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Signs you might have bad credit, even if you think you don’t

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  • Your credit score may slowly be getting worse over time without you realizing it.
  • Maxing out your credit cards can hurt your credit score, even if you pay your bills on time each month.
  • Things beyond your control, such as a change in loan servicing, can also hurt your credit score.
  • Here are five ways to know if you have a bad credit score, even if you think you have good credit.

 

In the US, credit is scored through a point system based on your payment history, outstanding balances, length of credit history, and types of credit accounts.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with a good credit score falling anywhere above 670, according to credit bureau Experian. A low credit score could impact your ability to get a mortgage or rent an apartment and could mean you have to pay a higher interest rate if you take out a loan.

There are some simple ways to build credit and gain a good score, like making consistent, on-time credit card payments. But there are certain things beyond your control that could also be hurting your score — and you may not even know it.

According to Matthew Cooper, co-founder and CEO of the payment app Earnup, the way credit scores are calculated in the US is “incredibly unfair to your average consumer,” not only because the formula for calculating credit scores is complicated, but it also keeps changing.

Here, Cooper highlighted a few ways you might have hurt your credit without realizing it, so you can take steps to improve your score.

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More accountability among council proposals for Akron police

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Akron City Council wants more resources for the city’s only independent police auditor and more public access to police records, from use of force reports to citizen complaints and logs that track the race of everyone stopped by police.

Those are among the recommendations to be released publicly on Monday by council’s special committee on Reimagining Public Safety. Members are trying to answer a community call for a police force that better reflects the demographics and lived experiences those it serves and protects following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last year.

There would be no age limit for police cadets, which the city recently upped from 35 to 40 years. A new “Pathway to Law Enforcement” would ask community and education leaders to steer young adults into careers with the city and the Akron Police Department.

More so than they do now, social workers would help police handle 911 calls involving mental health and addiction. Officers would spend more time walking or biking their beats in an effort to build trust and understanding with the neighborhoods they police.

And council would keep up with the latest in law enforcement technology as city police deploy drones or consider feeding camera footage into crime-solving software that can scan faces and license plates, which would prompt leaders to weigh public safety against personal privacy.

Council President Margo Sommerville will present the full list of recommendations and special committee findings during council’s regular public meeting Monday. The 22-page document is the culmination of 22 subcommittee meetings, each averaging about an hour.

But the report is not the end of the road to “Reimagining Public Safety,” Sommerville explained. The end goal is “more equitable” policing systems and stronger bonds between police and the policed.

As he searches for a new police chief, Mayor Dan Horrigan and his deputy mayor for Public Safety, Charles Brown, express agreement with council in recognizing the best elements of policing in Akron while considering improvements outlined in the listed recommendations.

Next, Sommerville said council will take its newfound knowledge of policing in Akron to the public and rank-and-file officers.

University of Akron President Gary L. Miller said he’s honored and excited that council has asked his faculty and students to develop a community engagement process of surveys and virtual town hall meetings. The information gathering process will solicit feedback from residents, officers and the police union, which as an organization was not given an opportunity to address council’s special committee.

“We know at the end of the day, when we really begin to finalize these recommendations, we’re going to need the Fraternal Order of Police (Lodge #7),” Sommerville said, pinning successful implementation of any reform or enhancement on the commitment of everyone impacted.

FOP President Clay Cozart will see the recommendations Monday. While continuing to disagree with the prominence given to police reform in the wake of Floyd’s death, Cozart said he’s watched every minute of the 22 meetings discussing the work of his members, and he appreciates Sommerville’s willingness to work with the union.

Informed by Akron police officers serving as “liaisons,” the special committee involving every member of council broke out into four working groups.

Police oversight

The Accountability and Transparency group, which met seven times, delved into issues of external oversight, officer discipline and public access to records, drawing on the expertise of police auditors, civilian review board members and national experts on the subject from coast to coast.

