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How old are you in credit years?

I came across this fun credit quiz that will tell you your credit age. It takes about 2 minutes to take the quiz. At the end you will get your credit age and a description of your credit self.

I’m interested to hear how many of you are credit newbies versus connoisseurs. You can leave a comment and let everyone know how you did. I would be interested to hear if any of you seemed to struggle on a particular section of the quiz or were troubled. I know personally, I pay off my credit card every month but the amount of credit on the card I use is high relative to my credit limit. I didn’t realize, but this can actually be viewed as a negative.

Oh, and by the way my credit age was also 47. In this case I am assuming that older is better, but I’m not really sure. I had my cousin take the quiz and she failed miserably. I think that explains a lot. This is the same woman who collects tons of longaberger baskets and complains about not having any money. Hmm, I don’t know what could be the problem.

Anyway, here is the link to the quiz Credit Quiz. Don’t forget to tell everyone how you did.

Tools to Increase Your Sense of Financial Security: Financial Products Review Sites

Finance Product ReviewIn my previous post I talked about improving your sense of security by exposing yourself more toward facts and less toward assumptions.

This article is about a tool that can help you gain more facts: financial products review site.

The pros and cons of financial products review sites

Review sites are those websites that offer you comparisons among a selection in a certain category. In financial products, for instance, there are review sites that compare credit cards – their plans, benefits for cardholders, and such.

With plenty of sites doing reviews on various financial products, you are faced with a multitude of things to ponder before deciding one financial product to take.

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons of financial review sites.

Pros:

  • Reviews help you decide which financial products are the most beneficial for your need.
  • You can access plenty of key information on products highlighted – all in one place.
  • You can learn as much as you can about a financial product, without the fear of being chased around by financial product salesperson.

Cons:

  • Reviews could be non-genuine ones, or even fake, to drive you to a limited choice that bring the review sites the most revenue for recommending you.
  • The review sites themselves could be scammers – Their aim is to lure you to provide private information for them to take advantage of.
  • Non user-generated review sites can be subjective in their recommendations.

The key is to find reputable financial products review sites that offer you legitimate reviews and unbiased recommendations on multiple financial products, such as the Australia-based Good With Money.

How to make the most of financial product review sites for your benefit

First of all, you should seek a reputable review sites that can offer you more details in user’s review, not only a star rating system. This is important, because it is imperative that taking loans will need more effort from you to minimise risks.

Secondly, you should visit the recommended third party sites to learn whether the financial products reviewed are claiming the same features and benefits. This is also useful to see whether the information found in the review sites still relevant with the information found in the provider or issuer sites.

Good luck on your endeavour in increasing your sense of financial security.

Faxless Payday Loan: Helping Hand or Quick Sand?

Helping HandWhen we talk about loans in any forms, they are always related to debts.

Taking loans can offer you two things: good debts and bad debts – good debts put money in your pocket, bad debts lose money from your pocket.

Your financial needs, situation and knowledge play important roles in making the loan bad debt or good debt.

Loans come in many flavours – One of the most talk about, in my opinion, is payday loans. Why is that?

Faxless payday loan – offering you financial solution, fast – a bit too fast to handle

Payday loan is a small amount, short-term loan that is intended to cover borrower’s financial need until his/her next paycheck received.

With the advent of the Internet, payday loans are becoming more and more accessible. The term “faxless payday loan” refers to payday loan which application is processed online, thanks to the Internet.

While in essence payday loan aims to help people regardless of their credit score, many accuse payday loan as the culprit that drown many people deeper in debt.

Not quite.

In my opinion, people inherit a common weakness. They want more for less, and they want it fast.

People are always looking for fast and instant remedies for their problems, including financial problems. Just like everything in life, such as fast food, instant means immediate gratification first and quality second.

Payday loan offers fast solution. Faxless payday loan even does things faster, due to online application processing and instant approval. The drawback, as always, is the sky-high interest rate.

Those bring interesting relationship: No matter how negative the reputation of payday loan is, it seems that more and more people need payday loan these days, and payday loan providers are thriving these days. Some sort of love-hate relationship between lenders and borrowers.

Reality check: Stop blaming payday loans – have you ever look things from the eye of payday loan providers?

I am appalled to know people are blaming payday loan. Although I’m not offering any payday loans or similar things and not involving in one either, I think there are too much bad apples thrown at lenders, accusing them as scammers.

Have you ever thought that it is borrower’s responsibility to keep him/her-self well-informed regarding what type of loans he/she is about to take? It is borrower’s responsibility to know what question to ask and when to take payday loans.

Many payday loan providers I know are trying hard to offer a solution. They bear huge risks – they lend to borrowers with no regard of their credit scores. That is why payday loans charge huge interest rate: to supplement the high risks of lending to borrowers with bad credit ratings.

The right borrowers do regard payday loans as the life-savers. do help people – the right one and the well-informed one, that is – getting out of debt.

How to use payday loan to your benefit

First thing first – learn everything you can about payday loan. It is your responsibility to learn about payday loan, about the providers, and about what to expect and when.

