to both you and your family, and strategically plan how you aim to achieve your financial goals.

While we’re currently facing challenging times because of Covid-19, you shouldn’t use the pandemic as an excuse to fall at the first hurdle. So with that in mind, here are our expert tips on how to reach your financial goals.


Make a Budget

Although it may seem like an obvious tip, creating a budget from the beginning can help you keep track of your expenses. Whether you have money to spare, or you’re counting every penny, visually seeing your income and outgoings can help you come up with strategies to save money in the long run. There are numerous benefits that you can gain from drawing up a budget, such as identifying problems before they occur and meeting your financial objectives.

Create an Emergency Fund

No matter how organised you are, emergencies can occur when we least expect them. Whether your car has broken down, your boiler has broken, or you need to pay for medical expenses, having an emergency fund in place can reassure you that you’re able to cover any costs immediately. It’s advised to begin with £1,000 in savings, which can be used as and when you need it. The last thing you want is to be faced with an obstacle that you can’t afford to pay off, so creating an emergency fund sooner rather than later is crucial.

Improve Your Credit Score

If you would like to take out a loan, there are several things that a lender will take into account first, such as your credit score. The better your credit score is, the lower the rates you will have to pay. This article from New Horizons, How to Fix a Bad Credit Score Fast, is ideal for anyone with a bad credit score. Being approved for a loan can be difficult with a bad score, so you can use New Horizons to help you find loans for bad credit scores. The broker has helped over 4,500 people find a loan everyday; with loans that can be paid out in as little as 15 minutes.

Save for Your Child’s Education

If you’re a parent, giving your child the best start in life will naturally be your number one concern. As they get older and head off to university, you may want to give them a helping hand financially to ensure they’re well supported during their course. From an early age, putting money aside each month from your income to contribute or pay for their entire course will be highly beneficial for them in the long run, meaning your child won’t run into debt once they have graduated.

Shop Smarter

Whether it’s for clothing, food, or appliances for the home, the places where you shop can have a major impact on how much you spend. When you next go shopping, making smarter decisions with your money can pay off in the long run, helping you to save cash that can be used for other things. Buying second-hand items, choosing own-brand products, and only sticking to the essentials can help you manage your money better.

Review and Reduce Debt

If you are in a mountain of debt, don’t let your situation paralyse you. Combining debt management techniques with financial planning can help you lower your debt when using tactics such as creating a get-out-of-debt plan, cutting back on expenses, getting a second job, and prioritising your debts. There are lots of ways that you can make money online, which can increase your income and provide more financial stability. The last thing you should do is bury your head in the sand when it comes to debt. Whether you need to pay off your credit card, student loan, or car loan, taking small steps can go a long way in reducing your debt.

Save for Retirement

Even if your retirement is decades away, there is never a better time to start saving than now. While saving money isn’t easy, it’s crucial for securing your future and being financially healthy. One of the best ways to save money for your retirement is by paying yourself first. To do this, you should save a certain amount of your monthly income before you spend cash on other things. You may benefit from having a separate bank account that you can use to transfer money into. If you receive any tax refunds, raises or bonuses, you can put them into your other bank account rather than spend it straight away. You may also have a workplace pension that is arranged by your employer.

Set Financial Goals

Whether you would like to go on a family holiday next summer, or you’re planning to purchase your first home, setting financial goals from the beginning will give you something to strive towards. When listing goals, it’s important that you categorise them into three categories: short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Short-term goals may include purchasing a laptop or clearing debt off your credit card; medium-term goals may include buying a new vehicle, whereas a long-term goal could consist of buying a property or retiring with a comfortable amount of money. There are SMART goals that you can set yourself which will help you achieve your financial aims.

Invest Money

Once you have established your financial goals and created a budget to help you track your spending, you should have a better idea of what you are saving for and how much money you will need to achieve your goals. If you have long-term goals in place, you should consider investing your money. When you invest, you will be putting cash aside for retirement or for your child’s education. The best way to do this is by ensuring your money is deducted automatically from your salary or bank account and placed into an IRA (individual retirement account).

