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Business Loans You Can Get with Bad Credit

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  • Borrowers with good credit can usually access bank loans with favorable terms and low interest rates.
  • Less creditworthy businesses might have to turn to alternative lenders that offer more expensive financing options.
  • Using financing to stabilize your business and repair damaged credit scores is possible but risky.

Every business needs funding, and many turn to loans. Unfortunately, not every business has the sterling credit required to receive a loan from a bank with favorable terms and low interest rates. If your business doesn’t qualify for a bank loan, where else can you turn?

There is an entire industry of alternative lenders that aim to fill the gaps where banks are unwilling or unable to lend. However, accepting money from alternative lenders requires business owners to be savvy, lest they dig themselves deeper into debt.

What do lenders look for when considering a business loan?

When many businesses require funding, their first stop is the bank or some other conventional lender, like a credit union. These financial institutions offer a variety of financial products, including term loans and SBA 7(a) loans.

What does it take to qualify for a loan from a conventional lender? Typically, these financial institutions look for several things, including:

  • Credit score: For a business, there are two types of credit scores that matter: your business credit report and your FICO credit score. 
    • A business credit score is tied to your Employer Identification Number (EIN), which can be registered with Equifax, Experian or Dun & Bradstreet. Each organization has its own method of calculating business credit scores; for example, Experian considers factors like credit utilization, size of the business, length of time in business, public records and the owner’s personal credit score to calculate a score ranging from one to 100. 
    • A FICO credit score is your personal credit score, which ranges from 300 to 850. The FICO credit score is tied to your Social Security number and is calculated by three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. A FICO credit score is calculated using several factors, including debt repayment history, outstanding debts, length of credit history and whether you have any new lines of credit open. 
  • Debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio is a percentage that expresses how significant your required debt service payments will be in comparison to the money you bring in. For example, if you owe $30 and your income is $100, your debt-to-income ratio is 30%. Generally, lenders will look for a debt-to-income ratio in the mid to low 30s, though sometimes businesses with a debt-to-income ratio up to 43% can be approved for a loan.
  • Cash reserves: At a bare minimum, lenders want to see businesses maintain several months’ worth of expenses in cash reserves. Depending on the lender you are working with, they might expect three months of cash reserves to be kept on hand, while others prefer six months or more. Cash reserves assure the lender that even if unexpected expenses arise or a slowdown in sales occurs, your business can still cover loan repayments.
  • Collateral: Lenders will also consider the assets your business holds as collateral to back the loan in the event you don’t have money available to make your payments. Common assets used as collateral include equipment or machinery, land and other real estate.

As part of your loan application, you will likely have to provide several months’ worth of bank statements so lenders can understand your business’s cash flow. However, few elements are as important to a conventional lender as a business’s credit score and the personal credit score of the owner.

 

Editor’s note: Looking for a small business loan? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

 

What is the credit spectrum?

Lenders look out upon the vast sea of potential borrowers and see a credit spectrum that ranges from very bad to very good. Depending on a business’s position in the credit spectrum, certain types of funding might be unavailable to them. Businesses with great credit can usually obtain long-term loans at low interest rates, but less creditworthy businesses might have to pursue more expensive and risky funding options.

“On the one hand of the credit spectrum is someone who can walk into a major bank and borrow money on the business’s credit, not a personal guarantee,” said James Cassel, co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co.

Those borrowers can expect low interest rates ranging from 2% to 5% on a term loan. Of course, Cassel added, that’s only true for “stellar businesses with great history.”

“On the other side of the rainbow are businesses that can’t get money from any kind of institutional lender,” Cassel said.

And just as there is a broad spectrum of credit scores for potential borrowers, there is a spectrum of financial products. Some, like bank loans or SBA 7(a) loans, are available to creditworthy borrowers, while businesses with decent credit might require a guaranteed loan.

What types of business loans can you get with bad credit?

