Integra Credit Blog
While your credit score is only three digits, it can impact every facet of your life. From purchasing a car to renting an apartment to finding employment, your credit score may be a determining factor. That's why it's critical to understand how credit works and the factors that can negatively impact it, such as credit inquiries. A credit inquiry is any request by an authorized party to access your credit report and score. Read on to learn more about soft credit inquiries and their implications.
A credit report is like a history book, but instead of being about rulers, civilizations, or wars, it’s a history of your ability to manage debt. Lenders and other companies will open this book, review your past debt management, and then decide if you’re a good bet to do business with. This history book includes the records of how well you pay your bills, your amount of debt, what types of debt you have, and the age of your credit accounts. If a payment has been 30 days late or you have a perfect payment history, these things are reflected on the report and could result in very different outcomes when applying for future credit. From this past credit management experience comes a three-digit number called a credit score which has a significant impact on your ability to qualify for new credit.
We’ve all seen credit card solicitations promising a balance transfer with low or zero interest on the amount transferred for a specific period of time. People have several reasons why they transfer their balances, sometimes for convenience or potential financial savings, but it can be unclear how long the actual transfer will take. Let’s talk about how balance transfers work, the types of balance transfers, how long the process usually takes, and when it isn’t a good idea to utilize a balance transfer.
When you take out a personal loan, you expect the balance to decrease as you make payments. Even though a decreasing balance is a common assumption, the balance can actually increase, even if you make on-time payments. In fact, it's common with certain types of loans. Consider this, about half of student loan borrowers have a higher loan balance after five years, according to a Moody's report. Fortunately, an increasing loan balance doesn't have to be your reality. Let's explore the FAQ, "What increases your total loan balance?" and the simple steps you can take to ensure your loan balance is trending in the right direction.
We live in a time when there are many ways to send money, including mobile apps and electronic transfers directly from your bank account. For some transactions, a wire transfer might be necessary.
Wire transfers are a trusted way of sending money to another account worldwide and have existed long before anyone imagined mobile apps and electronic transfers. They are a quick and trusted way to send significant amounts of money.
Budgeting might seem intimidating, especially if you feel that you're living paycheck to paycheck. You must know how much to spend on specific household needs and how much to save. By committing to saving money and organizing your income and expenses, you become prepared to put away those funds that might be beneficial one day.
The easiest way to start saving is to consider a monthly budget dividing your after-tax income by specific percentages. The 50/30/20 rule is one of the most common percentage-based budgets, dividing your needs, wants, and savings to create a healthy mix.
One of the perks of renting is the flexibility of moving at the end of your lease. Even though you may intend on fulfilling the lease, life has a way of showing up at the most inopportune time. Whether it's illness, marriage, divorce, loss of employment, or accepting employment outside of the area, many situations may require you to break your lease.
Credit cards can be excellent or maddening, depending on their use. Either way, they have become essential to modern life. If you want to rent a car, book a dream cruise, or set up a new utility account, more than likely, you’ll be asked for a credit card number.
Checks may be a rare sight these days, but sometimes a cashier’s check will be required for large transactions to reassure that the check won’t bounce due to a lack of funds.
If you're not familiar with a cashier’s check, when one is used, or how to get one, don’t fear. We’re here to give you all of the details for when you might need to use a cashier's check.
Credit cards can be disastrous depending on the utilized amounts of credit and other factors. It’s a huge question; how many cards should you ideally have? Let’s dig into this question and how the number of credit cards you have might impact your credit score.
Today, credit cards reign as one of the most popular payment methods with 84% of adults in the United States owning a credit card. For most Americans, credit cards are their first introduction to managing credit with 73% of Americans having a credit card by the time they turn 25. Even though they're widely used, it's imperative to understand all the pros and cons of credit cards. Let's explore the pros and cons of credit cards, how to manage your cards responsibly, and potential alternatives.
If you already have a personal loan and need another, it's logical to think your original lender is a good place to start. However, this may or may not be the case. Every lender has specific underwriting standards and criteria that might dictate how many personal loans you're allowed to have at one time. Let's explore how many personal loans can you have at once.
