Promotion Archives - Common Trust FCU

What Is Considered a Good Credit Score?

Highlights:

  • Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit reports.
  • Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850.
  • Different lenders have different criteria when it comes to granting credit.

What is a Good Credit Score?


It’s an age-old question we receive, and to answer it requires that we start with the basics: What is a credit score, anyway?

Generally speaking, a credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 850. Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit report, including your payment history; the amount of debt you have; and the length of your credit history.

There are many different scoring models, and some use other data in calculating credit scores. Credit scores are used by potential lenders and creditors, such as banks, credit card companies, or car dealerships, as one factor when deciding whether to offer you credit, like a loan or credit card. It’s one factor among many to help them determine how likely you are to pay back the money they lend.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s financial and credit situation is different, and there’s no “magic number” that may guarantee better loan rates and terms.

Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good, and 800 and up are considered excellent. Higher credit scores mean you have demonstrated responsible credit behavior in the past, which may make potential lenders and creditors more confident when evaluating a request for credit.

Lenders generally see those with credit scores 670 and up as acceptable or lower-risk borrowers. Those with credit scores from 580 to 669 are generally seen as “subprime borrowers,” meaning they may find it more difficult to qualify for better loan terms. Those with lower scores – under 580 – generally fall into the “poor” credit range and may have difficulty getting credit or qualifying for better loan terms.

Different lenders have different criteria when it comes to granting credit, which may include information such as your income or other factors. That means the credit scores they accept may vary depending on that criteria.

Credit scores may differ between the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) as not all creditors and lenders report to all three. Many creditors do report to all three, but you may have an account with a creditor that only reports to one, two, or none at all. In addition, there are many different scoring models available, and those scoring models may differ depending on the type of loan and lenders’ preference for certain criteria.

What Factors Impact Your Credit Score?

Here are some tried and true behaviors to keep top of mind as you begin to establish – or maintain – responsible credit behaviors:

  • Pay your bills on time, every time. This doesn’t just include credit cards – late or missed payments on other accounts, such as cell phones, may be reported to the credit bureaus, which may impact your credit scores. If you’re having trouble paying a bill, contact the lender immediately. Don’t skip payments, even if you’re disputing a bill.

 

  • Pay off your debts as quickly as you can.

 

  • Keep your credit card balance well below the limit. A higher balance compared to your credit limit may impact your credit score.

 

  • Apply for credit sparingly. Applying for multiple credit accounts within a short time period may impact your credit score.

 

  • Check your credit reports regularly. Request a free copy of your credit report and check it to make sure your personal information is correct and there is no inaccurate or incomplete account information. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. By requesting a copy from one every four months, you can keep an eye on your reports year-round. Remember: checking your own credit report or credit score won’t affect your credit scores.


You can also create a myEquifax account to get six free Equifax credit reports each year. In addition, you can click “Get my free credit score” on your myEquifax dashboard to enroll in Equifax Core Credit™ for a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score, based on Equifax data. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.

If you find information you believe is inaccurate or incomplete, contact the lender or creditor. You can also file a dispute with the credit bureau that furnished the report. At Equifax, you can create a myEquifax account to file a dispute. Visit our dispute page to learn other ways you can submit a dispute.

New Computer, No Problem: 3 Unexpected Benefits of Using a Computer Loan

So, you’re looking for a new computer. Maybe your old one crashed unexpectedly or you just want the latest upgrade. Either way, a low-interest and long-term computer loan is the right path to keep your finances in check while allowing you to purchase all computer-related essentials. Plus, there are a few unexpected benefits of using a computer loan to fund the purchase. 

More time to pay for your dream computer. 

The biggest benefit of using a computer loan to purchase your dream desktop or laptop is that there’s no need to have all the cash up front. After you sign the paperwork, you’ll have anywhere from several months to a couple of years for repayment. This breaks down what would have been a hefty splurge into bite-sized chunks that can be paid off monthly. 

