Archive forOctober, 2015

Which Bank Gives You the Best Credit Card Offers — Every Time?

Credit card offers — can you remember the last time you went a week without getting one in the (junk) mail? Some of these offers for preapproved credit are worth looking into, and some should go straight into the bin. But how do you tell the difference between the worst and the best credit card offers?

Photo source: Flickr user Mighty Travels.

There are a few obvious answers. For example, high annual percentage rates of interest are bad. Low rates are good.

Big annual fee? Bad.

No annual fee? Good.

A 1% reward on all purchases, payable in cash or in point? Not bad.

Revolving categories of purchases, for which you must continually sign up to earn rewards? Not good.

The problem
Weeding out the duds in order to find the best credit card offers can take a lot of time. And even when you think youve picked the best option and gotten yourself a spiffy new credit card, theres no guarantee that a new, better offer wont arrive in the mail a few days later. (At which point you cancel one card and apply for the other — or just keep collecting cards until your wallet explodes.)

There has to be a better way — and, in fact, there may be a better way.

The solution
We looked into whether theres a pattern to this storm of credit card offers (by one estimate, there are about 1,700 of them available at any given time), and we thought of the following experiment. Making use of Internet Archives Wayback Machine, we collated the best-rated credit card offers, as ranked by, from the past four years, looking for a pattern in which card offers are generally considered best.

What we discovered is that theres one card-issuing bank that stands head and shoulders above the rest — one bank you can be reasonably sure wont do you wrong if you take out a credit card from it. Well tell you who it is in a minute — but first, the data.

The data
To keep this project manageable, we focused on four major categories of credit card, as defined by

  • Balance transfer credit cards, which are used to move high-interest debt from one card to a card that charges less interest
  • Cash-back rewards credit cards, which return to you a percentage of the money you spend in cash, rather than airplane travel or hotel stay points, for example
  • Gas credit cards, which pay particularly large rewards on purchases of gasoline
  • Business credit cards,whose benefits are designed to appeal to small-business owners

And because even a tool as all-powerful-sounding as the Wayback Machine has only incomplete historical data, we surveyed data from just one month in each year — specifically, this month: October. So heres what we found out from examining CreditCards.coms top credit card picks for the months of October 2012, October 2013, October 2014, and October 2015.

Balance transfer credit cards
Balance transfer credit cards are perhaps the single part of the credit card market over which banks fight most fiercely. Thats to be expected, because offering generous balance transfer terms is often the best way a bank can steal customers away from other banks.

Over the course of four years, from 2012 to 2015, three different card issuers were named as having the best credit card offers. Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) took the top prize in 2012 with its Platinum Prestige Credit Card — which is no longer offered. In 2013, top honors in this category shifted to Discover Financial Services and its Discover It card (still available today). Discover held onto the top spot in 2014 as well, but lost it to Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and its BankAmericard this year.

Cash-back rewards credit cards
Competition is a lot less fierce in the category of cash-back rewards credit cards. Here, for three years running, Capital One stood at the top of the heap. In October 2012, gave Cap1 top marks for its Cash Rewards card. That morphed into the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card in 2013, and this card dominated the category in 2013 and 2014.

Capital One only stumbled this year, 2015, when Bank of America introduced its Susan G. Komen credit card — a card that, as the name implies, helps to support the Susan G. Komen nonprofit cancer research organization and also offers cardholders 1% cash back on most purchases, 2% on grocery purchases, and 3% on gasoline purchases.

Gas credit cards
Presumably, it was the anti-cancer kicker that helped put the Susan G. Komen card over the top for cash-back credit cards. But its worth pointing out that Bank of Americas BankAmericard Cash Rewards card (a Komen-less cash-back card) also won CreditCards.coms endorsement as the best gas credit card in October 2014 and October 2015.

Prior to that, Capital One had owned the category with its Capital One Cash Rewards card (see above) in 2012 and its QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card in 2013.

Business credit cards
Our final category — business credit cards — presents us with another split decision. In 2012 and 2013, the interminably named American Express Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN was not only the credit card with the longest name on CreditCards.coms survey, but also the top-rated business credit card available.

