RANKED: The 10 Best Options When You Need Cash Fast

What happens when your emergency fund isn’t enough?

Long-term unemployment or a medical emergency can easily dry up a once-healthy rainy day fund, leaving consumers wondering where to turn next. According to a recent consumer expectations survey by the New York Federal Reserve, only one in three Americans say they wouldn’t be able come up with $2,000 within a month to cover an unexpected expense.

It’s during times of vulnerability like this that it’s easy to jump at seemingly quick and easy sources of cash, like payday lenders, credit cards, or even your 401(k).

Unfortunately, practically every potential source of cash that doesn’t come from your own piggy bank is going to cost you in some way.

But at this point, it’s all about choosing the lesser of all evils — when all you have are crummy options, how do you decide which one is the best of the worst?

We’ve ranked common sources of emergency short-term cash from best to worst, which can help you sort through your borrowing options when your savings dry up.

#1 Personal loan from family and friends

It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have with a loved one, but asking a friend or relative for a small loan can be a far better idea than turning to high-interest credit debt, or worse, payday lenders. Unless they’re offering, it doesn’t have to be an interest-free loan. Agree on an interest rate that seems fair and is lower than what you’d find through a bank or other lender.

Because you have a relationship already, you may have an easier time convincing them to lend you money versus a bank that would make the decision after doing a credit check and evaluating other financial information.

#2 (tie) Lender-backed personal loan

A personal loan can be a solid borrowing option if you need money in a pinch or you’re looking to consolidate other debt. The process to apply for a personal loan is similar to applying for a credit card or auto loan, in that the lender will run your credit and offer you a certain rate based on your creditworthiness.

If your credit is poor, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the running for a personal loan, but it will cost you in the form of much higher interest charges. For example, Lending Club offers loans with APRs from 5.99% to 35.85%, but it’s willing to lend to people with a credit score as low as 600.

Why choose a personal loan over a credit card? It really comes down to math. If you can find a personal loan that will cost less in the long term than using a credit card, then go for it. Use this personal loan calculator to estimate how much a loan will cost you over time. Then, run the same figures through this credit card payoff calculator.

#2 (tie) Credit cards

If your need for cash is truly short-term and you have enough income to pay it off quickly, then credit card debt can be a decent option. This option gets even better if you can qualify for a card with a 0% interest offer. The card will let you buy some time by allowing you to cover your essentials while you work on paying off the balance.

Because the debt is unsecured, unlike an auto title loan, you aren’t putting your assets at risk if you can’t pay. Westlake, Ohio-based certified financial planner Edward Vargo says he would recommend using credit card debt first.

#3 Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

You may be able to leverage the equity in your home to cover short-term emergency needs. A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, is a revolving credit line extended to a homeowner using your home as collateral. How much you can take out will depend on your home’s value, your remaining mortgage balance, your household income, and your credit score. A home equity line of credit may allow you to borrow the maximum amount, or only as much as you need. You will also be responsible for the costs of establishing and maintaining the home equity line of credit. You can learn more about these here.

You’ll choose the repayment schedule and can set that for less than 10 years or more than 20 years, but the entire balance must be paid in full by the end of the loan term. You’ll pay interest on what you borrow, but you may be able to deduct it from your income taxes. Keep in mind that if you are unemployed, it will be unlikely that you’ll be approved for a HELOC.

HELOC vs. Personal loans

Because home equity lines of credit are secured against the borrower’s home, if you default on your home equity line of credit, your lender can foreclose on your home. Personal loans, on the other hand, are usually unsecured, so, while failure to make your payments on time will adversely impact your credit, none of your personal property is at risk.

#4 A 401(k) loan

A 401(k) loan may be a good borrowing option if you’re in a financial pinch and are still employed. And it is a far better bet than turning to a payday lender or pawn shop for a loan. Because you’re in effect borrowing from yourself, any interest you pay back to the account is money put back in your retirement fund. You are allowed to borrow up to $50,000 or half of the total amount of money in your account, whichever is less. Typically, 401(k) loans have to be repaid within five years, and you’ll need to make payments at least quarterly.

But there are some cons to consider. If you get laid off or change jobs, a 401(k) loan immediately becomes due, and you’ll have 60 days to repay the full loan amount or put the loan funds into an IRA or other eligible retirement plan. If you don’t make the deadline, the loan becomes taxable income and the IRS will charge you another 10% early withdrawal penalty.

#5 Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) withdrawal

Generally, withdrawing funds from your retirement savings is a big no-no, because you’re going to miss out on any gains you might have enjoyed had you kept your money in the market. On top of that, there are fees and tax penalties, which we’ll cover in the next section.

But there is an exception: the Roth IRA or Roth 401(k).

Because funds contributed to Roth accounts are taxed right away, you won’t face any additional tax or penalties for making a withdrawal early. The caveat is that you can only withdraw from the principal amount you’ve contributed — you’re not allowed to withdraw any of the investment gains your contributions have earned without facing taxes and penalties.

However, it is still true that any money you take out is money that will not have a chance to grow over time, so you will still miss out on those earnings.

#6 Traditional 401(k) or IRA withdrawal

Experts typically recommend against borrowing from your 401(K) or IRA, but when you’re in desperate need of cash, it may be your best option.

Just understand the risks.

If you withdraw funds from a traditional retirement account before age 59 1/2 , the money will be taxed as income, and you’ll be charged a 10% early distribution penalty tax by the IRS. You may want to speak with a tax professional to estimate how much you’ll have to pay in taxes and take out more than you need to compensate for that loss. There’s no exception to the income tax, but there are a number of exceptions to the 10% penalty, such as qualified education expenses or separation from service — when you leave a company, whether by retirement, quitting, or getting fired or laid off — at 55 years or older.