Never think of a loan as a way to get free money on the spot. Always make sure that you’ll be able to make on-time payments when the time comes. While buying a little time is great to minimize the financial impact a purchase will have initially, it’s in your best financial interest to only make carefully-planned purchases that you’ll eventually be able to make payments on. Taking out a loan or applying for a credit card is a great way to strategically borrow and pay back the money when you need it most, but can be devastating to your financial health if used frivolously or irresponsibly.

Flexible terms to match your budget. 

The best part about searching for a computer loan to fund your purchase is that there are so many options to fit your specific financial needs. The loan search is completely under your control, and you can work with a loan officer to really nail down which options are best for you. From low-interest rates to highly flexible terms, your dream loan is only a click away. 

As with any loan, be sure to allow plenty of time to assess all local and digital loan lenders in order to make sure you have enough information to make a final decision. If you have time to spare, you can also inquire about limited-time promotions and special offers for members in order to further lessen the financial impact. Taking out a computer loan is a big decision, but it should never ruin you financially. Even if your local credit union doesn’t offer a suitable loan, there are thousands of lenders worldwide for every budget.

A boost to your credit score.

Once you’ve been approved and start making payments, each on-time loan payment has a positive impact on your credit score. If you continue to make on-time payments over the full course of the loan, you’ll likely see a huge improvement in your overall score. Lenders take notice in a streak of on-time payments, and you’ll be even more likely to be approved for any future credit cards or loan accounts.

To limit the number of unnecessary hard inquiries, always be on the lookout for pre-qualified loan offers. When you’re pre-qualified, that means that your score fits within the limit of what a specific bank or credit union will lend to and that you’ll likely be approved. Only seek out loans and lenders within your credit limit and ask plenty of questions to prevent declined applications that will ultimately cause your credit to dip.

Looking for an affordable way to buy the computer of your dreams? With rates as low as 6.99%* and a loan limit of $3,000, our computer loan is the perfect option to revamp your workspace with cutting-edge technology. To learn more about your options or ask any questions, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

Your Guide to Managing Finances During COVID-19

Special COVID-19 Message: a COVID-19 relief loan is just one of many ways we can help reorganize your finances during these difficult times. If you’re experiencing financial hardship and are looking for some guidance and support, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this.

 

Getting your financial house in order is something that every person should strive for. From credit scores, savings accounts, and open lines of credit, it’s a full-time job to keep track of all accounts and payments. Especially during this tumultuous time of uncertainty, finding your financial groove is more important than ever before. Thankfully, there are a few huge steps you can take to minimize the impact that COVID-19 has on your financial situation, even if you’ve found yourself experiencing a loss of income.



Avoid Unnecessary Debt

While social distancing prevents you from going to your favorite mall or outlet, avoiding debt is still an everyday struggle. During this time, always ask yourself: is this something I really need? Filling up your cart on Amazon is a great way to pass the time, but may leave you up to your chin in unnecessary debt (and purchases). Unless absolutely necessary, limit random splurges and frivolous spending to avoid racking up debt that will negatively impact you post-COVID-19.

 

Build a Budget

To really take a step in the right direction, generate some sort of weekly and monthly budget to follow. This should include necessities like bills, groceries, gas, and other important payments. Balance your spending with your total income and adjust spending habits accordingly. Try to limit dangerous spending habits and keep random splurging to a minimum. If you’re currently experiencing a loss of work or income, you may need to adjust your spending even further in order to accommodate for a reduced paycheck. 

 

Start Saving More

With limited access to shopping centers, it’s a great time to start saving all the money you would have normally spent on fun gadgets and clothes. If you don’t currently have a savings account, open one today. When creating your weekly and monthly budget, include a certain percentage of your income to be automatically placed into your savings account. Over time, the account will grow into a fairly large safety net that you can use however you please.

 

Consider a CD

If you have a decent savings already, consider opening a Share Certificate Account (CD). They are deposited for a fixed period of time and yield higher interest rates. You can open a Share Certificate with as little as $500. Investment terms range from 6 months to 3 years. 

 

Transfer Your Credit Balance

If you have a few lines of credit open at this time, a credit balance transfer can help consolidate multiple accounts into one. This makes managing payments easier and diminishes the risk of unwanted interest accumulation. Especially if you’re cutting down on costs, you’ll want to start reducing any unnecessary interest payments tacked onto your principal balance. 