What can businesses with bad credit do when they need funding? If their credit history isn’t good enough to obtain a loan from a conventional lender, businesses often turn to other types of financing, often provided by alternative lenders or private lenders. While the flexibility and speed with which these loans can be approved are useful to borrowers with bad credit, the terms can also be restrictive and the loans expensive.

“The further down you are in the credit funnel, the worse the rates are,” Cassel said. “With great credit, it could be 5%; with bad credit … it could be the equivalent of 40%.”

Some of the most common loans available to businesses with mediocre or bad credit scores include:

  • Short-term loans: Short-term loans include both term loans that are repaid in three years or less, as well as lines of credit repaid within one year. Businesses with good credit will also leverage short-term loans because of their low cost and easy approval process. For businesses with credit issues, short-term loans can be useful because lenders often prioritize cash flow over credit score. So long as you have enough revenue and reserves to support a short-term loan, a lender will likely approve your application.
  • Hard money loans: Hard money loans include several different types of loans that are backed by a collateral asset rather than a credit score. Most often, the assets used as collateral are real estate, such as a building or plot of land. A bridge loan, for example, is a type of hard money loan that is often used when redeveloping a property. The loan is secured by the value of the real estate upon completion of the project, allowing the lender to foreclose on the property if the borrower defaults on the loan.
  • Invoice financing: Factoring,” or invoice financing, isn’t truly a loan. Rather, a business owner essentially sells their accounts receivable to a factor at a reduced rate (typically ranging from 70% to 90% of the total value.) Once the outstanding invoices have been sold, a factor typically begins collecting the payments owed directly from your customers. Invoice factoring can be useful for seasonal businesses or when you need growth capital. However, using this option to cover operational expenses is a risky maneuver. 
  • Merchant cash advance: A merchant cash advance is also not technically a loan. Instead, it is a form of financing that is backed by credit card sales (or sometimes just revenue in general.) Based on your sales volume, a lender will offer a lump sum payment in exchange for a portion of every credit card sale until the loan (plus fees) is repaid. Merchant cash advances can be very expensive and are considered a financing option of last resort.

Before accepting any type of funding, do your homework. Research the lender thoroughly to ensure they are a reputable brand and not a predatory lender. Closely review any agreements before signing; have your attorney and accountant review them as well, if possible. Only accept money that you can realistically pay back in the specified time. Otherwise, financing could expedite the demise of a financially troubled business.

How to qualify for a short-term loan with bad credit

Short-term loans are a type of small business loan that closely resembles a conventional term loan in many ways. Short-term loans carry an interest rate and require repayment of both principal and interest within a certain period, just like a bank loan. However, because the term is less than a year, short-term lenders are more concerned with a business’s cash flow than its credit score.

“Banks ask for all types of collateral, and personal credit is very important to the bank,” said Michael Baynes, co-founder and CEO of Clarify Capital and a  business.com community member. “What’s important to us is cash flow [demonstrated] through six months of bank statements. If we feel [a business’s] bank balance can support our funding over the next four to 12 months, we’re comfortable lending to them regardless of personal credit score.”

Generally, Baynes said, alternative loans require a one-page application along with a minimum of three months of bank statements. That’s all an alternative lender needs to approve or deny a potential borrower’s loan application. But what exactly are alternative lenders looking for in a loan applicant?

“The most common reason we reject an application is due to a business being overleveraged,” Baynes said. “If they already have existing debt … and we feel additional payment would overleverage them, we would turn the business down.

“The other reason an application would be declined would be low revenue and low daily bank balances,” he added. “We need to see $10,000 to $15,000 per month in revenue or deposits. If they struggle with overdrafts or negative days in their bank account, we’re not confident they can make the payments.”

The approval process for these types of alternative loans tends to be much faster than conventional banks, which generally take weeks or months to approve or reject a loan application. If approved, funding for alternative loans can often be delivered within a few days at most.

To expedite approval, it’s important to maintain good financial documentation. According to Cassel, keeping detailed, accurate books is one of the most important things a business can do.

