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OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card Review 2020

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Your credit score is a major part of your financial life. Good credit can help you qualify for loans and pay lower interest rates for those loans. Poor credit makes it difficult to borrow money and forces you to pay a lot of interest to lenders that are willing to let you borrow.

If you have bad credit, building credit can feel like a chicken and egg problem. No one will give you a loan because of your bad credit, but you can’t improve your credit without getting a loan.

The Open Sky Secured Visa Credit Card is a secured credit card designed to help people rebuild their credit. The lender does not check your credit when you apply, which can help people who have poor credit qualify and start rebuilding their credit.

What is the OpenSky Credit Card?

The OpenSky credit card is a secured credit card. That means that you have to provide a security deposit when you open the account. The lender takes your security deposit and uses it to determine your credit limit. Typically, your credit limit and your security deposit will be the same amount.

In effect, a secured credit card lets you loan money to yourself. You give a few hundred dollars to a lender and they give you a card to use. The lender is willing to approve borrowers with poor credit because there’s little risk. If the borrower defaults, the lender can take the security deposit to recoup its loss.

As you pay your monthly bill, the card issuer will report those payments to the credit bureaus, helping you build your credit history. The deposit is returned when the account is closed and paid in full.

Product Features

The OpenSky credit card has some useful features.

Low, refundable security deposit

One of the hardest parts of opening a secured credit card is building up enough savings to make a security deposit. Some cards require $500 or more before you can open an account.

The OpenSky credit card has a minimum security deposit of just $200, though you can deposit more if you want to have a higher credit limit on your card.

The security deposit is fully refundable. As long as you make the minimum required payment each month, OpenSky will hold the deposit in a separate account for you. When you’ve built your credit to a sufficient level, and hopefully opened an unsecured account, you can pay your OpenSky card balance in full, close your card and get your security deposit back.

No credit check

Whether you have bad credit or no credit score at all, it can be difficult to qualify for a loan. Most lenders check your credit and want to see a strong history of timely payments and low debt before offering a new credit card or loan.

OpenSky does not check its applicant’s credit when making its lending decision. The primary factor that determines your application’s chances is the information you provide during the application, such as your income and monthly bill payments.

If you’ve had trouble qualifying for other credit cards because of your credit or lack thereof, this card can be a good alternative.

Related: How to Improve Your Credit Score

Reports to all three bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus that track scores: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. When you apply for a loan, your lender requests your credit report from one or more of the bureaus.

Each month, your lenders report your credit card and loan activity to credit bureaus, but some lenders may not report to all three. This could result in each bureau having slightly different credit reports for you. If a lender checks two bureaus, it might see a different credit score on each report. If a lender only checks one, it might see a score that is lower than your true score because that bureau doesn’t have all of the information about your credit activities.

The OpenSky card reports your activity to all three of the major credit bureaus, helping you build your credit score on all three credit reports.

Related: How To Get Your REAL Credit Score 

Facebook community

Understanding credit and credit scores can be difficult. It can also be stressful to go through the process of building your credit on your own.

OpenSky offers a Facebook community for its cardholders where the company shares tips on credit and how you can help improve your credit score. You can also use the community to talk to other cardholders about how they’ve worked to improve their credit scores.

OpenSky Facebook community

Pricing and Fees

One of the drawbacks of secured credit cards is that they tend to charge higher fees than most cards. In particular, they often charge account setup fees and annual fees, or high penalty fees for things like missed payments.

While the OpenSky card isn’t the cheapest secured card on the market, it is one of the cheaper options. There is no account setup fee and the annual fee is just $35. That means that you can open the account with as little as $235 ($200 for the security deposit and $35 to pay the annual fee).

The card’s late payment fee is $38.

The interest rate is also reasonable by credit card standards at 17.39%. However, you should do your best to make sure you never pay interest on a credit card and always pay your bill in full at the end of each statement period. Only use the card when you know you have the money to pay it off.

While you’re building credit, you may want to only use the card for one or two small purchases per month. This is enough to help you build credit by making payments but helps you avoid the risk of falling into credit card debt.

Application

You easily apply for the OpenSky card through OpenSky’s website. Like any credit card application, you’ll have to provide some basic personal and financial information.