With the rapidly increasing cost of education, student loan debt has become a reality for many graduates. At the same time, discovering the most ideal way to repay student loans can create a unique challenge of its own. To help you navigate the best path toward financial freedom, this article provides five tips you can use to help repay your student loans and take more control of your financial future. Read on for five tips designed to help you pay off your student loans.
While every lender can have different criteria for approving a loan, some lenders will issue loans to borrowers with no credit or bad credit. If you are unable to qualify for a loan, asking a family member to be a co-signer may improve your chances of being approved. A co-signer is often a family member, parent, or spouse who agrees to act as a guarantor on the loan. This individual agrees to pay the loan back if you do not make the payments. The co-signer is responsible for the debt, so it is vital to continue to make payments on the loan to protect both parties’ financial future and relationship. Fortunately, we outlined a few key ways to stay up to date and eventually pay off co-signed loans.
Finding the right loan for your financial situation can be challenging. There are many lenders and types of credit to choose from. They have different interest rates, repayment terms, and upfront fees.
Another factor that comes into play is that the loan could be secured or unsecured, and knowing the difference and the pros and cons of each is essential to ensuring the right loan product.
Few things are more frustrating than spending time loan shopping, signing the contract, and realizing it’s not the loan you need.
Let’s look at secured and unsecured loans and their differences so you’re ready the next time you’re looking to borrow money.
If you’re never quite sure how much money you’ll make in the upcoming year, you’re not alone. Irregular incomes are impacting more American households than ever; the share of gig workers across the US increased from 27% in 2016 to 37% in 2022. And in the wake of COVID-19, the gig and freelance economy has only continued to grow.
However, just because you don’t make the same amount of money every paycheck, doesn’t mean you can’t budget for a secure lifestyle. In fact, it’s even more critical to manage your money well when you’re not sure exactly how much is coming in each month.
Sound daunting? Let’s break it down. In this article we’ll reveal how to create a stable budget even with an irregular income.
Are you in debt? If so, you’re not alone. Consumer debt has increased steadily over the last ten years, and the majority of us are working to figure out how to handle repayment.
We all know that when you have debt, there’s usually a debt collector. But what exactly is debt collection and how does it work? In this article, we’ll demystify debt collection and share sound advice on what to do if a collector is banging down your door or blowing up your phone.
Understanding gross pay vs net pay is vital for individual budgeting and financial management. Many factors come into play that might make the difference between gross pay and net pay substantial. If you've ever questioned the difference between the two, we've got you covered.
If you're tight on cash, you have many options, including a cash advance. While this option may seem like the most convenient way to navigate out of a cash crunch, there is much more to a cash advance than what meets the eye. Because of this, it's important to understand all cash advance finance charges, implications, and possible alternatives. Let's take a closer look at the cash advance.
They might sound the same, but charge and credit cards are quite different, and it's not uncommon for people to think of them similarly.
Let's clear the waters and reveal the differences between the two starting with the often misunderstood charge card.
The ability to borrow moneyborrow money can be a powerful asset in your financial arsenal. However, banks and financial institutions aren't in the business of lending money for free. Instead, lending institutions charge borrowers a variety of fees to compensate themselves for the risk associated with issuing the loan. These fees and charges can be grouped together and categorized as finance charges.
Missing a loan payment is never a good thing. When that happens, your lender can take specific actions that could damage your credit and have long-term implications for your finances.
That said, falling behind on payments doesn’t automatically mean financial ruin. If you’re struggling to make payments, there are ways to work with your lender to prevent significant damage to your credit.
To help you understand your options, let’s take a deeper look at what happens when you default on a loan — and how to protect yourself financially.
There are many different reasons you might want to cancel a credit card. Maybe you want to lower your available credit, eliminate the card's yearly fees, or you just don't use it. Whatever the reason, many people are not familiar with how to close a credit card or the implications.
If you’re thinking it’s time to part ways with that piece of plastic, we're here to give some of the essential points to consider when closing your credit card.
According to a Bankrate survey, 56% of Americans would be unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 bill with their savings. Fortunately, your savings account isn't your only source of funding. You have several options, including a personal loan and lines of credit.
But when time is of the essence, personal loans may be the fastest, most cost-efficient, and easiest way to borrow. Let's take a closer look.
