Private Student Loans vs Federal Student Loans

There are a few different options when it comes to financing a college education, and it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. Then, you’ll likely be better able to develop a funding strategy that fits your unique situation.

Depending on your academic qualifications, you may have been awarded scholarships or grants, which is funding that won’t (typically) need to be repaid. Any expenses not covered by a scholarship will need to be financed, often through a combination of work-study, personal funds, or student loans.

It is fairly common for college students to take out student loans to finance their education. There are two main types of student loans — private student loans and federal ones. We’ll compare and contrast some of the more popular features of both private and federal student loans and explore some features that can help you determine what makes the most sense for your financial situation.

Recommended: How Do Student Loans Work? Guide to Student Loans

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are funded by the federal government and, in order to qualify, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) every year that you want to receive federal student loans. We’ll delve more into FAFSA soon — but first, here are some important distinctions to consider.

Subsidized vs Unsubsidized Loans

Federal loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. If you’re an undergraduate student and you have a certain level of financial need, you may qualify for a subsidized loan. The amount of money you qualify for will be determined by your school . They’ll also determine how much money you should receive in subsidized loans, if any.

If you are granted a subsidized loan, the U.S. government will cover, or subsidize, the cost of accrued interest on the loan while you are a full- or half-time student. Your interest payments are also covered with subsidized loans during the six-month grace period after graduation as well as during any periods of loan deferment.

If you receive unsubsidized federal loans, you will not need to demonstrate financial need when applying and, as with subsidized loans, your school will determine the amount you can receive, based on what it will cost you to attend. But with unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for the principal amount of the loan as well as any interest that accrues throughout the life of the loan.

Direct PLUS Loans for Parents and Graduate Students

Direct PLUS Loans are another source of federal student loan funding. To qualify for graduate PLUS Loans, you need to be a graduate-level or professional student in a program that offers graduate or professional degrees or certifications and be attending college at least half-time.

Or, parents can also apply for a Parent PLUS loan if they’re the parent of a dependent undergraduate student attending an eligible school at least half-time. “Parent” can be defined as biological or adoptive — or, under certain circumstances, you can be a step-parent.

To obtain a Direct PLUS loan, you cannot have an adverse credit history (you can learn more about that here ). Plus, you (and, if applicable, your dependent child) must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.

Recommended: The Differences in Direct vs. Indirect Student Loans

More About the FAFSA

If you plan to apply for any of these types of federal loans, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA form. Be aware of your state’s FAFSA deadline — FAFSA funding is determined on a rolling basis, so the sooner you can apply, the sooner you may qualify.

Benefits of Federal Student Loans

First off, you won’t be responsible for making student loan payments while you are actively enrolled in school. Your repayment will typically begin after you graduate, leave school, or are enrolled less than half-time. Interest rates on federal student loans made after July 1, 2006 are fixed and are typically lower than interest rates on private student loans.

And depending on the type of federal loans you have, the interest you pay could be tax-deductible. Aside from Direct PLUS Loans, credit history doesn’t factor into a federal loan application. When it comes to federal student loan repayment, there are several options to choose from, including several income-driven repayment plans.

And if you run into difficulty repaying your federal student loans after graduation or when you drop below half-time enrollment, there are deferment and forbearance options available. These programs allow qualifying borrowers to temporarily pause payments on their loans should they run into financial issues — but interest may still accrue. The loan type will inform whether a borrower qualifies for deferment or forbearance.

Borrowers can contact their student loan servicer for more information on these programs.

Qualifying borrowers can also enroll in certain forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). These programs have strict requirements, so borrowers who are pursuing forgiveness should review program details closely.

Federal Student Loans Pros and Cons

Here is a recap of some of the pros and cons of federal student loans.

Pros Cons
Aside from PLUS Loans, borrowing a federal student does not require a credit check. Federal borrowing limits may mean that students aren’t able to borrow enough funds to pay for college.
Undergraduate students may be eligible to borrow Direct Subsidized student loans. The borrower isn’t responsible for paying interest that accrues on subsidized loans while they are enrolled at-least half time, during the grace period, and during qualifying periods of deferment or forbearance. There is a borrowing limit on Direct Subsidized student loans and not all students will qualify for subsidized loans, since they are need-based.
There are deferment and forbearance options if borrowers run into financial difficulty during repayment. Depending on the type of loan interest may accrue during periods of deferment or forbearance.
There are deferment and forbearance options if borrowers run into financial difficulty during repayment. Depending on the type of loan interest may accrue during periods of deferment or forbearance.
Borrowers have access to federal repayment plans, including income-driven repayment plans.
Fixed interest rates that are generally lower than interest rates on private student loans.
Borrowers have the option to pursue federal loan forgiveness through programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The CARES Act and Federal Student Loans

The CARES Act, passed in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, includes provisions to help borrowers with federal student loan repayment. The bill temporarily pauses payments on most federal student loans, without interest, through May 1, 2022.

Additionally, the CARES Act suspends involuntary collections and negative credit reporting during the same time period.

While required payments are paused, borrowers are still able to make payments on their loans if they so choose. 100% of payments made during this time will be applied to the principal balance of the loan.

Borrowers enrolled in forgiveness programs will not be impacted by the nonpayment of their loans during this time. The Education Department will consider this time period as if the borrower had continued making payments.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are not funded by the government. To apply for them, you can check with individual lenders (banks, credit unions, and the like), with the college or university you’ll be attending, or with state loan agencies.

Because these loans are available from multiple sources, each will come with its own terms and conditions. So, when applying for private student loans, it’s important to clearly understand annual percentage rates (APRs) and repayment terms before signing as well as the differences between private vs. federal student loans.

Since private student loans are not associated with the federal government, their repayment terms and benefits vary from lender to lender. Some private loans require payments while you’re still attending college. Unlike federal loans, interest rates could be fixed or variable. If you are applying for a variable-rate loan, it’s a good idea to check to see how often the interest rate can change, plus how much it can change each time, and what the maximum interest rate can be.

