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These 5 States Have the Worst Average Credit Scores in the Nation

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Is your state one of them?

Your credit score follows you around from the day you open your first credit card or take out your first loan until the day you take your dying breath. Lenders use it when deciding whether to work with you, landlords sometimes use it to screen prospective tenants, and even your cell phone provider might check it when you sign up. It’s the grade you never get away from. But keeping it high isn’t always easy.

While average credit scores in the nation have steadily risen over the last decade, according to findings from The Ascent’s latest research on credit scores in America, some states are still struggling with poor credit. Five in particular stood out with average VantageScores under 660.

The five states with the worst average credit scores

The five states with the worst average VantageScores in the nation are:

  1. Mississippi (652)
  2. Louisiana (653)
  3. Georgia (659)
  4. Nevada (659)
  5. Texas (659)

Interestingly, four out of five of these states are in the South, and if we expand the list to the top 10 worst average credit scores, four other southern states — Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and South Carolina — make it in. 

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While every lender has their own credit score groupings, VantageScore itself defines a credit score of 601 to 660 as “near prime” and a score of 600 or less as “subprime”. These borrowers are less likely to get approved for credit cards and loans because their credit scores indicate that they have not been financially responsible in the past and may not be able to keep up with their payments. If they are approved, they’ll likely pay a higher interest rate to compensate for the increased risk to lenders. This can cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars more over the lifetime of a loan.

How to improve your credit score

It’s difficult to pin down the exact reasons for the low credit scores in the five states above — and it’s possible that it’s a combination of many factors. Interestingly enough, credit card debt doesn’t appear to be one of them. 

None of the states listed above had abnormally high amounts of credit card debt in The Ascent’s study on credit card debt statistics, and actually, Mississippi has the sixth-lowest average credit card debt in the nation. While there doesn’t seem to be an easy explanation for why these five states are struggling with poor credit more than the rest of the nation, the solution is the same.

The single-most important thing you can do for your credit score is to always pay your bills on time. Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® Score and about 40% of your VantageScore because it’s been found to be such an accurate predictor of future financial behavior. Late payments can drop an excellent FICO® Score by 100 points or more and they remain on your credit report for seven years, though their effect diminishes with time. Consistent on-time payments will raise your credit score, but it might be a little while before you see the results, especially if you have some late ones on your record.

The second-most influential factor in your credit score is your credit utilization ratio. This is the ratio between the amount of credit you use each month and the amount you have available to you. Keeping your ratio under 30% is crucial because a higher ratio indicates a heavy reliance on credit and that scares lenders. 

Lowering your credit utilization ratio is pretty simple. Charge less to your credit cards each month or pay your bill off twice per month. The credit bureaus only see the amount you owe at the end of each billing cycle, so by paying your card off halfway through the month and again at the end, you can spend more without hurting your credit utilization ratio.

Other things you can do to improve your credit score include applying for new credit accounts and closing existing credit accounts sparingly. You should also check your credit reports for any inaccuracies and notify the credit bureau and the financial institution associated with the account if you find any. They’ll have to do an investigation, but if they find that you are correct and that the issue is negatively impacting your credit score, legally, they must fix the issue. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per bureau per year through AnnualCreditReport.com, so there’s no reason not to check yours.

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Be patient

Everyone wants a quick way to raise their credit score, but those don’t exist. Credit scores were meant to provide a long-term look at your financial history and they wouldn’t be very useful if you could raise them significantly in just a day or a week. It takes sustained, responsible financial habits to make any real difference to your credit score, but it is worth it. A good credit score opens a lot of doors — and it can save you a lot of money too.

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Budget, wise decisions key to students’ financial success

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Alliance Credit Union has a branch in the student union building. / VN file photo by Devonne Mccullough

BY BENJAMIN BLAZEVIC / VN STAFF WRITER

Students learned strategies on how to successfully manage and grow their personal wealth during an online, campus-sponsored Zoom call recently.

“The number one key to financial success is budgeting,” said Jessica McCullen, communications coordinator of Alliance Credit Union, which hosted the Nov. 19 Zoom call. The credit union has a branch on campus, which is managed by Christopher Frost.

McCullen described a budget as “a strategic plan to spend your income in such a way that meets your needs, fulfills your obligations, builds wealth and (allows you to) enjoy your life.”

She explained how to make a monthly budget.

