The Best Quick Trick to Start Building Your Credit Fast

We’re thinking of a number between 300 and 850… and it’s your credit score.

Do you know what it is? And most importantly, is it where you want it to be?

Unless you have an absolutely perfect credit score—850—we’re willing to bet that you’d like to tack on a few points to that three-digit number.

Building credit fast is no easy task. Your credit rating is with you for the long-haul and is built up over years and years of credit history—so it won’t just change overnight.

But there are things you can do to bump up your credit score quickly.

When it comes to building credit fast, here’s what we recommend: credit monitoring.

We strongly believe that the more you know about your credit rating, the better you can take care of it.

Building credit fast is hard, but credit monitoring can help.

Here’s how.

Why You Need to be Monitoring Your Credit

If you’ve ever applied to small business loans before, you know just how crucial your credit score is. It’s probably the single most important piece of information on your business loan application.

And that’s not just for business loans. Your credit rating is considered for any big financial move in your life.

When you’re taking out a mortgage, applying for an automobile loan, getting a credit card, securing a student loan, or even landing your dream job… your credit score matters—a lot.

We could talk about how important your credit score is all day. But it all comes down to this:

Having a great credit score can save you thousands on your personal (and business) finances. On the other hand, black marks on your credit rating can really limit your financial options.

That’s why anyone who’s interested in building credit fast needs to be monitoring their credit score carefully and often.

A Run-Through Of Your Credit Score

Monitoring your credit—and building credit fast—first comes down knowing what actually goes into your credit score.

So here’s a quick credit score refresher:

Your credit score measures how reliable you are with your financial obligations. When a lender, a bank, or even a potential employer looks at your credit score, they’re essentially asking themselves this: “Can I trust you?”

A stellar credit score shows that you’re responsible with your financials and a safe borrower to work with. On the other hand, if your credit score suggests that you often don’t repay what you owe—or you’re always late to repay—lenders are less likely to trust you with their money.

What Goes Into Your Credit Score

There are three main credit reporting bureaus that monitor your personal credit score: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

They each have their own formula for reporting your credit score—and none of them actually tell us what that formula is.

But we have a good idea of what matters and what’s not as important.

Here’s what they pay attention to:

  • Payment history (including bankruptcies and judgments)
  • Amount of debt you have
  • Age of your open credit accounts
  • Diversity of credit accounts
  • Your credit utilization (or how much of your available credit is actually being used)
  • Tax liens
  • Hard credit inquiries

Now that you know what makes up your credit score, you’re ready to monitor your score—and start building credit fast.

Best Practices for Monitoring Your Credit Score

There is no cut-and-dry formula for how you should monitor your credit score.

But when it comes to building credit fast by monitoring your score, here are the steps you can take:

Know Your Credit Report Like the Back of Your Hand

Your credit report is a summary of your borrowing and repayment history—and it’s the backbone of your credit score.

Every piece of information that’s used to calculate your credit score comes from your credit report. So it pays to know and monitor exactly what your creditors are seeing on your credit report.

If your credit report shows that your late bills are weighing your score down the most, then you can put more effort into paying your bills on time. If your report shows that you’re being dinged for having too high a credit utilization, then you can reign in on your usage instead.

All in all, monitoring your credit report keeps you up-to-date on what’s affecting your credit score. By staying on top of your report, you can change your borrowing behavior when any red flags arise.

Building credit fast isn’t easy, but monitoring helps you stay on your toes and make changes in your borrowing habits where necessary.

You of course can’t monitor your credit report if you don’t have access to it. So check out annualcreditreport.com to get your report for free. You’re also entitled to one free credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.

Check Your Credit Report For Errors

When it comes to building credit fast, monitoring your report for errors is an easy, effective step you can take to boost your score.

You’d be surprised by how often you can get dinged for things you didn’t actually do. In fact, studies show that 1 out of 5 credit reports contain errors in them. And when those errors were corrected, credit scores increased. (If that’s not evidence of how crucial credit monitoring is to building credit fast, we don’t know what is.)

When you find an error in your credit report, dispute it.

