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Think About These 5 Things Before You Repair Your Car

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If you’re experiencing issues with your vehicle, there comes a point when you have to ask yourself, is it even worth getting this fixed? If you’re not sure whether or not you should sink more cash into your car or start saving for your next one, we’ve got some pointers that could make your choice a little easier.

To Repair or Not to Repair

When it comes to getting your vehicle fixed, sometimes, there’s only so much you can do, especially if you’re driving a car that’s getting on in years. The average age of vehicles on the road across America is around 12 years old. That means there are a lot of people driving cars that have been on the road for over a decade!

So, how do you know whether it’s time to trade in or keep up with the fixes? Ask yourself these five questionss to help you decide.

  1. Think About These 5 Things Before You Repair Your CarIs your vehicle operation impaired or unsafe to drive? If a problem with your car is impairing operation and/or making it unsafe to drive, it’s definitely important to take care of the issue so that you can take care on the road. If you can’t safely drive your vehicle, get it checked out. It’s the fix that could determine whether you sink the money into this car or your next.
  2. Is the vehicle under warranty? This seems like a no-brainer, but if you have the right warranty coverage, getting an issue fixed can be the right choice. Even if you ultimately decide you need a newer car down the road, if you have a fixable issue that’s covered under a service you already pay for, such as an extended warranty, it can help you patch things up so you have a little longer to save.
  3. Is the repair covered? Whatever is wrong with your vehicle, there isn’t a guarantee that a particular issue is covered under warranty. Warranties aren’t one size fits all, so if you’re having a drivetrain issue and only have bumper-to-bumper coverage, you need to check with your service provider first to see if your issue is something that’s covered.
  4. Is the repair more than the car is worth? If you find out that whatever issue your vehicle is having potentially costs more than the current trade-in or book value on your car, you may want to consider investing in your down payment savings for your next vehicle. If you can patch things up cheap and keep driving safely, it might be worth it to fix it. But if you can’t safely drive until a major fix is performed, weigh your options carefully.
  5. Can you realistically get another car? It can be troubling if you know it’s time to start the transition to another vehicle, but aren’t sure you have the means to do it. Often, this comes down to whether or not you can get an auto loan. If you’re driving a used car and it’s time to put it out to pasture, you might have more options than you know when it comes to getting into your next auto loan.

Don’t Leave Yourself Guessing

If you’re not sure whether or not to sink any money into vehicle repair, you need to ask yourself if this fix would change anything about the way your car drives or your ability to drive it safely. All vehicles experience wear and tear over their lifetime. Typically, regular maintenance can help you reduce the need for major repairs, but the older a car is, the more chance there is for a breakdown.

If the cost to repair is more than the value of your vehicle, it might be time to throw in the towel. However, many repairs can be covered under warranty, which helps you pay for the cost of major repairs when you pay a monthly premium.

New cars come with standard manufacturer warranties, but used vehicles can get coverage, too. The coverage you can get for a used car is called an extended warranty, or vehicle service contract, which are sold by independent insurance agents or third-party companies. They’re also often offered to you at the dealership if you’re taking out a loan.

Extended warranties are great for peace of mind, and can save you money when it comes to out-of-pocket repair costs. However, a service contract may not pay for itself, or sometimes even be needed at all. Whether or not the cost is worth it to you depends on the type of person you are.

Finding the Solutions You’re Seeking

If you can’t deny any longer that the time has come for a new car, but are worried about your credit situation standing between you and an auto loan, don’t be! There are plenty of car loan options available, even for people whose credit has seen better days.

When you need an auto loan, your first step should always be checking your credit reports and getting your credit score. If you don’t know where you stand, you won’t know which option offers the better solution for you.

After you know what your situation looks like, you can determine where to start looking for your next car loan. Here’s a look at three main options:

  • Direct lenders – Banks, credit unions, and some online lenders are direct lenders. This means you apply directly with the financial institution, and once approved, you receive a check or approval letter which entitles you to spend up to a certain amount. This is often referred to as pre-approval, and it can be a great bargaining tool. However, it can also be more difficult to qualify for this type of financing with poor credit because these lenders tend to base eligibility heavily on your credit score.
  • Subprime lenders – Subprime lenders specialize in helping consumers with bad credit. They’re indirect third-party lenders that work with special finance dealerships. Subprime lenders have the means to assist people in many unique credit situations, including bad credit and no credit. These lenders don’t rely completely on your credit score, but it can factor into their decision. You also don’t meet directly with the lender, the special finance manager at the dealer acts as your go-between.
  • In-house financing dealerships – In-house financing dealers go by many names, including buy here pay here and tote the note dealerships. With this type of loan, the dealership is the lender, so they don’t use third-party information such as your credit reports when evaluating you. Typically, in-house financing lots rely on your income and a down payment to get you into a car.

Of these options, subprime lenders are often the best choice for consumers with bad credit. Not only do they generally provide the best chance at an approval, they give you the opportunity to repair your credit score with on-time loan payments. It can be hard to get approved with a direct lender with bad credit, while some in-house financing dealerships don’t report their loans to the credit bureaus, but subprime lenders do.

Why Subprime Auto Loans?

Subprime car loans come from indirect lenders that cater to less than perfect credit situations. These lenders provide auto loans to people who are in tough and unique credit situations, and/or those who’ve been turned down by traditional lenders at their bank or credit union. They work with a wide range of dealer special finance departments, which gives you a wider range of potential car loan and vehicle options.