Start by writing down your total income, then list all possible expenses. Prioritize your expenses, subtract your income minus your total expenses (including savings) and that should equal zero, according to McCullen.

“Essentially, every dollar amount that you get in should have a place to go, whether that be towards your rent payment or towards your savings. At the end the monthly budget should equal You should redo a budget every month, she said.

McCullen said that this strategy helped her better manage her income once she realized how much she was spending on fast food after checking her monthly budget.

At the online event, branch manager Christopher Frost covered a section comparing credit and debit cards.

Debit cards are used for spending money from your own checking account while credit cards allow you to borrow money instead of spending your own.

Credit cards can have higher annual fees, according to Frost.

He added that the key is to pay the credit card balance within 30 days, so you don’t have to pay interest.

“There are two types of interest – interest that you pay and interest that you can earn,” said Frost.

There is “simple” interest, which is a fixed percentage of a loan’s principal amount.

There is also compound interests, which is interest based on principal plus interest, he said.

Frost also detailed how credit scores are calculated.

“No score is not the same as a low score,” said Frost

Five categories help determined a credit score: payment history (35%), amount owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%) and new credit (10%).

“The misconception is that ‘Hey, if I’m one day late, I’m going to get a bad mark on my credit report,’ ” said Frost. “That is not the case.”

For anything to be reported to your credit bureau it usually must be 30 days, 60 days or 90 days late.

You can be 29 days late and get a late fee, but it won’t be reported to the credit bureau, according to Frost.

A score of 300-629 points is considered bad credit, 630-689 fair credit, 690-719 good credit and 720-850 great credit.

Frost explained how people build credit.

“You really want to have two to three years of on-time payments and clean history,” said Frost.

The longer you can have a clean history, the better the credit score, he noted.

“One thing to help you with that is to dispute any information that you think is inaccurate on your credit report,” he said. “You also want to use your credit card.”

You don’t want to have a credit card you are not using, according to Frost.

Frost recommended using your credit card for something like gas if you need a way to start building credit.

Furthermore, Frost said a good mix of loans (like credit lines, student loans and auto loans) shows financial institutions that you can pay off different loans and that they can trust you.

He also suggested avoiding store credit cards since they usually have high interest rates compared to non-store credit cards.

Some store credit cards charged hefty fees for being a day late, he added.

One tip for managing debt, according to Frost, is to automatically put 10% of your income into your savings.

Other good ideas include saving for large purchases, planning on what you want to buy and negotiating on how to best pay off a loan.

Frost said students can make an appointment with him online to have their financial questions answered.

The credit union is a not-for-profit entity run by its members.

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How to Get a Personal Loan Fast

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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.”

If you’re facing a financial emergency and don’t have enough money set aside in savings to cover the expenses, emergency loans might help.

These are personal loans with quick funding times to quickly get you the money you need.

Here’s what you should know about emergency loans and how to get them:

Emergency loans

There are several lenders that offer emergency loans. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need good credit and verifiable income to qualify, though some lenders have less strict requirements than others.

Here are Credible’s partner lenders that provide emergency loans:

Avant

With Avant, you could get a personal loan up to $35,000 with funding as soon as the next business day. Avant could also be a good choice if you’re looking for a personal loan for bad credit.

  • Rates: 9.95% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5*
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, IA, NV, NY, VT, and WV
  • Min. income: $24,000
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes

Avant personal loans review

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Axos

Axos offers personal loans for up to $35,000 with time to fund as soon as the next business day. To qualify for a personal loan with Axos, you’ll generally need good to excellent credit.

  • Rates: 6.49% – 29.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Fees: No prepayment penalty
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 740
  • Time to get funds: Next business day
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Axos Bank personal loans review

Best Egg

Best Egg loans are available for up to $35,000 and are typically funded in one to three business days after verification. You might also be able to qualify for a lower interest rate with Best Egg than you’d get with a traditional lender.

  • Rates: 5.99% – 29.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $5,000 – $35,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WV
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verification
  • Loan uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Best Egg personal loans review

Discover

Discover offers several types of financial products, including personal loans ranging from $2,500 to $35,000. With a Discover personal loan, funds could be sent as soon as the next business day after acceptance.