When you take that money out, not only will you lose out on potential tax-deferred investment growth, but you’ll also lose a huge chunk of your retirement savings to taxes and penalties.

#7 Reverse mortgage

Homeowners 62 years old and older have another option for cash in a pinch: a reverse mortgage. With a reverse mortgage, your property’s equity is converted into (usually) tax-free payments for you. You can take the money up front as a line of credit, receive monthly payments for a fixed term or for as long as you live in the home, or choose a mix of the options. You keep the title, but the lender pays you each month to buy your home over time.

In most cases, you won’t be required to repay the loan as long as you’re still living in your home. You’ll also need to stay current on obligations like homeowners insurance, real estate taxes, and basic maintenance. If you don’t take care of those things, the lender may require you to pay back the loan.

The loan becomes due when you pass away or move out, and the home must be sold to repay the loan. If you pass away, and your spouse is still living in the home but didn’t sign the loan agreement, they’ll be allowed to continue living on the property, but won’t receive any more monthly payments. When they pass away or move out, the home will be sold to repay the loan.

The reverse mortgage may take a month or longer to set up, but once you get the paperwork set you can choose to take a line of credit, which could serve as an emergency fund, advises Columbus, Ohio-based certified financial planner Tom Davison.

He says the reverse mortgage’s advantages lie in the fact that it doesn’t need to be paid back until the homeowner permanently leaves the house, and it can be paid down whenever the homeowner is able. You can also borrow more money later if you need it, as the line of credit will grow at the loan’s borrowing rate.

Take care to look at the fine print before you sign. Under current federal law, you’ll only have three days, called a right of rescission, to cancel the loan. Reverse mortgage lenders also usually charge fees for origination, closing, and servicing over the life of the mortgage. Some even charge mortgage insurance premiums. Also, if you pass away before the loan is paid back, your heirs will have to handle it.

#8 Payday loan alternatives

While regulators work to reign in the payday lending industry, a new crop of payday loan alternatives is beginning to crop up.

Services like Activehours or DailyPay allow hourly wage earners to get paid early based on the hours they’ve already worked. Activehours allows you to withdraw up to $100 each day and $500 per pay period, while DailyPay, which caters to delivery workers, has no cap. DailyPay tracks the hours logged by workers and sends a single payment with the day’s earnings, minus a fee ranging from 99 cents to $1.49.

Another alternative could be the Build Card by FS Card. The product targets customers with subprime credit scores and offers an initial low, unsecured $500 credit limit to borrowers, which increases as they prove creditworthiness. The card will cost you a $72 annual membership fee, a one-time account setup fee of $53, plus $6 per month just to keep it in your wallet. It also comes with a steep interest rate — 29.9%. After all of the initial fees, your initial available limit should be about $375.

#9 Pawn shop loans

Pawn shop loan interest charges can get up to 36% in some states and there are other fees you’ll have to pay on top of the original loan.

Pawn shops get a shady rap, but they are a safer bet than payday lenders and auto title loans. Here’s why: Because you are putting up an item as collateral for a payday loan, the worst that can happen is that they take possession of the item if you skip out on payments. That can be devastating, especially if you’ve pawned something of sentimental value. But that’s the end of the ordeal — no debt collectors chasing you (payday loans) and no getting locked out of your car and losing your only mode of transportation (title loans).

#10 Payday loans and auto title loans

We have, of course, saved the worst of the worst options for last.

When you borrow with a payday loan but can’t afford to pay it back within the standard two-week time frame, it can quickly become a debt trap thanks to triple-digit interest rates. According to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 14% of payday loan borrowers can afford enough out of their monthly budgets to repay an average payday loan. Some payday lenders offer installment loans, which require a link to your bank account and gives them access to your funds if you don’t pay.

Some payday lenders today require access to a checking account, meaning they can dip in and take money from your bank account if you miss a payment. Also, your payday loan will be reflected on your credit report. So if things end badly, your credit will suffer as well. They have no collateral, so payday lenders will continue to hound you if you miss payments.

And, of course, auto title lenders require you to put up your wheels as collateral for a loan. And if you rely heavily on your car to get to and from work, having it repossessed by a title lender could hurt you financially in more ways than one. The loans are usually short-term — less than 30 days — so this might not be a good option for you if you don’t foresee a quick turnaround time for repayment. If your household depends on your car for transportation, you may not want to try this option as there is a chance you could lose your car. If you don’t repay the loan, the lender can take your vehicle and sell it to cover the loan amount.

One more thing to watch out for is the advertised interest rate. Auto title lenders will often advertise the monthly rate, not the annualized one. So a 20% interest rate for the month is actually 240% APR.

The post RANKED: The 10 Best Options When You Need Cash Fast appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Travel Often? Make Sure Your Credit Card Has These 6 Features

While they aren’t as flashy as signup bonuses or travel credits, these features can drive down travel costs and offer protection in case of emergency.

Travel credit cards come in many forms and offer a variety of benefits. Some cards earn miles and points that can be redeemed for travel expenses, while others might be tied to specific hotel chains or airlines. The benefits and costs vary. Frequent travelers should choose a card that rewards the way they spend and the way they travel.

No matter what miles programs or travel perks you want, certain travel features can come in handy on any trip. While they aren’t as flashy as signup bonuses or travel credits, these features can drive down travel costs and offer protection in case of emergency. (You’ll need a solid credit score to qualify for a card with the best features. Check two of your scores on Credit.com.)

Here are six features to look for when evaluating a travel credit card.

1. Free Foreign Transactions

If you tend to travel abroad, you could be paying more than necessary every time you swipe your credit card. Many credit cards issue a foreign transaction fee every time you pay, usually around 3% of the transaction amount. If you use a credit card for most purchases when you travel, this can add significantly to the cost of your trip.

When evaluating travel cards, make sure they offer free foreign transactions.