If you’ve never disputed an error on your credit report, here’s how:

Check all three of your credit reports—if an error has popped up on one of them, you’ll want to see what’s going on with the other two. Next, make sure it’s really a mistake. Just because you might be surprised by some negative information on your report doesn’t mean that the information is inaccurate. If the blip on your report did result from a misstep by the credit bureau, now it’s time to gather documentation to prove your case. This could be proof of payment or a correspondence related to the charge in question. You’ll also need to have a copy of your credit report with the disputed charges clearly highlighted.

Once you’ve gathered the documents you need to support your claim, write a letter to the credit bureau reported the error. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s example of a dispute letter for help. You can also dispute an error on the credit bureau’s website, too. Once you’ve submitted your claim, you should hear back within 30 days.

3 Other Things You Can Do to Build Credit Fast

We stand behind the fact that monitoring your credit is the most effective way to build your credit score. Being able to detect small changes to your credit report (and fixing them if need be) will help you boost your score quickly.

While this is the best “trick” in the books, there are other things you can do to build your credit fast.

Pay Down Your Balance

Of all the factors that make up your credit score, 30% of it comes down to your amounts owed.

But it’s not just how much you owe, it’s more about how much you owe relative to your credit limits (how much you can borrow). So if you’re taking up a lot of your credit limit with high balances, try paying them off.

Say you have a $8,000 credit limit, and you currently have a $4,000 balance on that account. That’s a 50% credit utilization. Best practice is to keep your credit utilization below 30%.

And paying down a balance with high utilization could be the quick boost that you’re looking to have with your credit score.

Get a Credit Card

It may seem obvious, but if you don’t already have a credit card, getting one will help boost your score—fast.

Having one or two cards that you use responsibly can help show that you practice good borrowing behavior—and you’re deserving of a higher credit score.

With that being said, you don’t want to apply for a bunch of credit cards in a short period of time. This is typically an indicator of risky behavior to the credit reporting bureaus.

Pay More Than Once a Month

This tip is especially important if you tend to carry high balances on your credit cards.

You’re told to pay your credit card statements at the end of the month. This is a good practice, but the credit reporting agencies don’t all collect information on your balance on the last day of every month. They can be collecting information throughout the month, when your balance was high (even though you planned on paying it down fully at the end of the month).

This can be risky for borrowers who use more than 30% credit utilization on their accounts.

An easy way to boost your credit fast is to try to pay twice a month so credit reporting agencies aren’t seeing too high of balances on your account.

The Bottom Line on Building Credit Fast

If your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, there’s no overnight solution that can bring it up a notch.

But if you know what’s bringing your credit score down, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to bring it up. And the only way to stay up-to-date on your credit score is to monitor it closely.

Once you make the quick fixes that are hurting your score, you’ll start to see it rise within a few weeks!

The post The Best Quick Trick to Start Building Your Credit Fast appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

from Fundera Ledger https://www.fundera.com/blog/building-credit-fast
The Best Quick Trick to Start Building Your Credit Fast

first seen on http://barbarapjohnson.blogspot.com

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The Best Business Loan Options Depending on Your Credit Score

If you have a business in need of financing you might be wondering: based off my credit score, what kind of loan do I qualify for?

It’s a tricky question. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to who qualifies for a loan. Many different factors contribute to your ability to borrow, and it’s not just your credit score. It’s important to understand all loan application processes before you apply to see what’s required of you and what the borrower might ask of you.

The best thing you can do for your business when applying for a loan is to be thoroughly prepared in every way possible. Different lenders require different things, but most will inquire about your business’s annual revenue, reserves, profitability, cash flow, existing debt, and debt history.

That said, some credit scores are better suited to qualify for certain types of loans than others. See our breakdown below.

If You Have Good Credit  

700+: If you have a 700 or above credit score, you’re in a good position to qualify for a business loan with most lenders, including banks. You might even qualify for a coveted long-term loan, which will give you more time to pay off the debt.

However, note that it’s never a done deal. A great credit score will certainly help you, but it’s not a guarantee. Like any financing option, it’s important to understand the business loan application process thoroughly and highlight your business’s other strengths to ensure you can secure the long-term financing.

Term Loan

A term loan is a form of debt that is paid off over an extended time frame that usually exceeds five years. Obtaining a long-term loan provides a business with working capital that they can use to purchase assets, inventory, or equipment that can then be used to create additional income for the business.