In 2014, that advantage shifted to — you guessed it — Capital One, which topped CreditCards.coms survey with its Spark Cash Select for Business card. Curiously, Capital One managed to win this title despite cutting the amount of cash back paid by the card by a quarter, from 2% (in 2014) down to 1.5% in 2015.

What we have learned
So, what have we learned from all of this research? Across the four years, and four credit card categories surveyed, credit card issuers had the opportunity to be endorsed as having the best credit card offers a total of 16 times. Capital One capitalized on this opportunity no fewer than eight separate times.

Thats as many wins as Discover, Bank of America, and AmEx racked up — combined.

And what does it mean to you, the credit card user? In a nutshell, it suggests that for any given type of credit card that you are considering applying for, there are relatively even odds that Capital One will offer you a better deal than any other credit-card-issuing bank out there.

Indeed, taking a snapshot of CreditCards.coms latest survey, for the month of October 2015, it appears that Capital One dominates precisely 50% of the credit card categories being surveyed this year. Capital One has the best credit card offers available for people with bad credit and with fair credit, too. It has the best business credit card, the best no annual fee credit card, and the best low interest card as well. Capital One even has the best cards (in CreditCards.coms opinion) for no foreign transaction fee, and also the best for travel amp; airline transactions.

All of this suggests that there may be a simple way to decide whether a credit card preapproval youve received in the mail is a good deal or not: Simply take the offer youve been given and compare it to what Capital One is offering for a similar type of card. If your offer beats Capital Ones, then its probably a good offer. If not, then look elsewhere.

If youre looking for a bank that consistently has the best credit card offers available, then, as often as not, that bank is the one named Capital One.

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4 Bad Credit Behaviors to Avoid

National Get Smart About Credit Day occurs this week, and takes place annually on the third Thursday of October. While its not a federal holiday, in some ways it should be.

For every adult in America, your credit is an enormously important factor in your financial health and well-being. Your credit rating affects everything from your ability to get a job to your chances of getting approved for a mortgage or an apartment rental.

The American Bankers Association Education Foundation launched National Get Smart About Credit Day back in 2003 in order to highlight the need to teach youth and young adults about the importance of good credit habits. The idea is that if we teach people the steps to healthy credit at an early age, theyre more likely to carry those positive credit behaviors throughout their adult years.

So in honor of National Get Smart About Credit Day, here are four bad credit behaviors to avoid.

1. Over-using your credit cards

Running up too much debt on your credit card doesnt just lead to extra interest payments, it also negatively impacts your credit scores. Under most credit scoring models, including the FICO credit score and the VantageScore, the amount of debt you carry on your credit cards is a big factor in the calculation of your credit score.

(Related Reading: What is the VantageScore and How Is it Different From The FICO Score?)

To avoid lowering your credit score, never max out your credit cards. If possible, dont charge more than 25% to 30% of your credit card limits. And to have the highest possible credit scores (ie scores of 760 to 850 points), limit your credit card balances to less than 10% of your available credit limits.

2. Co-signing for someone elses loan

The problem with co-signing a loan is two-fold. First, you could wind up having a personal falling out with a relative or friend if they dont repay a loan, or repay you as agreed. Additionally, loans that youve co-signed for can negatively impact you in multiple ways.

If the primary borrower is late on the loan or defaults on it altogether, youre on the hook financially, and from a credit standpoint. That late payment or default makes you responsible for the debt — and you take a hit to your credit score as well.

Furthermore, even if the person for whom youve co-signed does repay the loan, your ability to get future credit could be diminished. Thats because if you later need a loan say, to buy a car or a home lenders will look at your overall debt-to-income ratio, including loans for which you are a co-borrower or co-signer. If your debts are deemed to high, your loan could be denied.

3. Paying bills late

The number one factor in your credit score is how well you pay your bills. So anytime you are 30 days or more late in paying a credit obligation, such as a credit card bill or a mortgage, that late payment lowers your credit score. Do yourself a huge credit favor; avoid paying any bills late. Even if you can only afford to make minimum payments, thats better than having a late payment on your credit report.

4. Ignoring your credit health

If youve had credit problems or credit setbacks in the past, be honest for a moment. Have you ever just ignored your credit report or maybe put off getting your credit score because you were scared to see how low that score might be, or you just didnt want to see the damage on your credit report? Well, putting your head in the sand and acting like an ostrich isnt going to solve the problem. Only action will.