When applying for a private loan, the lender typically reviews your financial history and credit score, which means it may be beneficial to have a cosigner.

Again, be sure to ask your lender about repayment options in addition to any deferment or forbearance options.

These will all vary by lender, so it’s important to understand the terms of the particular loan you are applying for.

Private loans can help fill the monetary gap between what you’re able to cover with grants, scholarships, federal loans, and the like, and what you owe to attend college. It’s never a bad idea to take the time to do your research, shop around, and find the best loan options for your personal financial situation. For a full overview, take a look at SoFi’s private student loan guide.

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Determining Whether a Student Loan is Federal or Private

To find out if the student loan you have is a federal student loan, one option is to check the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This database, run by the Department of Education, is a collection of information on student loans, aggregating data from information about student loans, from universities, federal loan programs, and more.

Borrowers with federal student loans can also log into My Federal Student Aid to find information about their student loan including the federal loan servicer.

Private student loans are administered by private companies. To confirm the information on a private student loan, one option is to look at your loan statements and contact your loan servicer.

Options for After Graduation: Consolidation vs Refinancing

After graduation, depending on one’s student loan situation, borrowers may wish to consider consolidation or refinancing options to combine their various loans into a single loan.

What is Student Loan Consolidation?

The federal government offers the Direct Consolidation Loan program that allows borrowers to combine all of their federal loans into one consolidated loan.

Loans consolidated in this program receive a new interest rate that is the weighted average of the interest rates of all loans being consolidated — rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent. This means that the actual interest rate isn’t necessarily reduced when consolidated. If monthly payments are reduced, it is most likely because the repayment term has been lengthened. Additionally, only federal student loans are eligible for consolidation in the Direct Consolidation Loan program.

What is Student Loan Refinancing?

Borrowers with private student loans might consider refinancing their loans. Essentially, refinancing is taking out a new loan. Depending upon individual financial situations, applicants could qualify for a lower interest rate through refinancing.

When an individual applies to refinance with a private lender, there is typically a credit check of some kind. Each lender reviews specific borrower criteria, which varies from lender to lender, which influences the rate and terms an applicant may qualify for.

Recommended: The SoFi Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

But what if you have both federal and private loans? If you combine your federal loans through the Direct Consolidation Loan program and refinanced your private loans, you’d still have two payments. SoFi can refinance federal and private student loans together to give you one convenient payment. It’s important to note, however, that the benefits and protections offered with federal student loans don’t transfer when loans are refinanced by private lenders, so keep that in mind.

To get a sense of how refinancing might impact your student loans, take a look at this student loan refinancing calculator.

Refinanced Student Loans Pros and Cons

Refinancing student loans can have pros and cons. This table details a few to consider.

Pros Cons
Potential to secure a more competitive interest rate depending on factors like borrower’s credit score and income history. This could result in a substantial reduction of accrued interest over the life of the loan. Not all borrowers will qualify to refinance or be approved for a lower interest rate than on their existing loans.
Potential borrowers can apply with a cosigner to potentially secure a more competitive interest rate. Interest rate and loan terms are set by the lender and are based on factors including the applicant’s credit history.
Refinancing allows you to have a single monthly payment with the lender of your choice. Refinancing any federal loans eliminates them from borrower protections, including deferment options, income-driven repayment plans, or the option to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
The loan term can be adjusted — either shortened or extended — when student loans are refinanced. Extending your loan term will generally result in lower monthly payments, but will typically result in increased interest costs over the life of the loan.

Can You Refinance a Private Student Loan to a Federal One?

It’s not possible to refinance private student loans into federal loans. Because private student loans are made directly with private lenders, not the federal government, it is not possible to refinance them into federal student loans.

Combining Federal and Private Student Loans

Refinancing federal loans with a private lender is the only option that allows borrowers to combine both federal and private student loans into a single loan. While refinancing may allow borrowers to secure a competitive interest rate or preferable terms, it’s very important to understand that when you refinance federal student loans, they no longer qualify for federal benefits or borrower protections.

Refinancing may make sense for federal student loan holders who do not plan to take advantage of any federal programs or payment plans, but it won’t make sense for everyone. When you are evaluating whether you should refinance student loan debt reflect realistically on your professional and financial situation. For example, borrowers who are enrolled in income-driven repayment plans or are pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness, may find that refinancing their federal student loans doesn’t make sense for their personal goals.

The Takeaway

Refinancing won’t be the right choice for everyone. Again, refinancing federal loans eliminates them from the federal benefits and borrower protections — including the current CARES Act protections. Consulting with a financial professional could be helpful as you determine which repayment strategy fits best with your financial goals.

Those who are still interested in refinancing could consider SoFi, where there are no origination fees and no prepayment penalties. You can choose between a fixed or variable rate loan. And borrowers who unexpectedly lose their job could qualify for SoFi’s unemployment protection program, which allows the suspension of monthly payments for up to 12 months.

Learn more about whether student loan refinancing or a private student loan with SoFi could be the right financial solution for you.


We’ve Got You Covered


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL MAY 1, 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’swebsite .
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Source: sofi.com

What Is Prepaid Interest? Here’s Why You Need to Pay the Mortgage Lender Ahead of Time

As the name implies, “prepaid interest” is money you owe to a bank or mortgage lender that is paid in advance of when it is actually due.

In terms of why it needs to be paid before the due date, there are several reasons, though it mostly boils down to the fact that mortgages are paid in arrears.

This means mortgage payments are due after the month ends, because interest must accrue (over time) before it can be paid.

This differs from rent, which is paid in advance of the month in which you occupy a rental unit.

If buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage, prepaid interest will often be listed as a line item along with your other closing costs. Let’s learn why.

Prepaid Interest on a Home Purchase

Mortgages are generally due on the first of the month, though there is also typically a grace period to pay until the 15th.

Additionally, mortgage lenders don’t accept partial payments, so an entire month’s payment must be paid each month.