650+: If you have a credit score over 650, you might still be able to qualify for long-term business loans, but it will be trickier. Other aspects of your business—such as revenue and growth—will need to also be stellar. The good news is, at a 650 credit score, you might also still qualify for an SBA loan.

SBA Loan

The 7(a) Loan Program is the Small Business Adminstration’s program to help small businesses secure financing for general business purposes. The SBA does not make loans itself but rather guarantees loans for program participants made by participating lending institutions. Taxpayer funds are used in the event of borrower default, which reduces the risk to the lender, thus creating more leniency in the application process in terms of credit scores.

Note that this does not reduce any risk to the borrower, who remains responsible for the full debt, even in the event of default.

If You Have Average Credit

620+: If you have a credit score over 620, you could qualify for a medium-term loan.

Medium-term Loan

Medium-term loans work the same as long-term loans, only with slightly less time to pay off the debt—usually between one to five years. Interest rates will be higher, but you’ll pay off the debt faster.

550+: If you have a credit score between 550 and 620, you could qualify for a short-term loan or potentially a medium-term loan if your business is in a good financial position in other areas.

500+: If you have a credit score between 500 and 550, you’ll have trouble qualifying for long or medium-term loans. However, if your business is doing really well, your low credit score might get canceled out by some other financials. You might want to consider a short-term loan or some of the alternative lending options listed below.

Short-term Loan

A short-term loan is a loan scheduled to be repaid in less than a year. When your business doesn’t qualify for a long or medium-term loan from a bank, you might still have success in obtaining money from them in the form of a one-time, short-term loan to finance your temporary cash needs.

If You Have Poor Credit

500 and below: If you have a poor credit score, you’ll have a very difficult time qualifying for most loans, particularly from banks. Again, if your business is doing extremely well, that might help you in some ways.

Regardless, you’re likely going to need to look to alternative, online lenders to secure financing. Getting financing from a bank unfortunately is highly unlikely—it’s even common for business owners with good credit to get rejected from banks.

But it’s not all bad news—you still have plenty of alternative lending options to consider. Even if you don’t have good credit, these options could be a good fit for your business depending on your needs.

Alternative Lending

Alternative lending is a broad term describing small business lending options available outside traditional banks. With alternative lending, small business owners—with a range of credit scores—can work with online lenders to access a variety of business financing—from those coveted term loans and lines of credit to invoice financing and short-term loans.

Whereas big banks have an approval rating between 13% and 20% over the past five years, alternative lenders have accepted on average between 61% and 64% of small business owners looking for funding. Benefits of alternative lenders include less paperwork, more flexibility, and faster funding, though these might come with slightly higher interest rates.

Business Line of Credit

A business line of credit is a financing option typically used for a business’s short-term cash needs, such as inventory purchases, project costs, or payroll. Lines of credit are primarily used to help even out your cash flow. You’ll want to be careful how much you are borrowing from a credit line, as interest rates tend to be higher, but it’s a great way to get fast cash when you need it.

Asset-based Loans

An asset-based loan is a form of funding that lets you use your company’s assets, such as outstanding invoices, inventory, and machinery, as collateral for a loan. Your assets will be appraised and the loan amount determined based on their worth. If you default on the loan, your assets will be seized by the lender.

Invoice Financing

Invoice financing is a type of asset-based lending that’s great for companies that have a lot of outstanding invoices in accounts receivable. These products allow companies to not have to wait on clients to pay their invoices in order to get the cash they need to run their business.

There are two ways to finance invoices. The first way is through a sale: invoices can be sold to a factoring company in exchange for an immediate payment. The factoring company then is responsible for seeking payment from the client. Factoring is pretty easy to obtain because you are technically selling an asset rather than getting a loan. 

The second route for invoice financing is to use your recurring, outstanding invoices to secure a revolving line of credit through an asset-based loan. The most important requirement to qualify is to have invoices from creditworthy commercial clients. As a result, factoring is available to small businesses that don’t have substantial assets or a long credit history. Both of these options can be obtained through online lenders.

