Category Archives: Credit

Act Quickly to Correct Credit Report Errors

Excellent Credit Score

An error on your credit report can be costly. The costs may come in the form of higher interest rates on loans or credit cards, higher costs for services such as insurance or cell phones, and even lost employment opportunities. Finding Errors Credit report errors can be as simple as a misspelled name or an outdated address. Or they may be more serious, such as placing another person’s debt on your credit report. Some errors may be the result of identity theft, which occurs when someone deliberately steals your personal information to gain approval for credit or loans. To check your credit report for errors, you can get a free copy from each of the three credit reporting agencies once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. You can check all three companies at the same time or order a report from a different company every four months … …continue

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Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

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It’s good to know how lenders determine if you’ll be able to afford your monthly payments comfortably, based on your income and other debts. One of the calculations a lender evaluates is your debt-to-income ratio. Use this guide to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. Begin by adding up your monthly payment obligations: Monthly mortgage or rent $________ Minimum monthly credit card payments ________ Monthly car loan payment ________ Other loan obligations ________ Total minimum monthly debt payments: $ ________ Then, total your monthly income: Monthly gross salary $________ Other monthly income (bonuses, overtime, and so on) ________ Monthly alimony received ________ Total gross monthly income: $ ________ Divide your total monthly debt payments by your total gross monthly income: $ ________ Then, multiply the result by 100 to come up with a percent: ________% How does your debt-to-income ratio compare to the recommendations below? Keep in mind that a lending decision … …continue

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Questions from Our Members: Debt and Loans

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As part of our Consumers ConnectU financial education series, Tim Kosak, our Consumer Lending Manager, is hosting monthly “Ask Tim Anything” chats on our Facebook page. In our most recent chat, he answered several member questions about debt and loans. Have questions yourself? Stop in any of our offices or give us a call at 800.991.2221 for a personalized answer. And keep an eye on our Facebook page for our next Consumers ConnectU Facebook chat with Tim! Q: Is getting a personal loan a good option for consolidating your credit card debt? A: Yes, a personal loan can be a great way to consolidate. This is especially true if you can lower your interest rate. Another popular method for paying down credit card debt without consolidation is the “snowball effect.” With this method you pay off the lowest balance loan first and then apply that payment to the next lowest … …continue

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In Case You Missed It: A Recap of Our Ask Tim Anything ConnectU Facebook Chat on Loans

Tim Kosak 2

As part of our Consumers ConnectU financial education series, Tim Kosak, our Consumer Lending Manager, will be hosting monthly “Ask Tim Anything” chats on our Facebook page. In March, he took your questions on loans. In case you missed it, here’s the play by play. Q. How do I know I am getting the right type of loan? A. Some loans have obvious benefits over others. For instance, a home equity loan is different than a car loan—but should you use a home equity line of credit to purchase a vehicle? We partner with our members to make sure their long term plans match the products they are applying for. For example, we’ve seen folks get trapped in interest-only home equity lines of credit because they were lured by the low payment and low interest and the debt outlived the purpose of the loan. In this case, a vehicle purchase. … …continue

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Get Credit Smart with Consumers

Credit Smart

If you want to stand on your own when building credit or have been turned down and need some credit repair, Consumers Credit Smart can help! Our new program helps you build payment history to begin establishing or repairing your credit. Upon completion of the program, you’re guaranteed a Consumers auto loan or credit card. How does it work? 1. Apply with a Consumers Credit Union Member Service Representative. 2. Make your monthly payments. 3. During the term of the loan, complete a budgeting session with our partner Accel Financial Services. 4. Congratulations! Once your saver loan is paid in full, you are guaranteed a future auto loan or credit card with Consumers. To learn whether the Credit Smart Program could benefit you, call us at 800.991.2221 or stop by any of our offices.

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Your Consumers Credit Cards—Powered by Our Exclusive MasterCard Guarantee!

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Go. Live. Play. Work. Whatever your lifestyle, Consumers has a card ready to help you succeed. Choose from credit cards that help you save money or earn rewards both for your home and business. In addition to the local, superior service you expect from Consumers, you also benefit from MasterCard’s worldwide acceptance and “zero liability” protection for unauthorized purchases. Plus, you get the peace of mind that comes from added security features, including Extended Warranty, Price Protection, and Identity Theft Resolution. Visit ConsumersCU.org/Loans/CreditCardholderBenefits for details. And with 24/7 online account access, your payment and billing options have never been more convenient. You even have the option of earning rewards points to redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more!

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Your Guide to Your New Consumers Credit Card

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Consumers Credit Union is proud to bring you a new level of service with our exclusive MasterCard Credit Cards. We’ve deepened our relationship with MasterCard to bring you a card that lets you make purchases safely and conveniently, while enjoying added security and benefits. In January of 2014, Consumers members with an existing Visa Platinum or MasterCard Gold credit card will receive a new enhanced MasterCard. Your new card combines Consumers’ local, superior service with MasterCard’s worldwide acceptance. You’ll also benefit from “zero liability” protection for unauthorized purchases, extended warranty, price protection, identity theft resolution, and 24/7 online account access. You can even earn rewards! Visit ConsumersCU.org/Loans/CreditCardholderBenefits for details. We’ve put together the following FAQs to guide you through this transition. As always, our team is here to help! Please call us anytime at 800.991.2221 or visit any one of our 14 offices for assistance. Q: What do I need … …continue

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Store Credit Card Debt Turns a Silent Night into a Sleepless Night

Credit Card

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle and go overboard on spending—especially when your favorite stores give you special offers for opening their credit cards. Once the seasonal cheer has worn off, though, store credit card debt can turn a silent night into a sleepless night. Here are our three favorite tips for choosing the correct credit card for you: 1. Don’t choose your card solely based on the sales pitch at the cash register. Before signing up for a new credit card, read the fine print and do your research. 2. Compare interest rates and fees. Most store cards charge rates that are double that of the cards you can get from your credit union. Unless you’re paying off the full balance each month, the special offers you get with the card probably aren’t saving you any money. 3. Consider an alternative to store … …continue

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Playing Santa with Plastic: The Second Video in the Consumers ConnectU December Holiday Series

Christmas Tim

It’s easy to go overboard on holiday spending—especially when your favorite stores give you special offers for opening their credit cards. But be careful with what you’re signing up for. “Once the holiday cheer has worn off, store credit cards can turn a silent night into a sleepless night,” says Tim Kosak, Consumer Lending Manager at Consumers Credit Union. Watch the video below, the second in the Consumers ConnectU December holiday series, to learn what to consider before accepting a credit card offer. Then check out our tips for creating a holiday budget.

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We’ve Paid Off $23,000 of Debt—And We’ll Be Done Next Year!

Tool Kit

Meet Sue and Edward, Consumers members who have benefited from the free financial counseling services Accel offers to all of our members. In three years, they’ve paid down $23,000 in debt—and they’ve only got a year left to go before they’ll have paid it all off! Sue shares their story: Our debt started accumulating when we bought a house. It was an older home in need of some work, and we didn’t have much left over after the purchase to put towards those improvements. Before we knew it, we were going to home improvement stores almost every day and putting it on our credit cards. On top of that, we were planning our wedding, which we were paying for ourselves. Since all of our money was tied up in the house, we again turned to our credit cards to finance the cost. By the time we had our first daughter, … …continue

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