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PCB Secured Visa® Card Review  |



The PCB Secured Visa® has a modest annual fee, high credit limit potential, and extensive grace period. It is a solid card for building credit or learning smart credit habits. To find out if this is the right card for you, check out the details and review of the PCB Secured Visa® Card.

Key Features for the PCB Secured Visa® Card 

Thinking about applying for a PCB Secured Visa®? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Credit limit equal to your security deposit, between $200 and $1,000
  • Credit limit may be extended to up to $5,000 after the first year
  • $39 annual fee
  • A fixed APR of 18.90%, which is avoidable if you pay off your balance within the 25-day grace period

For a complete list of PCB Secured Card features, please review the Terms and Conditions.

Pros about the PCB Secured Visa® Card 

The 25-day grace period is a big perk for the PCB Secured Visa®. This means that you have 25 days to pay your balance off without incurring interest. There are some secured cards that do not have a grace period, which means you’re constantly paying extra money to use your own money. With this grace period, you can enjoy the benefits of a secured card without the extra interest charges if you pay off your entire balance on time and in full each month.

Another upside to the PCB Secured Visa® Card is the straightforward annual fee. It’s a flat charge of $39 per year. Some cards charge an annual fee for the first year, then a reduced annual fee for the second year. However, they then add a monthly fee to the card, bringing the total charges higher than they were with the first year’s annual fee.

The PCB Secured Visa® is easy to qualify for, and you can complete an application online. Get an answer in as little as 60 seconds, and immediately arrange for your security deposit. You’ll have a fully-functioning credit card in the mail within days. It’s that simple!

Cons about the PCB Secured Visa® Card 

The interest rate for the PCB Secured Visa® is somewhat high for a secured credit card. For example, the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card has an APR of just 9.99% (Fixed), compared to 18.90% with the PCB card. But the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card has an interest rate of 19.99% (V).

The annual fee is fairly standard when compared to other secured cards—not too high and not too low. As with most cards though, the annual fee is charged right away. That means will have to pay $39 as soon as your account is open. You may prefer a lower annual fee so you have less upfront costs.

Another downside to consider is the pure structure of a secured credit card. If you do not have money to fund a line of credit, the PCB Secured Visa® may not be right for you.

Is the PCB Secured Visa® a Good Secured Card? 

As a whole, the PCB Secured Visa® has features that are in line with other cards in the industry. It offers a long grace period, a modest annual fee, and avoidable interest when you pay off your balance each month. It is a good option for someone with bad credit, no credit, or limited credit because of the easy approval process and consistent credit reporting. However, this card does not offer any rewards, and it may not be ideal for someone with good to excellent credit. If you are someone with a much healthier credit score, a better alternative for you might be the Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, which offers up to 1.5% cash back for most purchases.

How Do Secured Cards Work? 

Secured credit cards function mostly like traditional credit cards. You spend money from your credit limit and repay the balance. The card issuer reports payments to the credit bureaus, and under the right circumstances, you’ll see an increase in your credit score.

However, there is one key difference in the way secured cards work. You must provide a security deposit to fund the credit limit. In most cases, if you deposit $600 to the card, you have a $600 credit limit. If you deposit $1,500, you have a $1,500 credit limit.

  • You provide a security deposit that acts as your credit limit
  • Use the card every month just like you would a standard credit card
  • Pay off your balance within the grace period to avoid interest and maintain positive credit history
  • The card issuer reports your payments to the credit bureaus which will have an effect on your credit score
  • If you cancel your card, you get back your security deposit within 30 days (minus applicable fees and any charges made to the card)
  • You may also get a chance to upgrade to an unsecured card after persistent on-time payments

Why would you get a credit card that you have to fund? Because it’s something almost anyone can qualify for. If you have bad credit, no credit, past bankruptcies, repossessions, or other credit struggles, you can still qualify for a secured credit card. The card issuer is willing to look past those issues because they have almost no risk involved. If you default on a payment, they are not out any money. If you cancel your account, they refund money that was already yours. It’s a win-win situation.

Another factor to keep in mind is that secured credit cards teach you how to manage a credit card without the fear of debt. If you just can’t keep up with the payments, cancel the card and get your remaining money back. If you make a big purchase that takes a few months to repay, you’re not worried about debt. You’re just paying yourself back through a credit-reporting middleman.

Things to Consider before Getting a Secured Credit Card 

Before you apply for the PCB Secured Visa® or any other secured credit card, examine the fees closely. Most secured cards have annual fees and/or monthly fees that you will have to pay regardless of how often you use your card. If you plan to make cash withdrawals, review the cash advance fees and ATM fees. These may affect which secured card is right for you.

Some secured cards do not have a grace period for payments. This is a stretch of time in which interest is not applied to the account balance, as long as it is paid off in full. If you pay off your card each month and your card has a grace period, you’ll never have to pay interest. Without that grace period though, you’ll pay daily interest on the balance, no matter how big or small it may be.

