Vital Financial Updates Credit – Is it good or bad?

Wendy Evans: Saving money on your family holiday cash


Wendy Evans of parenting charity Nottingham Family Lives looks at how best to manage your finances abroad when on your summer holidays

MORE than half (53.5 per cent ) of respondents to a recent Family Lives survey said that their finances were in a worse state than previous years.

The needs of the family are changing, and families continue to tell us that their single biggest worry is making ends meet. This often causes conflict and stress.

Managing the family coffers is important, but so is taking a break. If youve booked a holiday abroad, make sure you spend wisely

Barwa Bank unit FFC wins ‘Best Business Finance Company’ award for 3rd cons…

First Finance Company (FFC), a member of Barwa Bank Group, was recognised as Best Business Finance Company at the 2014 Banker Middle East Industry Awards held on June 3 in Dubai.

This was the third consecutive year that CPI Financial bestowed the award to FFC for its comprehensive range of Shariah-compliant financial solutions and exceptional customer service.

FFC chief executive officer Eslah Assem said the company continues to perform at the very highest level within the industry and constantly works to refine product proposition to ensure flexible, fast, and tailored financial services to customers.

These awards prove our leading position in the industry by delivering customers new and innovative products and services that are both highly-attractive and consistent with their ethical beliefs, Assem said.

FFC deputy CEO Yousif al-Subaie thanked the companys professional team for showing exceptional commitment to provide outstanding service excellence, consistent with the highest international standards and in accordance with Islamic Shariah principles.

Since its inception, FFC has focused on delivering a comprehensive and innovative range of market-leading consumer finance services, including auto and home finance that offer great value and outstanding features.

To support Qatars booming economy, FFC also offers a range of Shariah-complaint financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide flexible down payment, instalments for up to 48 months, fast and simple performance, and flexible payment scheme.

To empower entrepreneurs, FFCs SME product also provides financing to startups that have been operational for more than six months or less than a year.

Westpac customer marketing chief: Social is a great way to start conversations

Social media is a great place to start conversations with customers on a new purchase journey, and also plays a vital role in recognising and responding to their needs, Westpac’s customer marketing chief claims.

Speaking at the Retail Financial Services event in Sydney, head of customer relationship marketing and digital, Australian Financial Services, Karen Ganschow, highlighted the importance of social and mobile engagement in the banking group’s modern marketing strategy.

She also stressed the need to personalise and standardise customer experiences across whatever channels a consumer chooses to communicate and engage with a brand in.

Ganschow shared an example of how Westpac has generated qualified customer leads through
Facebook by opening up conversations between prospective customers and home finance experts on first-time lending. Customers looking to take conversations further are then sent a direct message offering them their own personal finance expert within the bank.

“This is slightly less confronting than walking into a branch, and has been working well in helping generate real business leads,” she told attendees. “It also helps us understand what’s on our customers’ minds.”

Westpac is also supporting customers of its Westpac, Bank SA and St George brands through social. “Social can be scary as a brand, especially when bank bashing is a national past time, to put yourself out there. Yes, you will get people saying nasty things about you and your brand. But we’ve also learnt a lot about our customers through these channels,” Ganschow commented.

“In digital [channels], you can see through a consumer’s behaviour what really works, what they care about, and what doesn’t work… we use search keywords for example, to know what’s hot for customers and pull that through our whole customer journey.”

In one case, social helped Westpac see the confusion customers were experiencing around fixed and comparison rates it advertised for new home loans, Ganschow said. Westpac responded to these comments by providing an external explainer website to help customers understand comparison rates.

“The joy with social media… was that we got to see that confusion and were able to respond to that,” she said. “We received 800 comments, and the last 600 were positive, having established that precedence.”

Related: Customer-led big data programs add millions to Westpacs bottom line

Ganschow also highlighted the vital role mobile is playing in customer engagement today, pointing out that more than half of all banking is now being done on mobile devices. Westpac is meeting this need by designing all digital services and forms with a mobile-first mentality, she said.

2013 was the last year of the desktop and laptop; everything weve seen since then says the majority of online bank sessions are now coming through mobile,” Ganschow said.

“If your assets are not mobile-first, friendly and mobile-aware, you won’t be giving customers a great experience.”

At the same time, she called on brands to ensure that whatever message or experience they and endeavouring give to customers is consistent and relevant across whatever channel consumers choose to engage in, digital, call centre or otherwise.

“Customers won’t stay tidy – they move between screens and devices,” she said. “They also don’t go one-way; a customer may start online, then come into the brand and go back online to complete a purchase. And it’s not necessarily one action after another; they can be simultaneous.