OpenSky steps

You’ll have to provide:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Your physical address
  • Your annual income
  • Whether you rent or own your home
  • Your monthly housing payment
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your date of birth
  • The amount of the security deposit you’d like to make
  • Debit card information for the security deposit

You can also opt to make your security deposit at a later date, though this will increase the amount of time it takes to get your card.

Because OpenSky doesn’t check your credit when reviewing your application, the primary factors influencing your chances of approval are your income and your housing payment. The more you make and the less you pay for housing, the better. Be accurate when providing these numbers, even if it’s tempting to fudge them to make your finances look better. OpenSky might ask for proof in the form of a rent or mortgage bill and paystubs.

Security

OpenSky uses up-to-date security techniques to keep your information safe. Its website is encrypted with 128-bit SSL security, which helps protect any information sent between your computer and OpenSky’s website.

Your OpenSky card comes with the typical security benefits. You won’t be liable for fraudulent or unauthorized purchases made using your card. If you lose your card, you can call OpenSky’s customer service line to deactivate the card and request a replacement.

Mobile Support/Accessibility

OpenSky offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android phones. You can download the app and use it to view your card balance, recent transactions, and to pay your bill.

OpenSky Mobile app

Support/Customer Service

OpenSky offers customer support over the phone. The company doesn’t list its support hours, but you can reach a representative by calling 1-800-859-6412.



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Bad Credit

Is The No Credit Check Loan The Best Option For You? | Branded Voices

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If you need extra cash and have considered applying for a loan even with a bad credit score, you might have already heard about the no credit check loan.

Image by Bermix Studio 

Many people opt for a no credit check loan as their last resort. Like any other loan options, a no credit check loan has its pros and cons. Knowing if this is the best option for you allows you to go consider both its advantages and disadvantages. 

But is it your best option? Is there another way to acquire cash without looking into your credit record?

The Advantages

Here are the other advantages of a no-credit loan:

No Credit Checks

You are considering this loan option because the lender will not bother to check your credit report. It doesn’t matter whether you have a good or a bad credit score as long as you are eligible and can comply with their requirements. 

This benefit is one reason why this loan option attracts many borrowers, especially those who don’t have an impressive credit score and those who are still building their credit records.

Other loan options will require you to provide a good reason why you are acquiring the loan. 

For example, lenders will ask you how you will use the loaned money aside from knowing your capability to repay the money you owe.  But with the no credit check loan, lenders will ask you this kind of question during your application. 

The Disadvantages 

Just like any other options available out there for you, a no credit check loan also has its disadvantages. These things may be huge factors for some consumers, while to others, they’re just minor inconveniences you need to deal with. 

Higher Interest Rates

One of the most common and obvious disadvantages of a no credit check loan is its higher interest rate. Since the lenders will not bother looking at your credit history and rating, they will impose a higher interest rate on your loan. 

The higher interest rates imposed are due to risks they take in lending you their money without even knowing if you can pay it back. This is a common rule for all lenders who offer a no credit check loan. 

Required a Minimum Loan Amount 

If you only need a small amount, a no credit check loan may not be the best option for you. Lenders require a minimum loan amount when you apply for a no credit check loan. Most personal loans with no credit check will require you to loan a higher amount than other loan options such as payday loans and single-payment loans. 

May Require A Collateral

Lenders may require you to have collateral as an assurance for the money you are borrowing from them. It is also to secure their part if ever you cannot pay back the cash you borrowed from them. If you default on your loan, the lender will forfeit the collateral. Collateral can be in the form of any valuable assets such as a house, vehicles, and jewelry.

Quick Process 

Another positive thing when acquiring a personal loan with no credit check is the speedy process. You can get the money in just a few minutes or hours as long as you comply with all of their requirements and are eligible for the loan.

Reminders Before Applying for This Loan 

There are things that you should watch out for when opting for this loan type, especially if you do it online, such as:

  • Watch Out For Fake Lenders

This is the risk associated with a no credit check loan. Some criminals use this to lure their victims for phishing and identity theft. Make sure that you choose a legitimate lender and never give out personal information prematurely. It is best to ask someone you trust for a recommendation or for help with securing a loan from a trusted lender.

  • Prepare The Requirements Ahead Of Time 

It is best to prepare all the requirements before applying for the loan to help you acquire the money quickly. Check your chosen lender’s website or print ads for a list of requirements they will need. 

Even though this loan option does not require a credit check, it does not mean you are guaranteed approval. If the lender finds out that you are not eligible for a loan, your application will be denied. 

