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Military Families Remain Easy Prey For ID theft

 

Military Families Remain Easy Prey For ID Theft

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A quiet war on the homefront is being waged against U.S. military members, veterans and their families, targeting their bank accounts, credit histories, and identities. 

A Federal Trade Commission study found that military consumers reported identity theft at twice the rate of the general public. In retaliation, experts are urging military members and their families to adopt both a stealthy defense and firm offense against identity thieves.

A war for numbers


Above all, ID thieves covet Social Security numbers. With them, “they have the keys to the kingdom,” says Scott Higgins, a Vietnam veteran and CEO of Veterans Advantage, a company that partners with corporations to provide military members with preferred pricing on goods and services.

Until recently, all military IDs were tied to SSNs and were relatively easy to for a thief to obtain. In contrast to the general population, which is taught to be intensely protective of personal and financial identity, military personnel are accustomed to providing their identity frequently and on demand.

“Our SSN was our name, our identifier, and we’d give it out like it was nothing,” says Jeff Rose, financial planner and author of “Soldier of Finance,” who also served nine years in the Army National Guard. “It was no big deal.”

Except that is a big deal. Because when stolen, thieves with SSNs can quickly open accounts such as credit cards and loans in the serviceperson’s name. “They run them up, don’t pay the bill, and the debt ends up on the victim’s TransUnion, Experian and Equifax reports,” says security expert Robert Siciliano. “That’s when the person’s credit is damaged.”

Department of Defense response: easing into protection

To curb such crimes against military personnel, the Department of Defense has started to replace identification cards that displayed SSNs with new ones bearing a unique DOD number instead.

The problem, however, is not all the cards have been replaced and won’t be for another few years. The DOD maintains that it will take four years for the transition — which began in 2011 — to be completed. With nearly 1.5 million Americans currently on active duty and just over 21 million veterans plus spouses and children who use military identification, that leaves millions of the old military IDs in rotation.

Recently there has been a proliferation of Internet startups that directly advertise military discounts for veterans. Most are, in reality, data grabs.

— Scott Higgins
CEO, Veterans Advantage

Additionally, while Veterans Identification Cards (VICs) are no longer being issued with SSNs displayed, those numbers are still embedded in the magnetic stripe. According to the Veteran Administration’s Boston office, “Bar code readers, including those available as applications on cellphones, can scan the bar code on the front of the card, and reveal the Veteran’s Social Security number.” A multiyear phase-out of those cards began in 2012.

Therefore, a significant pool of potential victims remains. The situation is poised to worsen, too, contends Higgins: With troops withdrawn from Iraq and leaving Afghanistan, “we believe there will be an increase in ID theft.”

How thieves obtain service member identities

Thieves employ several methods with which to rob service members and their relatives of their identities. One is to lure them into retail establishments with promises of deep military discounts. Disreputable employees request the person’s government ID and then make a copy or write down the numbers. If it still has the SSN printed on the card, they’ll either sell it to a ring of criminals or use the numbers themselves.

Online shopping is becoming especially problematic. “Recently there has been a proliferation of Internet startups that directly advertise military discounts for veterans,” says Higgins. “Most are, in reality, data grabs.” Such companies set up false retail websites, advertise directly to the military and instruct the service members to type in their military ID number in order to receive the deal. If the ID still reflects the service member’s SSN, at that point their identity is compromised, and new account fraud typically follows.

Identity theft crimes against the military population can go undetected for years. Holly Petraeus, assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, cites a typical service member’s existence: “Military personnel live a mobile lifestyle punctuated by combat deployments, and that makes it hard for them to keep a close eye on their finances — or to fix the fallout from an identity theft. They may not even realize their identity has been stolen for some time, giving the fraudster ample time to do significant damage.”

Credit destruction may impede a burgeoning military career. “The damage it can cause to a service member’s credit file can lead to the revocation of a security clearance,” says Petraeus. A credit report that’s riddled with unpaid debts calls the person’s loyalty into question. Proving innocence can be tough and time consuming.

The pain it causes the victim can be extreme. “Unless you’ve had your identity stolen, you don’t know how bad it is,” says Higgins. “It hurts your chance of getting a home or getting a loan for education. You can even be arrested a crime you didn’t commit.”