“The challenge for marketers bringing this together is that it’s getting more complex. The only channel we have turned off is fax marketing. We still need and want TV, outdoor, direct mail, branches, employee activation, social media and a mobile app.

“We have to learn how to orchestrate and synchronise the marketing team as we launch new products. And the real frontier is not just harmonising our efforts, but ensuring there’s no loss of data, insight and engagement for customers.”

The Retail Financial Services event was hosted by Asia-Pacific Banking and Finance.

Photo credit: Courtesy of AB+F magazine.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook:

How To Buy A Car With Bad Credit

If you dont have the greatest credit score, getting a loan for a big-ticket item like an automobile can be difficult. But with reliable transportation being a basic necessity for many Americans, there are some potentially painful steps on the path back to good credit.

Shop around for a lender

See what interest rate you can get from various dealers and credit unions, and choose accordingly. Also consider swallowing your pride and accepting some help from a family member, either to co-sign the loan or to lend some of the money to you at a better interest rate. Where the money comes from can easily represent a difference of thousands of dollars in the total price of your car.

Boost your credit

Identify reasons your credit score is low and see if there are any that you can resolve before you try to get a car loan, even if it means cutting back elsewhere to catch up on a few bills. Some low scores may even just be an error on the part of the reporting companies. Anything you can do to raise your score will help you get a better interest rate.

Choose a cheap car

Its always tempting to get something fancy or to avoid something thats small or junky-looking. But thats a luxury that you may have to sacrifice if you dont have good credit. You dont want to get something so cruddy that youll be dumping your paycheck into repairs, but $5,000 should buy you a fuel-efficient and decently reliable economy car like an eight-year-old Ford Focus or Hyundai Accent. Spend a little bit more for a Kia Optima or Nissan Versa if you really need a roomy interior.

Note that there are sometimes better low-credit financing deals on new cars instead of used, to the point at which a new car is actually going to be no more expensive than a used one, but the same advice applies. You may qualify to buy an expensive car, but settle for something cheap until your credit score improves. The Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent are among the best new cars for a very tight budget.

Brady Holt, a Washington DC newspaper reporter, has had a lifelong interest in cars in the automotive world, and hell share his thoughts at every available opportunity. Brady has written for since 2008, publishing hundreds of car reviews, automotive news pieces and other features. His work can be found on

Geddes to parking scofflaws: pay the fine or risk a bad credit report

Geddes, NY – Parking scofflaws in Geddes have been given a months amnesty to pay their outstanding tickets or come Aug. 1 the overdue fines will be reported to credit bureaus.

The town is seeking to recover about $20,000 in fines owed on 273 tickets, said Supervisor Manny Falcone.

In June, the town board hired Med Rev Recoveries Inc. to recover past due parking fines from 2009 to now. The agency will send out a past due notices and collect the fines. Fail to pay up, and the agency will notify no less than three credit bureaus, a town press release said.

Firefighters Union says city saving money at the cost of safety

By: Bill Schammert

The Lincoln Firefighters Association and the city have been at odds for the past few months. The issue: a pick-up truck now used for medical responses at Station One. The city says its in a testing phase, but association president Ron Trouba says its saving money at the cost of safety.

When a safe and proven method of emergency response takes a backseat to short-sided desires to reduce spending on public safety, these kind of incidents are the predictable result, he said.

On May 12th, Fire Chief John Huff issued an order that the Automated Response Vehicle or ARV, to be used on all medical-only related calls at Station One. Director of Public Safety Tom Casady says since that day, its gone out 490 times.

International Association of Firefighters Local 644 has filed a grievance.

Trouba cites a July 3rd incident when a victim fell off the Pedestrian Bridge into the train yard just north of Memorial Stadium. The ARV was used, but didnt have the necessary tools to break through or climb over the fence blocking the area.

They had to call dispatch and request an actual fire truck be sent with the appropriate equipment, Trouba said.

He says it took 20 minutes from the time the first call came in, until the victim, still in critical condition, was taken to the hospital. But, Public SSafelyDirector Tom Casady says that couldve been solved with one simple addition.

A few steps away was a gate with a padlock, Casady said. A pair of 14-inch bolt cutters wouldve cut that pad lock.

Casady says its in a testing phase and these are the types of things they need to learn to better equip ARVs.

The current ARV isnt as fuel-efficient as Casady wouldve liked, but he says theres already a request for an upgrade. He believes the new experimental tool can decrease fuel cost, but more importantly, is much cheaper to purchase and maintain than a fire engine or fire truck.