Takeaway

Asking yourself if a specific loan option is good for you is one of the proper ways to assess if you should apply for it or not. This practice should be observed in applying for no credit check loans and other loan types available. Remember, not all loans are suitable for you. One loan may work better for others but may not work the same for you. Hence, be prudent and choose the loan option that suits best with your financial needs.

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Learn to avoid these credit card habits before you regret making costly mistakes

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Many still decide to confront bad credit card habits only after they are thousands of dirhams in debt.
Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Many still decide to confront bad credit card habits only after they are thousands of dirhams in debt. Here we discuss some lessons many regretted not learning before making mistakes that proved costly.

Although credit cards offer convenience, security, and rewards, overspending with a credit card and the interest and fees can bury you financially. So it’s important to know whether you possess such habits in the first place.

Four questions to ask yourself first

If you don’t know whether you have a bad credit card habit here are four questions to ask yourself to find out. If the answer to any of the below is yes, you are inching towards a credit card debtpile.

1. Do you pay only interest fees or minimum payments when you send in your credit card payment?

2. Have you ever paid your credit card late because you didn’t have the money for the payment?

3. Do you use your credit card when you don’t have enough cash?

4. When your issuer raises your credit limit, do you spend more because you can?

Bad credit card habits

While common mistakes include habitually paying your credit card late and taking out costly cash advances on your credit card, here are some uncommon-yet-dire mistakes that may slip under any user’s radar.

Habit #1: Missing out unauthorised or fraudulent charges

Keep in mind that one of the main benefits to reading your credit card statement is, it is one of the best ways to catch unauthorised charges and billing errors.

Don’t check your credit card statement for your balance and payment information, review the entire statement to verify your account activity.

By routinely checking your online or physical statement, you can also find out well before hand if your credit limit was lowered since you last checked – as it can change because of your credit habits or your credit history.

Habit #2: Paying only the minimum can cost you dearly

It is evidently easier to make the minimum payment and this is a habit credit card companies profit from as well.

Although paying just the minimum is more convenient than to figure how much extra you can pay towards your outstanding credit card bill, keep in mind that when you’re making only the minimum payment, you’re not making much progress toward paying off your credit card bill.

Moreover, unless you have a very low balance or a zero per cent interest promotion, you’re probably paying much more in finance charges than you have to.

Habit #3: Using your credit card more than your debit card

While it’s recommended you use your credit card to amass cashback rewards or points and also pay off your credit card balance every month, you shouldn’t opt to use your credit card over your debit card, if those aren’t the reasons why you would go about using them.

Your debit card is your direct access to the funds you should use for everyday purchases, like groceries, gas, clothing, and other expenses. If you use your credit card, it should be a decision with a plan for paying off what you’re charging on the card.

Habit #4: If you are transferring balances just to avoid payments

Although promotions like balance transfers are a widely recommended strategy to pay off a high-interest rate balance on your credit card, matter experts reveal that if you’re in the habit of pursuing such promotions to avoid paying payments on your credit card, this leads to amassing long-term debts.

Financial planners reiterate that many don’t realise that balance transfers typically have fees that will increase your overall balance if you’re never making payments toward the transfer. Moreover, if you’re making purchases on the card with such a promotion, the problem gets bigger.

Expert tips to take control of these credit card habits

Lesson #1: Pay your credit card in full each month

The best way to keep your credit utilisation ratio low and avoid costly interest charges is to pay your credit card balance in full each month – which also means you also don’t incur any large due.

It’s effective to control spending by not spending more than you can comfortably pay down each month, as this helps you reduce the likelihood of developing long-running credit card debt.

If you want to take in one step further, setting a monthly spending limit that’s well within your budget increases the chances that you’ll actually be able to zero out your monthly balance and avoid interest charges.

Lesson #2: Keep your credit utilisation ratio low

What it means by ‘credit utilisation ratio’ is essentially the link between your credit card balances and your aggregate spending limit. For example, a Dh2,000 balance on a credit card with a Dh5,000 credit limit equates to a 40 per cent credit utilisation ratio.

As a rule of thumb, your credit utilisation ratio shouldn’t exceed 40 per cent, and keep in mind that high ratios may adversely impact your credit score.