You’ll start by filling out a card application. Simply call your local credit union, fill out an application, and start reaping the benefits of a lower-interest credit card and comparably lower card payments. It’s that easy!

Apply for a payment extension

If your household income has taken a hit, applying for a payment extension gives you a little bit more time to get back on your feet. Especially with multiple loan accounts or lines of credit, missing payments and accumulating fines is the worst thing to do. Give your local bank or credit union a call to see what they can offer in terms of payment extensions or deferments based on your financial situation.

 

Use a Debt Relief Loan

If you’ve recently found yourself out of work, waiting for your unemployment compensation check to arrive in the mail may not be in your best financial interest. With a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan, you can get the funds you need for necessities way ahead of schedule. Better yet, emergency relief loans will often allow you a few weeks or even months to get back on your feet before payments start coming in. Overall, they’re a low-interest and high-yield option for those in need of a little extra funding.

In need of some extra cash while getting your finances in order? With rates as low as 6.99%* and no payments for the first 90 days, financial relief has never been more accessible than with our COVID-19 emergency relief loan. To learn more about your options or ask any questions, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

 

Experiencing financial hardship? Let’s talk.

Right now is a tremendously tricky time. Above all else, we want to help you and your family stay financially stable. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this difficult time. 

 

Your Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loans

Special COVID-19 Message: a COVID-19 relief loan is just one of many ways we can help reorganize your finances during these difficult times. If you’re experiencing financial hardship and are looking for some guidance and support, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this.

 

As we continue to practice social distancing in the wake of COVID-19, many businesses are finding it hard to keep employees paid and well-compensated. Many individuals are even finding themselves out of work and unemployed. If you’ve recently found yourself experiencing a loss of work, you may be racking your brain for financial solutions that won’t break the bank and help you stay afloat while you file for unemployment and get your budgeting in check. If you need expedited financial assistance during this time, a COVID-19 emergency relief loan is a low-interest solution that won’t put your future finances in jeopardy.

 

What’s a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan?

Just like your typical home equity or auto loan, a COVID-19 emergency relief loan is designed to give you the funds you need as soon as possible. Depending on creditworthiness, you can take out a loan of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This money can be used to buy necessities like groceries and pay off bills or other costs. If your lender offers delayed payments, you may be set for a few months without having to start paying the loan back. Then, when those few months are up, you will be responsible for making monthly fixed payments with added interest until the loan term is up or until you pay off the loan. 

 

What would I use it for?

If you’ve found yourself experiencing a loss of work during this increasingly uncertain time, a COVID-19 emergency relief loan is the perfect solution for you. After you’ve filed for unemployment, the long wait until your first compensation check arrives in the mail can be exhausting. 

Don’t let such a common occurrence keep your family from living a full and happy life. A COVID-19 relief loan is designed to give you the money you need for essentials like groceries, bills, and other expenses while your unemployment check is in transit. Plus, with a low-interest rate, delayed payments, and an ample repayment period, you can rest easy knowing that this loan won’t break the bank.

 

How do I get the best rate?

As with any loan, finding the best rate for a COVID-19 emergency relief loan is an easy task if you know what you’re looking for. Depending on your needs, finding a decent loan term is your best bet to reduce your monthly payment while ensuring enough time to get your finances together to fund future payments. Your top priority should be finding a loan option that delays payments. Some lenders may offer no payments for the first few months while you get back on your feet. Ultimately, to limit the amount of interest you pay on your principal loan amount, look for a low-interest rate that won’t break the bank. 

While all these pointers are a great way to make sure you’re in good hands, always remember to ask questions before signing any paperwork with your lender of choice. This is a big decision—no question is too small. Whether about repayment options, loan flexibility, or creditworthiness, ask as many questions as you need to verify that this is the right loan choice for you. 

 

How can I get started?

Tired of late nights tracking your unemployment check? With rates as low as 6.99%* and no payments for the first 90 days, paying for necessities has never been easier than with our COVID-19 emergency relief loan. To learn a little more about repayment options and interest rates, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

 

Experiencing financial hardship? Let’s talk.

