4 Best Credit Cards for Improving Your Credit in Fort Lauderdale

by Shelton on May 30th, 2014

filed under Secured Credit

One of the most effective ways to rebuild your credit history is to establish good credit through the responsible use of a low-interest credit card. This is not to say that if you have a credit card and you pay what you owe promptly and consistently your credit will be rebuilt fast, its a gradual process.

There is no quick remedy for damaged credit. However, you can choose to commit to responsible personal-finance management to avoid or minimize your chances of being in the same situation again.

Much has been written about the effectiveness of secured credit cards to rebuild credit. A secured credit card has a fixed credit limit and is linked to a savings account. As financially sound as it is, the product earned a bad reputation following events wherein companies offered secured cards to prey on the credit-burdened market, charging hefty interest rates and outrageous fees.

Considering the fact that people with poor credit often struggle to obtain a credit card, the ability to qualify for a secured credit card will likely come as a relief. To help you get your credit back in shape, here are four credit cards in Fort Lauderdale that will actually help you rebuild your credit safely:

1. BrightStar Credit Unions Secured MasterCard

BrightStar Credit Union Secured MasterCard is not a credit card youll have to worry about.

With 8.99% APR when you open your account based on your creditworthiness and 3.99% introductory APR for balance transfers on new accounts, BrightStar Credit Unions Secured MasterCard gives you a great opportunity to rebuild your credit without necessarily having any credit at all.

Because there is a low APR on balance transfers, you can move money from a high-interest credit card to this secured card to save money in interest payments with this lower APR.

2. City County Credit Unions Secured Visa

If you want to enjoy extra perks while rebuilding your credit, City County Credit Unions Secured Visa is what you have in mind. With up to a $2,000 credit limit, City County Credit Unions Secured Visa also offers automatic payments from your savings or checking account. It comes with a 16.9% APR on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, an annual fee of $50, and penalty fee of up to $35 for late payments.

It is important to note that late payments are likely one of the major reasons you have poor credit in the first place. City County Credit Unions late-payment fee should serve as a form of deterrence, dissuading you from missing payments and hurting your credit further.

3. Tropical Financial Credit Unions Visa Platinum Secured

One of the keys to rebuilding credit is to acquire a card from a financial institution that reports to credit bureaus without imposing unreasonably high fees. With 17.99% APR and 3 percent on cash advances, Tropical Financial Credit Unions Visa Platinum Secured card is a great vehicle for rebuilding credit.

Tropical Financial Credit Union’s Visa Platinum Secured card has no annual, application and balance transfer fees. However, it charges up to $25 for the first late payment and up to $30 each if you miss two or more payments within six months. The credit union also charges an additional $25 if payment is returned for any reason.

4. Florida Community Banks Secured Visa Card

Florida Community Banks Secured Visa Card offers a high 20.99% APR for purchases and a $35 annual fee, which will hopefully work to deter you from not paying your balances off in full. It has a minimum security deposit of $300 and a credit limit of $5,000 .

There is no quick fix to rebuilding credit, but if you are serious about your getting your credit history and score back to full strength you will want to make sure youre using the best credit card available to you.

Showing the credit bureaus and your prospective lenders that you can be trusted with their money starts with the responsible use of a credit card. Discipline and patience are required to improve your score and unlock major savings in the form of lower interest rates.  With a credit card that offers a low interest rate, you will be able to rebuild even the lowliest credit history.

City County Credit Union and Tropical Financial Credit Unions are clients of GOBankingRates.

Nebraska Students Prepare For Financial Futures

by Shelton on May 30th, 2014

filed under Student Credit Cards

LINCOLN, Neb. — For Nebraska high school students, a secure financial future could be just a click away. Thanks to the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars Program, high-schoolers are heading off to college, ready to take on their financial futures.

Students at Lincoln Christian join students from more than 70 Nebraska schools in learning personal finance, a skill that Treasurer Don Stenberg said is critical.

The online program teaches students financial information, like what the Fed is. And it does so in a way that connects with them.

Wed talk about them or send a Snapchat. Some of the characters in them were kind of funny, said senior Nolan Peschel.