To thwart thieves from striking, Higgins warns service members and their families to be on guard when asked to present their military IDs to retailers. Never provide your SSN or a card that has it listed, your birth date, mother’s maiden name or other highly sensitive personal information to obtain a merchant discount. Not only is it unnecessary, it’s considered an ‘overreaching data’ requirement.

“This is a reminder to check your credit report for fraud at least once a year,” says Rose. “It takes 15 minutes out of your day. If you’re on deployment or a mission where you won’t be available to check, have your spouse or a trusted loved one do it. The longer fraudulent activity goes on, the worse it is to get out.” Consumers can pull their credit reports from each of the big three credit bureaus for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Place an “Active Duty Alert” on your credit file, too, suggests Rip Mason, CEO of LegalShield, a legal services and identity theft protection provider. It’s one of the most important things military personnel can do to protect their file. “The alert requires creditors to take steps to verify your identity before granting credit in your name,” says Mason. “It lasts for a year, but can be renewed. To do this, call the fraud department of one of the credit reporting companies. They must contact the other two for you.”

Siciliano encourages military members to go even further and lock down their credit files altogether. Contact the credit reporting bureaus and request a security freeze. After it’s in place, all access to the reports will be denied, thus preventing new loans or lines of credit from being granted without your express permission.  

Service members might want to also invest in a reputable ID theft protection program, says Siciliano. These companies monitor credit reports for illegal activity, and if there is a strike, they’ll take action. “Hire a professional company. It’s faster and more efficient than doing it yourself. Undoing damage can take an hour or 600 hours or anything in between. It’s an insurance policy.”

In the end, though, says Higgins, protecting your identity and credit is your responsibility and your best arsenal against attack: “This is a message to everyone, including civilians. You don’t need to give your SSN out, and usually shouldn’t. Be careful and cautious.” 

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7 Scriptures On Wise Money Management

 
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7 Scriptures On Wise Money Management

In this fast-changing world, one may wonder where shaky uncertainty ends and solid ground begins. While you could always choose to worry and live in uncertainty, there is always a better way, perhaps a path that is easier to tread.

 

Let’s acknowledge that the American economy doesn’t look good right now, but the Bible has a lot to say about money management and provision that we should see as truth, and it’s something we can hold onto, in times as dread-inducing as these.

Let us see 7 different scriptures on the wise use of money and provision that the Bible offers. But before we go on, let’s lay down this “rule,” Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So let’s work with the understanding that God has a plan for this season of affliction that besets the American economy. He has a plan for us, and gives us thoughts of peace and hope for the future. These are plans to give us a future filled with hope.

Let’s also work with 7 biblical principles that we can understand and live out, as we seek financial security and freedom:

  1. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

When God said that we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He has promised that He will give “all these things” to us, as well. What things? In the verses before this line, the discussion was about the Lord being exasperated that almost everyone, including His disciples, were worried about where the provision will come from. So He calms their worry by saying that if they put His agenda and priorities first, “all these things”: the food, clothing and shelter they worried about, will be given to them as well.

In like manner, these words assure us today that as we seek God’s priorities in our lives, “all these things” will be given to us as well.

God’s priorities in our lives do not necessarily mean becoming a full-time minister or going to a far-flung place to save those who are suffering from conditions of the body or soul. God’s priorities in your life may mean the time you spend soaking in the Word before you run off and do your day’s tasks. Be a great parent, be a great boss, be a great employee by being compassionate and godly, objective, fair, consistent and just.

Taking on God’s priorities may involve choosing to spend more time with Him no matter where you are, and choosing to be more prayerful instead of feeling anxious. Martin Luther once said that the more work he has to do in the day, the more time he has to spend in prayer.

  1. Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand.  Matthew 7:24-27

So who is your Rock? Is it God? Or your job? Your stock brokerage account? Your investment assets? Your credit limit? Or your credit cards? Understand that whatever material wealth you have are all from your Creator. It is He who gives you the ability to generate wealth. Thus, the God who has given you all these can also take these away. For those who have experienced the worst from this economic downturn, it is a chance for God to prove who He is in this time of your trouble. It is your opportunity to call on Him and prove Him Lord over your life and assets.

For those who are in good straits financially, then it’s time to store up wealth. Save what you can, not only for your retirement and for your kids’ future, but in order to be in a position to give and help the needy.

  1. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

Most of us “do not have because we fail to ask.” Most of us would rather do things on our own. But why do we hesitate to ask? Maybe it’s the fear that God will let us down, because so many people have let us down before and so we may think the same of God. But let us have faith in Him who is true to His Word and His promises.