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll close on a random day of the month, say the 10th or the 15th, or the 24th.

This means your mortgage will accrue interest for an odd number of days during that initial month.

Instead of asking you to pay that odd amount of interest as your first mortgage payment, you simply take care of it at closing.

By take care of it, I mean pay it in advance at a daily rate so you start with a clean slate once the loan funds.

Using one of our closing dates above, those who close on the 10th would owe 20-21 days of “per diem interest” at closing. Per diem simply means per day. It is also known as interim interest.

This ensures the lender is paid interest for the time you hold the loan and reside in the property, despite a full mortgage payment not being due yet.

However, as a result of that prepaid interest, your first mortgage payment is pushed out a month.

Remember, a full month of interest must accrue before a payment is generated.

So if your home loan closed on January 10th, you’d pay 21 days of prepaid interest at closing, but the first mortgage payment wouldn’t be due until Match 1st.

Why? Because you already paid the interest that would normally be included in your February 1st payment at closing.

And now you must wait until interest accrues throughout the month of February to pay that amount in March, along with a portion of the principal balance (the loan amount).

This is often referred to as “skipping a mortgage payment,” though it’s not really skipping, it’s deferring and paying the interest portion only.

Prepaid Interest on a Mortgage Refinance

prepaid interest

If you already own a property with a mortgage attached, interest accrues daily throughout the month.

Assuming you decide to refinance that loan by taking out a replacement loan, interest will be due on both the old loan and the new loan at closing.

Similar to a home purchase loan, the interest will be calculated by taking the mortgage interest rate and how many days each lender holds your loan.

This will be broken up between old lender and new lender, with interest before your closing date going to your old lender, and prepaid interest from closing date to month-end going to your new lender.

So if you close on January 20th, you’d pay 20 days of interest to your old lender and 11 days of interest to your new lender.

This way the full month’s interest is squared away when you close, and you can start fresh with no interest due.

Then after a month’s time, enough interest will have accrued to make a full payment, which will be due on March 1st.

For the record, the payment due on January 1st would cover interest for the month of December.

In terms of how that interest is paid, you’d owe daily interest to the old lender based on the current principal balance and mortgage rate.

For example, if your loan payoff was $250,000 and your mortgage rate 3.5%, daily interest would be roughly $24. That’s about $480 for 20 days.

On the new loan, you’d owe 11 days of interest based on the new loan amount and interest rate.

If we’re talking a rate and term refinance with a 3% interest rate, it’d be $20.55 a day for 11 days, or $226.

Together, you’d owe about $706 to both lenders for the month of January.

As you can see, interest is paid to both the old lender and the new lender at closing when it’s a mortgage refinance.

How to Calculate Prepaid Interest

While you shouldn’t have to calculate prepaid interest on your own, thanks to the escrow officer assigned to your loan, it’s good to know how it works.

You can also check their math and better understand how mortgage lending works.

Veterans may qualify for a $0 down VA loan

Let’s look at an example of prepaid Interest.

Loan amount: $200,000
Mortgage rate: 3%
Daily interest: $16.44

First, you take the mortgage rate and divide it by 365 (days) to determine the per diem interest amount.

For example, if the mortgage rate is 3%, it’d be .03%/365, or 0.00008219.

Next, you multiple that by the loan amount (we’ll pretend it’s $200,000) to get $16.44. I rounded it up from $16.438.

Finally, you multiple that amount by the days in which you’re required to pay per diem interest, which will be the total amount of prepaid interest due.

So if you need to pay it for 12 days, it’d be $197.28, and that would be included with your other closing costs, such as your loan origination fee, home appraisal, etc.

Tip: Prepaid interest isn’t a junk fee or an unnecessary add-on. It’s mostly unavoidable unless you close on the very last day of the month.

When Is the Best Time to Close Escrow?

  • Most home buyers choose to close at the end of the month
  • This can help keep closing costs down (including prepaid interest)
  • May also align better with your old rental lease if it renews on the first of the month
  • But if you close early in the month your first payment won’t be due for a long time

Ultimately, you don’t always get to pick when you close, whether it’s a home purchase or a refinance, but there are some considerations here.

If it’s a home purchase, closing late in the month means less prepaid interest will be due. And possibly less wasted rent will be paid out to your landlord.

For example, if you close on the 30th of the month and per diem interest is $50, you’d pay maybe $100.

And you wouldn’t have to pay another month’s rent assuming your lease renews on the first of the month.

Conversely, if you close on the 8th of the month you may owe roughly $1,150 in per diem interest at closing. This means higher closing costs, which could jeopardize your loan approval.

The caveat is your first mortgage payment wouldn’t be due for about seven weeks, versus four weeks for the mortgage that closes on the 30th.

So you get extra time until that first payment is due, which can be nice. And it’s also possible to receive a lender credit that covers the prepaid interest anyway.

Many transactions are structured as no cost loans these days, meaning the lender covers closing costs via these credits and they aren’t paid out-of-pocket directly.

The home sellers may also provide seller concessions to cover these costs.

The flipside is that the interest you pay doesn’t actually go toward paying down your loan amount and is basically just extra interest.

If you close near month’s end, beware that lenders are often extremely busy so there could be delays or mistakes.

If you close very early in the month, such as on the 4th, your lender may provide a “credit” for those days of interest and make your first mortgage payment due less than 30 days later.

The downside is your first payment is due the following month, but the upside is you don’t pay any unnecessary interest.

Best Day to Close a Refinance

  • Generally favorable to close late in the month to avoid higher closing costs
  • But the very last week of the month can be extremely busy and cutting it close
  • Also consider the rescission period that tacks on 3 days to your closing date
  • Signing loan docs on a Wednesday or Thursday could help you avoid extra interest charges

When it comes to a refinance, the same logic basically holds, though you’re paying interest to the old lender and the new lender.

Those who are refinancing to a significantly lower interest rate will want to get it done ASAP to avoid paying the higher per diem rate of interest.

