32 Ways to Leave Your High-Interest Credit Card

credit card with high apr

Sure, there were the good times — back when you and your credit card first got together. Maybe your card was giving you a 0% introductory APR. Maybe you went everywhere together, bought everything together … but things changed. Today you feel like you’re giving a lot more than you’re getting, and now you’re wondering how you can leave your high-interest credit card behind.

While there aren’t as many options for leaving your credit card as there are ways to leave your lover (Paul Simon famously notes there must be 50 of those), it doesn’t mean you’re stuck. No, you’re probably not going to be able to slip out the back, Jack (that debt’s not going away even if you run!), but you most definitely can make a new plan, Stan. So don’t be coy, Roy, just listen to me …

1. Negotiate a Lower Rate

Most people don’t bother to ask their credit card issuer for a lower rate, but sometimes lowering your current APR can be as simple as that, so …

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Before you storm out on your credit card, try communicating. It could be worth your time to see if your card issuer will lower your interest rate, especially if your relationship is a long one. Keep in mind, they might pull your credit to see if you’re deserving of a lower APR. That’s why you’ll want to …

3. Check Your Credit Score …

You’ll want to get an idea of whether you’re likely to qualify for a lower APR, lest you incur a hard inquiry on your credit report only to get rejected. (You can view two of your free credit scores, along with some recommendations for credit cards it could help you qualify for, on Credit.com.)

4. … Fix it Up Before Inquiring

If your scores are less than stellar, you may want to try brushing them up before you call up your issuer. You can find 11 ways to improve your credit here.

5. Do Some Research

Are there other cards out there you qualify for that can offer you a better APR? If so, you can use this information to your advantage while negotiating with your current issuer.

6. Begin Negotiating With Your Oldest Card

Like we said before, your issuer might be willing to work with you, especially if you’ve been a cardholder for several years, so start negotiating with whichever card issuer you’ve been with longest to see if you can reduce your interest rate there.

7. Keep It Simple

It’s not a difficult process to ask for a decrease in your APR. In fact, it’s as simple as a call to the customer service line listed on the back of your card. Yes, they could say no, but that’s where your research will come in handy and you can …

8. Leverage Your Loyalty

If they say they can’t reduce your rate, remind them of how long you’ve been with the company, how you’ve never had a late payment or maxed out your card’s balance. Whatever positives you can cite can be helpful. If that doesn’t work, tell them what the other cards you’ve researched are offering. But most importantly …

9. Don’t Give Up Right Away

The old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is especially important here. Your issuer may say no, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Call them multiple times, and ask to speak to a supervisor if their answer continues to be no. Of course, you’ll want to be polite throughout the process. If all of this doesn’t work, it’s time to …

10. Consider an Upgrade

A lot of card issuers have tiered credit card offerings, so you could potentially upgrade to a new card with the same issuer that offers a lower interest rate and transfer your current balance to that card.

11. Keep Watching Your Credit …

Just like when an issuer considers lowering your interest rate, which we mentioned above, they’ll likely check your credit as part of your application for a card upgrade. So, if you think there’s a better credit card available elsewhere, you might not want to ask them to upgrade you.

12. … & Limit Your Card Applications

In fact, every time you apply for new credit you’re going to have a hard inquiry and a ding to your credit scores. These can add up if you have too many in a short span of time and even impact your ability to qualify for a new card, so be very selective or you could end up hurting your credit. (You can read here about how often you can apply for new credit without hurting your credit scores too much.)

If you’ve tried all these steps with your current credit card issuer to no avail, it’s time to look at starting a new relationship with a new issuer.

13. Get a Balance Transfer Card

Let’s say you’ve tried everything to lower your current APR with your card issuer and they just won’t work with you. Perhaps you’ve had some late payments or you just haven’t been with them that long. Getting a balance transfer credit card could make sense for you.

14. Find an Introductory 0% APR

There are lots of options to choose from in the world of balance transfer credit cards with a low or even 0% introductory APR. Here’s how to find the right one for you …

15. Comparison Shop

You can start by checking out some of the best balance transfer credit cards and comparing what they offer.

16. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There are balance transfer cards that offer as long as 21 months at 0% financing for balance transfers and even new purchases. If you have a lot of current credit card debt, that could be very beneficial to you, as you’ll eliminate your interest while paying down your principal.

17. Don’t Forget the Transfer Fees …

Of course, most balance transfer cards charge you a fee for transferring your balance – typically 3% to 5%, so be sure to compare those amounts as well.

18. … & the Annual Fees

Some cards also charge an annual fee, so you’ll want to consider that cost as well as you compare balance transfer offers.

19. Make Sure You Time it Right

If you’re looking at buying a new house, car or other major purchase anytime soon, you’ll want to time your credit card application with that in mind since your credit scores will be impacted by that aforementioned hard inquiry that takes place during your application process.

20. Include Your Balance Transfer Amount in Your Application

This can help ensure the transfer goes smoothly and quickly. The new issuer will reach out to your current card issuer once you’re approved and get the transfer process started right away, saving you the hassle of doing it later.

21. Pay Off Your Balance

Once you have your new balance transfer card, it’s important to focus your attention on getting that balance paid off before your introductory rate expires. Otherwise, your balance is going to revert to the standard variable rate.

22. Keep Your Old Card

No, keeping your old card isn’t exactly leaving it, but hear us out. You might be tempted to close your old card, particularly if your card issuer refused to reduce your APR when you transferred your balance, but keeping it open can be good for your credit score.

That’s because your credit scores improve the longer you have a credit account in good standing, so if you had a decent payment history, keeping that card open could really help. Moreover, your total credit line will be higher if you keep it open, also helping your scores. (You can find a full explainer on how closing a card can affect your credit here.)

Go ahead and cut it up, though, if it makes you feel better. That will also keep you from using it.

23. Keep Your New Interest Rate Low

Now that you have a card with a lower APR, even if it’s just an introductory rate, there are things you can do to keep your rate as low as possible. You’ll want to …

24. Make Your Payments On Time …

Late payments can send your APR soaring, so make all of your payments on time to avoid a penalty APR.

25. … & Keep Your Balance Low

If you can’t pay off your balance each month, at least try to make payments that keep your balance below 30% of your credit limit, though below 10% is even better if you want to do your credit scores a real favor.

