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Why it’s so important to clear your credit card debt during Covid-19, Money News

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With Covid-19 hitting many sectors of our economy, citizens have inevitably suffered from the repercussions. This includes wage cuts, no pay leave or worse, unemployment.

While the government has introduced measures to help Singaporeans tide through this difficult time, we should also take it upon ourselves to take our finances more seriously.

One area to take more seriously? Debt. It is a double-edged sword; some Singaporeans are taking on more debt for investment purposes, but there are also many Singaporeans struggling to meet loan commitments.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has since stepped in to provide help for those that are finding it difficult to repay their debts. 

Here are some reasons why you should clear your credit card debt amidst this global pandemic.

Prevent rapid snowballing of debt

Credit cards have notoriously high interest rates, ranging from 25 per cent to 28 per cent p.a. 

By comparison, a HDB loan has an interest rate of 2.6 per cent p.a., and a personal loan stands at 3.5 per cent to 10.8 per cent p.a.

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A late payment could also result in a late payment fee of about $100, enough for a trip to the supermarket to restock your fridge. 

Failing to pay off your credit card bill could cause your credit card debt to snowball; a $3,000 credit card bill today could easily become more than $3,750 in a year.

This is an additional $750 you are forking out simply because you have failed to pay your credit card bill. 

Yes, that would be 7 trips to the supermarket if you are itching for a breather outside the stay home mandate.

Protect your credit score

Your credit score affects your ability to be approved for financial products such as credit cards and various types of loans. A good credit score starts with having low or no debt.

A growing credit card debt, late payments or defaulting on your account would have an adverse impact on your credit score. 

Understandably, many of us are going through a rough financial patch as a result of Covid-19.

However, letting your credit score deteriorate at this time could have significant consequences in the future, especially when you choose to apply for products to tide you over other crisis down the road. 

A bad credit score can also make or break your employment chances, as there are employers who look at your credit score when doing a background check. This is the time to protect your credit score — along with your wallet — from additional interest rate charges. 

One less thing off your plate of worries 

Countries all over the world are still grappling with the outbreak of Covid-19 — Singapore included.

Unemployment is on the rise, wages are being cut, companies are bleeding cash (some have already folded), the stock market has fallen and confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to rise at a worrying pace. 

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For the sake of our mental health, why shouldn’t we at least take credit card debt — something we can control — off the plate? 

With stricter circuit breaker measures in full effect, there have been unprecedented changes to our lifestyles, like how most of us are now forced to stay home (unless our job is in the essential services) and wonder aloud within the four walls of our HDB bedrooms as to when this dystopian reality will end. 

This certainly does not bode well for our psyche: experts have highlighted that Covid-19 could take a toll on the mental health of Singaporeans.

There is greater anxiety, stress and even grief within our society, and this could very well have a ripple effect on how we manage our finances. Having unpaid credit card debt paid might just help you sleep better at night. 

If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones

We might be living in extraordinarily unextraordinary times, but home confinement can also have its positives. We now have the time to do things we always wanted to do, be it bingeing Money Heist on Netflix, working on a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle or trying to become the next Gordon Ramsay of Tampines.  

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Most of all, we can also take the time to do a health check on loved ones staying together with us. Financial mishaps is one of the biggest strainers of personal relationships and this is a time, more than ever, to be seeking solace in our own support system, not let credit card debt sour it. 

Speaking of health checks and family, don’t forget to do the same for your finances, starting by ensuring a sufficient emergency fund. They could serve as your accountability buddies to help you achieve small wins such as cancelling unused credit cards, or cultivating a habit to pay off credit card bills early. 

Things you can do to pay off your credit card debt fast

1. Pay off your credit card bill in full

Since credit cards are one of the financial products with the highest interest rates, paying these bills first to reduce any extra charges incurred in interest should be a priority. 

While your credit card bill comes with the option to pay just the minimum amount, what you should really consider is to pay off in full before the payment due date. 

Paying just the minimum amount would cause mounting interest charges on the remaining amount. For example, a $10,000 balance on your credit card that charges 25.9 per cent in interest with a monthly repayment of $300 would incur a whopping $1,450 in total interest charges for the year. 

2. Consolidate your debt into one loan 

If you have too many overdue credit card bills, you can opt to consolidate your existing debt into a single loan. This can be done through a balance transfer. A balance transfer allows you to transfer all your outstanding balances to a low or 0 per cent interest rate loan.

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For example, the Standard Chartered Credit Card Funds Transfer offers a 0 per cent interest rate loan for 6 months with a processing fee of 1.5 per cent of approved loan amount. 

Alternatively, you could take a personal loan at a much lower interest rate. For example, the Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan offers flat interest rates from as low as 3.88 per cent p.a. 

You will also get $199 in cashback to offset the first year annual fee as well as an additional $20 cashback when you apply via MyInfo. Your loan amount will be disbursed into your bank account upon approval. 

3. Minimise the number of credit cards you have

With every credit card in your wallet comes another bill to pay, and another credit card statement to keep track of. Try reducing the number of credit cards in your wallet to 2 that maximises gains on your existing lifestyle, such as a good cashback rate or miles earn rate. 

4. Choose credit cards from banks you are already banking with 

You would be halving the hassle by making payments within the same bank. For example, if you have a Standard Chartered savings account, you can get the Standard Chartered Unlimited or Standard Chartered Spree credit card. 

Within the bank’s internet banking, there are options for you to pay off the outstanding amount on your credit card immediately by deducting the amount from your savings account. This reduces the inertia to pay off your bill when the process is so seamless. 

This article was first published in SingSaver.com.sg.

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Warner Robins GA Credit Repair Finance Score Improvement Service Launched

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New credit repair services have been launched by the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services. They work with clients in Warner Robins, GA and the surrounding areas.