Background: Who polices Akron police? Auditor says his office is understaffed, under-resourced

“In our society, we entrust police with the critical responsibility of protecting public safety, including by using force, if necessary,” the working group concluded. “External oversight recognizes that the seriousness of this delegated power requires particular scrutiny in order to ensure that the rights of the public are protected. On both a national and local level, historic injustices have created a trust deficit in how the public, particularly communities of color, interact with law enforcement, and government more broadly. Community trust is essential for effective policing.”

The group settled on two formal recommendations:

  1. Give Akron Police Auditor Phil Young, who answers to the mayor, a role codified in city law with “sufficient authority to access information, adequate staffing and funding and independence from the political process.”
  2. Ensure “that more police data and information is made publicly-available online and updated on a regular basis.”

Prevention

The prevention working group discussed community policing and best practices around responding to mental health, addiction and other 911 calls that can end tragically for officers and citizens.

While identifying funding as the greatest barrier to more robust training, the group recommended that every officer undergo Crisis Intervention Team training. Currently, 76% of officers lack the 40-hour training.

More: Akron’s police chief to retire in 2021

To “help solidify stronger relationships between police officers and the communities they diligently patrol and serve,” the group also recommended more walking and biking for beat cops, something previous councils and mayors have tried to achieve.

The final recommendation recommended a shifting, or at least sharing, of the burden of solving society’s problems, which armed officers encounter daily.

There’s some appetite for the concept, even among officers. Police1, an online source of information and resources for law enforcement, surveyed 4,000 American officers for a special report called “What Cops Want in 2021.” Officers named serving their community as the top reason for becoming officers. They also ranked the types of 911 calls they’d rather see other agencies handle: housing for homeless people (93%), animal control (88%), nuisance abatement (64%), parking enforcement (61%) and dispute mediation (53%), responding to mental health crises (45%) and drug overdoses (29%).

“Throughout our working group meetings, there was a continuing discussion of whether it may be appropriate for social service agencies to respond to some 911 calls relating to mental health or other issues, the idea being that a social service-focused approach might be more effective in some cases, and could also free up APD to focus on issues that clearly need a police response,” the group concluded. “Our APD liaisons made clear that they believe there should be a police response to all calls, as situations are fluid and could endanger non-police responders.”

We also heard from the Police Chief in Alexandria, Kentucky, a small city south of Cincinnati, who described a program in which the department employs two social workers, who follow up on calls (and in some cases respond to calls where the scene is deemed safe).”

The group heard from a Kentucky police chief who sends social workers out on many calls, sometimes without an armed officer. They said Akron, as a community, should involve more social service providers on 911 calls, when “appropriate,” and expand programs where counselors and health professionals follow-up after the fact.

Personnel and culture

A third committee tackled hiring and staffing as commanders must take officers from their patrols to fill specialized units like Neighborhood Response Teams — the backbone of community policing in Akron — or Quick Response Teams that respond to overdoses.

The group recommended more ongoing training and identified potential problems with hiring like not testing for steroids in the screening process because it costs twice as much or disqualifying applicants because they have or lie about a history of bad credit or minor drug offenses.

Background: Akron police force struggles to reflect city’s diversity

To get a more diverse and broader pool of candidates, the group recommended abolishing the current 40-year maximum age for cadets, as other large cities have done.

They also recommended bringing back an Akron Urban League program that prepared candidates for the city’s civil service exam and the creation of a Pathway to Law Enforcement program.

The Pathway program would use neighborhood “figureheads” and public educators to recruit 18 year olds and hold their interest in becoming cops until they turn 21 and are allowed by state law to carry a firearm as a civil servant. For a couple years, they would get city jobs dealing with the public while earning criminal justice credentials through UA or Stark State.

The group added two suggestions: APD should update its mission statement “to include the need for a workforce that reflects community and the need for diversity” and bring in an outside group that would take confidential and “unvarnished opinions” of officers “that could provide constructive feedback for further institutional change.”