Stay Committed

With millions of people in the UK losing sleep due to money worries, the last thing you want is to fall into this statistic. If you have financial goals that you want to achieve, it’s important that you stay committed to saving as much money as you can. Even if this means living below your means, you need to remember that if you spend less than your income, you will be able to save money for your future. There may be times where you struggle to get by, but staying committed to your financial goals and overcoming challenges along the way can help you achieve them quicker.

No matter what your financial goals and aspirations are, to achieve what you have set out to do, it’s important that you monitor your finances on a daily basis and put all the strategies above into practice. Even though we’re currently in a pandemic, there are lots of things you can do to build a healthier financial future.



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Bad Credit

Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?

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Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?
Image source: Getty Images


People often worry about their credit history when it comes to applying for a new credit card, a mortgage or a car loan. If you have poor credit, should you also be concerned about finding work? Can you be denied a job due to bad credit?

Let’s examine the facts.

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What is bad credit anyway?

Bad credit is basically a negative assessment of your finances based on your history of borrowing. Bad credit implies that you have a bad track record with lenders. This is most likely because you have a pattern of not paying your bills on time or defaulting on your loans.

Is it legal for employers to check my credit report?

Law and finance firms are legally required to perform credit checks on potential employees. However, other kinds of employers can also conduct credit checks on you before they hire you. But they must ask for your permission before they do so.

In many cases, a credit check will be performed by a company if the role you are applying for involves dealing with large amounts of cash.

Why might employers want to check my report?

There are many reasons an employer might want to check your report. For example, they might want to ensure that:

  • You are who you say you are.
  • You have a good track record of managing money.
  • It’s not too much of a risk to let your manage money.
  • Your financial behaviour will not affect your work performance.

Could you be rewarded for your everyday spending?

Rewards credit cards include schemes that reward you simply for using your credit card. When you spend money on a rewards card you could earn loyalty points, in-store vouchers airmiles, and more. MyWalletHero makes it easy for you to find a card that matches your spending habits so you can get the most value from your rewards.

Can an employer deny me a job due to bad credit?

Yes. According to credit reference agency Experian, if your prospective employer feels that your current financial situation could impact your ability to perform well in the role, or if your credit history shows poor financial planning, they may decide not to hire you.

Generally speaking, however, employers are more likely to be concerned about serious ‘red flags’ in your credit history, like bankruptcy rather than the odd missed payment.

In any case, employers only get access to your ‘public’ credit report. This contains your electoral roll information and any major red flags such as bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements and county court judgments.

They will not have access to your detailed credit repayments or your credit score.

How can I keep my credit history from affecting my ability to get a job?

If a prospective employer runs a credit check on you, ultimately you have no control over what they do with the information, including denying you a job due to bad credit.

The best thing you can do to minimise the impact of your credit on your chances of getting a job is to review your credit report beforehand.

You have the right to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Before you apply for a job or attend an interview, request your report and review it for any errors so that you can have them corrected ahead of time.

Even if there are no errors, knowing what is on your credit report puts you in a good position to answer any questions that may arise during the hiring process.

Indeed, if there’s something in your report that employers might consider a ‘red flag’, don’t panic. Instead, begin preparing an explanation to give to them. If it was, for example, caused by financial hardship beyond your control, the employer may take this into account.

Alternatively, you can contact a credit reference agency and request that a notice of correction be added to your report. This is a brief note of up to 200 words in length that explains circumstances that a lender might otherwise question.

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Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

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Refinancing is a wonderful way to save money on your monthly car loan payment – but it can cost you more in the long run if you’re not careful. Refinancing when you have a subprime auto loan isn’t always as easy as refinancing a vehicle when you have good credit. Working with the right lender can help, though.

What Is Refinancing?

Refinancing is when you replace your existing car loan with a different one for the same vehicle, which may have either a lower interest rate, a longer loan term, or both.