Both sides agree, its part of a much bigger problem – aging vehicles and equipment that need replaced. Casady says the city is still trying to rebound from the financial crisis of 2008 that hit so many municipalities. He says ARVs could save money without sacrificing safety, money that could be used on equipment and to help replenish a depleted pension fund.

Trouba says the issue has now gone to arbitration and will likely be decided by a third party mediator.

Nationwide Mortgage and Refinance Lender, Complete Home Loans, Offers Bad …

Nationwide Mortgage and Refinance Lender, Complete Home Loans, Offers Bad Credit Home Loans Through the Month of July
For the month of July, home shoppers can quickly and easily get a home loan from the trusted lending resource, Complete Home Loans.

Is saving money your biggest financial battle?

Saving money continues to be a losing battle for many Americans. Even though the Great Recession technically ended five years ago, just over one in four Americans have no emergency savings in their financial arsenal. Adding insult to injury, people in their prime earning years are in the worst condition.

A barrage of stagnant wages, higher living expenses, and an overall weak labor market are taking their toll on piggy banks across the nation. Twenty-six percent of Americans do not have any money placed aside for emergencies, according to a new survey from Bankrate. In fact, 76% have saved less than six months worth of expenses, and 50% have saved less than three months expenses. Over the past year, the number of Americans with at least three months expenses in savings declined from 45% to 40%.

The lack of savings is not contained to lower-income households. Americans continue to show a stunning lack of progress in accumulating sufficient emergency savings, explains Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrates Chief Financial Analyst, in a press release. Even among the highest income households — those with annual income of $75,000 or above — fewer than half (46%) currently have a six-month savings cushion.

LIFE INSURANCE: A good choice for families

RETIREMENT: Delaying it might be a good strategy

NOT TRUE: Retirement myths debunked

Bankrate finds that people between ages 30 and 49 are more likely than any other age group to have no emergency savings, while those between 18 and 30 are the most likely to have up to five months expenses saved up. McBride adds, Many of those under age 30 have the benefit of lower expenses due to roommates, living with their parents, or being students. Ages 30 through 49 are high-spending years when expenses often rise faster than emergency savings can keep up.

If you dont currently have an emergency savings fund, you should find a way to start one as soon as possible. Saving money on a regular basis will gradually increase your financial security and help you become less dependent on debt when expected expenses arise. If you have trouble committing to a savings plan, consider automatic withdrawals that go into a separate account designated for savings.

Aside from improving your financial health, saving money is good for your emotional state. A recent survey from Ally Bank found that saving money is one of the best habits people can take to increase happiness. Among those polled with savings accounts, 38% of people said they felt extremely or very happy. In comparison, only 29% of those without savings accounts felt the same way. Overall, 84% of people said saving money makes them feel good — ahead of eating healthy at 74% and enjoying work at 68%.

Wall St. Cheat Sheet is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Don’t Let Bad Credit Card Habits Tank Your Homeownership Plans

Its a good time to think about the ins and outs of buying a house. One factor that can have a big ripple effect on your ability to qualify for a mortgage is your credit card habits.

Not sure how plastic plays a role in your homeownership plans? Lets dig into the details.

What mortgage lenders are looking at
Before discussing how your credit card habits could affect your ability to get a home loan, its important to understand what mortgage lenders are looking at when you apply for a home loan:

  • Your income. Youll need to demonstrate that you have an income substantial enough to make your monthly mortgage payments. To verify this, youll probably need to provide tax returns and pay stubs.
  • Your credit report and score. In general, your score will need to be above 640 to get a mortgage. The higher your score, the better your financing terms will be.
  • Your job history. Lenders want to see a steady employment history. If youre self-employed, you might need to jump through some extra hoops to secure financing.
  • Your overall wealth. Your assets (retirement accounts, property you own, etc.) will be taken into account on your mortgage application.
  • Your other financial obligations (your debt-to-income ratio). Banks generally like to see a debt-to-income ratio of 36% or lower. That indicates that your monthly obligations probably arent eating into your ability to make mortgage payments.

Your credit card habits play a big role in your ability to buy a home
It might not be immediately obvious how your credit card behaviors play into your ability to qualify for a mortgage. But these bad plastic habits will make the path to homeownership rocky:

  • Paying bills late. If you dont pay your credit card bills on time, your credit score will take a major hit. Thirty-five percent of your score comes from your history with paying your bills by their due dates, so its important to take this point seriously.
  • Getting into debt. Racking up credit card debt will hurt your mortgage application in two ways. First, if youre using more than 30% of your available credit on any of your cards, expect your credit score to take a hit. Second, it will raise your debt-to-income ratio, which will make you seem like a riskier borrower. If you have credit card debt, now is the time to pay it down.
  • Applying for too many cards at once. Again, this will shave points off your credit score. If you plan on getting a mortgage soon, dont apply for a new credit card unless you absolutely need it.
  • Delaying credit card use. Mortgage lenders like to see a long history of responsible credit card use. Plus, 15% of your credit score comes from the length of your credit history. If youre a credit novice, getting a card and using it carefully will bolster a future home loan application.