2. Trip Cancellation Insurance

No travel plans can be set in stone. Emergencies or last-minute complications can wreck your itinerary. In many cases, changing or canceling a trip could cause you to forfeit some of your expenses. With trip cancellation or delay insurance, credit card providers will reimburse you any nonrefundable costs you paid for with your credit card.

3. Car Rental Collision Coverage

If you frequently rent cars during your travels, you’re likely used to car rental agencies trying to sell additional collision insurance. But many travel credit cards extend collision insurance to any car rentals you charge to your card, giving you the freedom to decline additional coverage and save on those costs.

4. Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Not all travel cards offer lost luggage reimbursement, and policies may differ between credit card companies. The total amount of coverage can vary and each policy may have different requirements. In any case, lost luggage is a risk any time you entrust your bags to an airline, cruise ship or other transportation provider. With this feature, credit card providers reimburse you for any lost luggage (up to a certain monetary amount).

5. Baggage Delay Insurance

If your baggage is misplaced, lost or otherwise delayed, baggage delay insurance covers the cost of any urgent needs created by the delay. Necessities covered may include clothes, toiletries and other essential items.

6. Emergency Travel Assistance

Travel assistance and emergency services can help you make last minute travel arrangements or respond to an emergency during your trip. This could include travel reservations, quick access to medical or legal professionals and roadside assistance. Some credit card companies offer 24/7 emergency service for these urgent requests.

Image: william87

The post Travel Often? Make Sure Your Credit Card Has These 6 Features appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills

The cost of pet supplies can add up, but these cards can help you save.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Your pets are more than just cute — they’re members of the family. Like any family member, you want to keep them happy and healthy. But the cost of pet food, veterinarian visits, medication and other supplies can add up.

Some credit cards make spending on your pet a walk in the park using cash back, rewards points or 0% interest offers.

The best cards for pet lovers make it easier to afford your animal friends. These credit cards do the trick.

1. American Kennel Club Visa

The Draw: Three points per dollar spent at pet stores, vets and the AKC, two points per dollar spent on gas and groceries and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 12.98%, 18.99% or 22.99%
Why We Picked It: This card rewards pet purchases, helps with gas and groceries and supports the AKC.
Benefits: All purchases made on this card earn rewards points, with special value put on pet, fuel and grocery expenses. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. Plus, a percentage of sales made on the card goes to benefit the AKC, an organization that supports dog breeders and canine health. You can get your card customized to include your pet’s photo.
Drawbacks: If you’re not a fan of dog breeding, keep looking.

2. Chase Freedom

The Draw: 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% unlimited cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating categories, but Shop through Chase can help you save on pet purchases.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories such as grocery stores and gas. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You’ll also get access to Shop through Chase, which offers 1% to 15% extra cash back rewards at select online retailers, including PetSmart. Plus, there’s a $150 signup bonus.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track and activate cash-back categories on a quarterly basis, this card will be a headache.

3. Amazon Rewards Visa Card

The Draw: 3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% if you have Amazon Prime), 2% cash back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: If you prefer to shop for your furry friends online, the Amazon card can help you earn back some money.
Benefits: Your earnings can be redeemed for cash back, Amazon purchases and more. With cash back ranging from 3% to 5% on Amazon.com purchases, you can save on those bulk bags of dog food.
Drawbacks: This card won’t deliver as much value if you prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations.

4. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Draw: 6% cash back at supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: This card is a no-brainer if you make pet purchases at the grocery store.
Benefits: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, this card can earn cash quick if you make pet purchases at the grocery store. Plus, that $150 bonus boosts the first-year value of the card.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $95.

5. Citi Simplicity

The Draw: A 0% intro APR period that’s perfect for big balances
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: For large vet bills, this card offers plenty of time to pay down your balance interest-free. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Benefits: The card’s greatest asset is the 21-month intro 0% APR offer. If you have a large vet bill coming due, charging it to this card (or initiating a balance transfer) would give you nearly two years to pay it off with no interest.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards points or cash-back offers, so the card isn’t as valuable for everyday spending.

How to Choose a Card for Pet Expenses

If you’re looking for a card solely for pet expenses, choose a card that most rewards your supplier of choice. For instance, if you buy all your pet supplies online, the Amazon.com credit card might be best. If you buy all your supplies at grocery stores, a card with a high grocery store cash-back rate would be appropriate. If you need to transfer a hefty vet bill from an existing card to a new one, a card with a long intro 0% APR period would be suitable.

However, if you also plan to use your card for everyday spending, you’ll probably want to look at your spending activity and choose a card that will reward your overall behavior. This way, you’ll get rewarded on everything you buy.

Consider your goals, spending habits and the needs of your animal companions before you choose a card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card for My Pet Spending?

Cards with cash back, spending rewards and other enticing offers usually require good to excellent credit. You should know where your credit stands before you apply for a credit card, as a hard inquiry into your credit can lower your score a few points. You can check your score for free on Credit.com before you apply to reduce the risk of a rejected application.

Image: bluecinema 

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom, Citi Simplicity and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills appeared first on Credit.com.

3 Credit Cards That Help Music Fans See the Coolest Shows

These cards can help you see shows from your favorite artists and earn rewards for everyday spending.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Concerts let you experience your favorite musical artists with a community of like-minded fans in a live setting. Live music fanatics know the thrill of the concert experience, and they’re constantly watching to secure tickets for the best shows.

Whether you prefer bombastic arena events or intimate venues, you could benefit from a credit card that helps connect you with tickets. Some cards can help you hit shows from your favorite artists and earn rewards for everyday spending.

1. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: Dining and entertainment purchases earn double points, and cardholders get access to presale tickets and VIP concert packages.
Benefits: This card earns two points for every dollar spent on dining and entertainment, which includes live concerts, record store purchases and music streaming services. Other purchases earn one point per dollar. Points can be redeemed for dining, entertainment, retail goods and more. Plus, with Citi Private Pass, cardholders get access to tickets for thousands of annual events, including concert presales and VIP packages.
Drawbacks: If you tend to prefer cheaper shows and don’t dine out often, you won’t be taking full advantage of the double points. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Cardholders can get presale tickets and exclusive access to many live music events in New York City.
Benefits: Cardholders earn double points for every dollar spent on dining and travel and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Points can be redeemed in many ways, but the greatest value is reserved for travel redemptions made through Chase’s booking platform. Chase Inside Access grants VIP access and presales to exclusive events at venues including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater.
Drawbacks: When it comes to concerts, Chase is primarily focused on New York City venues, so if you aren’t an NYC local (or reasonably nearby) you may want to look elsewhere. The card’s greatest value is also reserved for frequent travelers.

3. Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

Rewards: Two points per dollar on up to $6,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 10,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Redeeming points for concert tickets is simple with this card.
Benefits: Cardholders earn double points for U.S. supermarket purchases and one point on the dollar everywhere else. American Express customers often get access to presale tickets and special events when buying tickets through the Membership Experiences website. Plus, points can easily be redeemed directly with Ticketmaster for ticket purchases.
Drawbacks: The card’s points system is only valuable to those who spend a lot on groceries.

How to Choose a Card for Live Music

Credit cards for music lovers should reward cardholders as they spend and grant special access to tickets and events.

When evaluating cards for your live music habit, look at the purchase types that earn the most rewards. You’ll want to choose a card that incentivizes the type of purchases you already make.

You’ll also want to look at the types of events and tickets your card can help you access before you take the plunge and apply. The events should reflect your live music preferences. If they don’t, you probably won’t get much use out of them.

One last thing to keep in mind is that most “exclusive” ticket programs are available through all or many of the credit cards offered by the issuer. If the main appeal is access to these programs, look at all available cards from the issuer. Chances are, they’ll have a card that fits your lifestyle.

What Is Required to Get a Card for Concerts?

Cards that provide live music rewards often require good to excellent credit. You should be aware of where your credit stands before you apply. A hard inquiry from a credit card application can cause your credit score to dip a few points. If you aren’t sure where your credit stands, you can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: PeopleImages 

At publishing time, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card and Amex EveryDay credit card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 3 Credit Cards That Help Music Fans See the Coolest Shows appeared first on Credit.com.

The Best Ways to Handle Your Money When Traveling

Here are some of the more common options, along with their pros and cons.

So you’ve picked your destination, booked your flights and packed your bags. Planning a trip is always equal parts exciting and stressful as you figure out the logistics. One thing many people fail to look into is how they’ll handle their money when they’re away. Whether you’re traveling abroad or one state over, you need to figure out the best way to make purchases during your trip. Here are some of the more common options, along with their pros and cons.

Cash

Arguably the easiest way to pay for things while traveling, cash also has drawbacks.

Pros — If you’re good at estimating how much you spend on travel, cash might not be such a bad idea. If you can make one trip to the ATM and be done, that’s probably the fastest and least obtrusive way to deal with money when traveling.

Cons — Taking out a wad of cash isn’t the best idea, for safety reasons. It’s probably better to make multiple trips and carry only as much as you need in case it gets lost or stolen. Remember, if you’ll need foreign currency, your bank may charge you a foreign transaction fee to take out cash. There may be additional fees associated with taking cash out at foreign ATMs as well. Check with your bank before taking money out and learn some credit and debit card tips for overseas travelers.

Credit Cards

Credit cards offer a fairly stress-free way to deal with your finances when traveling — but beware user fees.

Pros — Paying with a credit card means never having to worry if you have enough money for goods or services. Paying with your credit card also usually offers you a level of protection that cash doesn’t. Check with your provider to determine their policy on trip insurance or if they have any travel discounts. If your card is lost or stolen, you won’t be responsible for charges you didn’t make. If your card has a good rewards program, you’ll earn those rewards with every purchase you make. (Be sure to keep an eye on your credit score for any unexpected changes. They could be a sign of identity theft. You can check two of your scores free on Credit.com.)

Cons — Even if you plan to make credit cards your go-to payment method during your trip, it’s a good idea to have a little cash, for things like cab rides and tips. The other downside of credit cards: foreign transaction fees. Many credit card companies charge fees for every swipe in a foreign country, which can add up. Check with your bank for specifics. (Here’s how to avoid currency conversion fees.) You might also want to look into the best overall travel credit cards of 2017, as well as the best international travel credit cards, if you travel abroad frequently.

Prepaid Travel Cards

Prepaid travel cards may not be as popular as other payment methods, but they’re becoming widespread and may be worth looking into for your next trip.

Pros — Details vary based on the issuing bank, but in general, these cards all work the same way. You can purchase your prepaid travel card online or at your bank. Activate and register your card, then load it with whatever amount of money you want. You can add more later online in most cases, assuming your card is reloadable. Be sure to ask, as prepaid travel cards carry limits. Most prepaid travel cards come with additional perks. Check with the bank to see yours. They also typically carry the same protections as your regular credit card like zero-liability protection.

Cons — You need to track of how much you spend on your prepaid travel card since it comes preloaded with a set amount of money — a good thing for big spenders. Also, unlike a regular credit card, you need to reload your card with money when you run out. You’ll likely incur foreign transaction fees, and some companies charge higher fees for prepaid travel cards.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks work in a similar way to cash, but offer more protections.

Pros — Unlike cash, identification and signature verification are required to cash traveler’s checks, and if they’re lost or stolen, the issuer will usually replace them without a problem.