Financial advisors recommend aiming for a 30 per cent credit utilisation ratio, as that gives you some leeway to cover urgent one-off expenses, which can come unexpectedly as a result of maybe losing your job during the ongoing pandemic.

Lesson #3: Setting up customised spending alerts

If controlling your credit card spending is burdening you, it has been widely advised to set up customised spending alerts.

This will let you know when you’ve made an abnormally large payment or exceed a certain balance threshold and you also can pair these data alerts with security alerts to help flag any sham spending patterns.

Lesson #4: Using credit card rewards and points to your advantage

If you have a rewards credit card, you can use it to your advantage. If you have a pure cash back credit card, use any cash rewards you receive to put toward your account balance or directly deposit it into your savings account.

Alternatively, if you have a rewards points credit card, you can use your rewards to buy discounted gift cards to the stores you know, which will help save on future purchases without having to use your credit card.

If not, you could always redeem your reward points for cash redemption to put into savings or towards your account. However, ensure you know when your rewards expire to get the most out of them financially.

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When Can I Get an Auto Loan After a Repo?

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There’s nothing saying you can’t apply for an auto loan immediately after a repo, but the tough part is actually being able to qualify for the loan. Since many auto lenders don’t approve borrowers with a repo that’s less than a year old, you may have to consider in-house financing.

Repossessions and Your Next Car Loan

Unfortunately, most traditional auto lenders don’t work with borrowers that have a recent repo on their credit reports. When we say traditional, we’re referring to lending institutions such as banks, credit unions, online lenders, and the captive lenders of some automakers. These lenders often require a good credit score and clean credit reports.

Where does that leave you? Well, likely in-house financing is the next logical step if you need a car loan after a repossession.

More on In-House Financing

Buy here pay here (BHPH) dealerships use in-house financing. This way of auto financing involves working with the dealer who’s also your lender. There’s no need to find a third-party lender or preapproval – the dealer takes care of all that. This setup can be convenient, and often, borrowers are able to walk away with a vehicle the same day they first set foot on the lot.

Since these dealers may not check your credit reports to determine your eligibility for auto financing, your recent repossession generally isn’t an issue. If you can meet income requirements, prove you have stable work, secure auto insurance, and prove your identity, you might get into a vehicle after a repo with in-house financing.

Here are a few more details on in-house financing:

  • Used cars only – BHPH dealers only offer used vehicles. However, used cars are a good option for bad credit borrowers. They’re almost always less expensive than a brand-new car, and affordable is a good price when you need to get back on your feet after a repo.
  • Anticipate a higher interest rate – Without a credit check, lenders are taking a risk approving a car loan without knowing much about your credit history. To make up for this, they tend to assign higher interest rates. A high interest rate may be considered a good trade-off for an auto loan with bad credit in many cases, especially if you heavily rely on a vehicle to get by.
  • Credit repair may not be an option – If you get an auto loan with a lender that doesn’t check your credit, it’s a possibility that your on-time payments aren’t going to be reported to the credit bureaus. If you want to repair your credit with a car loan, ask the lender about their credit reporting practices before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Down payments are required – Few things are certain in the auto lending world, but one thing you can count on is needing a down payment if your credit is less than perfect. BHPH dealers often require a down payment of up to 20% of the vehicle’s selling price.
  • Prepare your documents – While a BHPH dealer may not check your credit, they’re likely to ask about your income and possibly your work history. You need proof of income to qualify for a car loan, no matter what lender you work with, so prepare at least a month of computer-generated check stubs. If you don’t have W-2 income, have copies of your last two to three years of tax returns.

Looking Forward After a Repo

When Can I Get a Car After a Repo?After one year, your auto loan options open up a little bit more and you’re more likely to qualify for a subprime car loan. Subprime lenders are equipped to assist bad credit borrowers. These lenders offer you a chance for credit repair because they report their loans and work with poor credit borrowers.

If you need a vehicle quickly, a BHPH dealership could be your first step in getting back on the road. Once some time has passed, and your repossession loses some impact on your credit reports, you can try for an auto loan that has the potential to repair your credit.

Here at Auto Credit Express, we know a thing or two about bad credit auto loans, and we have a nationwide network of dealerships that assist bad credit borrowers. We aim to match consumers to dealers in their local area that help with credit challenges. If you’re in need of auto financing, start right now by filling out our free auto loan request form. We’ll look for a dealer in your local area at no cost and with no obligation.

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