26. Don’t Take Cash Advances

These usually come with a higher variable APR than purchases or balance transfers, so try to avoid them if you want to keep your rates down.

27. Try Some Other Alternatives …

If you’ve had a bad run financially and aren’t going to qualify for a credit card with a lower APR, you still have plenty of money-saving options, so don’t give up just yet. You have some alternatives …

28. Like a Personal Loan …

You may be able to pay off your credit card debt with a personal loan from your bank or credit union, but keep in mind that unless you have excellent credit, you’ll likely need some kind of collateral to secure it. Be sure to ask about the lender’s credit requirements before applying.

29. Or a Home Equity Line of Credit …

If you own a home and have some equity built up, this can be a great option for paying off debt at a lower interest rate. You can save a ton by moving your debt to a HELOC.

30. … But Don’t Spend Your Savings

Use the money you save by refinancing through a HELOC on creating an emergency fund (if you don’t already have one). Once that’s set up, you can use the money as prepayment against your home loan or to boost your retirement savings.

31. Consider a Debt Management Plan …

A debt management plan allows you to turn over all of your debt information to a credit counseling agency. You make one monthly payment to them, and they pay your credit cards and other debts for you. These plans usually last three to five years, and a lot of lenders lower your interest rates when you participate in such a plan. You’ll want to be sure to find a reputable credit counseling agency, so do your research.

32. … Or File for Bankruptcy

As a last-resort option, you can consider getting out from under your high-interest credit card debt by declaring bankruptcy. You’ll lower your debt and have many years to pay it off depending on the type of bankruptcy relief you file for. Just remember you’ll also have a major blemish on your credit reports for up to 10 years that could seriously affect your ability to get credit (in general and at n affordable rate) during that time. Still, if your debt is significant, this could be the right option for you. Talking to a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney before deciding could help you make the right choice for your circumstances.

Have another question about credit card debt? Leave it in the comments section and one of our credit experts will try to get back to you.

Image: skynesher

The post 32 Ways to Leave Your High-Interest Credit Card appeared first on Credit.com.

SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans with Low Rates and No Fee

SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans

Updated April 12, 2017

SoFi is an online loan company that offers student loan refinancing options, mortgages and personal loans. SoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates and the best consumer experience in the market. We have researched thousands of products from hundreds of companies, and SoFi is one of our favorites. However, they have strict credit criteria and target people with good jobs, good income, a proven ability to manage a budget and good credit history. If SoFi* approves you, you will probably have a difficult time finding a lower interest rate anywhere else.

In this post, we will review both Student Loans and Personal Loans. (They have just launched mortgages, and we will be updating this post later with a review of that product). For each, we will discuss:

  • The details of the product: how much can you borrow, and at what price
  • Approval criteria: how does SoFi underwrite, and who are they likely to accept

In addition, at the end we will give you more details of SoFi, including who funded them, how big they are and their reputation.

Student Loan Refinance (Skip Ahead for Personal Loans)

SoFi has just reduced the minimum loan amount. You can now refinance as little as $5,000 of student loan debt. There is no cap on how much you can refinance. Based upon your cash flow, SoFi will try to provide an option to refinance all of your student loan debt.

There is no origination fee and no prepayment penalty. It offers some of the lowest rates out there. Fixed APRs range from 3.375% – 6.74%*, and variable APRs range from 2.565% – 6.490%.* These rates are available so long as you enroll in auto-pay.* Given that interest rates are at an all-time low, you should think carefully before signing up for a variable interest rate. If you can pay off your loan in a short period of time, you could save a lot of money. If it will take you longer, you may not want to take the interest rate risk.

You can refinance on a 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 year term.

For example, if you borrow $30,000 on a 10 year term at an APR of 4.615%, your monthly payment will be $312.58. Under those terms, you’re paying back a total of $37,509.60 (120 payments). If you borrow the same amount, but have a 6.8% APR, your monthly payment is $345.24, paying back a total of $41,428.80. In this case, SoFi’s low rates have the potential to save you nearly $4,000.

SoFi will refinance both private and federal student loans. However, if you refinance a federal loan you will give up all federal protections and programs, including income-based repayment programs. SoFi is unique among private lenders because it offer unemployment insurance, free of charge. If you lose your job for no fault of your own (you can’t quit), SoFi will suspend your monthly payments until you find a new job. You can do this for up to 12 months. The interest that accrues during this period would be added to the loan.

SoFi also offers an entrepreneur program to help graduates who dream of owning a business.

Under this program, loans can be deferred for six months so borrowers can focus on growing their businesses. SoFi provides access to networking events, mentors, and investors.

Refinancing with SoFi isn’t an option for everyone. First, refinancing is currently unavailable to those residing in Nevada, and variable rate options aren’t available to those in Ohio or Tennessee.

Second, SoFi has a list of available schools and programs it services. If your school or program isn’t on that list, you won’t be eligible to refinance.

Third, SoFi typically requires applicants to have excellent credit. It occasionally accepts co-signers – you must call to review your situation with a representative. However, there’s no co-signer release if you move forward with one on your loan.

To be eligible to refinance your student loans with SoFi, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 18 years or older
  • You need to have a 4-year undergraduate or graduate degree from a Title IV accredited institution
  • You have to be employed or have an offer of employment starting in 90 days from the time you apply
  • You need to be in good standing on your current student loans
  • You should have a good, stable employment history
  • A strong monthly cash flow is a must
  • An excellent FICO score will improve your chances of being approved

The application process is straightforward and SoFi’s pre-approval should take you less than 15 minutes to complete. You likely won’t need most of the documents listed below until you’re ready to move forward with a loan, but they’re good to have on hand while you’re shopping around.

  • Existing student loan information (SoFi will need your account information for the loans you wish to finance)
  • Employment information – salary, offer of employment, length of employment
  • Most recent pay stubs as proof of income and employment (if you’re currently employed)
  • Diploma or transcript in the event SoFi needs to verify your graduation

It’s good to note SoFi accepts screenshots from your PC and pictures taken from a phone, so if you don’t have access to a scanner, there’s no need to worry.

If you’re ready to get started, you can apply for a refinance and check your rate by clicking the button below.

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Details on SoFi’s Personal Loan

At SoFi, you can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000.

There is no origination fee, no prepayment penalty and no balance transfer fee. They are truly unique in this regard.