Cons — You may pay a small transaction fee to pick up your traveler’s checks, but in most instances if you’re getting them from your normal bank, they will be free. As with cash, you must make an educated guess on how many you’ll need for your trip. Additionally, while travelers checks are accepted at the same rate of exchange as cash, not all places accept them. Do your research before you decide to use this method of payment. It likely won’t be the only one you’ll need on your trip.

Image: RossHelen

The post The Best Ways to Handle Your Money When Traveling appeared first on Credit.com.

3 Credit Cards for Bad Credit That Actually Offer Rewards

While most credit cards for people with bad credit don't have many perks, a few provide cash back or travel rewards.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

If you have bad credit, you may think you’re automatically unqualified for credit cards that offer cash back or travel rewards. For many cards, that may be true.

But you’re not necessarily locked out of earning rewards. While most credit cards for people with bad credit don’t have many perks, a few provide cash back or travel rewards. Here are three. (Note: You should always check with the card issuers for specific terms and conditions before applying for any card.)

1. Discover it Secured

Rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations, 1% cash back on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: Discover matches the cash back you earn in the first year.
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 23.74%
Why We Picked It: This secured card offers cash back on everything, with an extra incentive for dining and gas purchases.
Benefits: Secured credit cards require a security deposit equal to your credit line. For instance, a $300 deposit lands you a $300 limit on your card. Discover’s secured card offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, they’ll match the cash back you earn your first year.
Drawbacks: You’ll need an upfront security deposit of at least $200 to access this card.

2. Credit One Bank Cash Back Rewards Visa

Rewards: 1% cash back on all eligible purchases
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 to $75 the first year, $0 to $99 after
APR: Variable 15.65% to 24.15%
Why We Picked It: This unsecured card provides 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Benefits: Credit One Bank’s cash-back cards earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases, which vary based on which of their five cash back cards you qualify for. Eligible purchases may include gas, groceries, utility bills and dining.
Drawbacks: Credit One isn’t transparent on how they determine which of their cash-back cards you’ll receive, and there’s a highly variable annual fee.

3. AeroMexico Visa Secured Card

Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on gas and groceries, one mile for every dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 5,000 bonus miles with your first purchase and a companion flight certificate
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, $25 after
APR: Variable 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Frequent AeroMexico flyers can earn miles toward their flights.
Benefits: This secured card earns two miles per dollar spent on gas and grocery purchases and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. Points are redeemable for AeroMexico flights. New cardholders get a bonus of 5,000 miles and a round trip flight for a companion. There’s also an annual $99 companion certificate. All flights get a complimentary checked bag.
Drawbacks: If you prefer another airline, you won’t get much mileage out of this card.

How to Choose a Rewards Card for Bad Credit

Choosing a rewards card for bad credit depends on your financial circumstances. One of the most important reasons to get a card for bad credit is to rebuild your credit, so you’ll want to choose a card that can help you do that.

Pay attention to the fees and APR associated with any card you’re considering. While a security deposit for a secured card may seem like a steep upfront expense, it might be worth it if you can avoid higher fees later.

Choose a card that rewards your spending habits and provides incentives for the types of purchases you tend to make. And make sure you’re avoiding these seven red flags as you’re deciding on a credit card for bad credit.

What Is Required to Get a Rewards Card for Bad Credit?

Many credit cards for bad credit are available to consumers with a checkered or nonexistent credit history, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to qualify. Before you apply, you should know your credit score so you can have a better idea of what cards are right for you. You can check two of your credit scores for free with Credit.com.

Image: Astarot

At publishing time, the Discover it Secured and Credit One Cash Back Rewards Visa credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 3 Credit Cards for Bad Credit That Actually Offer Rewards appeared first on Credit.com.

What an Interest Rate Hike Could Mean for Your Wallet

We spoke with a couple of financial advisors to find out what the Fed's new benchmark rate may mean for your money.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank that determines interest rates, plans to meet in Washington. Unless something goes off the rails, chances are the Fed will approve another quarter-point hike in interest rates. You may not think that affects you, but chances are it will. We spoke with a couple of financial advisers to find out what the Fed’s new benchmark rate could mean for your money.

Auto Loans 

Though lenders have begun offering variable-rate loans, most car buyers take out fixed-rate loans. Since the loan is fixed, the Fed’s interest hike probably won’t have a direct impact on your loan, said Robert Dowling, a financial planner with Modera Wealth Management in Westwood, New Jersey. However, if you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, prepare to face higher interest rates for the new loan.

Credit Cards

Credit cards, which typically come with variable interest rates, will definitely be affected by the Fed’s rate hike, said Dowling. If you maintain a balance, as many consumers do, expect to see your monthly payments go up — and your balance balloon if you aren’t careful.

If you can’t afford a higher monthly payment or feel compelled to pay off your debt, now’s the time. Ridding yourself of debt will free up your budget and help you improve your credit score. Debt is one of the key factors lenders use to determine whether to extend credit. You can learn more about the high price of debt and its affect on your credit score here. (Not sure where your credit stands? View two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Mortgages

With interest rates expected to rise, prepare for your monthly mortgage payment to rise along with them if your loan has a variable rate, said Jude Boudreaux, a financial planner based in New Orleans. “The higher the interest rate and more variable the debt, the more of an issue [the Fed rate hike] certainly is.”

Higher rates also put pressure on the sale of homes, though you shouldn’t rush to buy one if you aren’t financially ready. “People never go to the bank and say, ‘I want to spend $300,000 on a house,'” said Boudreaux. “They go to a lender and say, ‘Here’s my income and my debts, what can I afford?’ So when interest rates rise, what they can afford is less.” You can see how much home you can reasonably buy here.

Savings Accounts & Certificates of Deposit

At times, major banks quickly respond to Fed rate hikes by paying higher interest on savings accounts. That isn’t always the case, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around if you want better rates. According to experts, online banks, community banks and credit unions may raise their rates faster as they attempt to lure customers away from major banks.