I kind of explained everything in a fun way, said senior Hannah Christianson. With college loans, with savings plans, a lot of the interest rates with credit cards, just a lot of different aspects as far as financial preparation, she added.

It helps students understand their financial futures.

It just kind of opened my eyes to some of the stuff thats out there and available, whether its like student credit cards or student accounts, said Peschel.

Nolan and Hannah are not alone. More than 700 students around Nebraska now have their certifications.

Stenberg said students might not use everything they learn in school, but there are some things that you unavoidably will, and financial literacy or financial information is one of them.

Students said they have already started using that information.

Now that I have a debit card, being cautious with a credit card and using it wisely, making sure Im saving and balancing my checkbook, said Christianson.

Im a little more confident going off to college and not wondering how does all this stuff work, said Peschel.

Stenberg also noted that the students can add this certification to their resumes as they move on to college and beyond.

Home Loan Credit Thaw Comes With Better Jobs Report

by Shelton on May 30th, 2014

filed under Credit Scores

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

May 04–Prospective homebuyers still have plenty of hoops to jump to through to get a loan, but as little as 3.5 percent down with a credit score of 580 soon will be acceptable locally soon for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans.

The 580 credit score with 3.5 percent down has been an FHA-backed loan minimum, but most banks have stuck to 620 or even 680 credit scores as a precaution in these days of Great Recession recovery.

Citizens Bank and Trust in Van Buren, however, recently received notice from a secondary lending overlay group that it plans to drop its minimum credit score for an FHA-backed loan from 620 to 580, with 3.5 percent down, according to Citizens Bank Mortgage Loan Manager and Vice President

Alan DeFrees.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the credit thaw, saying that while standards remain tight by historical measures, lenders are accepting lower credit scores and reducing down-payment requirements.

Scores on purchase mortgages stood at 755 in March, down from 761 a year earlier, according to mortgage-software provider from

Ellie Mae. Those on purchase loans backed by the FHA dropped to 684, compared with 696 one year earlier.

Average credit scores on purchase loans closed through a consortium called LendingTree fell to 679 in March, down from the year-earlier 715.

Traci Wilhelm, mortgage loan originator with United Federal Credit Union in Fort Smith, said Friday that about 40 percent of their loans in a four-state region are made up of Veterans Affairs and FHA-backed loans for homes that range in price from $110,000 to $150,000. The region includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.

Home ownership is widely viewed as a stabilizing factor in society. Much of this, however, is predicated on job security. As the job market picks up, which it appears to be doing, so may home ownership. The Labor Department jobs report for April released Friday showed that milder weather helped employers add 288,000 jobs. It was the most in more than two years.

The unemployment rate also fell to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, the lowest since September 2008. The decline came because the labor force, which includes those working and looking for jobs, shrank by 806,000.

Owning is what strengthens neighborhoods, said SWBC Mortgage Branch Manager

Rose Catalano. Its good when you are having a percentage of the population owning their home because they have responsibility to their town and their city to improve it. Theyve made that commitment. Renters can pick up and leave any time.

Catalano said FHA loans, although they may require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) are still favorites of first-time homebuyers.

The annual mortgage insurance on an FHA loan is 1.35 percent of the loan amount, divided by 12. The monthly insurance on $100,000 home loan would be about $113. An up-front 1.75 percent loan insurance is also needed for the risk of default. That sum is usually financed onto the monthly mortgage payment.

At least with Catalano, more young professionals coming out of college are showing more interest in buying a home. And this impresses her. According to Bankrate.com, borrowers can use their own savings to make a home down payment. But other allowed sources of cash include a gift from a family member, or a grant from a state or local government down payment assistance program.

Maria Lau, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Arvest Bank in Fort Smith, noted in a recent Times Record report that within the past three weeks the housing purchase market has picked back up after a slow winter. Arvest still caries the 620 credit score minimum for FHA-backed loans and retains servicing on its loans, Lau adds.

If you have a credit score below a 660, you would not be able to finance 95 percent, Lau says. Typically, your credit score and your down-payment availability would help a loan officer determine what type of loan you need to be in.

Credit scores have always been important, but even more so after the mortgage meltdown in 2008 with the Dodd-Frank Act and bank reform. A potential homebuyers DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, is also a deciding factor, possibly more than the credit score.