Qualifying for a lower interest rate is optimal for getting a lower monthly payment and saving money overall. If you only extend your loan term without getting a lower rate, you actually end up paying more in interest charges over the term of your loan.

Auto loans typically use a simple interest formula, meaning your interest charges add up daily. The longer your loan term, the more you pay the lender – it’s wise to choose the shortest loan term you can afford. If you only extend your loan term you may end up paying more than the vehicle’s value!

Refinancing can typically be done with your current lender or with another one. It’s a good idea to shop around for the best possible rate before going with the first offer you receive. When you shop for the same type of financing with multiple lenders in a two-week timeframe, it’s called rate shopping. When you do this only one credit inquiry impacts your credit score instead of multiple, minimizing the negative impact that hard pulls can have on your credit score.

Options for Bad Credit Borrowers

Taking out a subprime auto loan is a great way to improve your credit, so, if you’ve kept up with your loan to this point and just need a little wiggle room in your budget, refinancing could be for you. Your credit is an important factor in refinancing your auto loan because refinancing is typically reserved for people with good credit.

However, when a borrower already took out a subprime car loan, many refinancing lenders are willing to work with them as long as they’ve made improvements to their credit over the course of the loan. Better credit alone doesn’t qualify you for refinancing, though.

In order to qualify for refinancing, you, your vehicle, and your loan all need to meet the requirements of a lender. These vary, but in order to refinance your car you typically need to meet these qualifications:Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

  • Have a better credit score than when you began the loan
  • Have had your auto loan for at least one year
  • Have an acceptable loan amount
  • Have no more than 100,000 miles on your vehicle
  • Car can’t be more than 10 years old
  • You must be current on your payments
  • There can’t be negative equity in the vehicle

Lenders that refinance typically prefer cars that are in good condition, that aren’t too old, and have lower mileage. Some lenders may not want to refinance a vehicle that’s at risk for breaking down or is depreciating quickly.

They’re generally looking for a loan that isn’t too new, or too close to being paid off as well. And, refinancers may also require that you haven’t missed a payment on your original car loan. A borrower whose current on their loan gives a lender confidence you’ll manage the new loan well.

Alternatives to Refinancing Your Subprime Auto Loan

If you’re not able to refinance your vehicle, you typically still have the option to trade it in for something more affordable. Even if you’re still paying on a loan, all you have to do is pay off the loan to release the lien on the car.

Even if it’s years from the end of your loan term, you may have a good chance at trading in your vehicle, especially now. Due to fluctuations in the auto market, used cars are in high demand currently, which means that dealerships may be willing to pay a higher price to get your used vehicle on their lot – even if you’re a bad credit borrower looking to trade-in.

If you still owe on an auto loan this gives you a better chance at selling your car for the amount you owe to the lender. It may even give you enough cash left over to put toward your next, more affordable vehicle!

Ready to Get Started?

If you think refinancing your subprime auto loan is the way to go, you can check out our resources, here. But, if you think that finding an affordable, used car with a lower monthly payment is the right choice for you, we want to get you started toward your goal today!

At Auto Credit Express, we’ve got a coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships ready to work with borrowers who are struggling with credit challenges. To get connected to a dealer in your local area that’s signed up with subprime lenders, simply fill out our auto loan request form. It’s fast, free, and never carries any obligation.

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It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Many of us got our first credit cards when we were either in college or in our early 20s. We likely did not have a full-time job with a steady salary, and if we did, it’s also likely we weren’t rolling in dough.

See: 13 Credit Cards That Every 30-Something Should Consider
Find: Surprising Uses for Your Credit Card Rewards

Given these circumstances, the first credit cards offered to us were probably of a particular kind: low credit limits, no prior credit history required, high annual percentage rate and overall easy to get. While these cards served us well as a way to build up our credit — and probably learn some lessons about money the hard way — it’s time to let go for a couple of reasons.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Card

When you upgrade your card, it’s likely you will also upgrade the benefits. Some companies, like Discover, Credit One and Capital One, are popular choices as a first credit card. However, these companies have better options as you, and your finances, mature.