Nonprofit Microloans

A nonprofit microloan is a small sum of money lent at low interest to a business via nonprofit or government organizations. The benefit of a nonprofit microloan is that profit is not the objective of the lender. Many microlenders are “mission-focused” or “mission-based,” meaning they strive to offer loans geared toward helping underserved or economically struggling communities.

Microloans can run up to $50,000 for startups or other small businesses. Plus, many organizations, such as The Small Business Administration or Aspen Institute’s FIELD program, provide pro bono consulting and training to help businesses succeed.

Just know that the application processes for these types of loans can be harrowing, with strict requirements and eligibility factors.

If You Have No Credit

If you’re just starting your business and have no credit associated with that business, you’ll have trouble securing most business related financing. But you still have options.

Personal Loan

It’s common for new small-business owners to access financing through personal loans, often through alternative, online lenders. But like credit cards, personal loans usually have high APRs—sometimes as high as 30%—especially for bad credit borrowers. You will likely need to have good personal credit score.

Consider this a last resort and only if your business just needs a small amount of money to get started—you don’t want any unforeseen business issues to negatively affect your personal credit score long term.

Grants

Grants from private foundations and government agencies are another way to raise startup funds for your small business. They’re not always easy to get, but free capital might be worth the hard work for some new businesses. Veterans, minorities, and women have access to specific grants carved out for those groups. You can search small business grants here to see if you’re eligible.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can go a couple of ways. Well-known peer-to-peer crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo let you raise money through public, online campaigns by offering rewards for donations. It’s a great way to test the market for your business and receive feedback along the way. But you might also consider equity crowdfunding, such as First Democracy VC, in which you tap a pool of investors who agree to finance your company in exchange for equity in the business.

As shown, there are many options when it comes to securing financing depending on your credit score. If you have poor credit, there’s still hope. The best way to know if you qualify for any type of loan is simply to apply for it. As always, just be prepared!

The post The Best Business Loan Options Depending on Your Credit Score appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

from Fundera Ledger https://www.fundera.com/blog/business-loan-options
The Best Business Loan Options Depending on Your Credit Score

first seen on http://barbarapjohnson.blogspot.com

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Chamber’s new business awards shortlist unveiled

The best Solihull companies and individuals will be recognised at a ceremony next month

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/chambers-new-business-awards-shortlist-13649164

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This is what the new Fumo bar and restaurant at Selfridges will look like

The £1 million cocktail bar and restaurant is opening in Selfridges at Bullring in October

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/what-new-fumo-bar-restaurant-13647972

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£4m investment supports new Birmingham IT training centre

Sparta Global secures capital injection which will create 100 new jobs across two sites

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/4m-investment-supports-new-birmingham-13647990

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Construction group appoints first female director

Shaylor Group promotes daughter of company founder to business development director

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/commercial-property/construction-group-appoints-first-female-13644105

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New jobs created by logistics firm’s move

BCA is expanding its team in the West Midlands with relocation to Birmingham Business Park

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/new-jobs-created-logistics-firms-13644738

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How These Amex Business Cards Have Changed the Way We Book Business Travel

The American Express brand has been synonymous with luxury travel for over a hundred years, ever since the company made its name in traveler’s checks back in the 19th century.

Since then, Amex’s influence on travel has persisted, from the 1950 launch of the Diners Club card (one of the first-ever travel charge cards) to the more accessible Gold Card in 1966, to the super-exclusive Amex Platinum, which made its debut in 1984.

Even today, its points cards, airline and hotel loyalty cards, and premium charge cards have drawn the eye of travelers everywhere.

Here are five ways Amex cards have changed how we view travel and travel credit cards.

1. Elite status is much more accessible.

Unless you’re a very frequent business traveler or a huge fan of a particular hotel chain, you probably thought hotel elite status was out of reach. The right Amex card, though, opens a lot of doors. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, for example, offers automatic Gold status at Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors hotels.

If the Platinum’s $450 sounds daunting (or if you simply prefer loyalty credit cards), check out the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card. Its annual fee is $95 (waived the first year) and also comes with SPG Gold Elite status. The card comes with a signup bonus of 25,000 Starpoints when you spend $5,000 in the first three months and comes with access to the Sheraton Club Lounge and bonus rewards for SPG spending.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind using a consumer card for your business needs, the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card offers automatic Gold Elite status for a $75 annual fee. You’ll also get 100,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and a free weekend night after your first cardmember anniversary.

