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Everything You Need to Know About Credit-Builder Loans

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Credit-Builder Loans

You know that credit scores are important. They make it easy to get loans, increase your chances of getting that dream apartment, and can even help you get certain jobs.

But not everyone has great credit. In fact, more than 68 million Americans have bad credit scores. The lower the score, the harder things can get.

Luckily, it’s possible to raise your credit score and you don’t even have to go into debt to do it! You can improve your score by taking out a credit-builder loan.

Here’s what you need to know before you apply for one.

Most People Qualify for Them

When you apply for a standard loan, lenders look for people with high credit scores and low amounts of existing debt. This is because people with high credit scores pose less risk to the lender and are less likely to fail to repay the loan.

If you have a low credit score or don’t have an established credit history yet, you’ll find it difficult to get approved for a standard loan. Lenders see your application as too risky and may not be willing to give you a chance. But without some form of debt, building your credit score is almost impossible.

A credit-builder loan helps you build your credit score without putting you in debt in the traditional sense. This means most lenders offering them don’t care what your current score is or if you have a credit score at all.

It’s Best to Shop Around

With all loans, you’re going to need to find a lender you’re comfortable working with. This means you’ll want to shop around and get an idea of the types of loan terms each lender provides.

When comparing the best personal loan companies, look for lenders that offer the fairest interest rates, the lowest loan management fees, and the most affordable monthly payments.

Some lenders may not even offer credit building loans.

Do your research, look at the rates they offer, and take a look at each company’s reviews online. If people report issues with their staff or had difficulties making payments, keep looking.

The Loan Amounts Will Be Small

Credit-builder loans exist for one reason: to help you build your credit. You make fixed monthly payments to the lender who holds those payments for the duration of the credit-builder loan.

But since the loans focus on helping you build your credit and establish a positive repayment history, they’re not going to be huge.

Most credit-builder loans are just a few hundred dollars. But that small amount makes the monthly payments manageable, even if you’re working with a limited income.

You Don’t Get the Money Immediately

When you take out a standard loan, you receive the money almost immediately. This allows you to use the funds as you see fit as soon as they hit your bank account.

After you receive the money, you’ll start making set payments each month. Part of each payment will go toward the loan principal and some will go toward the interest on the loan. You’ll make these payments every month until the loan gets paid off.

Credit-builder loans are essentially savings accounts hosted by dedicated lenders. The money you put in each month doesn’t go toward paying down a balance. Instead, it gets deposited in your account until you pay the full amount specified by the loan.

Once you fulfill your end of the credit building loan, the lender gives you the money back. Some may even give you a portion of the interest you paid on the loan.

You Still Need to Make Payments On-Time

Standard loans require that you make monthly payments on-time until the loan is fully repaid. If you make a late payment or miss one entirely, it hurts your credit score. Worse, you’ll get charged fines on top of your regular interest payments.

The same is true for credit building loans. You’re expected to make monthly payments on-time, every time. If you miss a payment or make a late payment, you’ll likely have to pay a fine.

Every late payment will also slow the growth of your credit score.

The best thing you can do is automatically withdraw the funds for your credit-builder loan each month. If you’re not willing to do that, set reminders on your phone, mark the payment date on your calendar and do whatever else you can to make sure you pay on-time.

There Are Alternatives

Credit building loans are effective, but they’re not the only ways to increase your credit score. If you have existing debt, the best thing you can do is focus on paying it off as quickly as possible.

Paying down the balances on your credit cards and paying your bills on time each month will help keep your score high.

If you don’t have a credit score yet, you can also ask a family member to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. This will help you build a credit history without taking out a loan of your own. Keep in mind that you should only do this if you’re confident that you can pay off what you spend every month.

Remember, it’s not just your credit score that will suffer if you carry a balance—theirs will, too.

Is a Credit-Builder Loan Right for You?

Deciding whether a credit-builder loan is right for your needs is a personal decision. If you’re looking for a way to build your credit score without taking out debt, they’re a great choice.

Even better, you’ll develop good savings habits by the end of the loan and will be better equipped to avoid going into debt in the future.

If you choose to take out a loan, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the loan before you sign on the dotted line. Otherwise, you could end up getting surprised by fines, fees, and ongoing charges.