You could argue avoiding the end of the month due to how busy lenders are, and maybe shoot for the third week of the month to keep interim interest at bay.

That would still give you five weeks or so until the first payment is due on the new refinance loan.

And as noted, a lender credit could absorb the interest paid to the old lender and new.

If you time it absolutely perfectly, it might be possible to skip two payments if you close early in the month, though this isn’t for the faint of heart.

Also consider the right of rescission, if applicable, which pushes your loan closing out at least three days.

If you sign docs on a Monday, the lender won’t be able to fund until Friday, and there’s a decent chance you pay “double interest” through the weekend if the old loan isn’t paid off immediately.

To avoid this, even though it’s not a major cost, you’d ideally want to sign on say a Wednesday or Thursday, then fund on a Monday or Tuesday.

Simply put, the earlier in the month you close, the longer it will be until the first payment is due on the new loan.

Tip: If you pay discount points at closing, these are also considered prepaid interest because you’re paying money upfront for a lower mortgage rate during your loan term.

(photo: Abhi)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Here’s the Best Way to Get Cash Back on eBay Purchases

If you shop on eBay, you know it can be a great place to find a bargain. But if you’re like most eBay shoppers, you’re probably not getting any cash back on your eBay purchases.

What’s that? you ask. I could be getting cash back on eBay?

Yes, although it’s getting trickier now that eBay is shutting down its own cash-back program.

“Enrollment in the eBay Bucks Rewards Program is currently closed,” eBay’s website says. “After careful and thorough consideration, we decided to retire the 1% earning as we look to continuously optimize our offerings.”

That’s OK, though! Getting eBay cashback is still easier than you might think.

Just make sure you’re using a reputable cash-back platform so you’re not getting ripped off. There are plenty of shady outfits out there that’ll promise you the moon while gouging you with some kind of costly subscription service. You don’t want that.

To help out, we’ve got a list of cash-back websites that’ll get you rebates on eBay purchases:

1. Rebaid

Rebaid helps shoppers find freebies, rebates and discounts on scores of shopping sites, such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Etsy — and eBay cash back. In some cases, it offers up to 100% cash back!

It’s free to sign up, and it’s easy to use. You start at the Rebaid website, where you browse through offers or search for specific offers. Once you choose an available offer, it’ll take you to the retailer’s website to buy your item.

Once you’ve made your purchase, you copy your order number and go back to Rebaid to claim your rebate. Discounts typically vary from 25% to 100%. Most rebates arrive in your mailbox via a check, but some are done via direct deposit.

You can also get direct discounts where you enter a code at checkout and get savings right away.

It’s that simple. That’s all there is to it.

2. Swagbucks

If you use the free rewards website known as Swagbucks next time you shop online, you can save on purchases at some of your favorite sites like Amazon, Target and Old Navy. It also features eBay cashback offers and eBay coupons.

Swagbucks’ eBay rewards offers continually change, so you have to check. On any particular day, Swagbucks might offer something like a $10 off coupon on select jewelry purchases of $40 or more. Or 10% off Under Armour apparel. Just look at each coupon code and decide if it’s right for you.

It just varies from day to day.

3. MyPoints

MyPoints is another cash-back portal that lets you earn rewards by shopping online and printing coupons. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including favorites like Walmart, Amazon, Target — and eBay. You earn points by purchasing from stores through the MyPoints portal, and you can eventually convert the points into cash.

4. Ibotta

Ibotta is mostly known for grocery rebates. It’s best known for paying you cash back for buying hundreds of different brands at the supermarket.

In the past, the Ibotta platform offered cash back on various eBay purchases, but that’s not currently the case. Ibotta used to have an eBay page, but it no longer exists.

5. Rakuten

Rakuten is a browser extension that used to be known as Ebates. It helps you find coupons, cash back and other deals when you shop at thousands of stores including Target, Walmart, Macy’s and Kohl’s.

It offers eBay coupons, promo codes and up to 1% cash back on various purchases from eBay if you shop through Rakuten’s browser extension. Cash back is only available for certain departments on eBay, though.

First you have to install the browser extension. You can use it with Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge.

6. RebatesMe

The RebatesMe Cash Back Button lets you earn money and score savings when shopping at your favorite online retailers, including Overstock and eBay. When you check out, this browser extension will show you coupon codes, and it’ll alert you if the site you’re visiting has any cash-back offers.

7. But Wait, There’s More!

There’s a whole slew of other cash-back websites, browser extensions and shopping portals out there, including BeFrugal, Better Sidebar, Extrabux, Giving Assistant, Kiindly, Slickdeals and Yazing.

You can also buy discounted eBay gift cards or eBay branded gift cards.

In other words, there’s no shortage of options available to you.

So how do you choose which one to use?

We’re actually partial to Rebaid, and here’s why:

Why Rebaid is Our Choice

There’s a lot of public skepticism about rebate sites, because so many of them have gone out of business, or because they fail to actually pay the promised cash back.

Rebaid is an established, U.S.-based company, and its members consistently get their rebate checks.

That’s why it has a high rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot, based on hundreds of positive customer reviews. It’s simply better than a lot of the other sites.

If you’re looking for eBay deals, don’t neglect this easy extra step to save money.

It may be one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, but a lot of eBay shoppers aren’t accustomed to getting cash back on their eBay purchases. But if you’re getting cash back at the gas pump or getting cash back from your credit card, there’s no reason you should have to pay full price on eBay.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

8 Popular Types of Life Insurance for Any Age

No matter what your age, it’s probably a good time (and not too late!) to think about getting life insurance. It’s a key step in financial planning, so let’s get to know the two main types – term and permanent – so you can understand which is the right option to protect your loved ones.

First, a crash course in what insurance is: When you purchase a life insurance policy, you make recurring premium payments. Should you die while covered, your policy will pay a lump sum that you’ve selected to the beneficiaries you have designated. It’s an important way to know that if you weren’t around, working hard, your loved ones’ expenses (housing, food, medical care, tuition, etc.) would be covered. Granted, no one wants to imagine leaving this earth, but buying life insurance can give you tremendous peace of mind.