So no more procrastinating. Just go online to and get your free credit reports. Under federal law, you can visit the website and get the free credit reports youre entitled to receive once every 12 months fromEquifax, Experian and TransUnion, which are the three main credit bureaus.

You should also take a peek at your credit scores. If you dont have a credit card that provides your credit scores free of charge, you may have to pay for your credit scores. But its worth it to know where you stand.

Alternatively, if you dont want to pay, MyFICO offers a credit score estimator and calculator to help you estimate your FICO credit score. Credit Karma also offers a credit simulator, which is powered by TransUnion. Either tool will give you a very good indication of your credit score range in about two minutes.

Paying attention to your credit rating and avoiding bad credit behaviors will go a long way toward boosting your credit scores and improving your overall credit health on National Get Smart About Credit Day, and all year long.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is a personal finance expert and co-founder of the free financial advice site, Follow Lynnette on Twitter @themoneycoach and on Google Plus.

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3 Ways to Have More Cash During Retirement

People spend decades planning for retirement, but the most important work may very wellcome during retirement.

After all, once you retire, you dont have a cushy paycheck anymore, which means its up to you to keep a closer eye on your finances.

Here are three ways sit on a thicker savings cushion during retirement:

1. Stretch Out That Mortgage

Common financial advice says pay off yourmortgageby the time you retire to make way for costs that may increase during retirement, like health care.

But if youve retired with a hefty mortgage payment at your side, Gary Plessl author of The Book on Retirement: Are You Ready for the Second Half of Your Financial Life(Richter, 2015) suggests stretching out yourmortgage payment to save money.

In this case it doesnt make sense to pay it off quickly, he said. Retirement is all about cash flow, and paying more than you must on a mortgage is counterproductive to cash flow.

If you have a 15-year mortgage, you may want to refinance to a loan with a longer repayment period, such as a 30-years.

Though a longer mortgage means youll pay more interest over time, dont worry about that, said Plessl.

If you retire at 60 and work hard to pay your mortgage off by the time you are 75, what did you really accomplish? he pondered. Your cash flow was squeezed during the first 15 years of your retirement when you were younger and in all likelihood wanted to do more – and all for the benefit of being mortgage free when you are 75.

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OnDeck Wants to Be More Than a Lender for Bad-Credit Business Loans

It was May 2014 and Matt Scott was gearing up for a busy summer. He’s the owner of Lemonjello’s Coffee in Holland, Michigan, and visitors were flocking to his quaint Lake Michigan beach town.

“Tourism was up like crazy,” Scott says. He needed to hire extra employees and stock up on inventory to accommodate the crowds, but that required cash.

Scott, who had been in business since 2003, went to OnDeck for a small-business loan precisely because it wasn’t a bank. A prior experience with a bank loan hadn’t been a good one: When a national bank bought his regional one, his loan terms changed without notice. Scott also liked OnDeck’s repayment structure, in which borrowers make daily or weekly payments rather than the monthly ones typically required by banks.

Scott applied and got the money in one day. He’s since taken subsequent loans with OnDeck, totaling $191,500.

When OnDeck was founded in 2007, it wasn’t focused on borrowers like Scott; it primarily served borrowers with bad credit who couldn’t qualify for a bank loan. And while OnDeck — which has disbursed $3 billion in small-business loans so far — remains a decent option for unbankable borrowers, it wants to be a lender for every small-business owner, says OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow. To that end, OnDeck recently announced changes to its terms to appeal to a wider range of borrowers. Borrowers can now get loans up to $500,000 (the previous limit was $250,000) and make payments for up to three years (previously terms were up to two years).

Business owners in their 20s and 30s “do everything else in their lives online,” Breslow said in an interview with NerdWallet. “Why shouldn’t they be able to get credit in the same way?”

When to consider an OnDeck loan instead of a bank loan

Even if you qualify for a bank loan, you might consider online small-business loans, especially if you’re looking for cash fast. But plan carefully before you apply; they’re significantly more expensive than traditional loans. Online loans typically have APRs in the double digits, ranging from 7% to 113% APR. Business bank loans typically have APRs that are less than 10%.