Technology and equipment

No formal recommendations, aside from getting a body-worn camera for every officer who interacts with the public, came out of the technology and equipment committee.

More: Akron is ‘Reimagining Public Safety’ with drones, diversity and license plate readers

This last group learned about policing gadgets and systems like unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), “less-lethal” weapons (tear gas, pepper spray, tasers) surplus military rifles and body-worn cameras.

City information technologists informed them of existing software that allows detectives to stake out drug houses or solve crimes by accessing 277 cameras mounted around the city on buildings, lights and traffic poles. The footage is recorded 24/7 and kept for 21 days. And they discussed emergent technology like Briefcam, a program of computer algorithms that scans faces and reads license plates then automatically generates turn-by-turn video of stolen cars or suspects.

“Going forward, it will be important to gauge public opinion about how cameras in public spaces should be used,” the committee cautioned. “With Ring doorbells and other consumer camera systems becoming ubiquitous, it may be that the public is willing to accept greater surveillance by police within public spaces. Still, there should be transparency and clear rules on what is and is not permitted.”

Reach reporter Doug Livingston at dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.co or 330-719-1756

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Everything You Need To Know About Financing A Car In 2021

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Thinking about financing a car? Depending on your job and where you live, owning a car may be the easiest way to get around. But reliable vehicles can be expensive, which is where car financing comes in.

We’ve reviewed several of the best auto loan providers and researched everything you need to know about the car financing process. This article summarizes the most important information into an easy-to-understand guide to help you find your best auto financing options.

We’ll explain why you would finance a car, how car financing typically works, tips for finding the lowest interest rates, and recommend top lenders to get you started. Read on to learn everything you need to know about financing a car in 2021, and click below to start comparing rates from multiple lenders at AutoCreditExpress.com.

 

In this article:

Is Financing A Car A Good Idea?

If you have the cash to purchase a new car without a loan, take this approach. Unless your annual percentage rate (APR) is zero percent (which is rare), it is cheaper in the long run to purchase a car with cash. Of course, this is not practical or possible for many people. If you need a vehicle soon and don’t have the money saved up, financing may be the only way to purchase a car.

You should finance a car if:

  • You need a car and can’t afford to pay for the full value of the car in cash.
  • You want a car and can’t afford to pay the full value, but you can budget for the monthly expense of your payments.

You should not finance a car if:

  • You cannot afford monthly payments.
  • You can afford to pay for the full value of the car in cash.

 


 

How Does Car Financing Work?

Car financing is a type of loan. A lender will pay for a certain amount when you purchase the car, which you will be required to pay back, with interest, at a predetermined monthly rate. There are several important variables to any auto loan:

  • Purchase price
  • Fees
  • Down payment
  • APR
  • Financing term length

The purchase price is the final agreed-upon cost of the car. Typically, the purchase price is set by a dealer but can be negotiated. On top of this price, you will also be required to pay taxes and other fees depending on the state and dealership. Taken together, these represent the total cost of the car.

Most auto loans do not pay for the entire cost of your vehicle. A typical down payment is 20 percent of the car’s total cost. The higher your down payment, the lower the amount you need to finance. The more you can pay as a down payment, the better, as you will be charged interest on the remaining amount.

APR represents the amount of interest you will pay. In the United States, there is no standard for how APR must be calculated for auto loans. This means that depending on how often the interest is compounded, the same APR for the same loan amount can result in a different total interest paid. For this reason, it is difficult to compare offers between lenders based solely on advertised APR.

Luckily, many car financing offers will clearly state your monthly payment amount. If you multiply this number by the number of installments you will pay, you can determine the total price you will pay. If you subtract this total amount from the amount that you financed, you can figure out exactly how much you will pay in interest.

