The Basics of Money and Credit

In this series, Our team shares their thoughts on the basics of Money and Credit. These topics are typically covered with new customers.

First, let’s start with the basics of credit.

What is Credit?

Credit is other people’s willingness to let you use their money that you will repay sometime in the future.  It is a privilege, not a right. By “other people,” we typically mean banks, credit unions, and credit card companies.

“Credit” can be used interchangeably with “loan.”

How do you earn credit?

To earn the trust of the lenders in the form of “credit, you need to demonstrate you can borrow money and pay back on time. Check out a good article by Nerd Wallet: How to Build Credit

What are the types of credit?

Categorized by how the credit is extended and how it is paid back, credit falls into the following three categories:

Installment Loan: require regular payments, usually monthly, until the principal is paid off. Car loans, student loans, and mortgage all fall in this category.

Revolving Credit: includes bank credit cards, store credit cards, and home equity line of credit. You are required to pay at least the minimum payment by the due date. You can pay the minimum amount, the full payment or anything in-between. You can keep using the credit as long as you pay the minimum and stay within the credit limit.

Service Credit: used for monthly utility bills, such as electricity, gas, and yes, your cell phone bills. You set up an account, use a service and get billed by the service provider.

What Are the Advantages of Credit

You can get instant gratification, “buy now and pay later”;
Usually, no interest is charged when credit card bills are paid in full by due date;
Credit cards are safer to carry around than large sum of cash around;
Keep record of how you spend money so you can analyze your spending habit;
Some credit cards offer “bonuses” such as cash back or frequent flyer miles.

What Are the Disadvantages of Credit

Interest costs can be very high. How high? 15-20% for unpaid credit card balance is very common.
If you only pay the minimum each month, then the pay-off period will extend to very long
Since you owe so much money to other people already, you may not have much buying power left in the future

What is a Credit Report?

Lenders do not take your word for it when they come to determine whether to extend credit to you; instead, they pull your “credit report”.  It is kind of like your “school report” but lists different things. It describes your past use of credit, such as being on time in paying back debt, types of credit accounts opened, number of loans applied for, and a number of outstanding balances.

Three companies, called credit bureaus, gather information about you and give it to lenders. These three companies are:

Equifax (www.equifax.com)
Experian (www.experian.com)
Trans Union (www.transunion.com)

You can order your credit report once a year to check for errors or see if your identity has been stolen. Following the directions that come with the report, you can fix the errors.

What are Credit Scores?

Sometimes referred as a FICO score, a credit score is a three-digit number that describes your trustworthiness, or your future bill-paying behavior. It ranges from 300 to 850.  Lenders look that the number and decide whether to give you a loan and on what terms if any (interest rate, down payments, etc.).

These factors affect your credit score:

Previous payment history
Amount money owed
Number of recent credit inquiries
Length of credit history

These are only a few of the money basics we go over with new clients. If you have any questions or need help in any of the areas we discussed here, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a Free Initial consultation with one of our counselors M-F 9am-5pm pst at 854-888-0321

Tips to Eliminate Cred Card Debts

Do you dream of being debt free? Being free from debt is what most of the owners of the credit cards dream of. It might seem very easy to achieve, but in reality it is not a simple task. Once  you face the debts, you actually get to know about the challenges and difficulties.
How can you eliminate or get rid of the credit card debts?It is no doubt very difficult to eliminate credit card debts, but it is not impossible at all. Let us find out the tips to eliminate credit card debts.

If you really want to come out of your debts, you have to stop using your credit cards. The debit card is an alternative option as it will help you to purchase within your limited budget. If you continue purchasing with your credit cards, you can never come out from the piles of debts. This step needs to be taken very seriously and applied as well.
When you are struggling to get rid of your credit card debts, you have to cut down your expenses on unnecessary things. Do you need to go out for having coffee or lunch every day? You have to get rid of this luxury lifestyle if you want to eliminate the credit card debts seriously.
There are several banks and financial companies that provide debt consolidation loans to pay off your credit card debts. But you have to be cautious and careful that nothing is being charged to your credit card. Instead of paying off your debt you should not get trapped into deeper financial crisis. Maintaining cautiousness and being careful is necessary.
When you are trapped under the debris of debts, try to make an extra payment in the months when you can afford it. This way you can get rid of your credit card debts faster. But unfortunately the majority of the people makes the minimum payment on their credit cards and have to walk with the debts for a longer period of time.

Take immediate actions to come out of debts
When you have made up your mind to pay off all your credit card debts, try saving money from now and start repaying it. In case you don’t take some serious actions for consolidating your debts and refinancing your mortgage debt, it will be a difficult situation in the future, when you might want to seek loans for buying a new car or constructing your dream home.
Click here for more information on credit and debt issues.