Types of Life Insurance

Now that the basic concept is clear, let’s take a closer look at the two types of life insurance policies: term and permanent. Term life insurance offers coverage for a certain amount of time, while permanent life insurance provides coverage for the policyholder’s whole life as long as premiums are paid. (These policies come in a variety of options. We’ll break those down for you in a moment.) There’s no right or wrong type; only a policy that is right for you and your needs. Figuring out which one will be easier once you understand the eight different kinds of life insurance and the needs they were designed to satisfy.

1. Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance, as the name suggests, protects a policyholder for a set amount of time. It pays a death benefit to beneficiaries if the insured person dies within that time frame. Term life insurance coverage usually ranges from 5 to 30 years. Typically, all payments and death benefits are fixed.

There are several reasons why a term life insurance policy might be right for you. Perhaps there is a specific, finite expense that you need to know is covered. For instance, if covering the years of a mortgage or college expenses for loved ones is a priority, term life insurance may make the most sense. These policies can be helpful for young people too. If, say, you took out hefty student loans that are coming due and your parents co-signed, you might want to buy a life insurance policy. The lump sum could cover that debt in a worst-case scenario.

Another reason to consider term life insurance: It tends to be more affordable. If you don’t need lifelong coverage, a term policy might be an excellent choice that’s easier on your budget.

A few variables to be aware of:

•   Term life insurance may be renewable, meaning its term can be extended. This is true “even if the health of the insured (or other factors) would cause him or her to be rejected if he or she applied for a new life insurance policy,” according to the Insurance Information Institute. Renewal of a term policy will probably trigger a premium increase, so it’s important to do the math if you’re buying term insurance while thinking, “I’ll just extend it when it ends.”

•   If you would be comfortable with your coverage declining over time (that is, the lump sum lowering), look into the option known as decreasing term insurance.

2. Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is the most common type of permanent life insurance, which protects policyholders for the duration of their lives.

As long as the premiums are paid, whole life insurance offers a guaranteed death benefit whenever the policyholder passes. In addition to this extended covered versus term life insurance, whole life policies have a cash value component that can grow over the policy’s life.

Here’s how this works: As a policyholder pays the premiums (these are typically fixed), a portion goes toward the cash value, which accumulates over time. We know the terminology used in explaining insurance can get a little complicated at times, so note there’s another way this may be described. You may hear this referred to as your insurance company paying dividends into your cash value account.

This cash value accrues on a tax-deferred basis, meaning you, the policyholder, won’t owe taxes on the earnings as long as the policy stays active. Also worth noting: If you buy this kind of life insurance and need cash, you can take out a loan (with interest being charged) against the policy or withdraw funds. If a loan is unpaid at the time of death, it will lower the death benefit for beneficiaries.

The cash value component and lifelong coverage of this type of life insurance can be pretty darn appealing. And it may be perfect for funding a trust or supporting a loved one with a disability. However, buying a whole life policy is pricey; it can be many multiples of the cost of term insurance. It’s definitely a balancing act to determine the coverage you’d like and the price you can pay.

For those who are not hurting in the area of finances, whole life can have another use. A policy can also be used to pay estate taxes for the wealthy. For individuals who have estates that exceed the current estate tax exemption (IRS guideline for 2021) of nearly $11.7 million , the policy can pay the estate taxes when the policyholder dies.

3. Universal Life Insurance

Who doesn’t love having freedom of choice? If you like the kind of protection that a permanent policy offers, there are still more varieties to consider. Let’s zoom in on universal life insurance, which may provide more flexibility than a whole life policy. The cash account that’s connected to your policy typically earns interest, similar to that of a money market. While that may not be a huge plus at this moment, you will probably have your life insurance for a long time, and that interest could really kick in. What’s more, as the cash value ratchets up, you may be able to alter your premiums. You can put some of the moolah in your cash account towards your monthly payments, which in some situations can really come in handy.

This kind of policy is also sometimes called adjustable life insurance, because you can decide to raise the benefit (the lump sum that goes to your beneficiaries) down the road, provided you pass a medical exam.

4. Variable Life Insurance

Do you have an interest in finance and watch the market pretty closely? We hear you. Variable life insurance could be the right kind of permanent policy for you. In this case, the cash value account can be invested in stocks, bonds, and money market funds. That gives you a good, broad selection and plenty of opportunity to grow your funds more quickly. However, you are going to have more risk this way; if you put your money in a stock that fizzles, you’re going to feel it, and not in a good way. Some policies may guarantee a minimum death benefit, even if the investments are not performing well.

This volatility can play out in other ways. If your investments are performing really well, you can direct some of the proceeds to pay the premiums. But if they are slumping, you might have to increase your premium payment amounts to ensure that the policy’s cash value portion doesn’t fall below the minimum.**

This kind of variable life insurance policy really suits a person who wants a broader range of investment options for the policy’s cash value component. While returns are not guaranteed, the greater range of investments may yield better long-term returns than a whole life insurance policy will.

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5. Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance is another type of a permanent policy, but it’s as flexible as an acrobat. If you like to tinker and tweak things, this may be ideal. Just as the name suggests, it merges some of the most desirable features of variable and universal plans. How precisely does that shake out for you, the potential policyholder? For the cash account aspect of your policy, you have all the rewards (and possible risks) of a variable life insurance policy that you just learned about above. You have a wide array of ways to grow your money, which puts you in control.

The features that are borrowed from the universal life model are the ability to potentially change the death benefit amount. You can also adjust the premium payments. If your cash account is soaring, you can use that money towards your monthly costs…sweet! It’s a nice bonus, especially if funds are tight.