Right now is a tremendously tricky time. Above all else, we want to help you and your family stay financially stable. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this difficult time. 

 

Debt Consolidation Loans: What Are They and How Can They Help You?

Special COVID-19 Message: a debt consolidation loan is just one of many ways we can help reorganize your finances during these difficult times. If you’re experiencing financial hardship and are looking for some guidance and support, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this.

Managing multiple lines of credit can be tricky. In stressful times like these, when there’s a lot of financial uncertainty, it can be even harder. One way to gain some control is to simply get a better understanding of your refinancing options. Here’s a closer look at one of those options: the debt consolidation loan.

 

What are debt consolidation loans?

Debt consolidation loans are loans that you can take out from your local bank or credit union to help you pay off multiple open accounts. They’ll pay off all open accounts and give you a loan to pay back. You then make the payments according to their repayment period and the interest rate you’re eligible for. As long as you continue to make on-time payments, the pros of this type of loan are limitless, and you’ll be back up on your feet financially in no time.

 

When and why would I need a debt consolidation loan?

If you have multiple credit cards or accounts open with multiple interest rates, a debt consolidation loan could be your first step towards reorganizing your finances. Many people find it harder to manage multiple accounts, and varying interest rates mean some accounts will grow faster over time. Consolidating all debt is a great way to minimize the financial impact of all open accounts without making a lump sum payment upfront.

 

How can they help?

There are numerous ways to refinance and pay off debt, depending on your financial needs. A debt consolidation loan can help you rest easy knowing that you’ll be receiving the following benefits immediately after taking one out: 

 

  • Prevent Credit Dips & Accrued Interest
    If you have multiple accounts open, it can become difficult to manage them all without missing payments. Opening a debt consolidation loan can help prevent any credit dips from missed payments. With on-time payments, you also won’t be gathering any unnecessary fees or interest.

  • Keep It All in One Place
    As mentioned above, debt consolidation is an optimal way to manage various open accounts. Instead of dealing with multiple payment due dates, weighing various interest rates, and managing a multitude of payments, all of your debt will be viewable in one account. You’ll only have one interest rate, term length, and pay period to worry about.

  • Get One Low-Interest Rate
    Debt consolidation loans are a great way to refinance existing debt since the interest rates are usually significantly lower than credit card rates. You’ll end up paying far less in loan payments than credit card payments with tacked-on interest and fees.

 

How do I get started?

Ready to consolidate your debt into place? With rates as low as 10.49%* until April 30th, lessening the financial burden of your debt has never been easier than with our debt consolidation loan promotion. To learn a little more about repayment options and interest rates, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

 

Experiencing financial hardship? Let’s talk.

Right now is a tremendously tricky time. Above all else, we want to help you and your family stay financially stable. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, don’t hesitate: give us a call or send us a message. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you through this difficult time. 

Tax Tips: How to Save More and Stress Less

We’re a little over halfway through March, which means Tax Day is fast approaching. You may have already filed your return and are anxiously awaiting the direct deposit or have arranged your method of paying any outstanding dues. If you haven’t started filing—don’t wait! In the case of owing any money to the IRS, the due date for payment is still April 15th even if you file for an extension on the deadline.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to put a little more cha-ching in your wallet this tax season. You may even find that you’ve been neglecting some tax breaks and losing money on past tax returns as well. In this blog, we’ll dive into a few tips and tricks to save more money on your tax return while filing, and how to continue to save even after you file. In just six steps, you’ll be on the road to better understanding your tax return and how to make the most out of it.

3 Steps to Pre-Refund Tax Savings

1. Maximize Your Deductions

You may look at the list of deductions and think none of them could possibly amount to enough to make an impact on your return. However, each deduction makes an impact and every bit combined can add up to big results. Check out the full list of deductions to really get the most out of your return.