  • Rates: 6.99% – 24.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Loan amount: $2,500 – $35,000
  • Fees: None as long as you pay on time
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Time to get funds: Funds can be sent as soon as the next business day after acceptance
  • Loan uses: Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Discover personal loans review

LendingPoint

LendingPoint loans are generally geared toward borrowers with poor or fair credit, which could make it easier to get approved. With LendingPoint, you can borrow up to $25,000, with funding as soon as the next business day.

  • Rates: 15.49% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $25,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, MA, MD, NV, NY, VT, WV, and WY
  • Min. income: $35,000
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 585
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Loan uses: Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

LendingPoint personal loans review

LightStream

If you need a larger personal loan, LightStream could be a good option. LightStream offers personal loans up to $100,000 and funding potentially as soon as the same business day.

  • Rates: 3.99% – 19.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (up to 12 years for home improvement loans)
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except RI and VT
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the same business day
  • Loan uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

LightStream personal loans review

LightStream disclosure

Upgrade

Upgrade is another lender willing to work with borrowers with less than stellar credit. You could get a loan up to $35,000 with Upgrade, with funding as fast as a day of clearing verifications.

  • Rates: 7.99% – 35.97% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000 ($3,005 minimum in GA; $6,005 minimum in MA)
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except IA and WV
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Time to get funds: Within a day of clearing necessary verifications
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Upgrade personal loans review

Upstart

Loans from Upstart are available from $1,000 to $50,0005. With Upstart, you could get your funds within one to three business days.

  • Rates: 8.13% – 35.99% APR4
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 5 years4
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,0005
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except IA and WV
  • Min. income: $12,000
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 600
    (in most states)
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 1 – 3 business days6
  • Loan uses: Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Upstart personal loans review

4The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

5This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers received are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.

6If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), loan funds will be sent to your designated bank account on the next business day, provided that such funds are not being used to directly pay off credit cards. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

Learn More: Where to Get a Personal Loan

How to qualify for an emergency loan

Qualifying for a personal loan for emergencies is similar to getting approved for most other loans. The lender will typically consider your credit history, income, and ability to repay the loan in the future to determine if you’re eligible.

Here are a few ways you could improve your odds of loan approval:

  • Avoid taking out other new credit
  • Keep your credit card balances low
  • Make any existing loan payments on time
Tip: If you have bad credit or no credit, you might be able to qualify for a personal loan with a cosigner. Having a creditworthy cosigner could help you get approved or could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

Not all lenders allow for a cosigner on personal loans though, so be sure to check.

Just keep in mind that a cosigner is legally responsible for the loan if you can’t make our payments.

Learn More: No Credit Check Personal Loan

How to compare emergency loan lenders

While personal loan lenders might look similar on the surface, it’s important to compare them to find a loan that fits your needs.

Be sure to consider as many lenders as possible when searching for an emergency loan. A few important factors to consider include:

  • Interest rates
  • Repayment terms
  • Any fees charged by the lender (such as origination fees)

Before you borrow, estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.

Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay

Total Payment
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Total Interest
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Monthly Payment
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With a
$
loan, you will pay
$
monthly and a total of
$
in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of
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over the life of the
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Compare rates without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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How to apply for an emergency loan

While emergencies are tough situations, getting an emergency loan doesn’t have to be. Follow these four steps to apply for an emergency loan:

  • Shop around and compare lenders: Start by looking for lenders that could meet your needs. Consider credit and income requirements as well as interest rates and loan limits. This way, you can likely narrow down your list of potential lenders.
  • Fill out the application: Once you decide which lender you like best, you’ll need to complete a full application for the loan. You might also need to submit documentation, such as proof of income.
  • Get your funds: If your loan is approved, the lender will send you your funds. The fastest way to get funds in many cases is through a direct deposit.

If you’re ready to find your loan, Credible can help you streamline the process. With Credible, you can see your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just two minutes after filling out just a single form.

Ready to find your personal loan?
Credible makes it easy to find the right loan for you.

  • Free to use, no hidden fees
  • One simple form, easy to fill out and your info is protected
  • More options, pick the loan option that best fits your personal needs
  • Here for you. Our team is here to help you reach your financial goals

Find My Rate
Checking rates won’t affect your credit

Be careful with other types of emergency loans

If you’re facing an emergency, you might be tempted by other types of fast-access loans, such as:

  • Payday loans are unsecured, short-term loans designed to be paid back by the next payday. While they typically don’t require a credit check, they can come with interest rates ranging from 300% to 500%.
  • Pawn shop loans are a type of loan where you leave a valuable item with a pawn shop to borrow money. Like payday loans, pawn shop loans usually come with extremely high interest rates. If you pay the loan back as agreed, you’ll get your item back. But if you don’t, the pawn shop can sell it.
  • Title loans put your car’s title on the line as collateral. If you don’t pay the loan back as agreed, you might lose your vehicle.