Life is anything but planned. Opportunities and challenges don't stick to a timeline; any moment could be the opportunity of a lifetime or the chance to overcome adversity. When life happens but your finances aren't in sync, a personal loan could be the solution to come out on top.
Whether you're looking to consolidate credit card debt or finance a large purchase, an installment loan may offer you the resources and flexibility you desire. It can be a real game changer, allowing you to receive a lump sum of cash and pay it back in smaller bits over time. Let's take a closer look at the installment loan.
When first seeking a loan, you will likely encounter a lot of terminology that’s new to you: APR, amortization, deferment. And no phrase is more nerve wracking than one which contains that dreaded word: fee. So what is a loan origination fee? Does a loan origination fee come with every loan? Can you avoid paying a loan origination fee?
In this article, we’ll demystify the meaning of loan origination fees and explain the different types you will run into. We’ll also explore when to avoid them, when to pay them, and whether or not they’re negotiable.
Sometimes, life doesn’t go to plan. If you realize there’s been a mistake, theft, or error when writing a check, you need to know how to cancel that check. You can’t rewind all of life’s blunders, and fortunately when it comes to your checking account, it often isn’t too late to stop the potential error in its tracks and save your money.
In this article, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about how to cancel a check that’s already been sent out, and what to expect during the cancellation process.
Being in debt isn’t easy. Repayment is challenging enough, but keeping track of multiple loans and lenders can feel downright overwhelming. So how can you simplify your financial situation and stay on top of what you owe?
One solution is debt consolidation. In this article, we’ll discuss debt consolidation, how it works, and how to figure out if a debt consolidation is the right fit for you.
When it comes to choosing a financial institution for your checking, savings, and financial needs, you have two primary options: a credit union vs a bank. Although banks and credit unions offer similar services and products, they are actually two different types of financial institutions. Let's take a closer look at the similarities and differences between banks and credit unions.
Finding and purchasing a vehicle can be intimidating and even nerve-wracking. However, the intimidation factor can increase exponentially if you have bad credit. Here's why — most banks, credit unions, and auto finance institutions are set up to serve the needs of customers with good to great credit scores.
If your credit score falls in the subprime range, or below, getting approved for a car loan can seem almost impossible. Fortunately, it's not. Let's take a closer look at what you can do to improve your chances of being approved for an auto loan with bad credit.
It’s becoming rare to see cash used as a method of payment. The inconvenience of carrying paper and coins has mostly been replaced by cards and digital forms of payment. The use of credit cards are now a prominent form of payment, but there are benefits and drawbacks associated with their use.
Anyone with good sense knows that it’s wise to keep your money in a bank account. Whether for the security of your funds, the convenience, or the interest-earning potential, bank accounts offer many benefits.
However, it’s not quite so simple as just waltzing up to your local branch and depositing your money. There are several different types of bank accounts available to you, all of which serve different purposes. In this article, we’ll break down four types of bank accounts, and explore which one might be right for you.
Many loans are tied to an asset you own. That’s often ideal when you need money to purchase a specific asset such as a home or car. But what about when you need money for a variety of uses or for something intangible like your education? In that case, you may want to consider an unsecured loan.
What is an unsecured loan? Unlike secured loans, which rely on a specific asset as collateral, unsecured loans are not collateralized by your property. Instead, they rely on factors such as your credit score and income.
Unsecured loans can be helpful for a variety of things — from tuition expenses to consolidating debt — but they are not for everyone or all situations. Let’s explore more about how these loans work, what types of options you’ll find, and how to know when they’re right for you.
Living paycheck to paycheck can be frustrating as you watch money go out as soon as your paycheck comes in. You're staying on top of bills and working hard but need help to look forward to a time when you can put money away.
An inability to save puts people in a tough spot when an emergency occurs. A surprise car repair or medical bill could become very problematic.
61% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck in June 2022, up 9% from an April 2021 low of 52%, making paycheck to paycheck living the most common financial lifestyle in the US. Some simple money management tips can bring you out of the paycheck to paycheck grind, put some cash away, and be prepared for when emergencies might come your way. You've got this.
Do you have a budget? Is this budget written down, updated, and referenced to ensure you're on track? If you answer no, you're not alone. In fact, only 32% of American households prepare a monthly budget. More so, 65% of Americans said they didn't know how much they spent last month. Together these two statistics can help explain why almost half of Americans (49%) wouldn't be able to cover a $400 emergency expense.