Things like student loan interest, state sales tax, and dependent care are all valuable deductions that you may be eligible for. Combined, these deductions can add up to the refund of your dreams. Keep track of all potential deductions and be sure to stay organized and keep all files in order to make sorting through receipts and notes easier come tax time. Lesser-known deductions include in-kind donations and any money or miles used to do charity work. You may think these sound like they wouldn’t make a difference, but you never really know just how much each small thing can add up to. It’s a far safer bet to take advantage of your deductions than lose out on hard-earned cash by ignoring them.

2. Contribute to the IRA and HSA

Contributing to your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) can vastly increase your return at the end of the year. Plus, contributing to your retirement fund is an investment your future self will be undoubtedly grateful for. When it comes to your refund, today’s IRAs provide more tax benefits and greater earnings than in previous years. You can also choose from taking advantage of yearly tax deductions now or saving your tax breaks for future withdrawals.

If you are eligible for a Health Savings Account, making contributions to it will help you pay medical expenses using the deposited funds. Not only that—you’ll be able to deduct these payments from your taxable income. Keep in mind that you can only contribute up to the amount dictated by HSA contribution limits and all contributions must be made before tax day in order to count for the previous year.

3. Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Tax credits are like the real-money equivalent to deductions. Instead of deducting from your taxable income, tax credits are subtracted from your tax liability. This means the tax you owe will be reduced by the monetary value of your tax credits. Common credits are Earned Income Tax, Residential Energy Efficient Property, and Health Coverage Tax Credit. Be sure to check out the IRS-provided list of credits that you may be eligible to get your maximum refund amount. As with deductions, even the smallest credit is still a monetary offset of the taxes you may owe. Taking advantage of them is a one-way ticket to even more savings and a potentially bigger return.

3 Steps to Post-Refund Tax Savings

1. If You Owe, Pay It off Now

If you didn’t know it already, any outstanding tax dues will rack up huge amounts of interest while you figure out a way to afford them. If you can, pay off the dues now to ensure no penalties or fines are being added to your account.  As we mentioned above, even if you file for an extension on filing, you still have to pay the IRS on or before April 15th to avoid fees and penalties. Aside from fees and potential jail time, avoiding tax payments can also impact your credit. Though it won’t immediately put a dent in your score, failing to pay your taxes in a timely manner will eventually catch up to you. Having a plan in mind on how to handle your finances in these situations is by far a much better idea.

2. Take Out a Tax Loan

Rather than taking out a big chunk of out of your savings, finding a sound and secure way to pay off your tax debt is a much better plan. Though you can apply for a payment plan through the IRS, taking out a tax loan is often your best bet to stay on top of debt while earning a few bonus points. Interest rates are also much lower and repayment periods can be a bit more flexible than government-provided options.

Just like any other type of loan, you can apply through various online and in-person lenders or credit unions. Upon approval, you can then use it to pay off any outstanding balances to the IRS. Tax loans don’t just provide you with a reason to dance—they also help bump up your credit score over time as you make payments towards the balance. As long as your payments get made on time, a tax loan is the second-best thing to free money!

3. Build Your Rainy Day Fund

Debatably the trickiest part of filing your tax return is deciding how to use it. If you got back a decent sum of money from the IRS, chances are you’re racking your brain on next steps with that lump of cold hard cash. Instead of spending frivolously on things you may not even want or need in the future, consider using it to start an emergency or rainy day fund. Opening a second savings account will allow you to build interest on top of the principal, earning you even more money than you started with. Better yet, opening a CD account will yield an even higher interest rate. Though you may not be able to touch it for a few months, the reward is well worth the wait! Let’s be honest, it’s safer there anyways.

Haven’t started your tax return yet? Now’s a better time than ever! Common Trust Federal Credit Union has teamed up with TurboTax to help you save up to $15 on federal tax products. Moreover, our team is highly knowledgeable and here to help you with every step of your application.

Tax return not exactly what you’d anticipated? With rates as low as 9.99%, paying your taxes has never been easier than with our ongoing tax loan promotion. To learn a little more about repayment options and interest rates, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

How Tax Loans Work—And How They Can Work For You

If you’re like most people, taxes are the last thing on your mind when you start off the new year. Everything is running smoothly until you start getting rampant emails from Turbotax asking if you’re ready to file. A sizable refund can be a great way to save up for future purchases—but what if you find out you owe more than you get back? You may be racking your brain trying to determine where you could have gone wrong. Not to worry—a tax loan is the perfect way to pay off what you owe without breaking the bank. To make things a little easier, we’re going to review the ins and outs of tax loans, and how they can help you jump-start your debt payoff.