And if your problem is a lack of faith, this has been a verse that has helped me move forward in areas where I lack faith:

The child’s father cried out at once, “I believe! Help my lack of faith.”  Mark 9:24

When I face problems in life, such as with my finances, I do what the sick child’s father did, and ask the Lord to help me overcome my lack of faith. I ask for guidance. True enough, He has proven Himself faithful to His word. He has overridden my lack of belief in Him time and again, and provided just in time.

  1. Remember the Lord your God is the one who makes you wealthy.  Deuteronomy 8:18a

Indeed, let us put God where He belongs, as our Father who gives us everything, including the ability to create wealth. As we honor God in our lives, He will bless us in greater measure.

Full text of Deuteronomy 8:17-18:

You may say to yourselves, “I became wealthy because of my own ability and strength.” But remember the Lord your God is the one who makes you wealthy. He’s confirming the promise which he swore to your ancestors. It’s still in effect today.

  1. Don’t promise to pay what someone else owes, and don’t guarantee anyone’s loan. If you cannot pay the loan, your own bed may be taken right out from under you.  Proverbs 22:26-27 

Caveat emptor! Buyer beware! Loans may have become “normal” in a culture of credit and loans, but it’s only wise to be vigilant about your own loans, as well as to not be crazy/stupid/foolish to the point of co-signing the loan of a friend or even a relative. Unless you have very liquid assets and the equivalent amount of the loan ready for payment should the worst thing happen, it’s best to stay away from debt. Being conservative about using loans can save your financial hide and your relationships, as well.

  1. Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.  Proverbs 11:24

This is a great principle that encourages us, regardless of our financial status, to be charitable. You don’t have to be ultra wealthy to share yourself with others. While you can help others by giving something material and monetary, this is not the only form of help you can offer. You can give of your time, services and energy as well. When you give, not only will you feel fulfilled, but you’ll find this kindness returned to you in some way or form, down the line. This has been a common thread in my own experiences.

  1. In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

This is the Golden Rule. Have a good word for everyone. Hold a good opinion of everyone. Ask God for help if you can’t seem to think good thoughts. Be generous to the people around you. Start with a bag of groceries for the elderly guy in your neighborhood. Generosity is a wonderful habit that gives you a great feeling as you’ve helped another person. But as I’ve mentioned in the 6th principle, your generous actions often allow you to reap rewards in some way in the future.

And we leave you with this to think about:

Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you. Luke 6:38

 

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What Is a Good Credit Score for Buying a House In South Florida?

What Is a Good Credit Score for Buying a House In South Florida?

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While you can qualify for a home with as low as FICO 500 it is EXTREMELY difficult to qualify for a home loan in South Florida and impossible to get a great rate.


However, having a 620 or higher credit score gives you best credit options. FICO scores are calculated to determine the probability of credit users paying their bills. FICO scores have become the lending industry’s benchmark for credit-granting decisions.
No other score has the same effect on the majority of lenders.

However, not all lenders use FICO scores to determine creditworthiness. Some lenders use scores from other agencies such as Scorex.

Many lenders look to the three major credit-reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — in making their lending decisions.

South Florida Homebuying Guidelines


Credit scores range from about 300 to 850. According to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which purchase mortgages from banks and resell them to investors, a FICO score above 620 is considered good. However, says Fair Isaac, “A 620 score doesn’t mean you’re going to qualify for the best rate. It means you’re going to qualify for a standardized rate, or a prime rate. ‘Prime’ is a broad category, so lenders will have different loan products that classify as ‘prime’ rates.’ ” The interest rate lenders charge their most creditworthy customers is described as the prime rate. The prime rate is based on the fed funds target rate set by the Federal Reserve.


Credit Reports


Most mortgage applicants have things to clear up financially before being able to achieve a good credit score.

Consumers should regularly review their credit reports to make sure there are no errors on them. Any adverse-credit indications, accounts showing payments more than 30 days late, collections, judgments, bankruptcies or foreclosures will lower a credit score.

It is best to pay off old accounts, judgments and collections before applying for a mortgage. And after these accounts are paid off, wait until they are being reported on your credit reports as “satisfied” or “paid.” We have a proven and effective system to help you.

So what score do I REALLY need?

 A credit score below 620 is considered subprime.