For example, imagine the total cost of the car you purchase is $20,000. You place a 20-percent down payment of $4,000. This means you take out an auto loan of $16,000 to pay the remainder. If your contract requires you to pay $250 per month for 4 years, you will end up paying a total of $20,000 to your lender. This is $4,000 more than the amount you financed – $16,000 – and represents your total financing fee (how much extra you had to pay in order to get a loan).

Beware of dealerships that advertise zero percent APR. Typically, when a dealer advertises this rate, it may give you no interest on your loan but tack on other fees that increase the total amount you must pay back. For example, rather than saying you must pay $16,000 plus 4 percent APR, the dealership will add a “service fee” on top of the sticker price so that the amount you must pay back is much higher, even though your debt does not accumulate interest.

If your loan contract does not clearly indicate the total amount you will need to pay back, do not sign it. Only agree to an auto loan you fully understand. If you have trouble understanding your loan terms, you aren’t alone. Many loans are intentionally confusing so that the customer has a more difficult time realizing if they are being scammed. Consider enlisting the help of a friend or even a loan professional to review your contract’s terms and conditions before signing.

Your financing term is the length of time it will take for you to pay off your auto loan, assuming that you meet all monthly payment obligations. The longer your finance term, the more you will ultimately pay. This is because the longer your loan remains unpaid, the longer you will accumulate interest. Try to pay off your loan as quickly as possible.

 


 

How To Get Car Financing

Along with deciding on a vehicle and determining your budget, you’ll need to choose where to get your auto loan from. There are several places to request car financing from, and each has its benefits and downsides:

Option For Financing A CarHow It Works
Dealership financingMost dealerships offer vehicle financing, typically through third-party lending partners. This is the most convenient option, as you can compare multiple offers at the dealership and see if there are any special rates for certain vehicles. However, be aware that dealer loans may include high fees.
Bank financingWhile it may be more of a hassle to visit a separate location from where you will buy your car, local banks and credit unions can help work within your budget, won’t pressure you to buy, and will likely offer some of the best terms. Credit unions in particular are likely to be less predatory.
Online lender financingThe easiest way to browse financing offers is online. Many online lenders partner with dealerships so that you can prequalify for a loan and shop for eligible vehicles on the same website. However, there are a lot of online auto lenders out there, so you’ll need to look for one that’s credible.
 

 


 

Tips For Financing A Car

When you are financing a car, there are several best practices to keep in mind to get the lowest rates:

  • Decide how much you can pay beforehand: Before even deciding which car to buy, determine how much you can afford to finance. Think about what monthly payment you can comfortably pay, and work backward from there. Cars depreciate in value, so you can quickly find yourself in debt if you take out a loan you can’t afford. After a few years, is not uncommon for the value of a car to be less than the amount you owe on your loan.
  • Check your credit score: Interest rates are largely based on your credit score. You are entitled to a free copy of your own credit report at least once a year. You can request this at AnnualCreditReport.com and other websites. If you have a poor credit score, you might need a bad credit auto loan. One way to get a better APR if you have a low credit score is to have a cosigner with good credit.
  • Reduce finance charges: Your goal should be to lower the total amount you will pay on top of the cost of your vehicle. This means looking for a low APR and a short payment term. Also, try to reduce the amount you must finance by making as large a down payment as possible. Twenty percent is standard for a down payment, but if you can afford to pay more upfront, you will pay less later.
  • Compare offers: It’s a good idea to compare auto loan offers before you visit the dealership. When doing so, be sure to only request loan offers from lenders that offer pre-qualification that does not include a hard credit check. Hard credit checks lower your credit score, so do not agree to one unless you are ready to finalize a loan offer.

 


 

Recommended Lenders

When financing a car, it can be difficult to know which lenders are credible. To help you sift through the hundreds of choices available, we’ve narrowed down the best loan providers in the industry.

Read on to learn more about some of our top picks, or read our full review of the best auto loans for a longer list of recommended lenders. If you’re ready to start comparing loan offers right away, you can do so via AutoCreditExpress.com.