6. Indexed Universal Life Insurance

This is another type of permanent life insurance with a death benefit for your beneficiaries as well as a cash account. You may see it called “IUL.” In this instance, the cash account earns interest based on how a stock-market index performs. For instance, the money that accrues might be linked to the S&P (Standard & Poor’s) 500 composite price index, which follows the shifts of the 500 biggest companies in America. These policies may offer a minimum guaranteed rate of return, which can be reassuring. On the other hand, there may be a cap on how high the returns can go. A IUL insurance plan may be a good fit if you are comfortable with more risk than a fixed universal life policy, but don’t want the risk of a variable universal life insurance product.

7. Guaranteed or Simplified Issue Life Insurance

With most life insurance policies, some form of medical underwriting is required. “Underwriting” can be one of those mysterious insurance terms that is often used without explanation. Here’s one aspect of this that you should know about. Part of the approval process for underwritten policies involves using information from exams, blood tests, and medical history to determine the applicant’s health status, which in turn contributes to the calculated monthly costs of a policy. Underwriting serves an important purpose: It helps policyholders pay premiums that coincide with their health status. If you work hard at staying in excellent health, you are likely to be rewarded for that with lower monthly payments.

However, sometimes insurance buyers don’t want to go through that process. Maybe they have health issues. Or perhaps they don’t want to wait the 45 or 60 days that underwriting often requires before a policy can be issued. With guaranteed or simplified issue life insurance, the steps are streamlined. Applicants may not have to take a medical exam to qualify and approvals come faster.

These policies tend to have lower death benefits (think $10,000, $50,000, or perhaps $250,000 at the very high end) than the other types of life insurance we’ve described. Less medical underwriting also means policies tend to be more expensive. Who might be interested in this kind of insurance? It may be a good option for someone who is older (say, 45-plus), has an underlying medical condition that would usually mean higher insurance rates, or has been rejected for another form of insurance. The coverage may suit the needs of someone looking for insurance really quickly, like the uninsured people who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, wanted to sign up ASAP.

One point to be aware of: Many of these policies have what’s called a graded benefit or a waiting period. This usually means that the beneficiaries only receive the full value of the policy if the insured has had it for over two years. If the policyholder were to die before that time, the payout would be less; perhaps just the value of the premiums that had been paid.

Of the two kinds we’ve mentioned, guaranteed is usually the easiest to qualify for (as the name suggests) but costs somewhat more than the simplified issue variety, which tends to have a few more constraints. You might be deemed past the age they insure or a medical condition might disqualify you.

Worth noting: You may hear these life insurance policies are known as final expense life insurance or burial insurance. As with any simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance policies, no medical exam is required. These plans typically have a small death benefit (up to $50,000 in many cases) that is designed to cover funeral costs, medical bills, and perhaps credit card debt at the end of life.

8. Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is often not something you go out and buy. Typically, it’s a policy that’s offered to you as a benefit by an employer, a trade union, or other organization. If it’s not free, it is usually offered at a low cost (deducted from your payroll), and a higher amount may be available at an affordable rate. Since an employer or entity is buying the coverage for many people at once, there are savings that are passed along to you.

That said, the amount of coverage is likely to be low, perhaps between $20,000 and $50,000, or one or two times your annual salary. Medical exams are usually not required, and the group life insurance will probably be a term rather than permanent policy,

A couple of additional points to note:

•   There may be a waiting period before you are eligible for the insurance. For instance, your employer might stipulate that you have to be a member of the team for a number of months before you can access this benefit.

•   If you leave your job or the group providing coverage, your policy is likely to expire. You may have the option to convert it to an individual plan at a higher premium, if you desire.

Deciding Which Life Insurance Is Best for You

So many factors go into creating that “Eureka!” moment in which you land on the right life insurance policy for you. Your age, health, budget, and particular needs play into that decision.

If you need life insurance only for a certain amount of time, you may want to select a term life insurance policy that dovetails with your needs. Covering a child’s college and postgraduate years is a common scenario. Another is taking out a policy that lasts until your mortgage is paid off, to know your partner would be protected.

A term life insurance policy may also be a good fit for someone who has a limited budget but needs a substantial amount of coverage. Since term policies have a specific coverage window, they are the more affordable option.

For someone who needs coverage for life and wants a cash accumulation feature, a permanent policy such as whole life insurance might be worth considering. Not only will this policy stay in place for life (as long as the premiums are paid), but the cash value element allows use of the funds to pay premiums or any other purpose. Permanent life insurance lets you know that, whenever you pass on, funds will be there for your dependents. It can be a great option if you have, say, a loved one who can’t live independently, and you want to know they will have financial coverage. Whole life insurance is more expensive than term life insurance, but the premium remains the same for the insured’s life.

In terms of when to buy life insurance, here are a few points to keep in mind:

•   It’s best to apply when you’re young and healthy so you can receive the best rate available.

•   Typically, major life events signal people to buy life insurance. These are moments when you realize someone else is depending on your (and, not to sound crass, your income). It could be when you marry or have a child. It could be when you realize a relative will need long-term caregiving.

•   Even if you are older or have underlying health conditions, there are options available to you. They may not give as high an amount of coverage as other life insurance policies, but they can offer a moderate benefit amount and give you a degree of peace of mind.

The Takeaway

Picking out the right life insurance policy can seem complicated, but in truth, the number of choices just reflects how easy it is to get the right coverage for your needs. There’s truly something for everyone, regardless of your age or budget. Whether you opt for term, permanent, group, or guaranteed issue, you’ll get the peace of mind and protection that all insurance plans bring.

Taking the Next Step

Are you among the millions of people who learn about life insurance and say, “A term policy is right for me!”? If that’s the way you want to protect your loved ones, we have good news: You can apply for a policy in a matter of minutes online. It’s a simple, straightforward way to tailor a policy to your needs without a lot of meetings or endless phone calls with an agent.

SoFi teamed up with Ladder to offer term life insurance that’s affordable and easy to understand. Get started today.