You can borrow the money for 3, 5 or 7 years.

In addition, SoFi offers unemployment protection. Unlike traditional personal loan companies, they are not looking to make money from unemployment insurance. Instead, they are offering it as a feature and a brand promise. And the insurance is generous. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you will be given a payment holiday. Interest will continue to accrue on the loan (and be added to the balance), but no payment will be due and your loan will continue to be reported as current to the credit bureau. You can have 3 consecutive months of payments made at a time, and you can have up to 12 months of payments made during the life of the loan. That offers great flexibility. In addition, they offer job placement services to help you find a job.

Fixed interest rates range from 5.49% to 14.24%* – but you have to sign up for auto-pay in order to get these rates. In addition, SoFi offers variable interest rates from 4.990% – 11.090%* with auto-pay. The rates are based upon 1-month LIBOR and are capped at 14.95%.*

You can use the loans for almost any purpose: pay off credit card debt, home improvement, or anything else because the money can be deposited as cash in your checking account.

Apply Now

What Does It Take to Get Approved?

In order to be approved for a loan, you must at least meet the following requirements:

  • You are a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You are at least the age of majority in your state (typically 18)
  • You are currently employed
  • You have graduated from a selection of Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs (only for the student loan product. For personal loans, there is no university requirement).

Personal loans are not available to residents of the following states: Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.

If you fail to meet the above criteria, you will be rejected. However, just because you meet these criteria does not mean that you will be approved. SoFi will:

  • Perform an analysis of your ability to repay. They do a “cash flow analysis” looking at your income and expenditure, making sure you can pay
  • Perform an analysis of your history with credit. Missed payments and defaults will most likely get your rejected. You need to have a strong history of repayment. Although they are not a FICO-driven lender (because they look at education, employment and cash flow), the following people will likely have a difficulty getting approved:
    • People who do not have excellent credit. In particular, if you have missed payments or have rapidly built up debt, you could find it difficult to qualify.
    • If you have a “thin credit file”, you will still have a good chance of getting approved. A thin file means that you do not have much information in your credit report. Although that could be a problem with traditional credit scores, SoFi might still be willing to work with you.
    • People with collection items, judgments or other negative legal action

SoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates out there, and they are picky about who they approve. If you have a good degree, a good job and a history of making payments on time, you will likely be able to benefit from SoFi.

And here is the best news: you can check to see if you will be approved, and the interest rate you would receive, without hurting your credit score. SoFi uses what is called a “soft pull” to determine your interest rate and your loan amount.

Given how low the interest rates are at SoFi, if you have a college degree you should take the 3-4 minutes to see if you can be approved. The only cost is your time.

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Remember that you’re in no way obligated to take a loan once you apply.

Unless you accept the loan and go through with the hard credit inquiry, SoFi doesn’t hold you to taking the loans presented to you.

All About SoFi

You can trust SoFi. They are a very well funded start-up, having raised $164 million from some of the biggest and most influential venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley.

They have also built a very strong relationship with investors, and have funded more than $2 billion in loans to date.

SoFi has been created with a mission to revolutionize the way we borrow in this country. In particular:

  • They want to make it easy for people to shop for a loan, believing that you should be able to get your interest rate without hurting your score
  • They want to create an easy, seamless experience with a great user experience
  • They want to cut out the costs of the big banks, giving lower interest rates to borrowers and higher interest rates to lenders
  • They want to create a different type of borrowing experience, by providing unemployment insurance as a free benefit.

Their mission, and their personal loan product, align to the vision of MagnifyMoney. When we created MagnifyMoney, we hoped to find lenders like SoFi, and are pleased to award them an A+ Transparency Score.

Apply Now

We only have one criticism: their underwriting criteria is very tight right now. Hopefully, over time, they will be able to expand the criteria and be able to provide the great experience to people who may have experienced some financial difficulties in the past.


The post SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans with Low Rates and No Fee appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt

Before you read on, click here to download our FREE guide to become debt free forever! 

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Digging out of the debt hole can feel frustrating, intimidating and ultimately impossible. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be any of those things if you learn how to take control.

Paying down debt is not only about finding the right financial tools, but also the right psychological ones. You need to understand why you got into debt in the first place. Perhaps it was a medical emergency or a home repair that needed to be taken care of immediately. Maybe you’d already drained your emergency fund on one piece of bad luck when misfortune struck again. Or maybe you’re struggling with a compulsive shopping problem, so paying down debt will likely result in you accumulating more until the addiction is addressed.

Understanding the why and how of your debt isn’t the only reason psychology plays a role in how you should create your debt attack plan.

You also need to understand what motivates you to succeed. Do you want to pay down your debt in the absolute fastest amount of time possible that will save more money or do you want to take some little wins along the way to keep yourself motivated?

The common terms for these debt repayment strategies are:

  • Debt avalanche: starting with the highest interest rate and working your way down, which saves both time and money.
  • Debt snowball: paying off small debts first to get the warm and fuzzies that will motivate you to keep going.

Whichever version you pick needs to set you up to be successful in your debt repayment strategy. Now it’s time to find the proper tools to help you dump that debt for good.

The first step in crafting a debt repayment strategy is to understand what you’re eligible to use. Your credit score will play a big role in whether or not you’ll qualify for products like balance transfers or competitive personal loan offers.

A credit score of less than 600 will make it difficult for you to qualify for a personal loan and will eliminate you from taking on a balance transfer offer.

If you have a credit score above 600, you have a good chance of qualifying for a personal loan at a much lower interest rate than your credit card debt. With new internet-only personal loan companies, you can shop for loans without hurting your score. Use this tool to see if you can get approved for a loan without hurting your score. Click here to get rates from multiple lenders in just a few minutes, without a credit inquiry hurting your score. For people with the best scores, rates start as low as 4.80%.

If you have a score above 700, you could also qualify for 0% balance transfer offers.

[Click here if you’re looking to rebuild your credit score.]

Not sure what your credit score is? Click here to learn how to find out.

Now let’s talk about the financial tools to add into your debt repayment strategy in order to dig out of the hole.

Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt, and are stuck paying 18% interest on it.

You already know that putting as much spare cash as you can toward paying down your debt is the most important thing to do. But once you’ve done that, so what’s next?

Use your good credit to make banks compete and cut your rates

MagnifyMoney’s Paying Down Debt Guide has easy to follow tips on how to put banks to work for you and get your rates cut.

