Video: How To Raise Your Credit Score If You Mostly Use Cash


Do you have limited credit because you usually use cash? There will come a time when you need a solid credit score to get a mortgage or auto loan, or even to rent an apartment! Watch National Financial Educators Founder Adam Carroll explain how to increase your credit score by getting a credit-builder loan in our video above.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips.

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Credit Card Freezes 101


Identity theft accounted for $16.8 billion in losses in 2017 spread across 16.7 million victims, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. Were you one of the unfortunate 16.7 million?

Victim or not, it’s wise to consider freezing your credit to make it difficult for identity thieves to use your personal data – and now, you have several freezing methods available.

American Express recently joined several large financial institutions that allow you to temporarily freeze your credit and/or debit card for seven days with a simple click. With this variety of freeze, the card can’t be used for most new purchases. It can still be used for recurring bills, transactions through digital wallets, and some online purchases where your information has already been stored.

The freeze function acts as an on/off switch that gives you time to find a lost/stolen ca…

Personal Loans Are Fastest-Growing Consumer Debt


We often hear about skyrocketing student loan and credit card debt, but a different type of debt is growing at a faster rate than either of those. According to data from the credit bureau Experian, debt from personal loans rose by 11.4% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017 – well above the 7.1% increase in student loans and 6.6% increase in credit card debt.

Personal loans are a form of installment loan. You receive a lump sum of money and agree to repay the loan with interest over a set period of time per the loan terms. Unlike mortgages and auto loans, personal loans are generally unsecured – meaning that there is no asset to repossess in case of default. As a result, interest rates on personal loans are typically higher than rates for mortgages or auto loans.

However, personal loan interest…

Credit Card Default Rates Are… Dropping?


Credit Card Defaults Drop in Consecutive Months

Is there a limit to America’s appetite for debt? At least one indicator suggests that the answer is no. According to the Q2 2018 Household Debt and Credit Report from the New York Federal Reserve, total household debt in America has risen for the 16th straight quarter. Our current consumer debt is just under $13.3 trillion, with $9.43 trillion of that as housing debt.

At least there’s a silver lining – one economic index indicates that we are handling part of our debt load reasonably well, since credit card default rates are currently in decline.

The S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Composite Index is a measure of collective default rates across credit cards, auto loans, and both first and second mortgages, with each indicator also having a separate index. The Composite index shows that overall default rates have stayed …

From Foreclosure To 800 Credit Score


“I raised my credit score over 800 – and you can, too!” So says Tiffany Aliche, a financial speaker and author better known as The Budgetnista.

Tiffany was working as a schoolteacher, and had excellent credit, until she lost her job in the Great Recession. “I had a choice between paying my mortgage and paying my bills. I chose to pay my bills.” Due to trusting the wrong person, those bills included $30,000 in credit card debt. As she collected unemployment, she did her best to cut her expenses to the bone, losing her home to foreclosure.

“I moved in with my family, crashing on a sister’s couch, and at my parent’s home. I scrimped and saved. I stopped buying clothes. With four sisters, I could always borrow an outfit when I needed one!

“I watched videos to learn how to do my hair and other skills myself instead of paying for them. YouTube became my university. I was in my 30’s, when peo…

Survey: Women More Likely Than Men To Miss A Credit Card Payment


What’s a sure way to harm your credit score? Being late with payments or missing them completely. On-time payment history is one of the biggest factors in calculating your credit score – and, according to a new survey from, women are more likely to miss a credit card payment and suffer the credit score consequences.

Out of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 42% missed at least one credit card payment. Almost half (48%) of women admitted missing at least one payment, compared to 35% of men.

Why would women miss more payments? The wage gap may explain some of the difference. According to a report from the Pew Research Center,women earned approximately 82 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2017. Single mothers may fall into the 35% of respondents who said they missed payments because they didn’t have the money – and they may also be in th…

On The Dark Web, How Much Are You Worth?


“Consumers for sale! Get your consumer information here! Plump ripe consumers, ready for the taking! Only $1,170 for a full consumer package! À la carte information for as little as a few dollars! Get them while they’re fresh.”

Granted, there aren’t peddlers roaming around your local business district selling your stolen information – but the above patter could apply in hidden and unregulated areas of the Internet (aka the “Dark Web”). According to the Dark Web Market Price Index released by the independent VPN review site Top10VPN in February 2018, a thief could purchase your entire online identity for approximately $1,170 if enough of your relevant information were there.

The full $1,170 package would include basic proof of identity, credit and debit accounts, online banking information, and logins for everything from your PayPa…

Millennials Should Improve Credit Before Home Shopping


Small Changes, Big Impact

Sometimes a seemingly small difference can have a large effect, like the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. According to a recent study by the credit bureau Experian, that same principle applies to millennials and their borrowing behaviors. With a small change in financial habits, more millennials could significantly shift their risk perception with lenders – allowing them to qualify for mortgage loans or receive better rates if they do qualify.

Older Borrowers, Better Scores

Your credit score, a reflection of your borrowing and repayment history as reported to the credit bureaus, is a valuable risk assessment tool for lenders. It’s not the only measure, but you’ll need other positive factors – such as a large pool of savings or an increase in income – to overcome a poor credit score.

According to the study, average credit scores improve with age. Baby Boomers (age 5…

Bankruptcies Dropping Among Young, But Growing For Seniors


Bankruptcy is a painful process at any point in life, but it’s especially excruciating when you are at or near retirement age. There’s no time to recover and build retirement income.

Unfortunately, seniors are declaring bankruptcy at an increasing rate. A recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that the rate of Americans at or above age 65 declaring bankruptcy had increased by over 200% from 1991 to 2016. Because of the higher percentage of older Americans in the population, that translates to a nearly five-fold increase in seniors in the bankruptcy system.

The contrast is sharp among age groups over the same timeframe. The bankruptcy rate fell by 78% among Americans ages 18 to 24, by 64% in the 25 to 34 age group, and by 40% in the 35 to 44 age group. Meanwhile, bankruptcies rose by 66% in the pre-retirement group (ages 55 to 64).