Personal Finances – Mobile Evolution Improving Success

Since the dawn of the Internet – and followed by the launch of smartphones – everything has changed. Being able to communicate in ways that we never imagined, it became possible to instantly have a face-to-face conversation with someone halfway across the world, map directions and even manage your bank account on your mobile phone.

This evolution is improving the ability to track budgets, manage personal finances and build credit more securely than ever before.

Personal Finances Mobile Apps

 

The Relationship Between Mobile Phones and Money Management

The online world and the rise of mobile phones dramatically changed the way we communicate with one another, share critical information and even how we manage our day-to-day lives. This is particularly true in relation to money management.

When it comes to personal finances, in a matter of seconds, you can check balances, transfer money, access your statements, budget and even work towards a healthier credit score — all through the use of your mobile phone. Whether you want to pay a utility bill while you’re at the coffee shop or transfer a portion of your paycheck into a savings account, so much can now be accomplished through a mobile screen.

When it comes to banking services, for instance, mobile phones changed the efficiency of financial institutions forever. In fact, there are now some banks that are only accessible online — which means that you no longer need to waste 30 minutes of your lunch break to wait in a physical bank queue.

The Rise of Managing Personal Finances on Mobile

As mobile apps continued to develop and evolve, our finances became that much more accessible. In fact, based on a 2015 survey, 53 percent of people with a bank account and smartphone utilize mobile banking. When using banking services, the three most common mobile banking activities include:

•   Checking recent transactions (94 percent)

•   Transferring money between accounts (58 percent)

•   Receiving notifications from their bank (56 percent)

With so many specialized apps, independent of standard bank institution apps, managing funds and even investing has never been easier. Although there are many benefits associated with these apps based on convenience, none are more significant than the level of control you gain over your personal finances.

Mobile apps have allowed you to do much more than bank online. When you have access to various apps, you can do anything from pay your student loan to check your credit card balance. Whether you’re investing or banking, your goals can be achieved in a matter of minutes, helping you improve your long-term financial health.

As these changes continue to occur, companies are developing apps that are more powerful, higher in terms of security and are much more flexible than ever before. In fact, mobile apps can allow you to:

•   Better manage your money

•   Maintain a budget

•   Support debt repayment

•   Track expenses

•   Improve financial behavior so that you can save

Repairing Poor Credit Through Improved Daily Habits

When it comes to paying bills on time, there’s one factor that we’re all aware of — our credit score.

While focusing on credit card debt, for instance, for American households who carry credit card debt, it costs them an average of $1,300 per year in interest. With the average U.S. household carrying approximately $16,425 in credit card debt, mobile apps can help consumers not only make payments on time, but improve their current financial state by altering their spending habits.

As you become more aware of your daily habits, seeking the type of credit repair support you require, you will then be on your way to greater financial freedom. It’s all about setting small goals in order to make minor changes in your day-to-day routine.

Once you focus on making your monthly debt payments, budgeting is the next major step. After all, what’s the point of making a payment, just to drive your debt back up? When you learn to properly budget your personal finances, you can avoid this vicious cycle. This is when mobile apps come into play.

Mobile phones are on us at all hours of the day, so when accessing a budgeting app, you will become more aware on a day-to-day basis. Just like a 100-percent cash budget, which makes you more conscious of your spending, a budgeting app can do the same.

Within one survey, of the 3,600 smartphone users who use their phone to bank, 18 percent do so in order to budget, and of those, 69 percent strongly agree that the budgeting apps support healthier spending habits. Whether you want to create budgets, track your spending or pay bills, mobile apps can help you repair your credit over time.

Increase Your Knowledge to Improve Your Financial Health

As we look ahead, there’s no doubt that your personal finances will continue to evolve. As new software programs and online services are developed, the ability to manage our money will continue to become even more practical and convenient.

Whether you want to save more or repair your credit score, one thing is certain — education is imperative. Understanding your options and taking informed action will always pay off. After all, Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An investment in knowledge, always pays the best interest.”