Ladder policies are issued in New York by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (Policy form # MN-26) and in all other states and DC by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (Policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to offer life insurance in the state of New York. Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria. SoFi Agency and its affiliates do not guarantee the services of any insurance company. The California license number for SoFi Agency is 0L13077 and for Ladder is OK22568. Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other. Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under LadderLifeTM policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy. SoFi offers customers the opportunity to reach Ladder Insurance Services, LLC to obtain information about estate planning documents such as wills. Social Finance, Inc. (“SoFi”) will be paid a marketing fee by Ladder when customers make a purchase through this link. All services from Ladder Insurance Services, LLC are their own. Once you reach Ladder, SoFi is not involved and has no control over the products or services involved. The Ladder service is limited to documents and does not provide legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and using documents provided is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com

Huge Retention Offers On American Express Business Platinum Cards

Update 1/17/22: Reports of generous retention offers again, including $595 and $695 statement credit offers.

In May we reported that American Express was offering some juicy retention offers on most credit cards. In the last week there has been some reports of a huge retention offer on the American Express Business Platinum card. Some cardholders are being offered 30,000 Membership Rewards points on renewal and then an additional 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $40,000 in spend within three months. Obviously the spend requirement of $40,000 will be difficult for a lot of people to meet.

Keep in mind this card is also offering a $200 appreciation credit on renewal currently as well. The American Express Business Platinum card also offers a $20 per month credit for both wireless and shipping purchases until December 31, 2020 as well. Obviously there is no guarantee you’ll get such an offer, but it is worth making the call.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Does your income affect your credit score?

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

No, your income doesn’t directly impact your credit score. But your income does play a role in the loan approval process, so you should understand why your income matters to help you prepare for your next loan application. 

What affects your credit score?

Your credit score is based on your credit report. So, naturally, only the things on your credit report can—and should—affect your credit score. And income isn’t one of the things included on a credit report. Additionally, other factors, such as your marital status, race, employment status and how much you have in savings, aren’t included in your credit report. Your credit report is only supposed to summarize your past behavior when borrowing credit, so factors like income and savings aren’t applicable.  

The credit bureaus collect consumer data from lenders and creditors. This data is run through a credit scoring model, such as the FICO® or VantageScore® models, to give each individual a credit score. Your credit score tells creditors how risky you are as a borrower based on your past patterns with other lenders. The higher your credit score, the more reliable a borrower you probably are. 

So, if your credit score doesn’t look at income, what exactly does it look at? Your credit score is made up of five factors that are weighted differently in importance:

  • Payment history (35 percent): Your payment history is a record of whether payments are made on time and in full. This is the most significant factor in your credit score, so making even one late payment or missing a payment can drop your score by several points. On the other hand, a good track record of paying lenders on time can improve your overall credit.  
  • Amounts owed (30 percent): Amounts owed represents your credit usage, also known as your credit utilization ratio. This ratio is the amount of credit available to you versus the amount you spend every month. If you have a single credit card with a limit of $10,000 and spend $1,500 monthly, your ratio is 15 percent. A credit utilization above 30 percent is more likely to negatively affect your credit score. 
  • Credit history length (15 percent): Your credit age is the average age of all your credit accounts. This will naturally improve with time as your accounts get older. However, you can keep your credit age as high as possible by not closing your oldest account. 
  • Credit mix (10 percent): Your credit mix is all the different types of credit that make up your profile. Having a diverse credit portfolio shows that you can be responsible with all sorts of lenders. A combination of installment loans (car loans, student loans, mortgage) and revolving accounts (credit cards) is optimal. 
  • New credit (10 percent): The number of new credit accounts you’ve opened recently—and the associated hard inquiries—can impact your score. It’s not recommended that you open several new accounts in a short period, as it can significantly lower your credit score. 

Your income can indirectly affect your credit score

As we’ve illustrated, your income isn’t one of the factors considered for your credit score.  But your income can impact your ability to make your payments on time and in full, and payment history is the largest factor of your credit score. 

But perhaps more importantly, your income will typically have a direct effect on your loan approval odds. For example, when applying for a mortgage, both your income and credit score will be used to evaluate you as a borrower. How much you make combined with your credit score will determine how much you’re approved to borrow and at what loan terms. 

Lenders often ask you to list your income on loan applications so they can understand how much you can afford to borrow. If you don’t have enough income to pay for or handle the credit you’re applying for, that can prevent you from being approved. 

Understand your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio will be examined when you apply for credit and will play a role in your approval or denial. The debt-to-income ratio is how much of your income goes to debt versus how much you have left over. So, if you have a monthly income of $4,000 and spend $1,200 on your monthly bills, your debt-to-income ratio is 30 percent. 

If your debt-to-income ratio is very high, it indicates that you probably don’t have the income room to take on new, additional debt. Generally speaking, lenders want to see a debt-to-income ratio of less than 36 percent to give approval for new credit or loans, with a DTI maximum of 43 percent for mortgages.

Note that it’s your income—not your salary—used in the DTI ratio. Your salary is the annual amount of money you receive from an employer. In comparison, your income includes your salary and any additional monetary sources, such as rental payments, stock profits, alimony and more. Income is the criteria used when you’re applying for a loan or credit product because all these additional sources of revenue can help you pay your debts. 

Work to improve your DTI ratio and credit 

You might not be able to drastically improve your income right away, but you can try to focus on your DTI. Start by determining what your current debt-to-income ratio is. Next, do what you can to lower it. Pay off existing debts and reduce your monthly spending where possible. 

Additionally, focus on the main credit factors so you can improve your overall credit. Make all your payments on time by signing up for auto-payments. Keep your credit utilization low, minimize hard inquiries and keep old accounts open. If you have a strong credit score and a healthy DTI, it’s entirely possible to qualify for a good loan with excellent terms on a modest income. 

If you think you’ve made a misstep with your credit and you’re not sure how to fix it, consider working with a professional credit repair service. The credit repair consultants at Lexington Law Firm will review your credit reports with you and offer credit education resources. You don’t have to go through this complicated process on your own—get help today. 