What to do if plastic is interfering with your American Dream
If this information is making you panic, dont worry — theres a lot you can do to bolster your chances of getting a mortgage. Follow these tips from the Nerds, and youll be on your way to realizing the American Dream:

  • Pay your bills on time. Getting your bill payments in on time is the most powerful thing you can do to boost your credit score. Make this a priority!
  • Apply for a credit line increase. Increasing the limits on your credit cards will help reduce your credit utilization ratio, which will help your credit score. Just be sure to avoid the temptation to spend more.
  • Pay down your credit card debt. This will improve your credit utilization ratio and your debt-to-income ratio. Win-win!
  • Save up a bigger down payment. Sometimes lenders are willing to accept a lower credit score if you bring a bigger down payment to the table.
  • Wait a bit. It takes time to save money and improve your credit. Your best tool in the mortgage application process might be time, so use it wisely by employing the tips discussed here.

The bottom line: Understanding how your credit card habits affect your ability to get a mortgage is an important step on your path to homeownership. Keep this information in mind as you get ready to look for your new place!

Bad Debt but Good Income? Your Credit Can Be Fixed

Dear Opening Credits,

Lets say my credit score is 567, and my past wasnt that good financially. When I decided to get serious with my credit, I found that its pretty bad. Ive had just one open credit card for the last two years. And I have a child support for $38,000. I have a pay plan but it doesnt show in the credit, and I have about $12,000 in hospital debts. Well, my point is this: Now I need to have a credit card (not prepaid). What are the chances that I have to get one? I have a steady job, I make around $4,600 a month, gross, and have been at the same company for last four years. Thats my question with a little bit of my backround. Thank you.

- Juan

Dear Juan,

Id like to relieve any anxiety you may have right away: Yes, you can probably get a real — not just a prepaid — credit card now. It would not be the best on the market, true, but if you must have a line of credit soon, a restarter product is likely within reach.

But back to your specific situation. Some of the information you provided is relevant to a credit issuer, while other pieces of your back story are not. All of it is important to you, of course, but its a good idea to focus on the two factors that creditors use to determine eligibility. The first is credit rating and the second is income.

A credit rating is a general way of referring to your past borrowing and repayment activity. Your rating will be high if the data on your consumer credit reports is positive. Essentially, that means that it shows an established pattern of on-time payments, and possessing a low debt-to-credit limit ratio.

Credit scores, such as the FICO (which is almost certainly what you referred to when you cited that three-digit number), take the financial information listed on the credit reports and feed it into a special mathematical model. The result is a risk score that lenders and other businesses often use to determine your credit rating. FICO scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. Those in the mid 500s are firmly on the low end of the spectrum, known as subprime credit.

Any financial institution would hesitate to lend money to someone who demonstrated that he hasnt managed to repay his obligations in full and on time, or who owes so much already that borrowing more is a recipe for further disaster. However, you do have something on your side, which is a substantial amount of money flowing in. Your income can help a creditor gain confidence that you can handle another account.

Compare bad credit cardoffers to see whats available in your credit rating category. Youll see that many are secured accounts. Dont worry, though. Theyre not prepaid cards loaded with your own money, but actual credit cards guaranteed by a cash deposit. The bank is still lending you money each time you swipe, but if you dont pay as you promise, it can claim the funds that you put down and that its holding in a separate account. With this type of card, you can rebuild your credit rating. Just use it regularly, pay before the due date and dont keep a running balance. All will be recorded on your credit reports and then factored into your scores.

Now to your personal economic problems. Youve got what seems to be child support payments, and maybe some major arrearage, though usually that will show up on credit report. If its not evident, youre extremely lucky. Get this situation under control immediately, if you havent already. Wage garnishments and other brutal collection activity can occur if you dont.

The medical bills are no trifling matter, either. They are almost certainly on your credit repots and whatever debt collector is holding them may eventually decide to take you to court. Therefore, if the debts are well within the statute of limitations for lawsuits, pay them down. A zero balance on those, plus charging with your new card in a healthy way for a year or so will increase your credit rating dramatically.

See related: FICOs five factors and what each means to your credit score


Vital Financial Updates is powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)| Partnerprogramm Theme