Sources

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/usa-today-international-edition/20150429/281788512610586/TextView

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/consumers-and-mobile-financial-services-report-201603.pdf

Your Credit Report: Prepare for a Mortgage Application

Let’s be honest, not often do we have our credit report on our mind but when the time comes to apply for a mortgage, every point in your credit score matters. While you can get approved with a FICO score around 620, you often need a 740 or higher to get the best rates. If you want to maximize your credit score and potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your mortgage, follow the following plan.

Credit Report Mortgage Ready

Today – Review Your Credit Report

Go to annualcreditreport.com and review your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can get a free credit report from each bureau every 12 months. While some people like to spread them out over the year instead of requesting them all at once, it’s important to know that each bureau may have different information.

When you get your credit report, first check it for accuracy. If there are any errors, such as accounts listed that don’t belong to you or accounts incorrectly listed as delinquent, the creditor and credit bureau are required by law to fix them upon notification.

You should also make a list of any negative items that are properly reported. Sending goodwill letters or offering to pay off charged-off accounts may convince creditors to remove that negative information. While a creditor doesn’t have to remove accurate negative information, if any do agree, each one that does will likely bump up your credit score a few points.

3 Years – Build a Credit History

Most mortgage lenders want to see that you have at least two to three active tradelines to show that you can use credit responsibly and make payments on time. A tradeline can include a major credit card, secured credit card, student loan, or auto loan.

While some people prefer to use cash and believe using cash is more responsible, lenders want to see a history of you making small payments before relying on you to make a larger mortgage payment. However, you never need to pay interest or fees to demonstrate good credit usage — you are always free to pay your bills in full each month.

2 Years – Stop Applying for New Credit

When you’re within two years of purchasing a home, it’s time to put your credit on hold. Don’t apply for any new credit no matter how good the sign up bonus is. Your credit score drops slightly each time you apply for credit, and new accounts also drag down your credit score by reducing your average age of accounts.

Even a small hit to your credit score can cost you big. A 0.25% interest rate increase can add about $5,000 in interest per $100,000 borrowed over a 30-year mortgage.

18 Months – Request Credit Line Increases

One thing that you can apply for at this point is credit line increases on your existing cards. If approved, the increased credit limit will help your credit card utilization and boost your credit score. The reason to do it this far out is that if your bank requires a hard credit inquiry for a limit increase, the inquiry only hurts your credit score for 12 months.

1 Year – Start Daily Monitoring

Start watching your credit like a hawk when you’re within the final 12 months. Any surprise changes, even errors, could delay your closing and potentially cost you your dream home. You need to know about any changes as soon as they happen so that you have plenty of time to fix them.

At this point, your free annual credit report isn’t enough. The cost of signing up for daily or weekly credit alerts from each of the three credit bureaus is far less than paying additional mortgage interest or delaying your closing because you were surprised by something on your credit report.

9 Months – Pay Down Debt

If you have additional cash beyond your savings for your down payment, moving expenses and emergency fund, think about repaying any outstanding debt early. While your total monthly payments don’t directly impact your credit score, mortgage lenders do consider your debt-to-income ratio when deciding how much you’re approved for and your interest rate.

If you have credit card debt, even at a zero-percent intro rate, consider paying that off first because your credit card balances can directly lower your credit score in addition to increasing your debt-to-income ratio.

3 Months – Micromanage Credit Card Utilization

While most of your credit score is built over time, up to 30 percent of your credit score is a snapshot of how much of your credit card limits you were using as of your last credit card statement.

  • For a good credit score, use no more than 30 percent of your total credit limits across all cards.
  • For a better credit score, make sure none of your cards are above 30 percent of their individual limits.
  • For an even better credit score, temporarily only use one card.
  • For the best credit score, use between one and ten percent of a single card’s credit limit. (Zero is bad because lenders want to see you paying at least one credit card bill on time each month, and a zero balance doesn’t generate a bill.)

While this may force you to change your spending behavior and miss out on a few rewards points, the benefit of squeezing every last point out of your credit score is much greater.

Found Your Dream Home – Mortgage Application Time!

Once you’re approved, you can relax and stop worrying about micromanaging your credit, but keep the good money habits you developed to save on future car loans, get better credit cards and improve your personal finances as a whole.

