Why You Need ExtraCredit in Your Life

What do you need your credit score for? In a nutshell, a lot. Credit cards, loans, mortgages, APR, even renting an apartment—whether or not you qualify is based largely on your credit score. If your credit is less-than-ideal, you know it can make your life just that much harder.   

Having a bad credit score can hold you back. It can keep you from feeling in control of your life. You might feel like you’re in a vicious cycle: you apply for credit to improve your score, get denied, suffer a hard inquiry, watch your credit score drop and try again. And it starts over.

We get it. And we want to help. Enter ExtraCredit, the newest product from Credit.com. ExtraCredit is a comprehensive credit solution, with specific and encompassing features that helps you with every dimension of your credit. 

But ExtraCredit isn’t your typical credit solution. Think of it as a lifestyle change. Think of it as a way for you to take your life back. 

Check Out ExtraCredit

What’s ExtraCredit?

ExtraCredit is your one-stop-shop for all things credit. Need identity protection? ExtraCredit’s got it covered. Want a look at your FICO® Score? Sure! An exclusive discount with one of the leaders in credit repair? Yep, we’ve got that too. Ready to add more to your credit? We’ve got your back. ExtraCredit is here for you, no matter what your credit score is. ExtraCredit helps you own your life—starting with your credit. 

ExtraCredit has five features, each created to help you get where you want to be. Here’s the lowdown on each: 

Reward It

So you decided to sign up for ExtraCredit. Smart choice! Because you’ve made such a smart choice, we’ll send you an ExtraCredit card loaded with $5. That’s real money. And that’s what Reward It is all about.

It doesn’t end there. When you sign up with ExtraCredit, we start sending relevant financial offers your way. Let’s say you get approved for one of those financial offers. That’s a big deal! And we want to celebrate with you. Which is why we’ll load your ExtraCredit card with up to $200. That’s right—up to two hundred dollars. All for you, because of your smart financial decisions. 

Learn More about Reward It

Track It

There are a lot of credit scores out there. And there are a lot of apps and services that claim to have the score. You know, the one and only completely accurate score you need. But the thing is, that doesn’t exist. So the score you might be seeing on one of those other apps isn’t the same as the FICO® Score that lenders see. In fact, you have at least 28 credit scores. That’s a lot to keep track of.

That’s where Track It comes in. ExtraCredit will keep track of your 28 FICO credit scores, so you can keep track of every single one. But it goes one step further by showing you what each score is used for. Plus, you’ll get access to your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Learn More about Track It

Guard It

Here are some statistics for you: in 2019, 14.4 million consumers were victims of identity fraud. Sure, that might not sound like a lot of people. But when you realize that it comes out to about 1 in 15 people, it feels like a much bigger threat. In total, 33% of adult Americans have been victims of identity theft. 

You might think that you’ve got all the protection you need. And maybe you have set up a few precautions here and there. But criminals nowadays are smart. Just look at those stats! They know what they’re doing. But don’t sweat it—so do we. Guard It’s here to save the day.

Guard It provides services to keep you nice and safe. There’s Dark Web Monitoring, which will continually scan hidden websites and file-sharing networks for data breaches. Then there’s Compromised Account Monitoring that’ll catch unauthorized bank changes and accounts opened with a stolen identity. And last, but not least, there’s Identity Theft Insurance. That’ll help protect you from financial danger with a $1,000,000 policy. Better safe than sorry. 

Learn More about Guard It

Build It

We all know that credit card payments play a major role in your credit score. But that’s just half the story. What about all the other bills that you pay, like rent and utilities? Shouldn’t those count? We definitely think so, which is where Build It comes in.

Build It uses Rent & Utility reporting to match transactions from your bank account. Think about that for a second—Build It will help you add more to your credit profile whenever you pay your rent on-time. How easy is that? 

From there, Build It continues to report your payments to all three major credit bureaus each month. 

Learn More about Build It

Restore It

So your credit’s not where you want it to be. And you need help. The good news is, you’re in the right place. Restore It will connect you with one of the leaders in credit repair. You’ll get an exclusive discount for CreditRepair.com, a credit repair service that has a killer track record. If they are not available in your area, you will get that discount with another leader in credit repair.

Learn More about Restore It

The Breakdown

Okay, we know that there are a lot of credit solutions out there. You’ve probably seen other services, like credit repair, ID protection and credit monitoring. But here’s the thing—no one offers a comprehensive service like ExtraCredit. 