Yet another factor to consider is the deposit limit on the card. If you want a credit limit of $3,000 and the card only supports $1,000, it may not be a sufficient card for you. Check out other secured credit cards to see if they better align with your needs.

Finally, think about how much money you can realistically spare for your deposit right now. If making a deposit is going to cause you to skip rent this month, now is not the right time to get a secured credit card. Wait until you’re on time with all your bills and still have steady savings in your account. Then you can use the money to get a secured card.

Don’t Have a Security Deposit? Consider a Credit Builder Account 

If you do not have funds to put toward a secured credit card, there is an alternative solution for building credit with no money upfront. It’s called a credit builder account. Two products to consider are the Self Credit Builder and Credit Strong Credit Builder Account. Here’s how they work:

  • You apply for a “loan” that you make monthly payments for, but you do not receive any money/debt upfront.
  • You make monthly payments towards this “loan,” and the bank deposits a corresponding amount of money into a savings account.
  • The bank reports your payments to all three credit bureaus to help build your credit.
  • You can cancel any time, or you can pay off the loan to unlock your savings.
  • In most cases, you do not need good credit to qualify for a credit builder account.

credit builder account gives you a chance to boost your credit score and save money at the same time. When your savings account is unlocked, you could choose to spend the money or save it for future expenses. You could continue to deposit your payments into that account to build up your savings. Yet another option would be to use the savings to open a secure credit card. Continue to build credit from the funds, and watch your opportunities flourish!

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Bad Credit

Home Equity Loan With Bad Credit: Can It Be Done?



Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

Home equity loans let you turn your equity into cash, which you can use to pay for home improvements, unexpected medical expenses, or any other bills you might be facing.

Generally, lenders require at least a 620 credit score to qualify for a home equity loan. If your score isn’t quite there yet, though, you still have options.

Here’s how you may be able to get a home equity loan with bad credit:

  1. Check your credit and try to improve it
  2. Find out your debt-to-income ratio
  3. Find out how much equity you have
  4. Think about bringing on a cosigner
  5. Shop around for the best rates
  6. Consider alternatives to bad credit home equity loans

1. Check your credit and try to improve it

To start, head to and pull your credit. You get one free report from all three credit bureaus per year.

Once you have your credit report, check it for errors and evidence of identity theft, such as accounts you don’t recognize and credit cards that aren’t yours. Reporting these to the credit bureau can help improve your score. So can taking these steps:

  • Pay all your bills on time: Payment history — or your track record of payments — accounts for 35% of your score, so make it a point to pay all of your bills on time, every time.
  • Pay down your debts: Lenders want to see a credit utilization rate of 30% or less — meaning your balances account for 30% or less than your total available credit.
  • Keep credit cards open: How long your accounts have been open impacts 15% of your credit score, so avoid closing accounts — even once you’ve paid them off.
  • Avoid applying for new cards: This will result in hard credit inquiries, which can hurt your score.

Learn More: How Your Credit Score Impacts Mortgage Rates

2. Find out your debt-to-income ratio

Lenders will also consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) when you apply for a home equity loan. This indicates how much of your monthly income goes toward paying off debt.

How to calculate DTI: Add up your monthly bills and loan/credit card payments, and divide the total by your monthly income. Multiply that amount by 100.

For example, if you have $2,000 in debt payments and make $6,000 per month, your DTI would be 33% ($2,000 / $6,000 x 100).

Most lenders want a DTI of 43% or lower. A low DTI can help improve your chances of getting a loan, especially if you have a lower credit score, since it indicates less risk for the borrower.

3. Find out how much equity you have

How much equity you have in your home, as well as your loan-to-value ratio, will determine whether you qualify for a home equity loan — and how much you can borrow. To find out yours, you’ll need to get an appraisal, which is a professional evaluation of your home’s value. The national average cost of a home appraisal is $400, according to home remodeling site Fixr.

Once the appraisal is finished, you can calculate your loan-to-value ratio by dividing your outstanding mortgage loan balance by your home’s value.

For example: If you have $100,000 remaining on your home, and the appraisal determines it’s worth $200,000, then you have an LTV of 50% ($100,000 / $200,000). This also means you have 50% equity in the home.

Most lenders will only allow you to have a combined LTV of 85% — meaning your existing loan, plus your new home equity loan can’t equal more than 85% of your home’s value.

In this example, you’d be able to borrow $170,000 (85% of $200,000) across both your initial mortgage loan and your new home equity loan. Since your existing loan still has $100,000 on it, that’d mean you could take out a home equity loan of up to $70,000.

4. Think about bringing on a cosigner

Bringing in a family member or friend with excellent credit to cosign your bad credit loan can help your case, too. If you do go this route, make sure they understand what it means for their finances. Though you may not intend for them to make payments, they’re just as responsible for the loan as you.

