Category Archives: Prepaid Cards

The Benefits of Prepaid Cards For College Students

One of the most important lessons you can learn while attending college is how to properly manage finances. How money is handled is largely affected by what method is used to access it. Normally, a new college student will open a checking account and use a debit card to make purchases. However, an alternative methodContinue Reading

Use Your Prepaid Card to Pay Bills Online

For those who do not have a checking account, paying bills can be quite an ordeal. You may have to obtain a money order and deliver your payments to the location in person. To eliminate some of that unnecessary hassle, consider using a prepaid card. With a prepaid card, you can pay your bills onlineContinue Reading

The Benefits of Using a Prepaid Insight Card

As an alternative to banking, many Americans opt for a prepaid card such as the Insight Visa Prepaid Card. In addition to being able to shop online, prepaid cards can be used for a variety of purposes. From controlling your child’s spending to budgeting funds, prepaid cards offer many advantages. Here are just a fewContinue Reading

Manage Your Money with Prepaid Cards

Those in search of a simple way to budget their finances and to become less dependent on credit cards should consider using prepaid cards. Network branded prepaid credit cards offer users the best of both worlds. There is the convenience and protection of a MasterCard or Visa credit card as well as the benefit ofContinue Reading

Understanding Prepaid Credit Cards

“Credit cards are so convenient, but sometimes high interest rates and the risk of crippling debt outweigh all the benefits.” If this thought has ever gone through your mind, then you may want to consider a prepaid credit card. Available at many stores that provide financial services to the community, a prepaid card is oneContinue Reading

The Truth About Pre-Paid Debit Cards

Nowadays, we are increasingly reliant on technology to take care of our financial needs. Between online bill payments, ATMs, and direct deposit services, it’s often necessary to have a debit card in addition to cash. However, an estimated 10 million households in the United States don’t have access to a bank account, which can makeContinue Reading

Making Choices For Your Financial Security

Basic Tips to Plan for Future Financial Security-

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Keep Your Financial Future Bright!

Most Americans aren’t on the proper path to be financially set for retirement. It requires a lot more planning than simply putting a pile of money into a savings account every month. Requirements for future financial stability differ from person to person, but with a few simple tips and a little bit of careful planning, you can be sure to be on your way to a pleasant retirement.

How to Maximize Your Savings and Your Confidence for Retirement

  • Start as soon as possible. You can never start saving too early. Putting a set amount of money away into a savings account will accumulate greatly over time with the included interest.
  • Treat your monthly savings as an expense. Rather than simply putting the remainder of your monthly balance into your savings, budget it into your expenses, just as you would your electric bill or rent. This will help to reduce the temptation to spend your extra cash on other items. Some banks allow you to automatically debit a savings amount to a retirement account on the day your paycheck is deposited.
  • Do the budgeting work. The temptation may be to save as much money as possible, but if this means taking on higher-interest loans because you can only make smaller monthly payments, the trade-off might not be that good. Balance your expenses to maximize efficiency.
  • Place your savings into a tax-deferred account. The portion of your paycheck that is added to a tax-deferred account will not be taxed until it is withdrawn from the account. This is not just a deterrent to not spend this money — because the tax is based on income level, withdrawing from the account after retirement when you have little or no income will mean that the tax is much smaller.
  • Work with an expert. A financial planner can help you to understand the nuances of financial planning so you can maximize your savings potential and help you to catch factors you may have missed.

Community Choice Financial™ Inc. Can Help You to Start Saving

Community Choice Financial™ Inc. is a commercial service that specializes in helping consumers operate in the modern financial atmosphere. Some of our services include short-term consumer loans, money orders, check cashing, and money transfers. Visit our webpage to learn more about what we do.

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Improve Your Credit Score

7 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Credit Report

If you have a low credit score, you aren’t the only one. Many Americans are facing difficulties acquiring sensible loans or credit cards because their credit scores are too low (FICO credit scores below 620). However, there is hope! Below are some tips on how to monitor and rebuild your credit score.