Reviewed by Anna Grozdanov, Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Anna Grozdanov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, but moved to Arizona with her family. Ms. Grozdanov grew up in Arizona and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in both Philosophy and Psychology. Ms. Grozdanov finished her first year of law school at Pepperdine University School of Law in California, but returned to Arizona where she graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Since graduating from law school, Ms. Grozdanov has worked in Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate, and Personal Injury. She has extensive experience advising and working closely with clients and applies these skills at Lexington by helping clients achieve their credit repair goals. Ms. Grozdanov is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Here’s How to Boost Your Credit after a Big Purchase Impacts Your Score

Before you make a major purchase, like a home or car, you’ve probably put a lot of thought into the process. You might have worked to make sure your credit is in the best shape possible before you apply for a loan. Perhaps you’ve shopped around and compared interest rates to make sure you’re getting the best deal available on financing. 

Yet there’s one factor that many borrowers forget to consider before taking out a large loan–the impact it will have on your credit score.

Why a Big Purchase Might Harm Your Credit Score

A recent study found that in the six months after getting a mortgage, credit scores may fall by about 20 points on average across the nation’s 50 largest metros. However, most borrowers also saw their credit scores rebound to their pre-loan starting points in less than a year.

According to Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst for LendingTree, the credit score change occurs because adding a new account with a large balance to your credit report increases your credit risk.

“Taking out a new mortgage usually causes a person’s score to decrease as it adds a large new balance to their credit report that they haven’t yet proven their ability to pay off,” says Channel. He adds that the combination of a larger debt and lack of evidence that the consumer can manage the new account may lead to more risk in the eyes of lenders and, in turn, lower credit scores as a result.

According to credit scoring firm FICO®, even refinancing a large loan could potentially impact your credit score in a negative way (though that’s not always the case).

Additional Credit Score Factors

Credit reporting agency Experian explains two additional reasons why a new mortgage might lower your credit score:

  • A new loan will decrease your average age of credit (a factor, among others, that influences 15% of your FICO® Score). 
  • The new hard credit inquiry from the mortgage might have a negative credit score impact as well, though this typically isn’t significant. 

Credit Score Recovery Can Take Time

Seeing your credit score drop after a major purchase can be frustrating, especially if you have plans to apply for other financing. Unfortunately, the credit score recovery cycle takes around 339 days on average.

Channel says that borrowers need time to prove to lenders that they’re able to handle their new debt, noting that “one of the main ways to do this is to make multiple, one-time payments, which is a time-consuming process.” 

It’s also important to consider the fact that there are delays between when a borrower makes a payment and when that payment actually shows up on their credit report. Because of this phenomenon, credit scores might remain low for a while even after the borrower has made several on-time loan payments.

As Experian points out, your credit score will only change when information on your credit report updates. 

How to Rebuild Your Credit Score after a Decline

Smart credit moves after taking out a new mortgage have the potential to help you rebuild your credit score–perhaps even faster than average. 

Channel notes that the best step you can take toward better credit after a mortgage is to pay your credit obligations on time. That advice applies not just to your new mortgage loan, but to your other debts as well. 

“The more payments a borrower makes on time, the less risky they’ll appear to lenders and the higher their score will be,” he says. 

In addition to on-time payments, you might consider paying down any outstanding credit card balances you owe. Credit utilization–the connection between your credit card limits and balances–can have a significant impact on your credit score.

As you pay down your credit card debt, your utilization rate should go down. That reduction can have a positive impact on your credit score.

Debt consolidation is one strategy that some people use to lower their credit utilization levels when they can’t pay off all of their credit card debt at once. The approach can be helpful in many situations, as long as you can avoid running up new balances on your original credit cards after you pay them off with a consolidation loan or balance transfer.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a major purchase, it’s in your best interest to make sure your credit is in good shape. The higher your credit score, the better your approval odds may be, and you could even secure better interest rates and terms, too. 

Channel adds that good credit can also work in your favor after you close on a new loan. 

“The stronger a borrower’s initial credit score, the less damage something like a new mortgage is likely to do,” he says. “As a result, borrowers who work hard to boost their scores before they get a mortgage can usually better avoid some of the drawbacks a drop in their credit score could bring.” 

Source: credit.com

Chase Freedom Flex & Unlimited: $200 Bonus + 5% Back On Gas First Year (Up To $6k Spend)

The Offer

Direct link to offer

Chase is offering an additional bonus on the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards:

  • Get the standard $200 sign up bonus after $500 in spend; in addition, the card will earn 5% cashback on Gas purchases in the first year, up to $6,000 in spend.

Card Details

Freedom Flex

  • No annual fee
  • Card earns the following points rates:
    • 5% on rotating Quarterly Categories on up to $1,500 in total purchases (e.g. Q4 2020 will be PayPal and Walmart)
    • 5% on Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 3% on Dining 
    • 3% on Drugstore 
    • 5% on Lyft through March 2022
    • 1% unlimited cash back 

Freedom Unlimited

  • No annual fee
  • Card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Our Verdict

Keep in mind while these cards talk about cash back you actually earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This means if you have an annual fee card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Preferred then you can transfer these points to travel partners. You could also use these points for the Chase Pay Yourself back feature to make them worth 1.5¢ each.

As noted, the standard bonus on these cards is $200, and the 5% back on Gas is an additional bonus. Until recently there was a similar offer for 5x back on Grocery Stores (up to $12,000), but that has now been discontinued. We mentioned this Gas offer version floating around in the past, and it now looks to be the standard new offer on Chase and on referral links so I thought it worth a dedicated post. There’s also an alternate offer for the Freedom Unlimited card, specifically, to get an extra 1.5x per dollar spent anywhere during the first year, up to $20,000 in spend. Which offer you choose will depend on your spend patterns and on what other cards you have.

Unfortunately a lot of readers won’t be eligible for these cards/bonus due to the Chase 5/24 rule. We will still be adding this to our list of the best credit card bonuses.

Source: doctorofcredit.com