While OnDeck’s rates have been dropping steadily over the last two years, the lender’s APRs for term loans range from 16% to 98%. (You can learn more about the lender in our OnDeck review. To compare a range of options, check out our small-business loans page.)

You may qualify for lower rates on an OnDeck line of credit if you use Intuit Quickbooks; Intuit and OnDeck announced a partnership last month to create a loan fund targeting established small businesses with strong credit. OnDeck’s typical line of credit carries an APR of 13% to 36%, but Quickbooks users could qualify for 9% to 20% APR. (Here’s more about the $100 million OnDeck-Intuit loan fund.)

Most OnDeck borrowers use the funds for inventory, hiring and equipment; financing marketing campaigns is another common use, according to the lender’s comments to the US Treasury Department in September 2015.

Ideally, you should only use an online loan — like one from OnDeck — to cover short-term expenses that will grow your business and pay off in the long run, says Richard Swart, a scholar-in-residence researching alternative finance at the University of California, Berkeley.

That’s how the loan worked out for Scott. Lemonjello’s sales grew by 10% the summer after he borrowed from OnDeck, compared to the previous year, he says.

If you’re ready to get started, apply on OnDeck:

Get Started

Apply on OnDeck’s secure site (Read our OnDeck review)
The bottom line

Online small-business loans like OnDeck’s are growing in popularity, and not just for unbankable borrowers or those with bad credit. But while getting a small-business loan quickly and conveniently may be appealing, consider whether the benefits outweigh the high borrowing cost. And if you decide to use an online loan, don’t just choose the one whose name you’ve heard the most; there are plenty of online small-business loans you may not have heard of, so compare all your options.

Find and compare small-business loans

NerdWallet has come up with a list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

Compare business loans

To get more information about funding options and compare them for your small business, visit NerdWallet’s small-business loans page. For free, personalized answers to questions about financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @teddynykiel

For the record Oct. 21, 2015: This post was updated to reflect OnDeck’s new expanded loan size and terms.

Image via iStock.

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Internet finance boost

CHINA Telecom aims to expand its business in Internet finance, with one of its two subsidiaries set to generate 700 billion yuan (US$110 billion) in transactions in 2015 as the countrys third-biggest telecommunications carrier seeks new business engines.

E Surfing Finance and E Surfing Investment, the two finance subsidiaries, said in Shanghai yesterday that they will jointly tap the Internet finance sector.

E Surfing Finances Internet finance transaction value is expected at 700 billion yuan in 2015, triple the previous years level. The subsidiary now has 1 million enterprise users and 170 million personal users in 350 cities nationwide.

E Surfing Investment invests in startups in online to offline (O2O), cloud computing, Internet of Things and e-commerce.

The Internet finance business covers supply chain financing, consumer finance, wealth management, online and mobile payment and credit system, covering 170 million users nationwide, said China Telecom.

In the first half of the year, China Telecoms net profit fell 4 percent from a year ago to 10.9 billion yuan.

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Malaysia poised to become global hub for Islamic finance, says central bank …

Malaysia is on course to becoming a global centre for Islamic finance, in tandem with the industrys projected consistent growth, according to the chief of Malaysias central bank.

It (the industry) is set to grow. Its international dimension will continue to increase because we are becoming an international hub for Islamic finance, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

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Check for $250K left with Portsmouth’s finance department took 3 years to get …

By Johanna Somers
The Virginian-Pilot


Former Portsmouth Economic Development Director Patrick Small says that department was wrongly targeted regarding the citys three-year failure to return $250,000 to the state.

This had nothing to do with turnover in the Economic Development Department and specifically with the departure of me, and it specifically had to do with the Finance Department that misplaced $250,000 of state funds, Small said Tuesday.

In 2008, the city and APM Terminals obtained a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealths Opportunity Fund, called the Governors Opportunity Fund at the time, according to city documents. The grant was part of incentives for APM to build a $450 million port facility in Portsmouth, according to Virginian-Pilot reports.

APM did not meet the job-creation target, which was 90 percent of 210 new jobs and was told to return $250,000 in 2012, according to the performance agreement and emails between city and state employees. It did meet its investment requirement of $450 million, so it was allowed to keep the remaining $250,000.