Tip: If you fail to repay the loan as agreed, it could hurt the other individual’s credit score or result in collections against both of you. Make sure you’re upfront and transparent about what cosigning your loan may mean for them.

5. Shop around for the best rates

A lower credit score will typically mean a higher interest rate, so it’s incredibly important you shop around and compare your options before moving forward. Get rate quotes from at least three to five lenders, and make sure to compare each loan estimate line by line, as fees and closing costs can vary, too.

Credible makes comparing rates easy. While Credible doesn’t offer rates for home equity loans, you can get quotes for a cash-out refinance — another strategy for tapping your home equity. Get prequalified in just three minutes.

Get the cash you need and the rate you deserve

  • Compare lenders
  • Get cash out to pay off high-interest debt
  • Prequalify in just 3 minutes

Find My Loan
No annoying calls or emails from lenders!

6. Consider alternatives to bad credit home equity loans

A bad credit score can make it hard to get a home equity loan — especially one with a low interest rate. If you’re finding it difficult to qualify for an affordable one, you might consider one of these alternatives:

Cash-out refinance

Cash-out refinances replace your existing mortgage loan with a new, higher balance one. You then get the difference between the two balances in cash.

Find Out: Credit Score Needed to Refinance Your Home

Personal loans

Personal loans offer fast funding, and you don’t need collateral either. Rates can be a bit higher than on home equity loans and refinances, though, so it’s even more important to shop around. A tool like Credible can help here.

Check Out: Home Equity Loan or Personal Loan: How to Choose the Best Option

Compare multiple lenders

If you have bad credit, there are still ways to tap your home equity or borrow cash if you need it. Head to Credible to see what personal loan options and mortgage refinance rates you might qualify for. With Credible, you can easily compare prequalified rates from all of our partner lenders without leaving our platform.

About the author

Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate authority and a contributor to Credible. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Fox Business, The Motley Fool, Bankrate, The Balance, and more.

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A Look Back At Housing 2020: Rental Housing Gets Riskier



According to the American Housing Survey cited in a recent article, there are about 48 million rental housing units in the United States ranging from single-family homes to large multifamily apartment complexes. Of those 48 million units about 23 million are owned by individuals, according to a recent Rental Housing Finance Survey; that’s more than half of the occupied units in the country. Yet private rental housing providers have been under relentless attack in recent years increasing risks and costs. This has worsened in 2020 as I have pointed out. More risk means fewer housing units and higher prices, not a good outlook for the future.

Any business based on renting assets is based on risk. Think about the last time you went bowling. When you rent the shoes, the person behind the counter often will hold a driver’s license? Why? It’s a way of offsetting the risk that you’ll go home with the shoes either on purpose or accidentally. Nobody wants to deal with a lost driver’s license. Offsetting this risk has absolutely nothing to do with you or your trustworthiness; it is uniformly applied and routine.

Housing providers have to similarly offset the risk of allowing a stranger occupy their private property. There are several ways of doing this, including using credit checks. But lately, politicians are beginning to eliminate the credit check from the tools that housing providers can use to offset risk. Minneapolis for example has eliminated credit checks arguing that they are a “barrier” to housing.

Is race a factor in bad credit and thus a barrier to people of color to get housing? The fact is, yes, African American people have more credit issues. But would eliminating credit checks help them? The answer is, “No.”

An article in the Washington Post, “Credit scores are supposed to be race-neutral. That’s impossible,” is emblematic of how this issue plays among the public and policy makers. The author says two contradictory things. First,

“This would lead one to think that credit-score calculations can’t be biased. But factors that are included or excluded in the algorithms used to create a credit score can have the same effect as lending decisions made by prejudiced White loan officers.”

Then she writes,

“One quick way to impact your credit history is a court-ordered judgment. And Black borrowers are more likely to fare badly when taken to court by their creditors. Debt-collection lawsuits that end in default judgments also disproportionately go against Blacks, according to a 2020 Pew Charitable Trusts report.”

Logically, the right way to state this is that credit measures are biased against people who have default judgments against them, and African Americans have higher rates of defaults. Then the next question would be, “Why?” The most obvious answer is the right one, poverty is disproportionately concentrated among people of color.

But eliminating credit checks for housing won’t help that problem. If a housing provider is unable to evaluate risk based on past financial performance her only option will be to raise rents and deposit amounts in case there is a problem; that extra cash would provide a buffer if a resident stops paying rent. This won’t help anyone with less money. What’s the response to that? Ban rent increases by imposing rent control! That’s a bad idea too and won’t help either.

The answer is to figure out how people who have less money and therefore have more issues making ends meet can solve that problem and improve their credit scores. The author of the Washington Post article makes a sensible suggestion: include steady rent payments in credit scores. Some housing providers do, and it’s a great idea. But it is a positive one that actually helps the family; banning quantitative measures of past financial performance doesn’t.