What are tax loans?

A tax loan is similar to any other loan you’d sign up for. They’re offered from various online lenders, credit unions, and banks. Repayment terms are often ideal for paying off unexpected taxes without accumulating too much interest along the way. In fact, competitive interest rates make them a lower-cost alternative to IRS payment plans.

When and why would I need a tax loan?

Though most Americans do get a refund each year, there are a few circumstances that would make you owe more money in taxes. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, self-employment, changes in deductions, and extra income. In some instances, the taxes you owe may even exceed the return you were expecting back and you’ll end up owing money to the IRS rather than getting a refund.

Whether you knew it before tax day or not, you still have to pay these dues or face penalties and fees as months pass by. This is where a tax loan comes in—to help you pay off your dues on-time even when crisis strikes.

Are they a good idea?

Yes! Tax loans are the perfect solution when your tax refund doesn’t live up to expectations. Whether from self-employment or unintentionally altering your W-4 with an employer, certain circumstances may leave you with a large sum of money to pay back. Without the help of a loan, you may find yourself drowning in interest for missing payments. Ultimately, paying the low-interest rate associated with your loan will likely end up costing far less in the long-run than penalties inflicted by the IRS. Need another reason? Failing to pay your taxes, commonly known as tax evasion, is a serious criminal offense and could land you in jail for 3-5 years if you get caught.

How do I find the best deal?

Each filer’s needs are unique, so finding the perfect tax loan isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your annual income and how much you owe, you may need a longer term to pay off the loan. Conversely, you may want a lower-interest rate and shorter repayment term.

Depending on your specific wants and needs, your search could be a click away or may require a little more investigation. Just like any other loan, be sure to research thoroughly and ask plenty of questions. Some lenders will offer a special promotional discount around tax season, so it’s important to plan accordingly and get those taxes filed as soon as possible.

Tax return not exactly what you’d anticipated? With rates as low as 9.99%, paying your taxes has never been easier than with our ongoing tax loan promotion. To learn a little more about repayment options and interest rates, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

Haven’t started your tax return yet? Now’s a better time than ever! Common Trust Federal Credit Union has teamed up with TurboTax to help you save up to $15 on federal tax products. Moreover, our team is highly knowledgeable and here to help you with every step of your application.

Drive a Good Bargain: How to Get Your Best Auto Loan

Congratulations—your car search has come to an end and you’ve settled on a shiny new vehicle to call your own. Whether you choose to invest in the luxury or base model, neither decision will make a difference if you don’t have the cash to fund your new purchase. That’s where an auto loan comes in—to provide you with the money needed to buy a vehicle outright and avoid hefty dealership fees or interest rates. From purchasing a used vehicle for your newly-licensed teenager to budgeting for a better model, here are the top five strategies to finding an auto loan to fit your needs.

Search Around

Before you start test-driving potential models, always search around for running averages for interest rates, loan terms, and repayment options. Don’t go into the deal blind, and know what to look for to detect potential scams or hidden fees. Around the holidays or new year, loan promotions may be available with low-interest rates and flexible repayment options. Ask around—friends and family may know about discounts or promotions with their local bank. Give potential lenders a call to make terms a little clearer and ask any questions you need to get started. 

Understand Your Financial Standing

Before you even think about setting foot in a bank or credit union, understand your current financial standing to know what to expect before the conversation starts flowing. Important things to research are your credit score, credit report, and financial history. Knowing the range of these numbers can help you to understand what kind of rates you’ll be presented with when you start discussing. Some lenders will offer a discount, lower-interest rates, or a more flexible repayment period if you are in good financial standing. You may even get pre-approved if your credit is insufficient, eliminating the need for hard-inquiry credit-checks entirely.