 

PenFed Credit Union offers some of the lowest auto loan rates we have seen. However, it has stricter credit score requirements than other lenders and may not be an option for some. The company is well-regarded and has a positive reputation online.

PenFed Credit Union ProsPenFed Credit Union Cons
Offers exceptionally low interest ratesModerate customer service reputation
A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)Does not offer loans to drivers with poor credit
 Customer reviews describe a slow application process
 

Auto Credit Express is a good choice for those with bad credit. Even if you are undergoing bankruptcy or repossession, Auto Credit Express will work with you. Plus, Auto Credit Express will help you build your credit score if it is low.

Auto Credit Express ProsAuto Credit Express Cons
Offers financing for customers with bad or no creditCurrently has a BBB alert regarding licensing issues
Pairs customers with loans based on credit profilePoor customer reviews
Offers special rates for military members 
 

To learn more about this provider, read our full Auto Credit Express review.

myAutoloan.com is not a direct lender but a portal that connects lenders with customers. It’s a good way to browse loan offers and even find loans for private purchases.

myAutoloan.com ProsmyAutoloan.com Cons
Offers loans for drivers with bad credit historyNot available in Alaska and Hawaii
Offers loans for private purchasesNot available to drivers with credit scores below 575
Good customer service reputation and an A+ rating from the BBB 
 

To learn more, read our full myAutoloan.com review.

 


 

Alternatives To Financing A Car

If you need a vehicle but do not want to take out an auto financing loan, you have a few alternatives.

  • Lease: If you lease a car, you will pay a monthly fee that is likely to be lower than an auto loan payment. However, at the end of the lease term, you must return the vehicle and will be charged for excess damages. Some lease contracts have the option to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease.
  • Private loan: You might ask for a loan from an individual rather than a loan provider. An individual that you know may loan you money at a much better rate than auto lenders (or with no interest at all).
  • Cash payment: If you can avoid making a monthly car payment, it’s the best route to go. Cash payments are the cheapest way to purchase a vehicle in the long run, but most people do not have the funds to take advantage of this option.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I miss a car payment?

If you think you are going to miss a car payment, contact your lender right away. You may be able to request an extension or have your contract terms changed. If you are able to negotiate any changes, be sure to get them in writing. If you miss too many car payments, your vehicle can be repossessed.

How long should you finance a car?

You should try to finance your car for as short a time as possible. A typical auto loan term is five to six years. Longer auto loans are not recommended because the value of your car may depreciate below the amount you have left in payments.

Can you finance any car?

Which cars you can finance depends on the lender. Many lenders will not provide auto loans unless you buy your car from a dealership, but this is not always the case. A lender will not provide a loan for an especially expensive car if the borrower has a poor credit score or low income. Likewise, if the value of the car is too low, a lender may not offer an auto loan and you’ll need to look into personal loan options.

Which bank is best for car financing?

There is not a single best bank for car financing, though we generally recommend Chase and Capital One – which are generally good banks for auto loans. Typically, a local bank or credit union is your best bet for auto financing.

What credit score do you need to get zero percent financing on a car?

Few lenders offer zero percent financing on auto loans. To be eligible for this interest rate, you would likely need a credit score above 720, as well as a stable income. Most of the time, if a dealership advertises zero percent APR, you will end up paying more in hidden fees.

Is a 72-month car loan bad?

While 72 months is long for a car loan, it’s not uncommon. If you can, try to sign up for an auto loan that does not exceed 60 months (5 years).

What car dealerships are offering zero percent financing?

Few car dealerships offer zero percent financing. Some dealerships advertise “0 percent APR,” but this is usually just a way to get people in the door and doesn’t always equal saving money on your purchase. Rather than charge an interest rate, the final contract may include additional fees that are not legally considered “finance charges.” This has been a common practice among U.S. automakers since the 1980s.

 

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Recent Faculty Publications | Yale School of Management

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A roundup of faculty publications since July 2020.

