Your payment history is a big part of your credit score. It counts for more than a third of your credit score. If you are late on payments for credit cards, department store credit cards, car loans and mortgages, this will bring down your credit score.
Whenever possible, try to get federal student loans rather than private student loans. The federal student loans give you more protection. They also have more clear cut rules and applications about repayment and deferment.
A car loan can help you build up your credit score. If you make regular payments, it will build your credit over time. Be careful to not buy more car than you can afford.
When shopping online, beware of fake websites and apps. Don’t click on links in e-mails you do not recognize. Before paying for something online, make sure the website has “https” at the beginning of its URL with a lock symbol, like this:
When someone calls you to collect on a bill, here are signs that they may be a scammer:
- They want you to pay by money transfer or prepaid card
- They threaten you with jail time or they say they are from the government
- They ask you for confidential information, like your social security number or bank information
HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you have a mortgage through Fannie Mac or Freddie Mac, you might be able to get your monthly mortgage payment lowered. You might be able to get low cost financing also.
Median home values have gone up more than 8% over the last year. The national median home value is now $217,300. In many of the largest home markets, prices are at an all-time high. Some people are calling this the most competitive home buying season on record.
Holiday club accounts automatically withdraw money from your checking account each month. You get the total amount transferred to your checking account once you have met your goal. There is usually a penalty for early withdrawal so make sure to read all about the plan before you start.
You can use the Affordability Calculator to see how much your maximum purchase price should be for a house. You input your gross income and other numbers to come up with this calculation. See below:
A HELOC is a home equity line of credit. A HELOC is actually not a loan, but a line of credit that is secured by your home. You have to have enough equity in your home to get a HELOC. The bank will look at the value of your home and how much you already owe on your mortgage.