The subprime lending category is for borrowers whom the lender determines to be risky loan candidates. Scores that fall short of 620 may bring about lender investigation. Applicants will be required to provide additional documentation to prove their creditworthiness. Subprime lenders generally request bank statements and W-2s from applicants. Borrowers with credit scores under 620 will generally pay higher interest rates.

Mortgage Loan Qualification


A credit score is only part of the mortgage loan qualification process. Other factors such as employment history, income and debt-to-income ratio affect lending decisions. Ultimately, it is up to a lender to decide whether to extend credit to a mortgage loan applicant.

At Crown Credit we want to put you in a position of Credit Authority.

A position where you can buy a house car or just apply for things you need and know that you will be offered the best available choices and where YOU the consumer have buying power!

9 Things God Promises to Christian Entrepreneurs

 
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9 Things God Promises to Christian Entrepreneurs

Jesus was the most influential Christian Leader who ever lived. Jesus was also the very best Christian Entrepreneur the world has ever seen, even though you’ve never sat in a chair made by the human hands of that local carpenter.

Allow me to explain the significance of this wonderful reality to you.

Without question, Jesus Christ was the best Entrepreneur the world has ever known.”


Jesus: The Christian Leader
There has never been a time when Jesus wasn’t a leader. Even in his youth he obeyed the parenting instructions offered by his human parents, Joseph and Mary. He made his bed, picked up his clothes, and did his chores without a word of contradiction.

He was a perfect leader in his obedience, even if he was “out ranked” positionally under his own roof.

Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was a carpenter. Joseph made chairs, tables, and other wooden crafts. He was a business owner, likely a solopreneuer.

As the eldest Son in the house, when Joseph died it was Jesus’ responsibility to provide financially for the family. Although we don’t know how old Jesus was when Joseph passed away, we do know that Jesus was thirty years old when he began his ministry, and the Bible suggests that Joseph had already died by that time.

Thirty years old. Just 30.

What did Jesus do before he turned thirty?

Jesus: The Christian Entrepreneur
In that day, teenage boys were given great responsibility at an early age. For example, Joseph probably married Mary when he himself was around fifteen or sixteen, and Mary could have been only fourteen or so when she gave birth to the King of kings.

So what did Jesus do from the time he was a mature teenager until he turned thirty to begin his public ministry?

He wasn’t a Pharisee or a Sadducee. He wasn’t the mayor of Nazareth. He wasn’t the local priest or synagogue leader.

No, he was more than likely just a carpenter. He would have learned the trade of carpentry as an apprentice to his dad, Joseph, the local carpenter in the then despised city of Nazareth.

Jesus made chairs.

Don’t miss that!

JESUS MADE CHAIRS.

Jesus made tables. Jesus made house calls to pick up broken stuff from his neighbor’s homes, brought it back to Joseph’s work shop, and fixed it to the best of his human ability.

Jesus worked. Jesus worked hard. Jesus worked long hours. Jesus used his hands.

Jesus built stuff!

Jesus Charged His Customers Money
Jesus was an honest entrepreneur. He never “fudged” the numbers, always paid his taxes on time, and provided an honest product to his customers for an honest day’s work.

Did you ever think about that? That Jesus would have charged people money for his carpentry skills?

I wonder what his hourly labor fee was? Did he charge by the piece or by the hour? One shekel for a chair, two shekels for a table, perhaps?

Could he have charged more for his services?

Here’s a bigger question, potentially: Could he have charged his customers LESS for his services?

Jesus was a hard-working entrepreneur. He was diligent, trustworthy, honest, skilled, and a financial numbers-cruncher. He never filed Chapter 11, never over-charged his customers, and never cut corners on his carpentry.

BUT NOTICE THIS. He also never made it as a “super star” in the world of carpentry.

Jesus Had No Grand Reputation as a Carpenter
As far as we know, Jesus created no new household fashions or seating inventions. He never achieved the status of becoming “rich” (as in lots of money) and it seems his reputation as a master carpentry never made it beyond the city gates of small-town-Nazareth.

In short, people weren’t clamoring for his latest designs in footstools, and there’s a reason why.

Jesus knew what his greater PURPOSE was, and he was willing to wait for it.

Maybe his longterm “earthly passion” wasn’t carpentry, per se, but he practiced his carpentry without complaint. He knew what his greater “purpose” was in life, but he practiced carpentry until the time came for his ministry to begin.