Refinancing

“The Fed has made it clear that they would like to raise rates this year, so in general, what that means for us is if we have debt that we can lock in at lower interest rates, great,” said Boudreaux. If refinancing your home is on the agenda, “take a hard look at those numbers.”

Likewise, if you’re burdened by student loan debt and looking to move from a federal to private lender, “that would be a high priority too,” said Boudreaux, who’s seen interest rates soar in response to the Fed. Doing what you can now to offset higher costs in the future could be a boon for your savings.

Keep your eye out Wednesday to see what happens next.

Image: gruizza

The post What an Interest Rate Hike Could Mean for Your Wallet appeared first on Credit.com.

Review: Aspire Credit Union Platinum MasterCard Balance Transfer

When you have a less than stellar credit score, and you’re battling credit card debt, it can seem like a steep uphill battle. You want a balance transfer, but finding a card that you qualify for and that has a low introductory rate for balance transfers can be tough. This is where the Aspire Platinum MasterCard (from a credit union) comes into play.

It offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months. It also doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee during the introductory period. There is no annual fee, and the standard purchase APR is much lower than the competition. This is the best balance transfer for fair credit that we could find on the market.

MasterCard Platinum from Aspire FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

On Aspire Credit Union’s Website

MasterCard Platinum from Aspire FCU

Intro Rate
0%
promotional rate
Fee
2%
APR
8.90%-18.00%
Transfer Period
6 months
Credit required
Average

Average

  • No annual fee
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • After intro period variable 8.90%-18.00% APR
  • 2% balance transfer fee, waived during the intro period
  • 1% foreign transaction fee
  • Generous credit limits

How the Card Works

In order to apply for this credit card, you need to open a savings account and maintain a minimum deposit of $5, and you will need to be a member of the credit union. Fortunately, anyone can join the credit union. During the credit card application process, you can elect to join the American Consumer Council (at no cost), which will make you eligible for all credit union products.

The credit card itself is relatively simple. The Platinum MasterCard has been created for people with fair to good credit. The card has a good intro balance transfer offer and much lower ongoing interest rates than traditional credit card companies.

The balance transfer offer is relatively simple. You will get a 0% introductory APR for six months with no balance transfer fee during this period. Although there are much longer balance transfer offers in the market, most of those are not available to people with fair credit. So, although this is a relatively short balance transfer, it might be the best offer for someone with fair credit.

The card has no annual fee. After the 0% intro offer the interest rate will revert to the standard purchase APR, which is from 8.90% to 18%. Most credit card issuers tend to start in the teens and end in the 20s (14%-24%, for example). These are very good rates — and for people with fair credit, these could be excellent rates.

Just remember: You can only transfer debt from other credit card issuers. That is probably not an issue (because you most likely do not already have debt with Aspire), but it is something to remember. Also, the 0% offer lasts for six months from the date you open the card, not six months from the date you transfer the debt. So you should get the transfer done as soon as possible.

How to Qualify for the Card

The Aspire Platinum MasterCard is designed for those with a fair to good credit score, somewhere between 600 and 700. If you fall in this range, you are likely to qualify.

Just remember that credit score is only part of the underwriting decision. Most credit card issuers, including this credit union, will want to know that you can afford to repay the debt. That means you will need to have a job and sufficient income.

What We Like About the Card

Finally, a balance transfer for people with fair credit.

If you have fair credit, it can be impossible to get approved for a balance transfer offer. This is one of the only (and by default, best) deals that we could find to get a 0% balance transfer. Just remember: This offer is for people with fair to good credit. If you have good credit, you can find a much better deal with someone else (with a longer balance transfer). But if you have fair credit (low 600s), this is probably one of the best deals out there.

Low ongoing APR.

Because this balance transfer offer is only for six months, you will probably still have debt remaining after the balance transfer is over. Fortunately, Aspire offers credit union rates. There are no rewards on the card — but that helps to keep the interest rate low.

What We Don’t Like About the Card

Short introductory period.

The Aspire card has a very short introductory period of only six months. This is low compared to other cards that have intro periods around 15 months and can be as many as 21 months (or more). If you have good credit, you can find better deals elsewhere.

No rewards program.

You might also take note that the Aspire Platinum MasterCard does not include any rewards program. Aspire offers the Platinum Rewards MasterCard and World Rewards MasterCard as rewards card options. However, they both require a good to excellent credit score.

How to Complete a Balance Transfer

To transfer your existing credit card debt to a new balance transfer credit card, you need to call your new credit card company and give them your old account number. Then they will pay off that credit card for you and tack that debt onto your new card. There are a few things to make note of before you complete a balance transfer to ensure the most benefit:

  • Note that you can’t transfer balances between cards from the same bank.
  • Make sure you request a balance transfer within six months of receiving your new credit card or receiving an offer.
  • Check to make sure the terms of the balance transfer match the offer you received.
  • Make sure you always pay your bill on time or you may lose your balance transfer offer.

Alternatives to the Card

If you have fair credit (low 600s), this might be one of your only options. However, if you have good or excellent credit, there are much better balance transfer deals on the market.

Many cards offer an introductory period of at least 12 months, and some offer introductory periods of 21 months or longer. These cards also do not charge an annual fee or new member fee.

If You Want a Longer Intro Period (And Are Willing to Pay a Transfer Fee)

The Citi Simplicity Credit Card has a 0% introductory period for 21 months. This is one of the longest intro periods we have seen and can be extremely beneficial. There is a 3% balance transfer fee that isn’t waived during the intro period, unlike Aspire. However, the length of the intro period may save you money if you have a large amount of debt and need time to pay it off. Besides no annual fee, Citi Simplicity boasts no late fees and no penalty rate. The APR for Citi is higher than Aspire, ranging from 14.24% to 24.24%, but if you plan on paying off your debt before the end of the intro period and pay each statement on time, the APR won’t be a major point.