Sources:

  • https://www.creditsesame.com/blog/mortgage/how-to-prepare-credit-buy-a-home/
  • https://www.thebalance.com/before-you-apply-for-a-mortgage-960362
  • http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/5-steps-mortgage-worthy-credit-profile-1270.php
  • http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-limit-utilization-ratio-use-charge-1267.php
  • http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/how-credit-scores-impact-your-mortgage-rate-1.aspx

How to Pick the Right Credit Card

Choosing the right credit card can be a daunting task. You must consider your credit score and eligibility before anything else. If you have at least an average credit rating, then there are a set of questions you will always want to ask. Take the time to address these common factors to determine the best possible credit card for you.

Right Credit Card

 

What Type of Credit Card Is Right for You?

Are you a big shopper or is your credit card more about building credit? Regular spenders can look at cashback and other rewards. A slightly higher annual fee could get offset by the amount you get credited from your incentives. Meanwhile, what if you are getting a card to build your credit score? If this is the case, you should look for one that’s affordable to maintain with minimal use.

What about the interest rate of your card? You have little control over that unless you have nearly perfect credit. The best interest rates on credit cards are typically in the 9.49 to 12.99 percent range. But remember, these rates are still high; you should not feel comfortable carrying any real amount of debt on your card.

Alternatively, borrowers with good credit can opt for a 0 percent card. This option gives you the chance to avoid paying interest for a set period. If you fail to pay off your debt in time, the accrued interest will add on. This card is appealing for sure, but you should treat it like a consolidation loan.

Choosing the Right Annual Fee

You would think the best annual fee is none, but this is not always the case. You must compare the other details of a credit card to know what it’s worth to you. The other fees could pile up on a no-fee card and make it cost more than one with, say, a $39 annual fee. Nevertheless, if you are targeting a small limit ($300-500), it would make complete sense to choose the card with the lowest annual fee.

Chase Higher Credit Limits

Are you still establishing your credit? If so, the right credit card for you would be with a credit card provider that will increase your borrowing limit over time. You can ask the company or search in Google to see what experience others have had with the same card.

Increasing your credit limit does not have to be a bad thing. Keep your debts under control, and every limit increase will result in a reduction in your debt-to-credit (credit utilization) ratio.

Furthermore, if you are starting off with a secured card, make sure you can convert it into an unsecured card at a later date. Make sure this card actually converts and doesn’t just result in a pre-approved application for a different card, as keeping the original one helps you sustain a higher average credit age.

Choosing the Right Card APR

Credit card APR rates are based on the issuer. You won’t find any super low-interest rates, but there are some cards with a 0 percent offer for the first 12 to 24 months. If you can qualify, it would be a good idea to look into those options first.

You should absolutely compare credit cards based on their APRs. The problem is that you do not know ahead of time what rate you will receive. Your creditworthiness is evaluated, and your credit report gets pulled. After that, you get an offer for the card that states the APR you will receive.

The only easy way to compare APR rates by card is to check the range. Most cards come with three variable APR rates. You can assume, based on your credit status, that two of these rates are possible for your situation. So, look for the best cards (compare other terms) in the lowest interest range.

Keep in mind that your goal should not be to carry debt on your credit cards. Therefore, going with a card with more incentives but a 1 to 2 percent higher interest rate is perfectly fine.

Check the Balance Transfer Terms

You might not make balance transfers yet, but in the future, there is a strong chance you will find them valuable. So, you should keep an eye out for optimal balance transfer terms. Start by comparing the actual fee for making these transfers. Then, check the introductory offer — in most cases, you will receive around 12 months of no interest before your transfer must be paid off in full.

The fee for making a balance transfer is often in the 3 to 5 percent range. Some of these credit cards offer a promo period where there is no transfer fee. These particular cards will serve as interest-free loans, as long as you can pay them off before the promo period is over.

Now you are ready to find the right credit card for you!

Picking the right credit card for you will take some time. You must compare the options based on both your credit status and your spending habits. Some cards offer as much as 3 to 5 percent in cash on your purchases. Make a real effort to compare the terms, as you don’t want to be sucked in by a card that’s only good on the surface.

Sources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/choose-balance-transfer-credit-card/

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-balance-transfer-credit-cards/

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-rewards-credit-cards/

https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-interest-rates