You could save $1,800 a year in interest and lower your monthly payments based on several of the rates available today. That means you could pay it off almost 20% faster.

Here’s how it works.

Option One: Use a Balance Transfer (or Multiple Balance Transfers)

If you trust yourself to open a new credit card but not spend on it, consider a balance transfer. You may be able to cut your rate with a long 0% intro APR. You need to have a good credit score, and you might not get approved for the full amount that you want to transfer.

Your own bank might not give you a lower rate (or only drop it by a few percent), but there are lots of competing banks that may want to steal the business and give you a better rate.

Our favorite offer is Chase Slate®. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

Chase Slate Credit Card

learn more

If you don’t think Chase is for you, consider Discover, which offers an intro 0% APR for 21 months (with a 3% balance transfer fee). MagnifyMoney keeps the most complete list of the longest and lowest rate deals available right now, including deals with no fees. Just answer a few questions about how your debt and much you can afford to pay, and you’ll get a personal list of the deals that will save you the most.

promo-balancetransfer-halfIt also has six tips to make sure you do a balance transfer safely. If you follow them you’ll save thousands on your debt by beating the banks at their game.

You might be scared of a balance transfer, but there is no faster way to cut your interest payments than taking advantage of the best 0% or low interest deals banks are offering.

Thanks to recent laws, balance transfers aren’t as sneaky as they used to be, and friendlier for helping you cut your debt.

Sometimes the first bank you deal with won’t give you a big enough credit line to handle all your credit card debt. Maybe you’ll get a $5,000 credit line for a 0% deal, but have $10,000 in debt. That’s okay. In that case, apply for the next best balance transfer deal you see. MagnifyMoney’s list of deals makes it easy to sort them.

Banks are okay with you shopping around for more than one deal.


Option Two: Personal Loan

If you never want to see another credit card again, you should consider a personal loan. You can get prequalified without hurting your credit score, and find the best deal to pay off your debt faster. With just one application, you can get multiple loan offers with rates as low as 4.77% here.

Personal loan rates are often about 10-20%, but can sometimes be as low as 5-6% if you have very good credit.

Moving from 18% interest on a credit card to 10% on a personal loan is a good deal for you. You’ll also get one set monthly payment, and pay off the whole thing in 3 to 5 years.

Sometimes this may mean a higher monthly payment than you’re used to, but you’re better off putting your cash toward a higher payment with a lower rate.

And you’ll get out of debt months or years faster by leaving more money to pay down the debt itself.

SoFi logo

Apply Now

The post The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Payoff Personal Loan Review

personal loan

Updated December 13, 2015

Payoff* is a company that offers personal loans. Their goal is to help consumers get out of debt, and they don’t even like to be described as a loan company. If their algorithm is able to detect that you are going to use this loan to go further into debt, rather than payoff your existing debt at a lower interest rate, they may decline you. The goal of their business is in their name: they want you to payoff your high interest rate credit cards so that you can accelerate your debt repayment.

They currently offer a personal loan product, and in this review we will describe:

  • The terms of the loan (price, maximum loan amount, interest rate)
  • The qualification criteria
  • The application process

Terms of the Loan

Interest Rate: Between 8% and 25% APR

Loan Amount: $5,000 – $35,000

Term: Up to 60 months

Origination Fee: Between 2% – 5% of the loan amount, deducted from your proceeds when you book the loan

There are no prepayment or penalty fees with the loan.

The Qualification Criteria

Payoff is extremely transparent about their requirements for a loan. If you don’t meet the minimum criteria outlined below, you should not bother applying. If you do meet these minimum requirements, you should then apply online to see what interest rate and loan amount you would be offered. The great thing about Payoff is that you will not hurt your credit score by applying online. They use a “soft pull” – not only for the initial application, but all the way through to funding. They do not believe that shopping for a faster way to get out of debt should harm your credit score.

Here are the requirements:

Minimum FICO Score: 660 or higher (these scores can vary month to month. If you have a score in the mid-600s, you should give an application a try)

Debt-to-income ratio: 50% or lower. Payoff uses an “unsecured debt-to-income” ratio. Take the monthly payment of personal loans, credit cards and other debt, and divide that by your monthly income. If that ratio is 50% or less, you can get approved. For example, if you make $1,000 a month and pay $500 towards your credit cards and personal loans, you will have a 50% deb-to-income ratio (= 300 / 1000).

Age of credit history: You need to have at least 3 years of credit. In other words, you oldest open credit card should have been opened at least 3 years. They are not looking to work with people who are brand new to credit, and already in a lot of debt.

Other credit requirements: You need to have at least 2 “open and satisfactory” accounts. That means you have at least 2 accounts that are open, and where you have been paying on time. In addition, you can not have opened more than 1 personal / installment loan in the last 12 months. Remember: they want to target people who have debt but want to get out, and a lot of recent borrowing could indicate that you are headed further into debt.

Delinquencies: You should be current on all of your debt. In addition, you should not have been 90 days or more delinquent on any debt in the last 12 months.

And you can not have any tax liens.

In summary: Payoff is looking for people who have found themselves in debt. If you make your payments on time and are responsible, but just feel like the balance on your debt is never going down (because all of your money goes to interest), Payoff could be for you. If you have bad credit, very little credit, or continue to take on more debt every month, Payoff is not the right option.

The Application Process

The application process is very simple. You start by visiting Payoff and applying online. You can do that here*.

You will be asked a few questions, and Payoff will look to see if you are qualified for the loan. They will give you an indication of the loan amount and interest rate. You can do all of that without hurting your credit score.

Payoff may want to verify some of your information. They will walk you through the process.

Once all of the verification is complete, they will transfer the funds to your bank account.

It is a very easy, digital process. But they also have a call center that can answer your questions along the way.

In Conclusion

We spoke to the management team at Payoff. They really are trying to be different. Their goal is to help people get out of debt, and they only want to work with people who share that goal.

If you have a score in the mid-600s, have never missed a payment and are serious about getting out of debt (so that you stop putting all of your money towards interest), Payoff could be the best option for you. And given that you can see your interest rate with a soft pull, you really don’t have anything to lose by checking.

You can apply at Payoff here:

Apply Now

You can see other personal loan options here.