Oh my!

What Can You Learn From Jesus the Entrepreneur?
There is a wealth of knowledge to be reaped from this truth! Here’s just a few…

Do what you need to do today until God opens up another door tomorrow.
Be honest and hard-working in your labor, even if you haven’t achieved riches yet.
Be the best carpenter in Nazareth–where you’re at today–rather than dreaming about making Jerusalem’s “Who’s Who of Carpentry.”
Do your work diligently without complaining, and without thinking “I was made for more than this!”
I’m telling you, books could and should and ought to be written in the Christian workplace about this subject, but little has been penned to date. Maybe that could be the next book I write? Or maybe I’ll just leave that topic for you to bleed onto the page.

Oh, I know what you’re saying: “But that’s Jesus, not me.”

You: The Christian Entrepreneur
Okay. How about the following for something a little easier to relate to.

God told Joshua, Moses’ apprentice, to lead the people into the promised land. God gave Joshua a pattern to follow and some encouraging words for entrepreneurial success that still ring true today.

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)

Here are nine points to chew on as you pursue your place in this world as a Christian leader or a Christian entrepreneur.

1. God wants you to be an encouraged person of strength.

2. God wants you to serve other people in your land.

3. God will often remind you time and time again of your immense need to be strong and very courageous.

4. God will remind you to observe (obey) what he has given in the Bible.

5. God will remind you NOT to focus on the world’s ingenuity (the right hand or to the left), but to remain consistently focused on him and his Word.

6. Speak God’s truth in all that you do.

7. Meditate (think, speak, and apply) on God’s truth night and day.

8. Once these first seven points are the pattern of your life, your way will be made prosperous and you’ll enjoy good success (as God alone defines prosperity and success).

9. When these are the pattern of your daily practice, God will be walking with you daily in all that you do.

Without question, Jesus Christ was the best Entrepreneur the world has ever known.”

QUESTION: What do you think about all of this for Christian leaders or Christian entrepreneurs? (Leave a comment below)

 

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5 Reasons Why Having Good Credit Is Important

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5 Reasons Why Having Good Credit Is Important

Society is becoming increasingly dependent on using credit to make purchases and decisions. These days, good credit is used for more than just getting a credit card or a loan. More and more businesses are making the case that you must have good credit before they extend products or services to you.

It Affects Where You Live and How Much You Pay

Before you can buy a house, mortgage lenders want to know that you won’t default on your mortgage. If you don’t have good credit, the lender will consider it risky to give you a mortgage loan. If you’re approved for a mortgage, your credit affects your interest rate which directly impacts your monthly mortgage payment. Bad credit could mean a higher mortgage payment. Worse than that, your mortgage application could be turned down because of your bad credit.

Don’t think that because you’re not looking to buy a house right now that your credit isn’t important. Landlords also use your credit to decide whether to rent to you. Landlords consider your lease as a loan. You’re being loaned a place to live and the landlord wants to know you’ll pay back this loan. If you don’t have good credit, you can get denied for an apartment.

It Affects What You Drive and Your Car Payment

Unless you have the cash to purchase a car, you’ll have to get a loan. Your credit not only affects whether or not you qualify for a loan, but also the amount and interest rate of the loan. Generally, loan applicants with good credit qualify for larger loan amounts with lower interest rates.

Bad credit limits your options. Fewer lenders will work with you if you have bad credit and those that do will charge a much higher interest rate on your auto loan. A higher interest rate means a higher car note to pay each month.

It Can Affect Your Job Search

Many employers conduct credit checks as a part of the hiring process. (Note that employers check credit reports not credit scores.) If you haven’t demonstrated financial responsibility, a prospective employer might be hesitant to hire you. For example, the employer might believe your level of debt is too high for the salary offered.

Some employers also check credit scores before giving a promotion or raise, especially for financial-related or executive positions.

It Affects Your Ability to Start a Business

Many people have dreams of starting their own business. Most business startups require a sizable amount of cash that you might not have available. In that case, you’ll need to obtain a small business loan. Among other things, you need to have good credit to qualify for the business loan.

It Affects Other Monthly Bills

It might be somewhat shocking to learn that your credit is needed to establish utility service. Your electric company contends that you’re borrowing one month of electric service. So, before turning on your electricity, the company will check to see if you have good credit. This applies to most utility services including cable, telephone, water, and even cell phone.