“Make sure your financial house is in order,” he said. “Every business needs to have monthly financials. They need to be available no later than 10 to 15 days after the end of month. Some businesses don’t get them until 90 days after the month. Then you’re 90 days further in the hole, and it’s too late to correct it.”

Good books not only help you avoid financial trouble, but they give lenders the insight they need to make a decision as to whether or not to extend financing to your business.

How can you begin repairing bad credit?

There are advantages to repairing a damaged credit score even if you do qualify for funding. According to Baynes, an improved credit score can avail your business to better terms and rates. While rebuilding credit can be a long and arduous process, you should do so if your financial situation has stabilized.

“Obviously, first and foremost is staying current on your personal credit payments,” Baynes said. “These are things like auto loans and credit cards. Maxed out credit cards drive down your credit score. Missing payments or just making minimum payments brings down your credit score tremendously.”

According to Cassel, business credit rehabilitation can be extremely difficult and requires a detailed plan. While maintaining your personal credit score, you also need to keep an eye on your business’s debt service.

“When businesses get into trouble, they should put together a 13-week cash flow [projection] of expected funds in and expected funds out,” he said. “This helps them manage cash and decide what to pay for.”

There are some ways a business can seek relief to help stabilize their financial situation as well, such as raising prices. Many small business owners are reluctant to raise prices, Cassel said, because they are afraid of losing customers. In many cases though, there is more room to hike rates than entrepreneurs realize.

Businesses can also ask suppliers to extend payment schedules. If you are a good customer who has remained current in the past, a vendor is likely to work with you; after all, they don’t want to lose you as a customer.

If you’ve partnered with a lender before, they might be willing to lend a bit more to your business if they see you are legitimately on the road to financial rehabilitation. This is known as an “airball,” Cassel said. If things become truly dire, a business can usually call in a restructuring firm to reorganize how the business operates.

“Sometimes it is a vicious cycle that is impossible to get out of,” Cassel added. “As things get worse, the cost of borrowing goes up, so you have to figure out how to stabilize the business. Once you stabilize, you can focus on repair.”

Unfortunately, when financial troubles become pervasive enough, there are times where business owners have to reckon with a hard truth many entrepreneurs find difficult to face. The best option, Cassel said, is sometimes to cut your losses and stop the bleeding.

“You’ve got to look at the viability of the business,” he said. “Business owners have to be honest with themselves about long-term viability.”

Ultimately, securing financing should be a way to get your business to a better place in the credit spectrum. That way, the next time you need funding, you can successfully pursue a financial product with better rates and more favorable terms. If financing doesn’t support that type of forward progress, then it could just be digging your business into a deeper hole. For struggling businesses, Cassel had this advice:

“Be honest, try to get a loan and, ultimately, get back to a better lender,” he said. “Some businesses never do, and owners start to feel like they’re working for the bank.”

Financing can be a great tool in an entrepreneur’s toolbox, but taken irresponsibly or out of desperation, expensive loans can be the death knell for a cash-strapped business. Always have a plan for any money you borrow and keep an open line of communication with your lenders. If you do, you could be well on the road to repairing your credit.

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Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle

It’s been 11 weeks since Lai Xiaomin, the man once known as the God of Wealth, was executed on a cold Friday morning in the Chinese city of Tianjin.

But his shadow still hangs over one of the most dramatic corruption stories ever to come out of China – a tale that has now set nerves on edge around the financial world.

Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

At its center isChina Huarong Asset Management Co., the state financial company that Lai lorded over until getting ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption by China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

From Hong Kong to London to New York, questions burn. Will the Chinese government stand behind $23.2 billion that Lai borrowed on overseas markets — or will international bond investors have to swallow losses? Are key state-owned enterprises like Huarong still too big to fail, as global finance has long assumed – or will these companies be allowed to stumble, just like anyone else?

The answers will have huge implications for China and markets across Asia. Should Huarong fail to pay back its debts in full, the development would cast doubt over a core tenet of Chinese investment: the assumed government backing for important state-owned enterprises, or SOEs.

“A default at a central state-owned company like Huarong is unprecedented,” said Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. Should one occur, he said, it would mark “a watershed moment” for Chinese and Asian credit markets.