For extra help learning to manage your finances, check out our latest posts.

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How Do I Sell My Vehicle With Joint Ownership?

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A joint auto loan is when two borrowers have rights and responsibility to the same vehicle and loan. If you have a cosigner, then you, the primary borrower, have all the rights to the vehicle. Here’s what you need to know when you need to sell your car with two people responsible for the loan.

Selling a Joint-Owned Vehicle

Joint owners are typically spouses or life partners who combine their income to meet income requirements or get a larger loan amount. Both co-borrowers are responsible for paying the car loan and have 50/50 rights to the vehicle, so both their names are listed on the title.

Since your co-borrower has the same rights and obligations to the vehicle as you, you must get their permission to sell the car. In most cases, they also need to be present for the sale to sign the title. This may not always be the case, though, so it’s important to know how to read your car’s title.

If you have it, take a look at your vehicle’s title for the names listed on the back where you sign to transfer ownership. For example: let’s say your name is Jane and your co-borrower’s name is Joe. You’re likely to see either:

  • “Jane and Joe”
  • “Jane or Joe”
  • “Jane and/or Joe”

If you see “and/or” or the connector “or”, this typically means only one person needs to be present for the sale of the car. But if you see “and” this means both of you need to be present to transfer ownership – this is usually the case with joint ownership.

In all three cases, you still need the permission of the co-borrower to sell the vehicle even if they don’t have to be physically present to sign the title. If you sell it without the co-borrowers consent, it may be considered a crime because it’s their property, too. Moving forward, discuss the sale with your co-borrower to avoid potential legal trouble.

Selling a Car With a Cosigner

How Do I Sell My Car With Joint Ownership?If you have a cosigner on your car loan, then things become easier. A cosigner doesn’t have any rights to the vehicle and their name isn’t on the title. Their purpose is to help you get approved for the auto loan with their credit score, and by promising the lender to repay the loan if you’re unable to. A cosigner can’t take your vehicle, sell it, or stop you from selling it yourself.

However, it’s nice to let them know if you do decide to sell the car because the auto loan is listed on their credit reports. If you can, reach out to them about your plans to sell the vehicle. The car loan’s status impacts them and could affect their ability to take on new credit when it’s active.

If you sell the vehicle and the lien is successfully removed from the title, then you’re both in the clear.

Removing the Lien From a Vehicle’s Title

If you still have a loan on your car, then your number one priority is paying off your lender. Your lender is the lienholder, and you can’t sell a vehicle without removing them from the title – they own the car until you complete the loan. This typically means paying off the loan balance until naturally during the loan term, or getting enough cash to pay it all off at once from a sale.

When you’re selling a car with a loan, you want to get an offer for your vehicle that’s large enough to cover your loan balance and to remove the lien. If you don’t get a large enough offer, then you need to pay that difference out of pocket before you can sell the vehicle. Or, you may be able to roll over the remaining loan balance onto your next car loan if you’re trading it in for something else.

Looking to Upgrade Your Ride?

Many borrowers ask for help to get the car they need. If you need more income on your loan application to meet requirements, asking a spouse or life partner to chip in can do the trick. If you have a lower credit score, then a cosigner with good credit could help you meet credit score requirements.

But what if you want to go it alone on your next auto loan and your credit isn’t great? A subprime lender could be the answer. Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve been connecting credit-challenged consumers to dealerships with bad credit resources for over two decades, and we want to help you too.

Fill out our free auto loan request form and we’ll look for a dealer in your local area that’s signed up with subprime lenders. These lenders assist borrowers with many unique credit circumstances to help them get the vehicle they need. Get started today!

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Fixed-rate student loan refinancing rates sink to new record low for the second straight week

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Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

The latest trends in interest rates for student loan refinancing from the Credible marketplace, updated weekly. (iStock)

Rates for well-qualified borrowers using the Credible marketplace to refinance student loans into 10-year fixed-rate loans hit another new record low during the week of May 3, 2021.

For borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher who used the Credible marketplace to select a lender, during the week of May 3:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.60%, down from 3.69% the week before and 4.32% a year ago. This marks another record low for 10-year fixed rate loans, besting the previous record of 3.69%, set last week.
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 3.19%, down from 3.23% the week before and up from 3.04% a year ago. Variable-rate loans recorded a record low of 2.63% during the week of June 29, 2020.

Student loan refinancing weekly rate trends

If you’re curious about what kind of student loan refinance rates you may qualify for, you can use an online tool like Credible to compare options from different private lenders. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

Current student loan refinancing rates by FICO score

To provide relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest and payments on federal student loans have been suspended through at least Sept. 30, 2021. As long as that relief is in place, there’s little incentive to refinance federal student loans. But many borrowers with private student loans are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to refinance their education debt at lower rates.

If you qualify to refinance your student loans, the interest rate you may be offered can depend on factors like your FICO score, the type of loan you’re seeking (fixed or variable rate), and the loan repayment term. 

The chart above shows that good credit can help you get a lower rate, and that rates tend to be higher on loans with fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms. Because each lender has its own method of evaluating borrowers, it’s a good idea to request rates from multiple lenders so you can compare your options. A student loan refinancing calculator can help you estimate how much you might save. 

If you want to refinance with bad credit, you may need to apply with a cosigner. Or, you can work on improving your credit before applying. Many lenders will allow children to refinance parent PLUS loans in their own name after graduation.

You can use Credible to compare rates from multiple private lenders at once without affecting your credit score.

How rates for student loan refinancing are determined

The rates private lenders charge to refinance student loans depend in part on the economy and interest rate environment, but also the loan term, the type of loan (fixed- or variable-rate), the borrower’s credit worthiness, and the lender’s operating costs and profit margin. 

About Credible

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover financial products that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Credible’s integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 4,300 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 4.7/5.

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Provident Financial calls time on doorstep lending business

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Provident Financial has confirmed plans to shut its 141-year-old doorstep lending arm, as its full-year results highlighted the strain the coronavirus pandemic and growing customer complaints have put on subprime lenders.

The Bradford-based company reported a pre-tax loss of £113.5m for 2020, compared with a £119m profit the previous year. The biggest drag was a £75m loss in its consumer credit division, which includes home credit.

Malcolm Le May, Provident chief executive, said: “In light of the changing industry and regulatory dynamics in the home credit sector, as well as shifting customer preferences, it is with deepest regret that we have decided to withdraw from the home credit market.”

Jason Wassell, chief executive of the Consumer Credit Trade Association, which represents alternative and high-cost lenders, said the decision showed that “the current regulatory framework does not work for the market, or its customers”.

“The result in this case is that access to credit will be reduced for hundreds of thousands of people.”

Provident built its name as a provider of home credit, or doorstep lending, which involves a team of local agents who regularly visit borrowers to collect repayments and discuss their products.

Proponents believed agents’ local expertise and personal relationships with borrowers allowed them to achieve better results than traditional bank lending to people with bad credit scores, but the approach has increasingly been superseded by digital models in recent years.

Provident’s business has also been affected by a series of self-inflicted and external difficulties. Its consumer credit division has been lossmaking since a botched effort to modernise the unit in 2017, which led to a pair of profit warnings and an emergency rights issue. More recently, its recovery has been hampered by an increase in customer complaints that prompted an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The complaints rise has been driven by professional claims management companies, echoing a broader trend across the subprime lending industry which has also affected companies such as Amigo, the guarantor lender. Executives also accuse the Financial Ombudsman Service, which adjudicates on customer complaints, of overstepping its mandate and encouraging huge volumes of complaints.

Provident said it would wind down or sell the consumer credit division, with either option expected to cost it about £100m. 

The move will see Provident exit the most controversial areas of high-cost credit to focus on what it describes as “mid-cost” lending through its Vanquis credit card business and Moneybarn vehicle finance arm. Vanquis and Moneybarn both remained profitable during 2020, despite more than a quarter of Moneybarn customers requesting payment holidays at the height of the pandemic.

The results were slightly better than average analyst forecasts, and the company said Vanquis and Moneybarn had both reported “improving trends” during the first quarter of 2021. Shares in Provident nonetheless dropped more than 10 per cent in early trading.

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