Since your credit is defined by how you’ve paid (or not paid) your bills in the past, many businesses — landlords, mortgage lenders, utility providers, and even employers — use your credit to predict your future financial responsibility. Anytime you need to borrow money, or even services, your credit is called into question. This is why maintaining good credit is so important.

 

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What Is a Good Credit Score to Buy a Car in Miami-Dade County?

 

What Is a Good Credit Score to Buy a Car in Miami-Dade County?

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In Miami Florida purchasing a new or used car or truck is quite an exciting experience. Let’s face it, the test drives alone can be fun.

South Florida car buying can be memorable especially for first-timers.

However, there is a lot more than just deciding on what color, make or model you want to ride home in. You will need to ensure all aspects of the transaction is in order: and one of the most paramount components is evaluating your credit score.

If you are making a total cash purchase, your credit score will likely never even come up in conversation when buying a car in South Florida.

However, if you’re like most Americans, you probably can’t afford to make such a large purchase in cash—and that’s where your credit score comes into play. BIG TIME!

If you are concerned that your credit score is too low to enable you to buy a car with financing, or worse that it will cause you to pay a larger than needed monthly, we have some awesome news for you and some not so awesome. The awesome news is that you can breathe a little bit more easily because rest assured, you will almost certainly find someone willing to finance the purchase of your car. The other news is that if you have a low credit score and or bad credit, it is going to cost you a lot more to finance that purchase than it would if you had a spotless credit profile.

Your credit score is basically a measure to lenders of how safe of a risk it is to lend you money. If you have a perfect credit score, the lender is almost guaranteed not to have to chase you down and repossess the car for because you did not pay. As such, they will probably accept a low interest rate given the low risk. But if your credit score is lower, the likelihood goes up that you will be a flight risk, and as such, your interest rate will creep up—making your car purchase much more expensive in the long run.

Let’s be clear, bad credit costs YOU money. Yearly, monthly, even daily!

So just how bad is bad—and how good is good?

Let’s start with the good. If your credit score is above 700, you can probably expect to receive a low interest rate. As your credit score drops, your rates will creep up—and once you hit 500 or lower, your interest rate will probably be around 10- 20 percent or higher; yikes!

What Should I Do If My Credit Score Is Low?

It depends on what your options are. If you absolutely must have a new car right now (is that ever really the case?), then you’re going to have to settle for a higher interest rate. However, if you have the option, it is a very smart idea to take public transportation, carpool, walk, bike, or even borrow a car from a friend instead of buying a new vehicle with less than stellar credit.

Often, free credit reports will show you a list of a few reasons why your score is the way it is. If your credit score is low because you have high balances on your credit cards, spend a few months paying down the balance before you even think of going to the car lot to look at vehicles.

If you absolutely must have a car and are looking to save money, you are probably considering buying a used vehicle instead of a new one. Aside from the obvious fact that the sticker price will be lower, if your monthly car payment is lower, this will also allow you the financial wiggle room to focus on fixing your poor credit score.

But you should be aware that interest rates are often higher for used cars than they are for new cars. The lower your credit score, the bigger the differential will be between the used and the new rate.

While it will likely still be a better deal for you to buy a used car, it’s worth crunching the numbers if you have a really low credit score.

How You Can Make the Process Easier—Even With a Low Score

 

There’s a difference between having a lower score because you don’t have much credit history and having a low score because you’ve previously gone into bankruptcy or defaulted on a credit card. If you have a score lower than 700, your job is to document, document, document. You will particularly need to make the case that you make on-time payments—and if you do this successfully, you might see your rates drop to that of those with a perfect credit score.

Be prepared to back up your claims with evidence: bring credit card statements, rent payment receipts, and anything else that shows you pay on time and in full. If you have a stable job and can put down at least 25 % of the car’s value into a down payment, this could also help you secure a lower rate.

If your credit score is below 500, these techniques probably won’t work so well for you, though that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, and you should be prepared for a higher interest rate.

However, we have systems to repair your credit profile legally and help you raise your score while building credit.


What Can I Do After I’ve Signed My Loan and the Rate Is Sky High?

The most important thing you can do is to make on-time payments for the next 6 to 12 months. You should also focus on repairing your credit score.

We can help with that.

Don’t open new credit cards or apply for other loans: these things will be red flags on your credit report. After 6 to 12 months have elapsed, you should look into options for refinancing your car loan.