The post Payoff Personal Loan Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

SoFi or Lending Club: Which is the Right Fit for You?

personal loan_lg

If you’re hunting for a personal loan, there are a plethora of lenders online that have competitive rates. Two popular options are SoFi and Lending Club.

SoFi offers both student loan refinancing and personal loans with some of the lowest interest rates around. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender that connects borrowers with peer investors. According to Lending Club, historic return on notes with low risk range from 5.25% to 8.57%. Low interest for borrowers and high return for investors make Lending Club beneficial for both parties.

Let’s compare what each loan has to offer:

SoFi Loan Terms

SoFi has both fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed interest ranges from 5.95% to 12.99% APR if you sign up for autopay. Variable interest goes from 4.75% to 11.35% APR with a cap of 14.95%. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000 for 3, 5, or 7 years.

For the most part, you should choose fixed interest loans. Variable interest can increase in the future since it’s set using the market index. This means you won’t be able to predict your monthly payments in the future with certainty.

The one instance when you may want to consider a variable interest loan is if you can pay the loan off quickly. Using this strategy, you benefit from low interest at the beginning of the loan term and then pay it off before interest has a chance to increase.

SoFi has an unemployment benefit that’s a unique perk. If you lose your job, SoFi may allow you to stop making payments for a short time.

You can use a SoFi personal loan to:

  • Invest in your career
  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Take care of medical expenses
  • Cover moving costs
  • Make home improvements
  • Consolidate other debt


Apply Now

Lending Club Loan Terms

Lending Club loans have fixed interest of 5.99% to 35.96% APR. There’s no variable interest option here. You can borrow from $1,000 to $40,000 for 3 or 5 years.

The Lending Club process is a little different since it’s a peer-to-peer lender. After you apply for a loan, Lending Club will offer you loan terms and a credit rating. When you select a loan term it appears in the marketplace. The marketplace is where investors view borrower profiles and choose in which to notes to invest.

Lending Club offers loans for many reasons, a few of them including:

  • Credit card refinancing
  • Debt consolidation
  • Home improvement
  • Car financing
  • Medical expenses


Apply Now

SoFi Eligibility Requirements

SoFi has some of the most competitive rates, but it also has strict qualifying criteria. You’ll have the best shot at getting approved by SoFi with a credit score of 700 or higher. Fortunately, prequalifying doesn’t impact your score so if you’re right on the cusp of a good to excellent credit score, you can try your luck.

The entire application process happens online. SoFi will review your income, expenses, and career experience to determine if you’re eligible. SoFi loans are currently not available in Mississippi or Nevada.

Lending Club Eligibility Requirements

Lending Club is more lenient than SoFi when it comes to credit scores. You need a minimum credit score of 660 to qualify. Of course, a higher credit score will get you a better interest rate. Lending Club gives the lowest interest rates to borrowers with an excellent credit score, low credit utilization, and a long history of positive credit use.

The Lending Club application happens completely online. You can shop for rates without it impacting your credit history.

Fees and Gotchas

SoFi is void of any application or originations fees. There’s also no prepayment penalties. If you’re interested in getting a variable interest loan, you can repay the loan early without worrying about getting charged for it. SoFi does have fees for certain circumstances that you have control over. If you’re late, there’s a late fee of $5 or 4%, whichever one is less.

Lending Club has an origination fee, a key differentiator between these two loans. The origination fee is 1% to 6% depending on the credit rating that Lending Club assigns you at application. There’s also a late fee of $15 or 5% of the late payment installment, whichever one is greater. There’s no prepayment penalty with Lending Club either.

Pros and Cons

SoFi Pros

  • No origination or application fees
  • Low interest for borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Unemployment benefits
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Quick online application

SoFi Cons

  • You’ll have a hard time qualifying for SoFi if your credit history isn’t strong

Lending Club Pros

  • Will approve borrowers with a credit score less than 700
  • Quick application process
  • Competitive interest rates
  • No prepayment penalties

Lending Club Cons

  • An origination fee of 1% to 6%

Which Personal Loan Should You Choose?

SoFi offers a less expensive loan for borrowers with excellent credit. There’s low interest and no origination fee, so it’s the way to go if you can get approved. Plus, SoFi has the unemployment benefit, a good thing to have just in case the unexpected happens.

Lending Club is a good alternative if you’re having trouble qualifying elsewhere. The minimum credit score is reasonable although having a credit score on the lower end will likely result in a higher interest rate. But, since there are no prepayment fees, you can always pay the loan off early to save on interest.

The benefit of both loans is you can shop for rates without impacting your credit, so try both to see which one gives you better terms.

The post SoFi or Lending Club: Which is the Right Fit for You? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Help! I Owe Money on My Taxes & I Can’t Pay


If you know you owe taxes but can’t pay right away, don’t despair. There are options, although some are admittedly better than others. Here a few ways to take care of your tax debt so it doesn’t come back to haunt you. Failing to pay your taxes can lead to a tax lien on your credit reports, which can not only be costly, it can severely damage your credit scores.

Arrange an Installment Agreement 

Even Uncle Sam understands not everyone has readily available funds to put toward their taxes. If you’re unable to pay your tax debt immediately, you can arrange to make monthly payments through an installment agreement. If you ultimately pay your tax debt in full, you may be able to ditch the fee for setting up the agreement and other penalties or interest, depending on your specific agreement.

To apply for a payment agreement, you’ll need to file your tax returns. You must also owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest. If you’re ineligible for an online payment agreement, you can still pay in installments by completing and mailing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, and Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement.

Get a Personal Loan

A personal loan is another way to cover a hefty tax bill, though you’ll pay interest on the financing and the loan amount and your monthly payment record will be noted in your credit reports. Also, the loan application will count as a hard inquiry into your credit, which will temporarily lower your score.

Keep in mind, you need good credit to qualify for a personal loan at the best interest rates. (You can find tips for improving your credit here.)

You can strive to minimize loan applications by researching a lender’s minimum credit score requirements in advance; the idea is to choose a lender whose requirements are in line with your credit score. (You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

Pay With Credit Card

The IRS authorizes many companies to accept credit card payments on its behalf, but these companies charge major fees, starting at 1.87% of the amount paid and running as high as 2.25%. (Debit cards also are typically charged between $2.50 and $3.95 per transaction.) Paying with credit card can be convenient, but it can also be expensive, given that, in addition to the fees, any balance you carry from month-to-month is likely to accrue interest.