At a Sept. 22 City Council meeting, Councilman Bill Moody asked City Manager Lydia Pettis Patton about the $250,000 the city was proposing to return to the state and why it had taken the city so long.

She responded: With the change in the economic directors and it coming to our past economic directors attention immediately, our finance officer brought it to my attention upon coming.

The Pilot reported that Small held the economic development director position from 2009 to 2014 before heading to Manassas, and turnover followed his departure. The citys current interim economic development director, Mallory Butler, took over after Small left. Then Chuck Rigney served as director for about six months but left in May to return to Norfolk.

After the story was published, Small told The Pilot that he had given the check to the citys Finance Department, so it was that departments responsibility to send the check to the state.

Emails from Pettis Patton obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that interim Chief Financial Officer Judy Duffy told Pettis Patton on Sept. 1 that Small had turned the check into finance. Duffy said a cash deposit was made to the general fund, and the monies were never returned to the state as required.

A request to interview Duffy was denied.

A Freedom of Information Act request to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership also revealed that Small had given the check to the Finance Department.

On May 25, 2012, Small wrote in an email to Sandi McNinch, general counsel for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, that APM Terminals had delivered a $250,000 check to Small on May 18. On that same day, his staff delivered the check to the citys Finance Department, he wrote.

I spoke to the citys CFO in advance to provide her background on the matter so she would be aware of the payment, Small wrote.

Carol Swindell was the citys CFO at the time. She began in March 2012 and left the city this spring.

On Tuesday, Swindell said that she was not familiar with the issue but that the Economic Development Department should have taken the check to the treasurers office and entered a payment request into the citys financial software system.

If you are the director and you know something needs to be paid and hasnt been, what did you do to get it resolved? Swindell asked.

Small said Wednesday that Swindells response was ridiculous.

I explained to her what that money was for, why we had it, Small said. It was entrusted to her.

Small said he wasnt told to put the request into the citys financial software system.

Betty Crummie, the administrative coordinator for the Economic Development Department, gave the check to the Finance Department, according to city spokeswoman Dana Woodson.

The Finance Department did not tell Crummie that the Economic Development Department had to enter a payment request to have the check sent to the state, Woodson said in an email.

A request for an interview with Crummie was denied.

So the citys CFO accepts a quarter-million in funds and says it is someone elses responsibly to make sure that money ends up in the right place, Small said. It sounds a little like passing the buck.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership staff members appeared frustrated with the whole process.

We tried multiple times to get the money back before Patrick left Portsmouth with no success, senior executive assistant Kim Ellett said to McNinch in an email. He just always put me in touch with accounting, and they just gave me the runaround.

Woodson could not say how or why the check was not written to the state.

Because of the change in leadership, the current staff would not have an answer for that question, Woodson said in an email.

When asked who in finance was supposed to write the check to the state, Woodson said, Checks are issued by the finance department. She did not reply to questions about whether new procedures had been instituted to prevent this from happening again.

The Finance Department will continue to be vigilant to ensure that financial processing procedures are consistent and expedient, she said.

The state has since received the $250,000 check, according to McNinch.

Johanna Somers, 757-446-2478,

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UPDATE: Former finance director of tribal advocacy group sentenced for theft

The former finance director of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council was sentenced to five years of probation today for his theft of funds from the organization, according to US Attorney Karen L. Loeffler.

Thomas R. Purcell, 52, of Anchorage served as finance director of the tribal advocacy group from January 2008 until February 2009. He admitted to stealing or misappropriating approximately $22,270 while he serving in that role. Purcell was ordered to pay $22,270 to AITC in restitution, and was fined an additional $15,000 by United States District Judge Sharon L. Gleason, according to a statement from Loeffler’s office.

A federal grand jury indicted Purcell in August 2013 along with co-defendant Steven Osborne, the former executive director of AITC. Purcell pled guilty in April 2015 to one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds. Osborne also pled guilty to one count of stealing approximately $145,000 from the organization. He was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison by United States District Judge Sharon L. Gleason.


The former head of an Alaska tribal government advocacy group received a 21-month prison sentence today in connection with his theft of funds from the organization.

Steven D. Osborne, who directed the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council from December 2007 until February 2008, admitted to stealing some $145,000 from the group, according to US Attorney Karen Loeffler.