Depending on your situation, you could qualify for an affordable new car, a certified pre-owned vehicle, or a used one. If you do get approved, an auto loan gives you the opportunity to build your credit over time with each on-time loan payment you make. When these payments get reported to the major national credit bureaus, they help build a positive payment history, which makes up 35% of your total credit score.

Ready to Make Your Choice?

If the repairs just aren’t worth the cost, it may be time to trade in your vehicle toward something more reliable. If you aren’t sure where to start looking for your next car, you don’t have far to go – we can assist you right here at Auto Credit Express!

We’ve gathered a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that work with subprime lenders to get bad credit borrowers into the auto loans they need. If you’re looking to get over your credit obstacles, just fill out our free car loan request form, and we’ll get to work matching you with a local dealer!

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Bad Credit

Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?

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Can I be denied a job due to bad credit?
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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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It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

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Many of us got our first credit cards when we were either in college or in our early 20s. We likely did not have a full-time job with a steady salary, and if we did, it’s also likely we weren’t rolling in dough.

See: 13 Credit Cards That Every 30-Something Should Consider
Find: Surprising Uses for Your Credit Card Rewards

Given these circumstances, the first credit cards offered to us were probably of a particular kind: low credit limits, no prior credit history required, high annual percentage rate and overall easy to get. While these cards served us well as a way to build up our credit — and probably learn some lessons about money the hard way — it’s time to let go for a couple of reasons.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Card

When you upgrade your card, it’s likely you will also upgrade the benefits. Some companies, like Discover, Credit One and Capital One, are popular choices as a first credit card. However, these companies have better options as you, and your finances, mature.

The Wall Street Journal suggests asking for an upgrade. “Customers need to phrase it as a ‘product change’ when they call the card company. A product change involves getting a new card with the same card provider and it typically allows a cardholder to keep everything else the same, including the account number and available credit.”

See: 10 Credit Cards That Have Gotten Better During the Pandemic
Find: Old-School Money Advice You Shouldn’t Follow Anymore

This could be a good idea for those who are not ready to jump ship from their first credit company just yet. It also removes the hassle of having to find a different provider, and probably the largest benefit of all — no hard credit check needed.

A “hard” credit check is when your credit is thoroughly examined, and it results in an inquiry showing up on your credit report. These are always necessary for opening a new line of credit, like a credit card or a mortgage, but too many inquiries can count against you and negatively affect your credit. A “soft” credit check, on the other hand, will not affect your credit score and is usually done for verification purposes, such as when you apply for new employment. Soft checks also happen with preapprovals.

See: Soft vs. Hard Credit Check — What’s the Difference?
Find: 30 Things You Do That Can Mess Up Your Credit Score

If you ask for a product change on a credit card, you won’t need to have that hard inquiry because the company already has a solid picture of your credit and has done an inquiry before. But it’s important to confirm that your credit history will be rolled over to the new card.

Switching credit institutions all together can be beneficial, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. While the rules of credit apply whether you have, for example, a Credit One or Chase credit card, it’s not a secret that certain credit cards have certain reputations — or that credit bureaus take notice.

For example, the Credit One Bank Visa card is “one of the most popular credit cards for people with bad credit, largely because it’s one of the few unsecured cards that applicants with poor credit scores can get approved for,” according to WalletHub.

See: Biden Wants to Shut Down Credit Bureaus – What Would That Mean for You?
Find: 10 Credit Score Myths You Need to Stop Believing

In contrast, American Express credit cards are best for people with credit scores over 700 and require at least “good” credit for approval, WalletHub adds. A good credit score is one that’s between 670 and 739, according to Fair Isaac.

So while both cards function the same way, the profile of those who own these cards might be different — or at least be perceived as such.

Theoretically, the same person could own both cards, but your money works for you more with an American Express vs. a Credit One. If you have a Credit One card but qualify for American Express, it might make sense to leave your old credit card behind. In addition to the immediate financial benefits, upgrading for a credit card company that has a reputation for being exclusive to those with good credit could help when you apply for a mortgage or apply for credit cards at specific stores.

See: This Is How Many Credit Cards You Should Have
Find: Credit Cards With the Best Incentives to Open in 2021

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What is my card doing best for me?” If the answer is helping you build your credit, getting you out of bad credit or allowing you to have credit when you otherwise would not be able to, then sticking with the same card, or at least the same credit card company, makes sense.

This allows you avoid a new credit inquiry on your credit report while still building and increasing your credit. Asking for a credit limit increase on your credit card if you’ve been with the same company for a while, you’ve been routinely paying off your card and you’re in good standing, is a good idea.

See: Expert Tips to Fix Your Credit on a Limited Income
Find: What Is a Credit Limit?

If you are shopping around for a new card that gives you rewards or benefits based on your purchases, starting small is paramount. It wouldn’t be prudent to go straight for a card that has a yearly fee, for example.

Start small, and start smart with credit limits, too. Going from a limit of $2,000 straight to a limit of $15,000 while your salary remains relatively unchanged is not always a good thing. Having a higher credit limit doesn’t necessarily mean that you are now richer or more responsible — it only means that you now have a greater risk of putting yourself into serious debt. Slowly increasing your credit limit makes your debt more manageable — and makes you look more responsible to credit bureaus.

Breaking up is hard to do, but if your finances have matured, it might be time to get a card that helps you reach your goals with cash-back rewards and points you can use for travel, groceries and other other items. Shopping around for a lower interest rate and a slightly increased credit limit can also help you move forward.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: It’s Time to Break Up With Your First Credit Card

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