If you’re in a jam and won’t be able to pay the charges off right away, you can minimize the cost by using your credit card with the lowest interest rate to pay your taxes. You may also want to look into using a credit card that features a 0% introductory interest rate and paying your tax bill off before its promotional interest period ends. (You can learn more about the best balance transfer credit cards in America here.)

More on Income Tax:

Image: Creatas

The post Help! I Owe Money on My Taxes & I Can’t Pay appeared first on Credit.com.

Review: LendingPoint Personal Loans

personal loan_lg

Taking a personal loan could be a good way to do any number things, like refinancing high interest rate credit card debt into one monthly payment at a lower interest rate or using the funds to make a home repair or finance a critical need. Unfortunately personal loans often get a bad reputation because people don’t always use them for the right reasons (think engagement rings and weddings), but the truth is that personal loans can be a good financial tool when used responsibly.

LendingPoint considers itself to be a progressive alternative to the typical loan process, by offering short-term personal loans with fair interest rates. The entire process of applying, qualifying, and receiving personal loan funding through LendingPoint can also be completed online.

Personal Loan Details

LendingPoint offers personal loans for a variety of reasons, including paying for home repairs, consolidating credit card debt, or to make a large purchase.

You can apply for a personal loan from $3,500 to $20,000 on Lending Point’s website. It is important to note that these are short-term personal loans with a repayment term of 24-36 months. The interest rate is also important to be aware of and depending on your creditworthiness, it can be quite high. The interest rate offered on personal loans by LendingPoint is between 17.47% APR and 34.99% APR.

Pros and Cons

One of the big cons of taking out a personal loan with LendingPoint is obviously the interest rate. It is quite a bit higher than several other personal loan lenders. However LendingPoint does offer fast credit approval in as little as 24 hours and, according to its website, LendingPoint evaluates more than just your credit score when determining your creditworthiness. Plus after you accept the loan, you can receive an electronic funds transfer into your bank account in 24 hours.

LendingPoint’s personal loan origination fee varies by state and can be up to 5%. However there is no pre-compute interest and no fee for prepayment if you decide to pay off your personal loan early.

Although LendingPoint looks at more than just your credit score, it’s important to note that the minimum FICO score needed for approval is 600. LendingPoint can do a soft-pull of your credit score, which will avoid you getting dinged just for checking interest rates. Once you decide to move forward and accept a personal loan offer from LendingPoint, a hard credit pull will be used and will show up on your credit report.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

As mentioned, you can complete the entire loan application process online at LendingPoint’s website and it takes only minutes to apply.

You will need to have your basic information prepared when you get ready to apply, as well as knowing how you will use the funds from your personal loan. You also need the following information handy to complete the application:

  • Annual income
  • Employer information

It’s only a short two page web application, after which LendingPoint will pull your credit report before showing you their financing offers.


Apply Now

How Lending Point Compares

Lending Point is a short-term personal loan lender so it’s hard to compare it to other personal loan lenders who offer longer repayment terms and lower interest rates. However, these lenders also offer personal loans you should consider.

SoFi allows personal loan borrowers to take out between $5,000 and $100,000, however most personal loan lenders are limited to between $25,000 and $35,000. The interest rate on SoFi’s personal loans also make it a more attractive option than LendingPoint with fixed APRs starting at 5.50% and variable APRs starting at 4.28%. SoFi also charges no origination fee and terms are 3 years, 5 years, or 7 years. Like LendingPoint, SoFi using a soft credit inquiry when you first apply to compare rates.

Read SoFi review


Apply Now

Earnest is a shorter term personal loan lender a little closer in comparison to LendingPoint. Earnest offers 1, 2, and 3 year repayment terms with borrower limits between $2,000 and $50,000. However, with Earnest you need a credit score of 720 to be eligible, which means borrowers with poor credit history will be turned away. Earnest does take other factors into consider, like LendingPoint, to help determine you creditworthiness. When you apply your employment history, education, and salary are taken into account.

Read Earnest reivew


Apply Now

It Pays to Shop Around

If you are considering taking out a personal loan, it’s important to shop around to find the best interest rate possible as well as a lending that offers terms to fit your needs. With many online personal loan lenders, like LendingPoint, using only a soft pull on your credit history until you are ready to make a decision and take out a loan, you can easily shop around to find interest rates and repayment terms that fit with your needs without harming your credit score.


The post Review: LendingPoint Personal Loans appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Prosper Personal Loan Review

personal loan_lg

Updated February 16, 2016

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to take out loans with fixed and low interest rates.

It takes minutes to fill out an application to check loan terms and rates. And once pre-approved, you create a loan listing that appears in the Prosper* marketplace. From there, peer lenders select loans to invest in. Then when you’re fully approved and your loan is funded, the money is transferred straight to your bank account.

How easy is this process? Here we’ll share with you the nitty gritty details of a Prosper loan including how to qualify and the terms and fees. Plus we’ll compare it to other personal loan options with pros and cons.

Prosper Loan Qualifications

To apply for a loan you must be a U.S. resident who lives in a state other than New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania or North Dakota. In addition, according the Prosper Prospectus (on page 55) applicants should have the following:

  • A bank account and a Social Security number
  • A credit score of at least 640 on the FICO 08
  • No more than seven credit inquiries in the last six months
  • A steady source of income
  • A credit-to-debt ratio below 50%
  • At least three open credit accounts, which include credit cards, loans and other lines of credit.
  • No bankruptcies filed in the last year

Loan Details

Prosper currently offers fixed rate, unsecured personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000 with APR ranging from 6.68% to 35.97% and loan terms of 36 and 60 months.

The interest rate and amount you can borrow is determined by the Prosper Rating assigned to you at application. The Prosper Rating is a proprietary credit rating system Prosper created to maintain consistency while assessing loan applications.

The rating goes from AA to HR with AA being the highest. Applications with ratings on the higher end are approved for more money and lower interest rates. A breakdown of the loan terms and APR associated with each Prosper Rating is shown in the table below.

Prosper 1

Your Prosper Rating and credit score range are shown on your loan listing in the marketplace to help lenders consider the risk of your loan before investing. A loan listing stays active for 14 days. After 14 days, your loan must be at least 70% funded for you to receive money. If your loan listing doesn’t get the minimum amount of funding it’s cancelled and you must apply again.