Not since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s has the issue weighed so heavily. Huarong bonds — among the most widely held SOE debt worldwide — recently fell to a record low of about 52 cents on the dollar. That’s not the pennies on a dollar normally associated with deeply troubled companies elsewhere, but it’s practically unheard of for an SOE.

Time is short. All told, Huarong owes bondholders at home and abroad the equivalent of $42 billion. Some $17.1 billion of that falls due by the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

Huarong Bonds Tank

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Huarong was created in the aftermath of the ‘90s Asian collapse to avert another crisis, not cause one. The idea was to contain a swelling wave of bad loans threatening Chinese banks. Huarong was to serve as a “bad bank,” a safe repository for the billions in souring loans made to state companies.

Along with three other bad banks, Huarong swapped delinquent debts for stakes in hundreds of big SOEs and, in the process, helped turn around chronic money-losers like the giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

After Lai took over in 2012, Huarong reached for more, pushing into investment banking, trusts, real estate and positioning itself as a key player in China’s $54 trillion financial industry.

Before long, global banks came knocking. In 2013, for instance, Shane Zhang, co-head of Asia-Pacific investment banking at Morgan Stanley, met with Lai. Zhang said his company was “very optimistic” about the future of Huarong, according to a statement posted on Huarong’s website at the time.

Before Huarong went public in Hong Kong in 2015, it sold a $2.4 billion stake to a group of investors including Warburg Pincus, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group acquired lots of stock too, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has collapsed 67% since its listing.

Lai had no trouble financing his grand ambitions. A big reason: Everyone thought Beijing would always stand behind a key company like Huarong. It easily borrowed money in the offshore market at rates as low as 2.1%. It borrowed still more in the domestic interbank market. Along the way Lai transformed Huarong into a powerful shadow lender, extending credit to companies that banks turned away.

The truth was darker. Lai, a former senior official at the nation’s banking regulator, doled out loans with little oversight from his board or risk management committee.

One Huarong credit officer said Lai personally called the shots on most of the offshore corporate loans underwritten by her division.

Money also flowed to projects disguised as parts of China’s push to build railroads, ports and more around the world – the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, according to an executive at a state bank. Huarong didn’t immediately reply to questions on its lending practices.

Given Lai’s fate, both people spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Huarong snapped up more than half of the 510 billion yuan in distressed debts disposed of by Chinese banks in 2016. At its peak, Lai’s sprawling empire had almost 200 units at home and abroad. Heboasted in 2017 that Huarong, having reached the Hong Kong stock exchange, would soon go public in mainland China, too.

The IPO never happened. Lai was arrested in 2018 and subsequently confessed to a range of economic crimes in a state TV show. He spoke of trunk-loads of cash being spirited into a Beijing apartment he’d dubbed “the supermarket.” Authorities said they discovered 200 million yuan there. Expensive real estate, luxury watches, art, gold – the list of Lai’s treasure ran on.

This past January, Lai wasfound guilty by the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court in Tianjin of accepting of $277 million in bribes between 2008 and 2018. He was put to death three weeks later – a rare use of capital punishment for economic crimes. Some took the execution as a message from China’s leader, Xi Jinping: my crackdown on corruption will roll on.

At Huarong, the bottom has fallen out. Net income plummeted 95% from 2017 to 2019, to 1.4 billion yuan, and then sank 92% during the first half of 2020. Assets have shriveled by 165 billion yuan.

The company on April 1 announced that it would delay its 2020 results, saying its auditor needed more time. The influential Caixin magazine this week openly speculated about Huarong’s fate, including the possibility of bankruptcy.

According to people familiar with the matter, Huarong has proposed a sweepingrestructuring. The plan would involve offloading its money-losing, non-core businesses. Huarong is still trying to get a handle on what those businesses might be worth. The proposal, which the government would have to approve, helps explain why the company delayed its 2020 results, the people said.

Company executives have been meeting with peers at state banks to assuage their concerns over the past two weeks, a Huarong official said.