  • Don’t be afraid to get a credit card. You don’t have to carry a balance on your credit card, but you should have at least one. A secured credit card works too, in which case the bank will extend a credit line based on the deposit you make. If you do this, make sure it’s reported to three credit bureaus.
  • Have an installment loan. Revolving (credit cards) and installment (personal/student loans, auto, mortgage) are two major kinds of credit that can build your score quickly if you handle them responsibly.
  • Pay down your credit cards to keep the overall balance low. Try to keep your balance below 30%—or even 10% if you can—of your credit limit. Try bank alerts to let yourself know when you reach a certain threshold.
  • Check your limit frequently. Sometimes your lender shows lower limits than you actually have available, and sometimes bureaus take the highest recorded balance as an alternative to your credit limit. These practices can make it seem like you’re maxing out a card even if you’re not carrying a particularly high balance. This is why it’s important to know your actual limit so you can address any issues that show up on your credit report.
  • Continue to use older cards instead of opening new ones. Having a long-term credit card that you’ve been making payments on for a long time looks better to credit bureaus than having old, inactive accounts and several newer cards.
  • Learn what to monitor on your credit report. Rather than taking issue with every small discrepancy you find, make sure to keep an eye out for these significant errors:
  1. Late payments or collections noted that aren’t yours
  2. Credit limits on an account are reported lower than they actually are
  3. Accounts listed as unpaid or paid late that you actually paid on time (make sure to keep relevant statements so you can prove this)
  4. Anything marked as “unpaid” that should have been included in a bankruptcy
  5. Negative items seven years or older (ten in bankruptcy) that should have fallen off your report

By following some of these basic practices, you should be on your way to an improved credit score!

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5th Annual Unified Triathlon

On Sat. Sept 8th, I participated in the 5th annual Unified Triathlon to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. There were two events, the triathlon, followed by a much shorter course for the Special Olympians. It was a powerful event, despite the 95 degree temperature. All of the triathletes after finishing their event, stayed at he finish line to cheer the real heroes, the Special Olympians. I believe we were all humbled by their performance. We think we give 100%, but these kids compete with so much soul and determination, they put us to shame. To see the joy and accomplishment when they crossed the finish line, made us all think we can train that much harder.

Perhaps the most powerful moment came when Ronnie, a 14 year old boy with Down Syndrome, sang the National Anthem. He was a little off key, and had trouble with a couple of words, but I cannot remember a moving and heartfelt rendition. There was not a dry eye in the crowd, and it was a perfect send off for the triathletes. Everyone was high-fiving him before we hit the water. This is my first involvement with the Special Olympics, but it will definitely be a organization that I will support in the future.

-Robin

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Avoiding Debt with Cash Advances

Tips to Avoid Debt When Using Cash Advances

Money

Sometimes you need cash fast due to an emergency or lack of an emergency fund—we understand that. If taking out a cash advance is on your mind, you need to learn how to handle it safely, as it can be costly and provide an opportunity to fall further into debt if it’s not repaid quickly. Below are some tips for using cash advances and an alternative that will benefit you in avoiding the pitfall of debt.

Things to Know Before Money is Taken Out

  • Be familiar with credit card terms. Read your credit card agreement to find out what the exact fees are. If you have any questions, contact a representative. If you need guidance, we at Community Choice Financial™ can discuss the best option for your situation.
  • Realize that your credit card limit is different than your cash advance limit. Research to make sure you are not taking out more money than you should be, which results in high fees and costs you probably will not expect.
  • Don’t risk taking out more money than needed. Maybe you want to pocket some extra cash—don’t do it. It may be harder to pay back in the future. If you do end up needing more money down the line, taking out another transaction is better and safer for your finances.
  • If you haven’t repaid your advance yet, keep spending to a minimum. It’s better to save your money and put it toward the amount you already owe, instead of risking more debt.
  • If you need to take out a cash advance, don’t do it on the card you use most frequently for purchases. Different types of balances on a card often get paid off at a different rate, meaning that purchases you intended to pay off may remain accumulating interest while you pay off the larger cash advance sum. Simply use a card that has a balance of zero.

Be Smart With Your Money

A smart alternative to a cash advance is a small loan. Community Choice Financial™ can provide a way for you to obtain the financial help you need today. In addition, we also offer assistance in finance and credit counseling. Call or email us for more information.

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