Lorenzo Caliendo

  • Lorenzo Caliendo, Giordano Mion, Luca D. Opromolla, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg. “Productivity and Organization in Portuguese Firms”.  Journal of Political Economy, (2020) 128(11).

 
Kerwin Charles

  • Kerwin Charles, D. Mark Anderson, Ryan Brown, Daniel I. Rees. “Occupational Licensing and Maternal Health: Evidence from Early Midwifery Laws and Maternal Mortality”. Journal of Political Economy, November 2020, Vol. (128) (11). 

 
Judith Chevalier

 
Julia DiBenigno

  • Satterstrom, P., Kerrissey, M., and DiBenigno, J. 2020. “The Voice Cultivation Process: How Team Members Can Help Upward Voice Live on to Implementation”. Administrative Science Quarterly.

 
Raphael Duguay

  • Duguay, R., Minnis, M., & Sutherland, A. (2020). “Regulatory spillovers in common audit markets”. Management Science, 66(8), 3389-3411.

 
William English

  • English, William, Liang, Nellie J. (2020). “Designing the Main Street Lending Program: Challenges and Options”. Journal of Financial Crises 2.

 
Soheil Ghili

  • Klibanoff, Peter, Ghili, Soheil i. (2020). “If it is surely better, do it more? Implications for preferences under ambiguity”.  Management Science.

 
Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham

 
Edward Kaplan

 
Bryan Kelly

  • B. Kelly, B. Herskovic, H. Lustig,S. Van Nieuwerburgh. “Firm Volatility in Granular Networks”. Journal of Political Economy. Dec 2020.

 
Sang Kim

 
Balazs Kovacs

  • Jerker Denrell, Balazs Kovacs (2020) “The Ecology of Management Concepts”. Strategy Science 5(4):293–310.
  • Balazs Kovacs, Glenn R. Carroll, and David W. Lehman (2020) “Grading in Restaurant Hygiene Inspections: The Effects of Social Ties with Inspectors”. Food Policy 97:101960-101971.

 
 Barry Nalebuff

  • Nalebuff, Barry. (June 10, 2020). “A Perspective-Invariant Approach to Nash Bargaining”. Management Science. 
  • Doria, Matthew, Nalebuff, Barry* (September 2020). “Measuring competitive balance in sports”. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport.
  • Adam Brandenburger, Barry Nalebuff. “The Rules of Co-opetition”. Harvard Business Review. Publication Date: January 01, 2021

 
Kosuke Uetake

 
 Edward Watts

 
Amy Wrzesniewski

  • Sangal, R. B., Wrzesniewski, A., DiBenigno, J., Reid, E., Ulrich, A., Liebhardt, B., Bray, A., Yang, E., Eun, E., Venkatesh, A. K., & King, M. (2020). “Work team identification associated with less stress and burnout among front-line emergency department staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic”. BMJ Leader.

 
Tauhid Zaman

  • Nicolas Guenon des Mesnards, David Scott Hunter; Zakaria el Hjouji, Tauhid Zaman. “Detecting Bots and Assessing Their Impact in Social Networks” in Operations Research. 16 Dec 2020.

 
Gal Zauberman

  • Makov, Tamar, George E. Newman, and Gal Zauberman. (2020). “Inconsistent allocations of harms versus benefits may exacerbate environmental inequality”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  117 (16) 8820-8824
  • Berman, Jonathan Z., ⁠ Amit Bhattacharjee, Deborah A. Small, and Gal Zauberman. (2020). “Passing the buck to the wealthier: Reference-dependent standards of generosity”.  Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 157, 46–56.

 
Frank Zhang

  • Frank Zhang, Shuai Shao, Robert Stoumbos. “The power of firm fundamentals in explaining stock returns”. Review of Accounting Studies, Jan 7, 2021.

     

Media Inquiries: Emily Gordon, Associate Director, Media Relations and Faculty Research
+1 203-432-6521

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