The Chinese finance ministry has raised anotherpossibility: transferring its stake in Huarong to a unit of the nation’s sovereign wealth fund that could then sort out the assorted debt problems. Regulators have held several meetings to discuss the company’s plight, according to people familiar with the matter.

In an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg, Huarong said it has “adequate liquidity” and plans to announce the expected date of its 2020 earnings release after consulting with auditors. China’s banking and insurance regulator didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment on Huarong’s situation.

Rising Stress

Onshore bond defaults by China’s state firms hit a record in 2020

Source: Fitch Ratings; 2021 data are for the first quarter

One thing is sure: Huarong is part of a much bigger problem in China. State-owned enterprises are shouldering the equivalent of $4.1 trillion in debt, and a growing number of them are struggling to keep current with creditors. In all, SOEs reneged on a record 79.5 billion yuan of local bonds in 2020, lifting their share of onshore payment failures to 57% from just 8.5% a year earlier, according to Fitch Ratings. The figure jumped to 72% in the first quarter of 2021.

The shockwaves from Huarong and these broader debt problems have only begun to reverberate through Chinese finance. Dismantling all or part of Lai’s old empire would show Beijing is willing to accept short-term pain to instill financial discipline among state-owned enterprises.

The irony is that Huarong was supposed to fix China’s big debt problem, not cause a new one.

“Allowing a state-owned financial institution that undertook the task of resolving troubles of China’s financial system to fail is the worst way to handle risks,” said Feng Jianlin, a Beijing-based chief analyst at research institute FOST. “The authorities must consider the massive risk spillover effects.”

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, Jun Luo, Zheng Li, Dingmin Zhang, Evelyn Yu, Rebecca Choong Wilkins, and Tongjian Dong

Loans Bad Credit Online – China’s Very Bad Bank: Inside the Huarong Debt Debacle

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know | Fintech Zoom

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Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

4.54%+N/A10, 15, 20$7,500 up to up to $200,000
(larger balances require special approval)
  • Fixed APR:
    4.54%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 up to $500,000
  • loan terms (years):
    10, 15, 20
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Time to fund:
    4 months
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a resident of Kentucky
  • Customer service:
    Phone
  • Soft credit check:
    No
  • Cosigner release:
    After 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Kentucky Higher Education Student loan Corporation
  • Max. graduate loan balance:
    $250,000 – $500,000
  • Credible Review:
    Advantage Education loan review
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.95%+1.89%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 up to $250,000
(depending on degree)
  • Fixed APR:
    2.95%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 to $400,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of Texas
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 – $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $400,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Does not disclose


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.97%+¹2.24%+¹5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 to $500,000
(depending on degree and loan type)
  • Fixed APR:
    2.97%+¹
  • Variable APR:
    2.24%+¹
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 to $750,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Firstmark Services
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    Less than $150,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.34%+23.24%+25, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20$5,000 to $300,000
(depending on degree type)
  • Fixed APR:
    3.34%+2
  • Variable APR:
    3.24%+2
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 to $300,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    All states except for ME
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 to 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    College Ave Servicing LLC
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $100,000 to $149,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    Less than $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

4.41%+52.03%+510, 15, 20$7,500 to $200,000
  • Fixed APR:
    4.41%+5
  • Variable APR:
    2.03%+5
  • Min. credit score:
    700
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $200,000
  • loan terms (years):
    10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal references
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 36 months
  • loan servicer:
    Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $249,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 to $199,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.79%+32.39%+35, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Minimum of $15,000
  • Fixed APR:
    2.79%+3
  • Variable APR:
    2.39%+3
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • loan amount:
    No maximum
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Forbearance
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.47%+42.47%+45, 10, 15, 20$5,000 – $250,000
  • Fixed APR:
    3.47%+4
  • Variable APR:
    2.47%+4
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 to $250,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.05%+3.05%+7, 10, 15$10,000 up to the total amount of qualified education debt
  • Fixed APR:
    3.05%+
  • Variable APR:
    3.05%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $10,000 up to the total amount
  • loan terms (years):
    7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    AES
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.99%+2.15%+5, 8, 12, 15$7,500 to $300,000
  • Fixed APR:
    2.99%+
  • Variable APR:
    2.15%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $300,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Does not disclose
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 12 months
  • loan servicer:
    PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.19%+N/A5, 10, 15$7,500 up to $250,000
(depending on highest degree earned)
  • Fixed APR:
    3.19%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • loan amount:
    $7,500 to $250,000
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • loan servicer:
    Rhode Island Student loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate loan Balance:
    $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating



Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.99%+62.85%+65, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 up to the full balance of your qualified education loans
  • Fixed APR:
    2.99%+6
  • Variable APR:
    2.85%+6
  • Min. credit score:
    Does not disclose
  • loan amount:
    $5,000 up to the full balance
  • loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    No maximum
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes
Compare personalized rates from multiple lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 5Iowa Student loan Disclosures | 6SoFi Disclosures

Loans Bad Credit Online – Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

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Bad Credit

Tips on how to boost a bad credit rating

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HOLLAND, Mich. — Your credit score is just a number, but it can make a difference in your ability to get a loan, house, or even a job, and after a tough year for finances, now is an important time to pay attention to your score.

“You need to have options, and you need to be able to have access, and all of that boils right back down to your credit score,” says Bree Austin-Roberts, a credit expert and founder of Lakeshore Credit Management and Repair Services in Holland. “I think it was a reality check for a lot of people to saying, ‘Hey, it’s time for me to start thinking about my financial situation.’”

Bree’s story is similar to so many of her clients. A few years ago, before she founded her credit repair business, she and her family were evicted from their apartment. Searching for a house and facing homelessness, Bree noticed a similar roadblock everywhere she looked.

“The credit became a problem,” she said. “It always boiled back down to the credit.”

Bree buckled down on payments and, in no time, had raised her credit score enough to move her family into a home and start up her business. Now helping others achieve the same success, Bree says a few simple adjustments can make a big difference. Her first call was to the three major credit bureaus to check the accuracy of her score.

“Like 80 percent of people in the United States have something that’s inaccurate on their credit report, but a lot of people don’t know because they don’t monitor their credit.”

So start by checking with TransUnion, Equifax and Experian on the accuracy of your score.

If you’re having a tough time making payments this year on bills or installment loans (which Bree says you should always have at least one of them), try contacting your creditors to see if they can delay payments or work out some payment plan that works for you.

“Directly related to the pandemic, a lot of lenders are being very lenient,” said Bree.

In addition to making all your monthly credit card payments on time when you can, Bree says it also matters how often you use your credit card and on what. She says most repair experts recommend keeping your card usage below 30 percent, but Bree recommends a lower limit for her clients.

“When you’re in the building process, you want to keep it 10 percent or below,” she said. “If you’re planning on making a major purchase in like 30 to 60 days, you probably want to keep your credit card balances between 1 and 3 percent.”

Other tips include becoming an authorized user on a loved one’s credit card. If they have good credit, spending responsibly on their account could help boost your score faster. Just have them ask their bank or credit union about adding you as an authorized user.

You can also open a secured card on your own. A secured credit card is essentially a prepaid card that ensures you don’t miss payments.

And remember: no credit doesn’t mean good credit. Lenders want to see you can responsibly handle debt.

“Having something to report is positive, but it’s the amount that reports that shows your creditworthiness,” said Bree.

What it boils down to, Bree says, is having good habits and sticking to them. Building or rebuilding credit is a marathon, not a sprint, and Bree says patience is key.

“I was never always a credit expert. It was trial and error,” she said. “I have been there before, and it doesn’t take much to end up right back there again if you’re not budgeting well–if you do not credit consciously.”

You can reach Bree at [email protected] or on her website or Facebook and use the hashtags #lakeshoreCredit and #CreditQueen to join the conversation with her.

Doug Reardon at WXMI first reported this story.



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