The council received a large amount of federal funds during Osborne’s tenure, including a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency worth more than $1 million, according to Assistant US Attorney Joseph Bottini.

Osborne had access to the tribal council’s bank accounts and credit and debit cards. He stole from the organization through cash withdrawals, writing checks to himself, using credit and debit card, and submitting false time cards, Loeffler’s office said.

A federal grand jury indicted Osborne in Aug. 2013. He pleaded guilty last April to one count of theft.

Several people who spoke at today’s sentencing said the tribal council became ineligible to receive federal funding after Osborne’s actions because the organization was considered “high risk”. Without federal funding, the council became defunct and remains so today.

Besides prison, Osborne must also pay $145,000 in restitution.

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More Finns than ever have a bad credit rating

The number of people who have defaulted on their payments rose to a record high in Finland between late September and early October.

A register maintained by Suomen Asiakastieto indicates that roughly 370,000 people, or 8.5 per cent of the entire population, have received a bad credit rating. As many as one-sixth of roughly 30-year-old men have received a bad credit rating for failing to meet their financial obligations on time.

“Worryingly many pay out old debts by taking new loans. If their ability to pay deteriorates for even a moment for some reason, theyll usually get their first bad credit rating, which prevents them from getting loans altogether,” comments Jouni Muhonen, the head of business information at Suomen Asiakastieto.

The average amount of the overdue payments that have resulted in a bad credit rating is 2,100 euros.

However, it is possible for an individual to rack up hundreds, if not one thousand, bad credit ratings. The average person in the register maintained by Suomen Asiakastieto has received an average of 17 bad credit ratings, with the register containing over 6 million reports of missed payments.

The relative number of people with a bad credit rating has grown in all of the age brackets with the exception of people under the age of 25. People – and especially men – aged 25–34 years are particularly finding it difficult to meet their financial obligations.

Up to 16 per cent of men in the age bracket have already received a bad credit rating, highlights Suomen Asiakastieto. “My attitude as a creditor towards this active group of customers would be very critical. The risk of defaulting is considerably lower for women of the same age, as roughly ten per cent of them have a bad credit rating,” says Muhonen.

Eeva Palojärvi – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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4 things to know before taking an online loan to pay off debt

Allie Dreskin borrowed $3,500 through Prosper after seeing an ad online two years ago. She used the money to pay off three credit cards and a bank loan, all of which charged annual percentage rates of more than 20 percent. Dreskin, who works at a nonprofit in Washington, says the high interest rates were making it hard to pay off the $4,000 debt quickly. The loan from Prosper had an APR of 7 percent and would be paid off within four years.

I pay less at the end and I pay it off sooner, Dreskin says.

If youre thinking about consolidating debt using an online loan, consider these factors:


Make sure the loans APR is lower than that of your credit cards. The APRs on online loans can vary greatly, typically between 5 percent and 40 percent, depending on your credit score. The average credit card has an APR of 15 percent, according to Check your credit card statements for the APR. It only makes sense to take a loan if it is cheaper than the debt youre paying off, says Mike Brady, the founder and president of Generosity Wealth Management in Boulder, Colorado. If you have really bad credit, there might not be a huge advantage, he says.

Online lenders list their APRs and fees on their websites, but you may not know exactly what they will charge you until you apply.


Online lenders typically charge origination fees of about 5 percent of the total loan amount. The fee is deducted directly from the loan. So if you borrow $10,000, for example, youll receive $9,500 in your bank account.

Watch out for other potential costs. You may be charged for a late payment, or, some even charge if you want to pay by check instead of automatically through your bank account. Fees are listed on each companys website and on their loan agreements. Call lenders to verify their fees.


Make sure youll be able to pay the loan every month. Most online lenders take money directly from a checking account monthly, so youll have little control on when the payment is made. Know when the payment is due, and budget for it. Lenders will typically tell you how much youre expected to pay each month after applying.


A new loan wont help much if you load up your cards again with balances. Dont close your accounts — not using them can improve your credit score, Brady says. But do cut up the cards to prevent the temptation of using them and falling deeper into debt.

There is a behavior issue many times, says Brady. They just ring up the debt again if their behavior doesnt change.

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