If You Want a Longer Intro Period and No Balance Transfer Fee

The Chase Slate card is another option for balance transfers. Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free. Just make sure you complete your balance transfer within 60 days of opening the account.

Who Benefits Most from the Card

The short introductory period makes the Aspire Platinum MasterCard a good option for people with a fair credit score who have a debt to pay off. Not only do you get a nice low intro rate, but the ongoing APR will likely be lower than your current credit card.

However, if you have good credit, then you could easily get a balance transfer card with a longer introductory period.

FAQs

Yes, anyone can join at no cost. When you apply for the card, you will also be asked to register as a member of the credit union, at no additional cost. All that is needed is for you to deposit $5 in a savings account. Note that the $5 must remain in the account during the length of time you have the credit card.

Once the introductory period is over, interest will start to accrue at the standard purchase interest rate on a go-forward basis. Interest during the introductory period is waived — so you do not need to worry about a retroactive interest charge.

In the short term, your credit score will probably take a small hit (5-10 points) because you applied for new credit. However, over time, a balance transfer can increase your credit score with proper practices. This is because while new credit makes up 10% of your credit score, the amount you owe accounts for 30%. By using a balance transfer, you will reduce your interest rate. That should help you get out of debt a lot faster.

The post Review: Aspire Credit Union Platinum MasterCard Balance Transfer appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Average Credit Score in America Reaches New Peak at 699

In late 2016, American consumers hit an important milestone. For the first time in a decade, over half of American consumers (51%) recorded prime credit scores. On the other side of the scale, less than a third of consumers (32%) suffered from subprime scores.1 As a nation, our average FICO® credit score rose to its highest point ever, 699.2

Despite the rosy national picture, we see regional and age-based disparities. A minority of Southerners still rank below prime credit. In contrast, credit scores in the upper Midwest rank well above the national average. Younger consumers struggle with their credit, but boomers and the Silent Generation secured scores well above the national average.

In a new report on credit scores in America, MagnifyMoney analyzed trends in credit scores. The trends offer insight into how Americans fare with their credit health.

Key Insights:

  1. National average FICO® credit scores are up 13 points since October 2009.3
  2. 51% of consumers have prime credit scores, up from 48.1% in 2007.4
  3. One-third of customers have at least one severely delinquent (90+ days past due) account on their credit report.5
  4. Average Vantage® credit scores in the Deep South are 21 points lower than the national average (652 vs. 673).6
  5. Millennials’ average Vantage® credit score (634) underperformed the national average by 39 points. Only Gen Z has a lower average score (631).7

Credit Scores in America

Average FICO® Score: 6998

Average Vantage® Score: 6739

Percent with prime credit score: 51%10

Percent with subprime credit score: 32%11

Credit Score Factors

Percent with at least one delinquency: 32%12

Average number of late payments per month: .3513

Average credit utilization ratio: 30%14

Percent severely delinquent debt: 3.37%15

Percent severely delinquent debt excluding mortgages: 6.9%16

The Big 3 Credit Scores

Credit scoring companies analyze consumer credit reports. They glean data from the reports and create algorithms that determine consumer borrowing risk. A credit score is a number that represents the risk profile of a borrower. Credit scores influence a bank’s decisions to lend money to consumers. People with high credit scores will find the most attractive borrowing rates because that signals to lenders that they are less risky. Those with low credit scores will struggle to find credit at all.

Banks have hundreds of proprietary credit scoring algorithms. In this article, we analyzed trends on three of the most famous credit scoring algorithms:

  1. FICO® 8 Credit Score (used for underwriting mortgages)
  2. Vantage® 3.0 Credit Score (widely available to consumers)
  3. Equifax Consumer Risk Credit Score (used by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Each of these credit scores ranks risk on a scale of 300-850.

In all three models, prime credit is any score above 720.

Subprime credit is any score below 660. All three models consider similar data when they create credit risk profiles. The most common factors include:

  1. Payment history
  2. Revolving debt levels (or revolving debt utilization ratios)
  3. Length of credit history
  4. Number of recent credit inquires
  5. Variety of credit (installment and revolving)

However, each model weights the information differently. This means that a FICO® Score cannot be compared directly to a Vantage® Score or an Equifax Risk Score.

American Credit Scores over Time

Average FICO® Credit Scores in America are on the rise for the eighth straight year. The average credit score in America is now 699.

We’re also seeing healthy increases in prime credit scores. In the three major credit scoring models, a prime credit score is any score above 720.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 51% of all Americans have prime credit scores as measured by the Equifax Risk Score. Following the housing market crash in 2010, just 48.4% of Americans had prime credit scores.20

Credit Scores and Loan Originations

Following the 2007-2008 implosion of the housing market, banks saw mortgage borrowers defaulting at a higher rates than ever before. In addition to higher mortgage default rates, the market downturn led to higher default rates across all types of consumer loans.

To maintain profitability banks began tightening lending practices. More stringent lending standards made it tough for anyone with poor credit to get a loan at a reasonable rate.

Although banks have loosened lending somewhat in the last two years, people with subprime credit will continue to struggle to get loans. In February 2017, banks rejected 85% of all credit applications from people with Equifax Risk Scores below 680. By contrast, banks rejected 8.74% of credit applications from those with credit scores above 760.22

Credit Scores and Mortgage Origination

Before 2008, the median homebuyer had an Equifax Risk Score of 720. In 2017, the median score was 764, a full 44 points higher than the pre-bubble scores. The bottom tenth of buyers had a score of 657, a massive 65 point growth over the pre-recession average.23

Some below prime borrowers still get mortgages. But banks no longer underwrite mortgages for deep subprime borrowers. More stringent lending standards have resulted in near all-time lows in mortgage foreclosures.