The Wall Street Journal suggests asking for an upgrade. “Customers need to phrase it as a ‘product change’ when they call the card company. A product change involves getting a new card with the same card provider and it typically allows a cardholder to keep everything else the same, including the account number and available credit.”

See: 10 Credit Cards That Have Gotten Better During the Pandemic
Find: Old-School Money Advice You Shouldn’t Follow Anymore

This could be a good idea for those who are not ready to jump ship from their first credit company just yet. It also removes the hassle of having to find a different provider, and probably the largest benefit of all — no hard credit check needed.

A “hard” credit check is when your credit is thoroughly examined, and it results in an inquiry showing up on your credit report. These are always necessary for opening a new line of credit, like a credit card or a mortgage, but too many inquiries can count against you and negatively affect your credit. A “soft” credit check, on the other hand, will not affect your credit score and is usually done for verification purposes, such as when you apply for new employment. Soft checks also happen with preapprovals.

See: Soft vs. Hard Credit Check — What’s the Difference?
Find: 30 Things You Do That Can Mess Up Your Credit Score

If you ask for a product change on a credit card, you won’t need to have that hard inquiry because the company already has a solid picture of your credit and has done an inquiry before. But it’s important to confirm that your credit history will be rolled over to the new card.

Switching credit institutions all together can be beneficial, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. While the rules of credit apply whether you have, for example, a Credit One or Chase credit card, it’s not a secret that certain credit cards have certain reputations — or that credit bureaus take notice.

For example, the Credit One Bank Visa card is “one of the most popular credit cards for people with bad credit, largely because it’s one of the few unsecured cards that applicants with poor credit scores can get approved for,” according to WalletHub.

See: Biden Wants to Shut Down Credit Bureaus – What Would That Mean for You?
Find: 10 Credit Score Myths You Need to Stop Believing

In contrast, American Express credit cards are best for people with credit scores over 700 and require at least “good” credit for approval, WalletHub adds. A good credit score is one that’s between 670 and 739, according to Fair Isaac.

So while both cards function the same way, the profile of those who own these cards might be different — or at least be perceived as such.

Theoretically, the same person could own both cards, but your money works for you more with an American Express vs. a Credit One. If you have a Credit One card but qualify for American Express, it might make sense to leave your old credit card behind. In addition to the immediate financial benefits, upgrading for a credit card company that has a reputation for being exclusive to those with good credit could help when you apply for a mortgage or apply for credit cards at specific stores.

See: This Is How Many Credit Cards You Should Have
Find: Credit Cards With the Best Incentives to Open in 2021

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What is my card doing best for me?” If the answer is helping you build your credit, getting you out of bad credit or allowing you to have credit when you otherwise would not be able to, then sticking with the same card, or at least the same credit card company, makes sense.

This allows you avoid a new credit inquiry on your credit report while still building and increasing your credit. Asking for a credit limit increase on your credit card if you’ve been with the same company for a while, you’ve been routinely paying off your card and you’re in good standing, is a good idea.

See: Expert Tips to Fix Your Credit on a Limited Income
Find: What Is a Credit Limit?

If you are shopping around for a new card that gives you rewards or benefits based on your purchases, starting small is paramount. It wouldn’t be prudent to go straight for a card that has a yearly fee, for example.

Start small, and start smart with credit limits, too. Going from a limit of $2,000 straight to a limit of $15,000 while your salary remains relatively unchanged is not always a good thing. Having a higher credit limit doesn’t necessarily mean that you are now richer or more responsible — it only means that you now have a greater risk of putting yourself into serious debt. Slowly increasing your credit limit makes your debt more manageable — and makes you look more responsible to credit bureaus.

Breaking up is hard to do, but if your finances have matured, it might be time to get a card that helps you reach your goals with cash-back rewards and points you can use for travel, groceries and other other items. Shopping around for a lower interest rate and a slightly increased credit limit can also help you move forward.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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