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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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AOK seminar to look at outliving incomes

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The North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging (NC-FH AAA) has announced a new Zoom seminar that provides older Kansans with information on what can happen if people outlive their incomes and how to avoid this situation.

The Answers for Older Kansans (AOK) seminar is scheduled for May 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Paul Shipp, managing attorney at Kansas Legal Services, will present Living Longer and Running Out of Money. Shipp will cover the financial problems that can arise from living longer than you had planned. Topics covered in this presentation include bad credit, reverse mortgages, avoiding credit card debt, and bankruptcy. A handout from Kansas Legal Services on ways to protect your income and assets will be available to those who register.

Registrations must be made by noon on May 27. To register visit ncfhaaa.com/seminars or call 1-800-432-2703.

The seminar is without cost, however, donations that support and expand services for older Kansans, people living with disabilities and their caregivers are welcomed.

Details on how to participate in Zoom technology are available at www.ncfhaaa.com and login instructions will be sent to those who register.

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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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