Borrower beware: Payday, pawn shop, and title loans should be an absolute last resort if you need fast cash, as they can come with astronomically high interest rates and potentially predatory lending practices.

Check Out: Small Personal Loans

Alternatives to emergency loans

If an emergency loan doesn’t seem right for you, here are a few alternatives that you might consider:

  • Credit union loans: Because credit unions are nonprofit organizations, you might be able to get a lower interest on a credit union. However, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union to apply.
  • 0% APR credit card: Some credit cards offer 0% APR introductory periods. If you’re able to repay the balance by the end of this period, you won’t owe any interest. Keep in mind that if you can’t pay off the balance by this time, you might be stuck paying hefty interest charges.
  • Payment plan or hardship options: If you’re facing an emergency or hardship, your creditor might be willing to work out a payment plan. Some creditors also offer hardship options. Reach out to see what your options might be.
  • Ask family or friends for help: Temporarily borrowing money from family or friends could help you navigate a financial challenge. However, this could impact your relationships, so proceed with care.
  • Paycheck advance: If you have a steady job, your employer might be willing to offer a payroll advance in some circumstances.

Build an emergency fund

Having an emergency fund can help you cover unexpected expenses. Generally, an emergency fund should contain even money to cover three to six months’ worth of your expenses.

Having an emergency fund could help you avoid the need for an emergency loan in the future.

How do I start an emergency fund? To get started on your emergency fund, you might save as little as $5 or $10 per week. As you get used to the saving habit, you can add to your savings and watch your account grow.

Another option is to sign up for a high-yield savings account. These accounts offer higher interest rates compared to standard savings accounts, which could help you increase your savings more quickly.

Keep Reading: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score


About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 4.99-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.

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Need Cash for Holiday Gifts? Dan the Deal Man Offers Lease-To-Own with No Credit Needed for Electronics and Christmas Toys

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CAVE CREEK, Ariz., Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — DanTheDealMan.com, a nationwide e-commerce company, offers No Credit Needed lease-to-own with Progressive Leasing and Snap Finance for everything on your holiday shopping list.

Customers can shop for gifts almost anywhere on the Internet and Dan the Deal Man can put it on the lease-to-own program and even give their customers cash back for their initial payment within 24 hours. The gifts get delivered right to their customers’ homes with Free Shipping. Then customers are set up on payments based on their paydays for up to one year.

“Partnering with both Snap Finance and Progressive Leasing has helped our new and past customers to get approved even when most traditional lending institutions have made it more difficult to borrow money during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic,” said Dan Marsh, owner of Dan the Tire Man and Dan the Deal Man.

“Many people live paycheck to paycheck and they just don’t have the cash upfront to purchase new items when they need them, especially during the holidays,” said Katie Marsh, co-owner of Dan the Tire Man/Dan the Deal Man. “This program is great for those folks who may have bad credit or are short on cash and need and want things now.”

“With most kids on their iPhones and watching TikTok or scrolling on Instagram all day, we know parents are looking for other gifts to get their kids playing games again or back outside in nature. Our company can help achieve that goal for little to no money out of pocket up front,” said Dan Marsh.

Even this year’s hottest gifts can be put on the program such as Apple Airpods, iPhone 12 Pro, Nintendo Switch, Kindle, Sony Noise Canceling Headphones, Fitbit, STEM kits, Lego StarWars, LeapFrog, gaming computers and much more.

About Dan and Katie:

Dan Marsh has been in all aspects of the tire business for over 35 years. From owning a small tire shop and installing tires himself to exporting large containers of tires out of the US, he garnered the experience needed to create the e-commerce websites that today are danthetireman.com and danthedealman.com. Katie Marsh has a background in SEO and marketing and manages the business day to day. To learn more, please visit danthedealman.com. Or click here to directly apply for the Snap Finance Application or the Progressive Leasing Application.

SOURCE Dan the Deal Man

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