Always plan everything – You need to know how much will you get from the lenders, the amount of the interest you owe to the lenders, and most importantly, how the short-term loans can help you getting out of debt, and for how long. You can actually ask the payday loan providers to provide you with a calculation on how much would you pay in the end of the loan period.

If the plan looks positive, go for it. If not, run away from it.

One, last advice: Never, ever take any form of loans without the right knowledge about the loans. That only makes payday loan quick sand, not helping hands.

Image by toolfan.hess.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity TheftAre you being paranoid?

Some people consider being paranoid is normal if they deal with anything that involves the share of personal info.

That is particularly a case in online shopping and financial service applications.

Regarding online shopping – although sometimes considered as technophobia – the fear of technological advances, including the Internet – the paranoid of stolen private information is more often reasonable than not, particularly today.

Identity theft

One of the reasons people being paranoid about anything involving the share of personal info is identity theft.

According to Wikipedia, Identity theft is basically a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else.

This fraud causes damages beyond money – your reputation, both online and off line.

There are four type of identity theft, according to Wikipedia:

  • Financial identity theft: using another’s identity to obtain goods and services.
  • Criminal identity theft: posing as another when apprehended for a crime.
  • Identity cloning: using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life.
  • Business/commercial identity theft: using another’s business name to obtain credit.

All causing reputation damage, and most cause financial problems for the victims.

What identity thieves can do to you

Most commonly, they will use your identity to buy goods and services, as well as applying for credit.

The latter often causes severe problems, because your identity is linked to your credit report – when identity thieves apply for a credit (and of course, they will not pay when it’s due), it’s your name linked to the credit; Not paying the credit will not only cost you money, but also problems with the collection agents and ultimately, leaving ‘red marks’ in your credit report, decreasing your credit score.

Being paranoid, on lesser extent, actually helps you to deal with the risk of identity theft

Although being paranoid is obviously unhealthy, it does arguably help you being cautious is a good way to protect yourself from identity theft.

Many people who are victims of identity theft thought that it would not happen to them – unfortunately, they realise it when it strikes them.

There are ways to help you deal with identity theft, some of them available online.

Stop being paranoid, start being cautious

You can actually start a simple measure to protect yourself from identity theft – never, ever share your personal information with non-trusted and questionable third-parties, either in online shopping or financial service applications.

However, to ensure your reputation and credit report protected, you might want to consider the help of identity theft protection service providers. They are more than ready to help you protect your identity, both online and off line.

Some of the big names providing such services are Lifelock and TrustedID.

Which one is the most suitable solution for you? You can learn about Lifelock VS TrustedID from the Net.

I also suggest you to read Lifelock Reviews and other identity theft protection reviews to learn others’ experience with the service provider.

Last but not least, don’t apply for any credit cards or credit applications on sight! Managing your personal finance closely will naturally decrease the potential of identity theft.

Image by CarbonNYC.

Use the Plastic to Repair Your Credit Rating

People are always looking for the shortest path to solve their personal finance problems.

Often, taking the shortest path might not be your best way to improve your situation. Even in most cases, people recklessly apply for cash advances or use credit card financing without knowing the consequences of their decision.

When it comes to personal financial management, your mindset and knowledge play important roles.

Repair your credit rating, get out of debt

Poor or below average credit rating are commonly due to the following reasons: bankruptcy, poor spending habit, late payment, and pressing personal issue.

  • Bankruptcy – Both business and personal bankruptcy leave you unable to pay your debt.
  • Poor spending habit – this is the main culprit of personal bankruptcy – spending more than you can afford and often followed with late payments.
  • Late payment – Either forgetting or not having the resouce, late payments will always damage your credit reputation.
  • Pressing personal issue – An immediately needed large chunk of money is also the common cause of bad credit rating.

Plastic favours

Even loans with the highest APR can do your personal finance a favour, if you know how to play the money and mind game of getting out of debt.

If your credit rating is relatively poor, one of the effective ways to build your credit rating is by applying for a secured credit card.

A bank card is secured if you have deposited a sum of money onto a bank account to secure the credit. Typically, the credit card limit given is 50 to 100 per cent of the amount of money you deposited into the account.

Pay your bills on time, and build your credit reputation. Just make sure your chose issuer has the Credit Burreau informed about your application.

Escape yourself from getting scammed

As secured credit cards application are having lower qualifying criteria than unsecured credit cards, making it a choice for both applicants and, unfortunately, scammers.

Avoid secured credit card ads that have misleading offer, such as: “Call us to get approved instantly”, “Bad credit rep, no problem – Fast and easy approval”, and many more.

This is the reality: No one can guarantee to get you credit. Those calls you made, especially to 900 calls (you are charged a premium just for calling), are aimed to get the information from you, and maybe redirect your call or send your information to others.

Please be careful about the appealing, and often too good to be true, offers for secured credit card. Getting out is more difficult that getting in.

Consult a credit consultant or respectable credit card issuer about secrued credit cards and how it can be used to repair your credit rating.

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