With ExtraCredit, you get five killer features all wrapped up in a box with a bow on top. Here’s a breakdown of how much the ExtraCredit services would typically cost on their own:

  • Basic Credit Repair: $24.95+ 
  • Rent Reporting: $9.99 
  • ID Protection: $34.99
  • FICO Scores: $19.99

Altogether, that’d add up to a cool $89.92. But with ExtraCredit you get all five services at $24.99 a month, plus real cash back for select offers. 

The Bottom Line

Sure, there are a lot of credit solutions out there. But here’s the thing—ExtraCredit impacts every dimension of your credit. So you could go with one-dimensional services provided by the other guys. Or you could go with ExtraCredit, which offers so much more than the basics.

ExtraCredit is here for you. It’s like a team of credit pros, all focused on monitoring your credit and satisfying your credit score needs. All you have to do is sit back, relax and let ExtraCredit do the work. 

ExtraCredit is the last credit solution you’ll ever need. Join the revolution today.

The post Why You Need ExtraCredit in Your Life appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

How to accept credit card payments

Many small business owners who didn’t accept credit cards before the pandemic find that it’s absolutely mandatory now. With more shopping and transactions taking place through online commerce and mobile apps ­– and many consumers preferring to avoid handling cash – accepting credit cards is one of the most valuable steps you take to grow your business, if you’re not doing so already.

Even with the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out, 74% of small business owners expect consumers to prefer contactless payments once a vaccine is widely available, according to recent research by Visa.

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Ask Elaine a question.

Benefits of accepting credit card payments

There are many advantages to accepting credit card payments that go beyond changing consumer preferences. Consumers will often buy more with credit cards than they would with cash. If you run a service business, accepting credit cards can improve cash flow. A consumer who can’t pay you with cash immediately may be able to pay you with a credit card more quickly. And accepting credit cards can also help make it easier to keep track of revenue. All of your records of credit card transactions will be in one place.

How to accept credit cards as a small business

If you are going to accept credit cards on an ongoing basis in a small business, you’ll probably want to find a merchant account provider to set you up with a commercial bank account allowing you to accept and process electronic payment card transactions. You will need to sign an agreement with the merchant account provider that outlines per-transaction costs you will pay, as well as any associated fees. It is important to shop around as these costs may vary considerably.

If you’re having trouble finding a merchant provider, asking other businesses in your industry is a good place to start. That’s because many merchant account providers tailor their offerings to particular industries. A plan that’s best for a small medical office might not be ideal for an e-commerce merchant – and vice versa. Some trade organizations can also recommend preferred providers.

What credit card payment processing options are available?

If you don’t need to accept credit cards on a constant basis but still want to be able to offer this payment option to customers, there are a number of ways to do so, through payment services providers. Here are some options:

  • Square provides you with a free device you can attach to your phone or iPad and allows you to process transactions anywhere with good Wi-Fi. It costs 2.6% plus 10 cents per tapped, dipped or swiped transaction to use.
  • Clover offers a similar card reader you can plug into your digital devices to accept credit cards. The Clover “Go” reader costs $69.The least expensive plan, “Register Lite,” costs $9.95 a month and 2.7% plus 10 cents for in-person transactions and 3.5% plus 10 cents for keyed-in transactions.
  • PayPal Here offers a free mobile card reader when you sign up. You can also opt for a chip-and-swipe reader or a chip-and-tap reader that comes with a charging stand for $79.99. PayPal Here charges 2.7% per swipe for card-present transactions. Keyed transactions are 3.5% plus a fixed fee.

See related: Square vs. PayPal Here: What’s best for your business?

There is another quick and easy way to accept credit cards through your invoicing software. If you use QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Xero accounting, you can offer customers the option of paying by credit card by selecting that option on your invoices. If you normally invoice your coaching clients this way, it may be the simplest way to accept credit cards.

For customers who simply want to pay electronically and not specifically by credit card, you might also check out Zelle, a bank-to-bank transfer system that allows a customer to pay you in cash electronically. There are no fees. However, the customer has to have the cash available to do this, as Zelle doesn’t accept credit cards.

In-store vs. online payments

If you want to accept in-store payments, you will need a point-of-sale system or a mobile system such as Clover, Square or PayPal. Your merchant processing provider will typically be able to provide you with the equipment you need to swipe, dip and key in transactions.

When deciding how you will process transactions, it’s important to consider what the flow of activity is like in your place of business. If you operate a store, it may be most efficient to have a countertop point of sale system. However, in a restaurant where customers pay at the table, you might do better with a system that allows customers to pay on a tablet.