Read All the Terms

When you sit down with a financial advisor to review terms, be sure to read all the fine print. Avoid loans that present surprise fees or interest charges, and stick to those that have a non-fluctuating period of repayment. Points like these will allow you to rest easy knowing that nothing will change over time and leave you underwater. Before signing anything, make sure you are fully aware and understand what you’re agreeing to.

Ask Away!

When it comes to anything financial, never be afraid to ask questions. This is a long-term investment, so make sure all terms and statements make sense and are clear in your brain. Financial advisors and advocates are here and want to help you make the best decision. If they’re a little sluggish in making your contract easier to read and understand, it may be time to find a new source of funding. No matter how silly the question may seem, don’t be afraid to perk up and ask—it could be the difference between short-term funding and a lifetime of debt. 

Not sure where to start looking for your ideal auto loan? For President’s Day, Common Trust is proud to be offering an auto loan promotion to get you in the front seat of your dream car. With a rate of 2.99%, you can focus more on enjoying your new ride and less on technicalities and fine print. Don’t miss out—this exclusive offer is only available until March 31st. Give us a ring or reach out via email today!

How to Switch Credit Cards and Save Money While Doing It

We’ve all done it. You open a credit card and the rates look great at an initial glance—because you’ll never miss a payment, right? A big purchase comes around and you find yourself in a little more debt than you anticipated. That’s when your interest rate hits hard, each time increasing your already-unpayable balance to even higher levels. What should you do when credit card debt gets a little out of hand? In this blog, we’ll focus on how to successfully switch credit cards, and transfer your credit card balance, in order to both lower your interest rate and save you money.

What Are My Options?

Here is a short list of things you can do when you find yourself faced with an overwhelming balance:

  • Dip into your savings account. One way or another, the debt has to be paid or it will naturally accumulate interest via the rate you and your credit company agreed upon. This is typically the primary option since you won’t have to deal with any fees or interest rates from new loans. Understandably, however, you may not have the cash on hand to pay the balance and it’s not a practice you’d want to make a regular habit of doing.
  • Pay off the debt with a loan. This type of loan is designed to pay off your credit card debt and allow you to make payments according to a flexible repayment plan. The interest rate will be drastically lower than your credit interest rate, allowing you to pay off the principal balance much faster. That said, it’s always important to read the terms thoroughly and ask questions—some debt payoff loan promotions may have a maximum loan amount or a slew of extraneous fees.
  • Transfer the balance to a lower-rate card. This debt consolidation option is typically the most cost-efficient. But it really depends on who you choose to work with. Big banks often have low or even 0% APR offers, but they’re almost always for a limited time and change to a high-interest rate after a couple of months. By contrast, some credit unions, like Common Trust, will give you an ongoing rate that never changes, so you can rest easy and budget accordingly. The rate will be much lower than that which you are currently paying, so you’ll be able to pay off your debt quicker. Promotions can also impact the rate you’ll receive, ultimately saving you even more money.

Transferring Your Credit Balance

So, you spent too much at the annual outlet sale and found yourself in some serious debt. Time to panic, right? Wrong. While there is a bounty of debt-eliminating options you can resort to—including a Debt Payoff Loan or Debt Consolidation Loan—a balance transfer credit card is typically the smartest, safest option.

To reap the benefits of a transfer balance credit card, you’ll start by filling out a card application. As with all big steps, be sure to ask as many questions as you need to finalize your decision. Make sure to double-check that there aren’t any drastic opening or closing fees, surprise rate increases, or any other types of random costs. In order to be approved for the new card, you may be subjected to a soft inquiry credit-check to be sure you make your payments on time and aren’t a huge credit risk. The bank will then pay off your credit card company for the current balance, and in exchange, you’ll owe the same balance with a comparably-lower interest rate. It’s that simple!

Changing Future Habits

After the dust has cleared and you’ve made the final payment to your Credit Balance Transfer account, you’ll likely want to re-think the way you manage money so you avoid future debt pitfalls. Making a resolution to manage and spend better is an optimal preventative measure to any type of debt.