The danger that unfolded in 2020 is that justifiable outrage about racism could lead to interventions that don’t address poverty and it’s negative consequences like default judgments but elimination of accepted measures of those consequences. Eliminating the evidence of poverty – struggling to pay bills – doesn’t help pay the bills! At best, these kinds of measures sweep the problem under the rug ensuring higher rents and making housing a risky business only big corporations will be able to do.

The answer is to address the broader underlying issues of poverty and increasing housing production. When there is more supply of housing providers compete with providers for residents and will be forced to bargain with potential residents, even those with dings or dents or completely destroyed credit. Housing abundance solves a housing problem while eliminating measure of risk only makes that risk higher and actually creates a housing problem.

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Can My Cosigner Take My Car?



Cosigners don’t get any rights to the vehicle they signed the loan for. However, if the cosigner is trying to take your car, it may be time to take some action.

Cosigners and Ownership

Can My Cosigner Take My Car?Cosigners can’t take the vehicle they cosigned for because their name isn’t listed on the title. A cosigner isn’t responsible for making the monthly payments, maintaining car insurance, or really anything else. Cosigners simply lend you their good credit score to help you get approved for the auto loan, and if you can’t make payments, the lender can require them to pick up the slack.

Since you’re the primary borrower on the vehicle and your name is listed on the car’s title, you have ownership rights. Your cosigner can’t come to your residence and take possession of the vehicle – even if they’re the one making the car payments right now.

If you do default on the loan and the vehicle is repossessed, the cosigner still can’t take the car.

But My Cosigner Did Take My Car!

If your cosigner did somehow take your keys and your vehicle without permission, it’s considered theft. If you want to take action, you can report the car as stolen.

However, a better first step is probably contacting the cosigner and letting them know that they don’t have any ownership rights (if you want to maintain a relationship with them). You can ask them to return the vehicle and explain that their name isn’t on the title.

Removing a Cosigner From a Car Loan

If things are dicey with your cosigner, then it may be time to consider removing them from the auto loan. The easiest way to remove a cosigner is by refinancing.

Refinancing is when you replace your current loan with another one. You can work with your current lender or another one, but most borrowers look for another lender to refinance with.

You don’t need a perfect credit score to refinance your car loan – it just has to be good or better than it was when you first got the loan. Another common requirement of refinancing is that you’ve had the loan for at least one year.

Other common requirements for refinancing are:

  • You’ve stayed current on payments throughout the loan
  • You have equity or your loan balance is equal to the vehicle’s value
  • Your car has less than 100,000 miles and is less than 10 years old

Most borrowers usually refinance to lower their loan payments. Since you’re replacing your current auto loan with another one, many borrowers try to qualify for lower interest rates or extend their loan to lower their payments. If your credit score has improved, you may even be able to get a better interest rate and remove your cosigner!

Can’t Refinance to Remove the Cosigner?

Refinancing isn’t in the cards for everyone. However, another efficient way to remove a cosigner is by selling the car. Cosigners don’t have to be present at the sale of the vehicle, since they don’t have to sign the title to transfer ownership.

If you sell the car and get an offer large enough to cover the entire balance of your loan, you and the cosigner can walk away from the auto loan scot-free.

However, many borrowers need cosigners because their credit score isn’t the best. If you want to sell your vehicle to remove your cosigner, but you’re worried you can’t get a car loan by yourself, consider a subprime auto loan for your next vehicle.

Bad Credit Auto Loans

Since many traditional car lenders don’t work with borrowers who have poor credit histories or lower credit scores, they often ask them to bring a cosigner. But what if you don’t want a cosigner (or can’t get one) on your next auto loan? Enter subprime car loans.

Subprime lenders are teamed up with special finance dealerships, and they operate remotely. When you apply for financing with a special finance dealer, you work with the special finance manager who acts as the middleman between you and the lender.

You need documents to prove you’re ready to take on an auto loan – typical things like check stubs, proof of residency, valid driver’s license, a down payment, and other assorted items depending on your credit situation. If you qualify, the lender determines what your maximum car payment can be, and you choose a vehicle you qualify for from there.

What sets subprime auto loans apart from traditional car loans is that they assist borrowers in tough credit situations and offer the opportunity for credit repair. Some in-house financing dealerships that don’t check credit reports don’t report their auto loans, which means your timely payments don’t improve your credit score.

Finding a Car Dealership Near You

The best way to improve your credit score is by paying all your bills on time. Payment history is the most influential piece of the credit score pie. There are many lenders willing to work with bad credit borrowers, you just have to know where to look!

Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve already done the searching, and we’ve created a nationwide network of dealers that are signed up with subprime lenders. Get matched to a dealership in your area, with no cost and no obligation, by filling out our car loan request form.

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