The Inside Scoop on Fees

The main fee associated with a Prosper loan is the origination fee. How much you pay for origination depends on your Prosper Rating and the fee ranges from 1% to 5%. The fee is deducted from the loan before it’s deposited into your account, which means you should account for the fee when you state how much you need to borrow.

Prosper 2

The only other fees you may encounter while using Prosper are penalties for missed or returned payments. Failed payments incur a $15 charge. Late fees begin accumulating when payments are past 15 days late at either $15 or 5% of the unpaid installment amount, whichever one is greater.

Prosper Transparency Rating

We give Prosper a transparency rating of “A” because of its simple terms and minimal fine print. We also give it a high score because it allows you to check rates with a soft pull which won’t impact your credit score. Plus there are no fees required to borrow other than the origination fee and penalties for delinquency.

The Pros and Cons

We’ve given Prosper a top mark, but what are its pros and cons? Let’s dive into both the good and the bad of Prosper.


  • There’s no fee for paying early or making partial payments.
  • You can qualify for a Prosper loan with average credit.
  • It only takes a few minutes to check for rates.
  • Paying off a Prosper loan can reduce your interest for future Prosper loans.


  • You only have a short window of time to secure funding from peer investors.
  • The Prosper Rating is slightly ambiguous because it’s an internal metric, so it’s hard to predict your interest rate or origination fee before applying.
  • The origination fee can get expensive depending on your Prosper Rating.
  • Prosper APR is high compared to other personal loan lenders like SoFi and LendingClub.


Apply Now

*referral link

Prosper Against the Competition

How does Prosper stack up to two major personal loan contenders: LendingClub and SoFi?

As mentioned, Prosper will approve applicants with average credit scores below 700 (if other minimum requirements are met) which is comparable to LendingClub*. However, Prosper APR is higher than LendingClub which caps at 32.99%. Prosper APR caps at 35.97%.


Apply Now

*referral link

Out of all three personal loan options SoFi* has the absolute lowest APR range from 5.50% to 9.99%, but it also requires the highest credit score. Applicants with scores over 700 have the best shot at getting approved by SoFi.

SoFi logo

Apply Now

 *referral link

As far as fees, SoFi also has an edge over both Prosper and LendingClub. SoFi doesn’t have an origination fee and charges less for late fees. Prosper and LendingClub charge an origination fee of 1% to 5% and late fees at $15 or 5%, whichever one is greater. SoFi charges the lesser of $5 or 4% for late fees.

Who can benefit the most from a Prosper Loan?

People with average credit who want to refinance or take out a cash advance will benefit the most from a Prosper loan. A Prosper loan beats relying on high-interest variable credit cards or payday loans with obscene terms when you need to borrow cash. However, if you have the qualifications to borrow from SoFi, it’s clearly the best option out of all three lenders discussed here because it has the lowest fees and APR.

The great thing about Prosper and these other online lenders is the ability to check rates several times with a soft pull. So shop around for rates at each one thoroughly before making any decisions.



*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

The post Prosper Personal Loan Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

The Secret to Combating Debt: Everything You Need to Know About a Personal Loan

personal loan_lg

As we near the end of another year, something that’s probably high on a lot of people’s minds is paying down debt. Escalating credit card debt may keep you up at night for fear that you’ll never be able to pay it off — but that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.

Getting out of credit card debt requires three things. First, you need to fix your spending problem and live within a budget. That will prevent the debt from getting larger. Second, you need to put as much money as possible towards your debt every month to get out of debt faster. To accelerate repayment, you might want to live an especially frugal life, cutting all non-necessities and perhaps indulging in rice and beans. And third, you want to reduce the interest rate on your credit card debt as much as possible.

A simple solution to reducing your interest rate may be a personal loan, especially now when interest rates are so low (or at least lower than the interest you’re currently paying on your credit card).

Here’s what you need to know.

How It Works

Personal loans provide a simple way to borrow money. What we love most about this process is how many times we can use the word “fixed” to explain it. For personal loans, a bank will lend you money at a fixed interest rate, with a fixed payment and over a fixed period of time.

The problem is that banks don’t make a lot of money off of personal loans (at least not the way they do with credit card interest rates), so loans have not been widely available. But that’s where marketplace lenders can help.

Check out this video for more information on whether or not a personal loan is right for your specific financial situation.

How to Find One

You do not need to have perfect credit to get a personal loan. Although the best loans are available to people with scores above 700, you can still find good rates with a score as low as 600. Many personal loan providers use a soft pull, which doesn’t harm your credit score, to determine how much you can borrow and what your interest rates and fees will be for the loan. To get approved, you might need to need to provide paystubs, 1040s and tax returns to prove your income and employment. You’ll want to compare a couple different companies for fees, interest rate and APR (or the combination of interest rate and origination fee) to find the lowest/best option. If you think you might be able to pay off the loan earlier than the original term, you will want to get a loan with no origination fee and no pre-payment penalty.

The Stipulations

As with most things in life, there are some things to consider before getting a loan. First, the cheapest way to pay off credit card debt in general is with a balance transfer to a card with 0% interest. However, if your credit is less-than-stellar or you have a lot of credit card debt, this may not be an option.

When you get a personal loan, you will pay off your existing credit cards. That means you could go out and spend again on those credit cards. If you don’t have the self-discipline to refrain from spending on the cards, you might want to cut them up.

It is impossible to borrow your way out of debt. Only use a personal loan if you have already fixed your budget and your spending.

I’m Ready for a Personal Loan, Now What?

Start with this tool. Input some of your personal information upfront (your credit score level, loan amount and whether or not you have a college degree) for immediate access to information about the best personal loans on the market today.

Taking positives steps towards paying down debt sure does feel good — and it doesn’t have to be hard. Check out personal loans today to see if they’ll work for you.

The post The Secret to Combating Debt: Everything You Need to Know About a Personal Loan appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Deeper Into Credit Card Debt With No Regrets This Holiday Season

Very Upset Woman Holding Her Many Credit Cards.

This holiday season, spending increased 7.9 percent from a year ago (according to the MasterCard Spending Pulse report). People spent more money on gifts, making many retailers happy and helping the overall economy.