While budgeting isn't the end-all and be-all to your financial woes, it can certainly help improve your financial position. And budgeting is a lot easier than you think. Let's take a closer look at how to create a budget and critical budgeting methods you can use to improve your financial fitness.
Some expenses are hard to predict. Whether it’s a car breakdown or an unexpected illness, some things can’t be scheduled and planned into the budget.
Yet, just because you can’t plan for them doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. An emergency fund ensures that you’re ready when these unpredictable events happen. When you have surplus funds available, you can rest assured that an emergency won’t unsettle your financial stability.
There’s a big difference between knowing you need an emergency fund and building one, though. Let’s look at what these funds are, how to build them, and when to use them.
Most people know that saving money is an essential part of building a secure financial future. It’s simple to acknowledge but the reality of saving money is quite a bit more complicated. How much money should you be saving each month? Is there a set dollar amount you should be putting away? What percentage of your income will be enough to save up for retirement?
With such an emotionally charged topic, you need clear and simple advice from the experts. So keep reading to figure out approximately how much money you should save each month, and why it’s important.
When a consumer’s vehicle breaks down, their house needs a costly repair, or other unforeseen expenses arise, they might not have the funds to cover the costs. A personal loan or line of credit can help them make ends meet.
There are many loan options available and trying to decide on which one is right for you can be overwhelming. Consumers should educate themselves on the differences between loan options to make the best choice.
It’s common for people to need more money than they have saved to purchase a home, car, pay tuition, or repair their homes. They may also need an emergency loan if they are running short on funds until the next paycheck.
There are many options for borrowing money, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Understanding how to borrow money can help consumers make good decisions.
While most people have heard of overdraft fees, they might not know what an NSF fee is. NSF stands for “non-sufficient funds”. NSF Fees and overdraft fees are different. We have compiled information to explain what the term ‘non-sufficient funds’ mean, how much NSF fees typically cost, the difference between non-sufficient funds and overdrafts, and how to avoid unnecessary bank fees.
The days of paper checks, physically walking into a bank, and deposit slips are long gone — for most of us. Instead, we are living in the days of digital banking. And to save you time and money, lenders use direct deposit for funding for funding loans.
By leveraging direct deposit, they can shave days or even weeks off the process of you receiving your loan proceeds. While direct deposit is widely used throughout all industries, there is still a bit of confusion over how it works and its expectations.
To provide clarity, we've created a quick guide to direct deposit for loans. Let's take a closer look.
You know the letters and expect to see them when comparing personal loans, credit cards, secured loans, and lines of credit. When considering borrowing money, APR is one measure that allows you to compare the cost of different products.
Financial literacy can impact a person’s daily life in many ways. Where they live, what vehicle they drive, and when they can retire all hinge on how a person manages their finances.
Everyone should take time to understand their situation and how they can work to improve their financial health. Where should they begin? We will discuss what financial literacy is, why it is important, and how to leverage this knowledge.
If a person owns a vehicle and needs access to funds, a title loan may be one of the options they consider. As with any financial decision, consumers should research how a loan works, its terms, and the requirements for paying back the debt. This article explains what title loans are, how they work, their advantages, the drawbacks, and the other options available for consumers seeking cash.
Your car breaks down. You have an unexpected medical bill. A storm causes damage to your house that is not covered by insurance. A beloved pet becomes ill. You have a serious toothache or other urgent personal needs. These are examples of things that may create the need for an emergency loan.
This guide will help you understand more about emergency loans, the types of emergency loans available, and how to get an emergency loan.
A person can have the best budget in place, and then life happens. They get sick, their car breaks down, their hours get cut at work, or a kitchen appliance needs replacing.
In a perfect world, everyone would have a large savings they could pull from during emergencies. For most people though, that’s not the reality. Chances are good that an unexpected expense arises, most people won’t have the funds to cover it.
The federal government offers a range of grants to help individuals and families. Many people may need extra help paying energy bills, such as electricity bills, college-related expenses, or healthcare. There are a number of government hardship grants that provide fast cash. These grants can provide you peace of mind that you are able to pay for food, utility bills, housing, and other daily expenses.