The key to a healthy credit score and credit report is managing your money in a productive way and staying out of debt. Try to avoid spending money that you don’t have, and keep frivolous purchases to a minimum. Doing so will allow you to keep track of balances and ensure no line of credit is getting out of hand. Don’t open too many credit cards (even if the incentive is really great)—managing multiple accounts can lead to missed or late payments and breed into skyrocketing interest balances once again. If you do have multiple accounts open, checking in with Credit Karma every once in a while will help to manage all balances and keep them in check. Though this may not be the end-all to any financial hardship, it’s a huge step in the right direction.

Struggling to keep up with credit card debt? You’re in luck! Until March 31, 2020, Common Trust is proud to be offering our Credit Card Balance Transfer promotion. With a rate of 6.99% that stays fixed until your entire balance is paid off, you can focus on paying off your principal debt balance and not worry about having to get it done in a stressful, limited time period. This offer only lasts a few months, so don’t miss your chance to live debt-free—give us a ring or reach out via email today!

Is a Home Equity Loan Right for You?


A new year means new goals, adventures, and purchases. Are you financially prepared and in good standing to follow through with your dreams? Whether you’re looking to make big home improvements, pay off debt, fund a loved one’s education or simply have extra cash for a special project, a home equity loan could be the right solution for you to quickly get you the funds you need. But before we launch into what defines a “good” home equity loan and how to get one, let’s get started with the basics of this source of financial backing.

What’s a Home Equity Loan?

Similar to the first mortgage you used to initially purchase your home, a home equity loan is a second mortgage on your home. With this type of loan, you’re borrowing money against the value of your home without any of your unpaid balances. The terms will vary depending on promotion, company, and creditworthiness. Some will have fixed rates, whereas some may have variable rates based upon U.S. economic trends. Some may also have numerous other fees attached—something to look out for. 

How much will the loan be for?

The maximum home equity loan you’ll be eligible for would be the total value of your home minus any outstanding balances. Depending on which bank or credit union you decide to pursue the loan through, home equity loan values can vary. At Common Trust, your loan can be approved for up to Eighty Percent (80% LTV) of the appraised value of the real estate, minus First Mortgage balance before minimum dollar amount. Loan-to-Value amount is the ratio the bank will allow you to be approved for (ex. 80% LTV of a total value of $100,000 would be an $80,000 loan). The minimum loan value is $10,000 and the maximum dollar amount is $300,000. Imagine what you could do with such spending power! The possibilities are endless.

A simple equation for use in determining the Home Equity Loan you’re eligible for: 

[(Appraised Value of Home) – (Outstanding Balances)] × (LTV%) = Total Loan Value

Is a home equity loan a good idea?

Home equity loans are a great way to access funds that you need to do the things you love. If you are in good financial standing and have a good grip on managing your finances in general, you’ll surely reap the benefits of a Home Equity Loan without any negative drawbacks. If you find yourself struggling to manage your budgeting and always stress about finances, a home equity loan may not be the right choice for you. 

Are there any cons?

As with any financial investment, if you aren’t responsible you may find yourself in deep waters relatively quickly. It’s important to understand your financial standing and whether or not you can afford to take out such a loan. Be sure to confirm all interest rates before signing off on the loan to prevent any surprise fees, and never be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to finalize your decision. This is likely one of the biggest loans you’ll take out, so make sure it’s the right choice. 

There are a few other very notable disadvantages to a Home Equity Loan if used frivolously, however. Keep in mind that your home is being used as collateral to back this loan, so if there are any instances where you can’t make payments they can technically take possession of your property. Since your loan is based on the equity of your home, which can decrease in value depending upon economic trends, you may end up owing more money on your home than it’s actually worth if there’s a serious drop in appraised value. This is commonly known as being “underwater” or “upside-down”. Though these drawbacks can easily be prevented with more research on your loan terms and home value, they are still important to consider when investing in this type of loan. 

Think a Home Equity Loan could be right for you? We have good news! Until March 31, 2020, Common Trust is proud to be offering our 10 Year Home Equity Loan promotion. With competitive rates as low as 4.99*, you can get access to the funds you need and pursue the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Take advantage of our low rates while you can—give us a ring or reach out via email today!

*Actual rate is subject to creditworthiness

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