Although the increased spending will be applauded by retailers, many American households are left with a precarious post-holiday financial situation. The euphoria of giving gifts will undoubtedly be replaced by a predictable debt hangover in January. MagnifyMoney conducted a national survey, and found that:

  • American consumers spent without a plan. 50.7% of people set no holiday budget at all. A further 15.1% of people set a budget, but ignored it and spent more than planned. That means 65.8% of people had no control over their holiday spending.
  • After spending money on holiday gifts, a majority of Americans are “broke.” 56.3% of people surveyed have less than $1,000 combined in their checking and savings account.
  • Credit cards will be used to fund a big portion of holiday purchases. 38.3% of the people surveyed will not be able to pay off their credit card in full this month. High interest rate credit cards were used to fund holiday debt.
  • Despite the debt, there was “no regret.” Despite borrowing money at high interest rates to fund holiday purchases, 85.7% of Americans have no regrets about their holiday spending.

During the 2015 holiday season, American consumers have demonstrated their willingness, and apparent happiness, to spend money they don’t have on gifts they can’t afford.

But in just a few days, people will start making New Year’s Resolutions. And if 2016 is like any other year, two themes will dominate the resolutions made across the country. People will promise to become physically fit and financially fit in the New Year.

One of the top resolutions made in January 2015, according to Nielsen, was to “spend less and save more.” This is a recurring theme, and we can expect similar resolutions in 2016, as the credit card statements start to arrive and the debt hangover begins.

However, Nick Clements, Co-Founder of MagnifyMoney, has two messages for people who have found themselves deeper in debt after the holidays:

First, we need to learn valuable lessons from our grandparents and great-grandparents about how to manage money. Before credit cards ever existed, people would only spend money if they had it. Most of our grandparents would have never even considered borrowing money to buy people gifts during the holidays. If we don’t develop that same type of mentality, any New Year’s Resolution will fail. I don’t want to sound like a belated Grinch, but borrowing money to buy gifts should have left more people feeling regret.   

Second, people need to be wise about how they try to fulfill their New Year’s Resolution to become financially fit. Skipping a few lattes isn’t going to do the trick. I recommend taking a day off, and spending as much time and effort building a financial plan for 2016 as you did organizing your presents and your holiday parties in 2015. 

Survey Results in More Detail

There was no spending plan or budget in place

  • 50.7% set no budget. Instead, they “just spent.”
  • 34.2% set a budget and followed the budget.
  • 15.1% set a budget, but ignored the budget and spent more.

A majority of Americans are “broke”

  • 24.8% have less than $100 in their accounts.
  • 23.8% have between $101 and $500 in their accounts.
  • 7.7% have between $501 and $1,000 in their accounts.
  • 16.4% have between $1,001 and $5,000 in their accounts.
  • 27.3% have more than $5,000 in their accounts.

Most financial planners recommend having an emergency fund with at least $1,000. Ideally, the fund should cover three to six months of living expenses. 56.3% do not have even the minimum of $1,000.

A significant minority will be paying off their credit cards for a long time

  • 61.7% of people will be able to pay their balance in full.
  • 27% will take some time, but pay more than the minimum due.
  • 11.3% can only afford to pay the minimum due.

For the 11.3% paying the minimum due, they can expect to stay in debt for more than 25 years and will end up paying more interest than the original amount borrowed.

Despite the spending, we felt no regrets.

  • 85.7% do not regret the amount of money they spent.
  • 14.3% do regret the amount they spent.
  • Of those with no regrets, 13.3% felt they could have spent more.

Tips for A Successful New Year’s Resolution

When the credit card bills start to arrive in January, many people will start to feel the annual debt hangover. As an antidote, people will start making resolutions to spend less, save more and get their finances in order.

MagnifyMoney believes that people should spend as much time in January building a financial plan for 2016 as they did shopping in December for the holidays.

For people in credit card debt, MagnifyMoney has a free 45 page Debt Guide available for download. This guide helps people prepare a customized action plan to lower interest rates, build a budget, negotiate hard with creditors and become debt-free.

In addition, MagnifyMoney recommends that all people spend time in January 2016 doing the following:

  1. Understand where your money actually went. When people create forward-looking budgets, those budgets almost always balance. Yet, when people look back in time, they have usually spent more than they planned. The best way to diagnose your spending problem is to understand where the money has actually gone. And there are great apps, like LevelMoney or Mint, which can help you understand where your money has gone. We particularly like LevelMoney, because it splits your expenditure into fixed, recurring expenses and variable expenses.
  2. Review your credit report from all three reporting agencies. You need to know what is on your credit report in order to build a good credit score. You can download your report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  3. Understand your credit score and put together a plan to improve your score during 2016. People with the best scores never charge more than 10% of their available credit and pay their bills on time every month. Not only is that good for your score, but it is good for your wallet. And you can now get your official FICO for free in a number of places. Otherwise, you can get your VantageScore at sites like CreditKarma.
  4. If you have a good credit score, all debt can probably be refinanced. Mortgages, student loans, auto loans and credit cards (with a balance transfer or personal loan) can all be refinanced. Although the Federal Reserve increased interest rates in December, the rates are still very low. Find ways to lock in much lower interest rates now to help you pay off your debt faster.
  5. There are two big warnings with refinancing. First, try to avoid extending the term to get a lower payment. The biggest trap people fall into with refinancing is that they lower their rate and extend their term. By doing this, you might end up paying more money in the long run. Second, be careful before you refinance federal student loans, because you give up valuable protection.
  6. Automate all of your decisions, including savings and making credit card payments. Data has consistently shown that automating decisions greatly increases the likelihood of achieving your goals. To build that emergency fund, set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. (Even better, get a higher interest rate online account and keep it completely separate from your checking account). To build your retirement savings, automate your 401(k) or IRA contributions. And to pay your credit card bill, automate your monthly payments.
  7. “Net worth” is not just a concept for the rich, and you need to focus on your net worth now. Net worth is a simple concept: it is what you own minus what you owe. Building wealth and being financially responsible means you are building your net worth. It doesn’t mean you make your payments on time and have a fancy car. Focus on the right number: building your net worth.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys for MagnifyMoney between December 24 – 26, 2015. 518 people responded to the questions in a nationwide, online survey. All respondents were 18 or older.

The post Deeper Into Credit Card Debt With No Regrets This Holiday Season appeared first on MagnifyMoney.