Bottom line

Some business owners are reluctant to accept credit cards because they don’t want to pay the fees. It’s not possible to avoid credit card processing fees, but it’s important to consider the cost of not accepting credit cards.

Will a potential customer opt out of working altogether if you don’t make it easy to pay – and miss out on your services as a result? If that’s the case, it may be worthwhile to accept credit cards.

Every customer has different habits when it comes to making payments. The more varied the payment options you offer, the easier it will be for customers to choose to do business with you.

Source: creditcards.com

Do Personal Guarantees Affect Credit Scores?

A group of coworkers sit around a table with their laptops open.

Whether you’re a solopreneur launching a start-up or a small-business owner seeking to grow your company, you might need extra funding. And if you’re looking for business loan, you might need a personal guarantee. Does a personal guarantee impact your credit and your own financial situation? Find out below.

What Does a Personal Guarantee Mean?

A personal guarantee means you personally promise that a debt will be paid back. If you sign a personal guarantee on a business loan, you are responsible for paying back the money if the business is unable to do so. The lender can try to collect the money from you, including by suing you.

Why Would a Lender Require a Personal Guarantee?

Personal guarantees are all about reducing risk for the lender. If you sign one, it has two potential entities to chase to collect the loan. First, the lender will attempt to collect from the business itself. If the business doesn’t make payments as agreed or defaults on the loan, the lender will try to collect from you personally.

The benefits to the lender are pretty big. They’re much more likely to eventually recoup their investment, even if your business fails. That means many, though not all, small-business loan options do come with a personal guarantee requirement.

Some factors that can increase the chance that a lender might ask for a personal guarantee include:

  • You’re a solopreneur or very small business. In this case, the business’s reputation and credit is likely very tied to your own.
  • Your business is new and doesn’t yet have a solid credit history of its own. The lender can’t decide if the business is a good risk, but it can decide if you’re a good risk.
  • Your business doesn’t have enough income or collateral. If you’re trying to borrow money to grow your business, it might not make enough money for the lender to seriously consider shelling out funds. But if you’re confident in the growth plan and know money will come in once you implement it, you might put up your own collateral to secure the loan.

How Does a Personal Guarantee Affect Your Credit Score?

Whether or not a personal guarantee affects your credit score depends on the situation. First, business loans may or may not be reported on your credit history.

If you sign as a personal guarantor for a traditional business loan, the loan itself will be reported on your business’s credit report. Timely payments on that loan will help build your business’s credit history. Missing a payment could cause the business credit score to take a hit.

In these cases, your personal credit isn’t likely to be impacted. However, if the business defaults on the loan and the lender comes to you for payment, your credit history could start to take a hit. If you immediately make a payment to catch up the loan, you may not see any impact to your personal credit. If, however, you don’t pay and the account goes to collections, that’s likely to show up on both your personal and business credit histories.

Other types of business funding, including some small-business lines of credit and credit cards, do get reported on your personal credit. This can be a good thing if payments are made timely and as agreed, as you could get a bump on that for your own credit score. In the meantime, however, it does potentially impact your credit utilization ratio and your debt-to-income ratio.

Should You Sign a Personal Guarantee for a Business Loan?

This is a personal decision that depends on a variety of factors, including your confidence in the business. But here are a few questions to ask yourself before you take this action, which can have long-lasting consequences on your own personal finances.

  • Do you really need to guarantee the loan? Your business doesn’t need perfect credit to get a loan, and there are many financing options available. Make sure you explore all your resources and understand what they’ll cost you and your business before you decide on one.
  • Are you confident the business will be able to handle the debt? If the business is stable and you know it will be able to cover the debt, you have less risk in signing a personal guarantee.
  • Are you in control of how the business handles finances? If it’s your business and you’re the one who signs the checks, you can make sure the bills are paid on time. If someone else is handling the accounting, you may want to be wary about signing a personal guarantee.
  • Can you afford to take the hit if the business fails? There’s no such thing as a sure deal, and you can’t assume the business will 100% make it. That means you need to be able to make good on the debt yourself in a worst-case scenario without giving up your personal financial stability.

The Bottom Line

Ready to get that business loan? If you’ve thought it out—and analyzed your personal financial situation—start shopping for options today. If you’re wondering where to start, check out the business loans at Credit.com. You can compare rates and requirements, so you can find the right business loan for your needs. 

Find the right business loan for you today!

The post Do Personal Guarantees Affect Credit Scores? appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com