Whether with a branded loyalty card or a general travel card, Amex can help you achieve hotel elite status.

2. Airports are kind of awesome.

Gone are the days of arriving at the airport three hours before your flight and spending the next two and a half hours sitting in a hard plastic chair (or chancing a late arrival and missing your flight). The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN offers a respite from the typical pre-boarding experience.

First of all, you’ll get a reimbursement for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, both of which cost $100 and last for five years.

The former lets you skip the line and have a faster screening process on domestic flights, while the latter is a huge timesaver when going through customs (and usually gives the same domestic perks).

And once you’re past security, you can enjoy access to American Express’ network of lounges: Amex Centurion, Amex International, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select. You can put your feet up, load up on free food and drinks, enjoy fast Wi-Fi, and generally escape the stressed-out airport crowds.

Plus, Amex lounges have really stepped up their dining game. The menu at Dallas-Fort Worth’s lounge comes from Dean Fearing, a James Beard winner; Zagat 30-under-30 winner Cédric Vongerichten crafted the food served in New York’s La Guardia airport; and San Francisco International Airport’s menu was designed by Daniel Patterson, founder of the two-Michelin star restaurant Coi and a James Beard best regional chef winner.

Between bypassing security lines and getting pampered in lounges, Amex is changing the pre-flight experience.

3. Booking with Amex is worth your while.

Of American Express’ 100+ years of travel perks, this is among the newest.

As of late 2016, Amex Business Platinum cardholders can get 5 points per $1 spent on flights or prepaid hotel stays booked through Amex Travel. You’ll also get an extra 3.5 points for every 10 you redeem with their Pay with Points program toward your preferred airline, or for business or first class travel on any airline (up to 500,000 points per year). Since Membership Rewards Points are valued at 2 cents apiece, your rewards rate on travel booked through Amex is a pretty fantastic 10%.   

You’ll also enjoy a great signup bonus with the Amex Business Platinum: 50,000 points when you spend $10,000 in the first three months of cardmembership, and an extra 25,000 points when you spend an additional $10,000 in the same time period. Whether you transfer your points to one of Amex’s airline or hotel partners, or get the 35% airline bonus when you redeem with Amex Pay with Points, it’s a compelling signup bonus.

4. Airline fees aren’t (as) annoying.

While nothing short of spiritual enlightenment can make you shrug off airline fees entirely, the Amex Business Platinum’s annual $200 airline fee credit comes close.

You’ll automatically get a statement credit for bag fees; in-flight food, drink, and entertainment; and seat booking fees. This perk goes a long way toward offsetting the $450 annual fee, and makes traveling on Spirit, RyanAir, and other budget airlines more appealing.

5. Anyone can get a good travel card.

If you looked at the Amex of 30 years ago, you’d be forgiven for thinking that its offerings were only for the highest of high rollers. But today, even lower-spending businesses and infrequent travelers can get value from an Amex card.

Take, for example, the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card: it has no annual fee and comes with 15 months of 0% APR on purchases and transfers. It also earns 2 Membership Rewards Points on every $1 you spend on business purchases and dining up to $50,000 annually, and an unlimited 1 point per $1 thereafter. Since these are full Membership Rewards Points, you can transfer them at a 1:1 rate to Amex’s travel partners, bringing their value up significantly.

Even if you travel infrequently, or don’t want the hassle of an annual fee, you can still take advantage of Amex’s strong travel rewards program.

See the Best Business Cards for Travel

 

The post How These Amex Business Cards Have Changed the Way We Book Business Travel appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

from Fundera Ledger https://www.fundera.com/blog/amex-business-cards
How These Amex Business Cards Have Changed the Way We Book Business Travel

first seen on http://barbarapjohnson.blogspot.com

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Colmore Business District team cycling for Sifa Fireside

Quintet of workers from Birmingham business quarter are hitting the roads on Sunday to raise cash for homelessness charity

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/special-features/colmore-business-district-team-cycling-13644245

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Iconic furniture store Heal’s is opening in Birmingham

The renowned furniture retailer will open this autumn

from birminghampost – Business http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/iconic-furniture-store-heals-opening-13642660

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