New credit repair services have been launched by the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services. They work with clients in Warner Robins, GA and the surrounding areas.

Fresh Start Consumer Services has launched a new credit repair service for clients looking to improve their financial future. Interested parties can sign up for credit consultations, in-depth credit analysis, credit recommendations and more.

Full details can be found at: https://freshstartconsumerservices.com/index.html

The newly launched services are designed to ensure clients can repair bad financial credit history, track their improvement campaign in measurable ways, and secure a better future for themselves and their family.

Clients can work with Fresh Start Consumer Services to clean up their past. This is achieved by working with the major credit bureaus and creditors to challenge the negative report items that affect the credit score.

Based in Warner Robins, GA, the expert team at Fresh Start Consumer Services is passionate about helping citizens to improve their credit score to give them more buying power. As a result of this, clients are able to secure more options in life.

The team understands that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and their services are designed to ensure that clients can get the most out of life. They also realize that a bad credit score can harm clients’ quality of life – and can be a difficult situation to get out of.

Fresh Start Consumer Services offer courses in credit repair and restoration, budget management, credit education and purchase assistance. Clients get easy access to their account 24/7 for live status updates on improvements, allowing them to fine-tune the management of their credit score.

Service options include personalized dispute options to fit each clients’ exact credit repair needs, an experienced case analyst and case advisor working personally with them throughout the process, custom dispute letters, and more.

For clients, there are a number of reasons to work with a credit repair specialist. Clients are able to secure significant savings on interest rates, attain better terms on loan products, and get access to the best credit card deals. They also gain access to more housing options.

The team states: “Fresh Start Consumer Services offers a unique combination of services that gives our clients the quality of life they deserve. We specialize in helping our clients achieve qualifying credit and the financial health they desire.”

Full details can be found on the URL above.

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Is it Possible to Trade In a Car Early?

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Yes, early trade-ins are possible when you finance a vehicle. In fact, there’s no set time frame on trading in a car. Most dealers won’t take a trade-in that’s too fresh, though, and it’s best to wait until there’s equity in your vehicle before you try to trade it in.

What’s a Trade-In?

When you trade in a car, you’re essentially selling it to a dealership and financing something else from their lot, without the hassle of selling and buying with separate transactions. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how and where you have to trade in your vehicle.

However, it’s beneficial to shop around and see which dealers can give you the best price, but you shouldn’t just head to a car lot and ask what they’re willing to offer you. When the time comes, there are several steps you may want to take to get ready for the trade-in process, especially if you’re looking to trade in early before you’ve had the chance to close the equity gap.

Trading In Early and Equity

Are Early Trade-Ins Possible When You Finance a Car?When you’re trading in a vehicle soon after you’ve financed it, you’re more likely to be in a negative equity position – owing more on your auto loan than the car is worth.

This is especially true if you financed a new vehicle, or a certified pre-owned car. Newer vehicles depreciate faster than used ones, which have typically already seen their biggest drop in value.

Depreciation is the loss of value over time and it can’t be stopped. It can be slowed, though. The best way to do this is by using a large down payment when you finance. This reduces the amount you have to borrow, and leaves you owing a price closer to what the car might cost after you drive it off the lot. New vehicles typically lose around 10% of their value as soon as they touch the road.

If you don’t have the equity to recoup your investment in a car, you have to make up that difference out of your own pocket. It’s much easier to trade in a vehicle that can pay for itself, but this isn’t always possible when you’re trying to do so early.

Preparing Your Early Trade-In

When you know that you’re starting with a deficit on your trade-in, it’s a good idea to be prepared to get the most you can. Clean the car thoroughly, both inside and out, and make sure to fix any minor damage that may have occurred in the short time since you took out your loan.

Getting the vehicle detailed and fixing major mechanical issues isn’t likely to result in a worthwhile increase to the cash in your pocket, so don’t go overboard. Remember, you want to make as much money on this trade as you can, and it’s probably cheaper for the dealership to fix any large issues.

Before you set foot in a dealer to get your trade-in appraised, it’s a good idea to know approximately how much your car is worth. You can find this out by going to online valuation sites such as Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides. Be sure to be honest when you’re inputting information, since it’s the only way to get an accurate estimate of possible value.

Shopping for Trade-In Values

Once you have the estimates (which you should print or save to your phone), it’s time to take your trade-in to get looked at. Taking it to a few different dealerships is a good way to find the best deal you can.

We recommend taking your early trade-in to at least three different dealers, making sure at least one of them is a franchised dealership that sells your vehicle’s brand. A franchised dealer that sells your car’s brand may be more likely to offer a higher price.

Depending on your credit situation, it’s likely a good idea to ensure you’re trying to trade in your vehicle to a dealership that can work with your situation, especially if you have poor credit. And that’s where Auto Credit Express can come in handy.

We have a nationwide network of special finance dealers that are signed up with subprime lenders who can help people in many different types of credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy.

The process is easy to get started – just fill out our free auto loan request form. We’ll match you to a local dealership that can get you started on the financing you need after your early trade-in.

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Jackson receives financial reporting award

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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) – The City of Jackson is getting international recognition for its transparency in financial reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Jackson for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program. Standards include demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the financial story of the City and encourage users and groups to read the CAFR. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

“This is great for the City as a whole because it improves our bond rating,” said City Manager Jonathan Greene. “We believe this award will help our residents understand the work we do to make the City’s finances transparent and easy to understand.”

Bond Ratings are letter grades assigned to bonds that indicates good or bad credit for an entity like the City of Jackson. By having a strong bond rating cities are granted opportunities to pay back interest at lower rates.

The CAFR can be viewed HERE.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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