Credit Scores and Auto Loan Origination

The subprime lending bubble didn’t directly influence the auto loan market, but banks increased their lending standards for auto loans, too. Before 2008, the median credit score for people originating auto loans was 682. By the first quarter of 2017, the median score for auto borrowers was 706.26

In the case of auto loans, the lower median risk profile hasn’t paid off for banks. In the first quarter of 2017, $8.27 billion dollars of auto loans fell into severely delinquent status. That means the owners of vehicles did not pay on their loans for at least 90 days. Auto delinquencies are now as bad as they were in 2008.28

Consumers looking for new auto loans should expect more stringent lending standards in coming months. This means it’s more important than ever for Americans to grow their credit score.

Credit Scores for Credit Cards

Unlike other types of credit, even people with deep subprime credit scores usually qualify to open a secured credit card. However, credit card use among people with poor credit scores is still near an all-time low. In the last decade, credit card use among deep subprime borrowers fell 16.7%. Today, just over 50% of deep subprime borrowers have credit card accounts.30

The dramatic decline came between 2009 and 2011. During this period, half or more of all credit card account closures came from borrowers with below prime credit scores. More than one-third of all closures came from deep subprime consumers.

However, banks are showing an increased willingness to allow customers with poor credit to open credit card accounts. In 2015, more than 60% of all new credit card accounts went to borrowers with subprime credit. 25% of all the accounts went to borrowers with deep subprime credit.

State Level Credit Scores

Consumers across the nation are seeing higher credit scores, but regional variations persist. People living in the Deep South and Southwest have lower credit scores than the rest of the nation. States in the Deep South have an average Vantage® credit score of 652 compared to a nationwide average of 673. Southwestern states have an average score of 658.

States in the Upper Midwest outperform the nation as a whole. These states had average Vantage® Scores of 689.

Unsurprisingly, consumers across the southern United States are far more likely to have subprime credit scores than consumers across the north. Minnesota had the fewest subprime consumers. In December 2016, just 21.9% of residents fell below an Equifax Risk Score of 660. Mississippi had the worst subprime rate in the nation. 48.3% of Mississippi residents had credit scores below 660 in December 2016.35

These are the distributions of Equifax Risk Scores by state:37

Credit Score by Age

In general, older consumers have higher credit scores than younger generations. Credit scoring models consider consumers with longer credit histories less risky than those with short credit histories. The Silent Generation and boomers enjoy higher credit scores due to long credit histories. However, these generations show better credit behavior, too. Their revolving credit utilization rates are lower than younger generations. They are less likely to have a severely delinquent credit item on their credit report.

Gen X and millennials have almost identical revolving utilization ratios and delinquency rates. Compared to millennials, Gen X has higher credit card balances and more debt. Still, Gen X’s longer credit history gives them a 21 point advantage over millennials on average.

To improve their credit scores, millennials and Gen X need to focus on timely payments. On-time payments and lower credit card utilization will drive their scores up.

A report by FICO® showed that younger consumers can earn high credit scores with excellent credit behavior. 93% of consumers with credit scores between 750 and 799 who were under age 29 never had a late payment on the credit report. In contrast, 57% of the total population had at least one delinquency. This good credit group also used less of their available credit. They had an average revolving credit utilization ratio of 6%. The nation as a whole had a utilization ratio of 15%.39

Sources

  1. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  2. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  3. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  4. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  5. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 90+ Days Past Due, Experian, Accessed May 24, 2017
  6. 2016 State of Credit Report” State 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  7. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  8. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  9. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  10. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  11. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  12. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 90+ Days Past Due, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  13. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 Average Late Payments, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  14. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 Average Revolving Credit Utilization Ratio, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  15. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Percent of Balance 90+ Days Delinquent by Loan Type, All Loans, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  16. Calculated metric using data from “Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Percent of Balance 90+ Days Delinquent by Loan Type and Total Debt Balance and Its Composition. All Loans, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.Multiply all debt balances by percent of balance 90 days delinquent for Q1 2017, and summarize all delinquent balances. Total delinquent balance for non-mortgage debt = $284 billion. Total non-mortgage debt balance = $4.1 trillion $284 billion /$4.1 trillion = 6.9%.
  17. 2016 State of Credit Report” State 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  18. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  19. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  20. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  21. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  22. Survey of Consumer Expectations, © 2013-2017 Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY). The SCE data are available without charge at http://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce and may be used subject to license terms posted there. FRBNY disclaims any responsibility or legal liability for this analysis and interpretation of Survey of Consumer Expectations data.
  23. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Credit Score at Origination: Mortgages, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  24. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Credit Score at Origination: Mortgages, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  25. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Number of Consumers with New Foreclosures and Bankruptcies, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  26. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Credit Score at Origination: Auto Loans, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  27. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Credit Score at Origination: Auto Loans, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  28. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Flow into Severe Delinquency (90+) by Loan Type, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  29. Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit May 2017” Flow into Severe Delinquency (90+) by Loan Type, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  30. Graham Campbell, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klauuw, “Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), August 9, 2016. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  31. Graham Campbell, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klauuw, “Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), August 9, 2016. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  32. Graham Campbell, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klauuw, “Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), August 9, 2016. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  33. Graham Campbell, Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klauuw, “Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), August 9, 2016. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  34. 2016 State of Credit Report” State 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  35. 2016 State of Credit Report” State 2016 Average Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  36. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  37. Community Credit: A New Perspective on America’s Communities Credit Quality and Inclusion” from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  38. 2016 State of Credit Report” National 2016 Vantage® Credit Score, Experian. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  39. Ethan Dornhelm, “US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On,” Fair Isaac Corporation. Accessed May 24, 2017.

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