Lau says the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau watches banks and the mortgage closely to protect consumers from banks taking advantage of them. In reality, though, these regulations are possibly hurting the consumer.

It becomes very frustrating, Lau said, when someone has to wait three days to close because a reduced fee caused his or her Annual Percentage Rate to go down. The annual rate that is charged for borrowing, expressed as a single percentage number that represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the term of a loan. This includes any fees or additional costs associated with the transaction.

If the APR goes up or down .125 percent, you have to re-disclose and wait to close, Lau said. How does that help a family who is trying to get into a home?

For a limited time, according to the Arvest website, Arvest is running a deal to discount mortgage closing costs by $500.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan eased to 4.29 percent from 4.33 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage slipped down to 3.38 percent from 3.39 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

According to FHA.gov, the department of the Housing and Urban Development Office is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world with over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934. It is also the only government agency that operates entirely from its self-generated income. The proceeds from the mortgage insurance paid by the homeowners are captured in an account that is used to operate the program.

FHA mortgage insurance is not permanent. It can either go away on its own, or can be refinanced away. For homeowners whose FHA mortgage pre-dates June 3, 2013, MIP goes away when certain conditions are met. For both the 15- and 30-year loan term the annual MIP is canceled once the loan reaches 78 percent of the loan-to-value and annual MIP has been paid for at least 60 months.

To qualify for a conventional mortgage, a borrower generally needs a minimum credit score of 680 and at least 5 percent down. Many lenders require at least 10 percent down.

The National Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association said last week it is asking the FHA to lower the annual premiums tacked onto monthly mortgage payments. The agency has raised the fees five times since 2010, from 0.55 percent of the loans value to 1.35 percent.

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(c)2014 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.)

Visit Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.) at www.swtimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

The Best Student Credit Cards of 2014, Ranked by MyRatePlan.com

by Shelton on May 30th, 2014

filed under Student Credit Cards

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) May 01, 2014

Today, MyRatePlan.com, an expert authority on credit cards, announced the best credit cards available for students. Students often have no to little credit, so it can be hard for them to get approved for credit cards. With a student credit card though, applicants can get easily approved and start building their credit. Many of these cards even offer rewards for things that students buy often, like books, groceries, gas, and more.

To create their list of the best student credit cards of 2014, MyRatePlan experts weighed approval rates, rewards programs, introductory offers, interest rates, customer reviews, and expert opinions. According to their findings, here are the best student credit cards on the market today:

Discover it for Students

The Discover it for Students card is a great student credit card with easy approval. There are no annual fees, overlimit fees, or foreign transaction fees. With Discover’s generous cash back program, students earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 spent in rotating categories (currently Home Improvement stores, Furniture Stores, and Bed, Bath, amp; Beyond) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, and cardholders can talk to a real person anytime with Discover’s 100% US-based customer service. Plus, users receive free FICO scores on all monthly statements.

Citi Dividend Card for College Students

The Citi Dividend Card for College Students is another excellent option for students. This card allows members to build credit while earning cash back fast. Cardholders earn 5% cash back every quarter in must have categories, such as department stores, travel, and more. They also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee, and students have the flexibility to choose their payment due date. They can also manage their account online, on their tablet, or on their Smartphone.

Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

The Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus card rounds off MyRatePlan’s list of the best student credit cards of 2014. With this card, users also earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 spent in rotating categories (currently Home Improvement stores, Furniture Stores, and Bed, Bath, amp; Beyond) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. In addition, they earn a $20 Cashback Bonus when making the first purchase within 3 months of approval. This card has no annual fees, overlimit fees, or foreign transaction fees. Students receive free FICO scores on all monthly statements, so they can help build credit.

These are the best student credit cards available for consumers today. For more information regarding student credit cards, access MyRatePlan: http://compare.myrateplan.com/credit-cards/compare/compare-student-credit-cards

About MyRatePlan:

MyRatePlan.com is a leading comparison site that allows users to compare credit cards, mobile phones, cell phone plans, and more. MyRatePlan was founded in 1999 to help users find the best recommendations for them based on innovative and proprietary tools and customer input.