Tag: loans for bad credit

Bad Credit: The Truth About Rent-to-Own Stores

It can seem so easy – get a 250GB Compaq laptop, a 42-inch JVC 1080p LCD flat panel TV and two HP wireless TV connect adapters for only $129.99 per month! How about a full 15-piece living room and dining set for only $119.99 per month? You could get a sofa, loveseat, coffee table, two end tables, a matching rug, a dining room table and six chairs. Best of all, there are no credit checks and they’ll even throw in free delivery and set up!
There are ads like these every week in your Sunday paper. The rent-to-own industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry since its start in the 1960s. Targeting low-income consumers, rent-to-own stores make it possible to have the nice things that other people have, without the credit restrictions. If you don’t have a good credit rating, where else are you going to be able to get that big screen high definition TV for your Superbowl party?
The problem is that rent-to-own stores take advantage of the current credit climate and charge the equivalent of 80% to 160% interest rates per year! In the example above, the laptop, TV and HP wireless TV connect would cost me $1949.99 to purchase from my local rent-to-own store. However, if you did not have two grand to spend right now, but you wanted the TV for the Superbowl, you could pay them $129.99 for 24 months and own it that way.
Well, let’s do the math shall we? $129.99 for 24 months equals a total price of $3119.76. That is an interest rate of 80% per year!
Now, that is at the store’s advertised prices. They are the ones that said the equipment was worth $1949.99. So, looking at their specifications, we did a little online comparison-shopping at Amazon.
An equivalent 40″ Philips 1080p LCD flat panel TV at Amazon is $672.71 plus $31.99 shipping.
The HP Wireless TV Connect is $152.86 with free shipping
The Compaq Presario CQ61-420US 15.6-Inch Laptop (which has similar specifications to the one advertised at Aaron’s) is $549.95 with $8.99 shipping.
GRAND TOTAL: $1,375.52 plus shipping.
So the rent-to-own store is charging $574.47 more than you would pay on Amazon. When you add that overcharge into the equation, you get an equivalent interest rate of 113.4% per year!
Right now, the average consumer credit card interest rate in the USA is 15.32% annually. If you were to make that purchase on a credit card it would cost you $67 per month to pay off the balance in two years. That is a total charge of $1608, of which only $233 is interest. That is a total cost of ownership that is almost $350 cheaper than the Aaron’s “Every Day Low Price” of $1949.99!
Unfortunately, the exorbitant cost of ownership is only one of the problems with rent-to-own stores. These stores do nothing to build credit. As you are not technically buying from them, they are not technically extending credit to you. Therefore, there are no reports of your good payment history to the credit bureaus and your credit score will not improve.
Another problem is that it does not matter how many payments you have made, you don’t own the items until you complete the entire term of the lease. So, lets say you have made 20 payments at $129.99 and you miss a payment. As you don’t own the items, the rent-to-own companies have every right to ask for them back. It does not matter to them that you have paid $2599.80 for items you could have purchased for $1375. If you stop paying, they will come and take it all away. In fact, only 25% of people that “purchase” from a rent-to-own store actually end up owning the things they buy. That means 75% of their customers make monthly payments on items and then end up giving them back. What does the store do with the stuff they get back? They “rent” it to the next customer!
That’s right! If you think you are going to get a brand new TV or washing machine, think again. With a 75% return rate, the chances are incredibly high that the products you get are used. Because you are renting these items, the companies do not have to tell you how many times these items have been rented before. The TV you get could have had two previous “owners” and the store might have already received over $1,600 for the product. Then they turn around and rent it to you for another $3,400 over two years and, if you complete the lease and actually end up owning it, they have received over $5,000 for something that you could have purchased for as little as $1375!
The profits to be made in this business are astronomical… and these companies love the current credit scoring system. Over 25% of Americans have a credit score of less than 600 and would not be able to get a credit card to buy the things they want. As long as that situation continues to exist, these companies will have a dedicated market. So, don’t fall victim to the rent-to-own scam and start building a great credit score today.

Bankruptcy and Student Loans

Those looking to wipe the slate clean and start anew might be disheartened to learn the bankruptcy facts about bankruptcy and student loans.
As you review your assets in preparation for bankruptcy, you may be wondering how many debts you will be able to discharge. If you are like most people, you might still have some student loans left to pay. Unfortunately, the law surrounding bankruptcy and student loans states that you cannot discharge your student debt obligations in a bankruptcy filing.
Bankruptcy and Student Loans Fact #1: You cannot discharge student loans in a normal bankruptcy.
Even though you can have credit card, mortgage, and auto loans discharged during bankruptcy, some debt obligations will stay with you through bankruptcy. You are still responsible for paying alimony, child support, taxes, fines, and student loans through the bankruptcy process. Like the other listed responsibilities, student loans are considered exempt from the bankruptcy process, whether they are federal loans or private student loans. In the case of federal student loans, the government can seize your tax refund or garnish your wages to make sure it collects its money.
In a few situations, student loans can be legally discharged, but they are rare. If you die or are declared 100 percent disabled, your student loan debts will be discharged, and your estate will not be responsible for your debts. In the case of disability, your credit score will not be harmed by the student loan discharge. If you attended a school that closed before you were able to complete your academic program, your student loans will be canceled, relieving you of the responsibility to repay them at all.
Bankruptcy and Student Loans Fact #2: You can request a hardship hearing.
When it comes to bankruptcy and student loans, you should also know this: You can request a hardship hearing during your bankruptcy and present your case to a special judge, requesting that the student loans be discharged. A discharge of student loans after a hardship hearing is extremely rare, but if you think you have a good reason why paying your school loans presents a hardship, talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
Remember, though, that everyone declaring bankruptcy is having a hardship, so your situation will need to be particularly dire. Getting your student loans discharged is a little like getting out of jury duty!
Bankruptcy and Student Loans Fact #3: Some federal programs will pay your student loans for you!
Another interesting fact about bankruptcy and student loans is that you might be able to discharge your student loans by participating in federal programs that relieve some or all debt obligations in exchange for working in programs like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Vista. These service programs might give you a flat amount of money or they could offer to shave a percentage off your loans. By serving in Vista or the Peace Corps, you won’t be making much money, but you could be relieved of as much as 15 percent of your student loans.
If you are currently struggling to repay your student loans, make sure you explore your bankruptcy options before defaulting, including debt consolidation loans. If you talk to your lender, you might be able to arrange a loan deferment or a forbearance, which grants you temporary relief by postponing your loan payments for a specified period of time. You can also work out a different payment plan with your lender to help you make payments every month. Remember that removing a student loan is all but impossible, so you might as well start finding ways to repay your student loans as soon as possible.
If you are struggling with bankruptcy and student loans, it stands to reason that you might have a poor credit score. One way or another, start learning how to build credit so you can build your credit score to 720 as quickly as possible.

Obtaining a Loan After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be a staggering blow to your financial stability as well as your confidence, and you might think you will never qualify for a loan after bankruptcy.
Let’s start by talking about the bankruptcy facts. If you are like most people, you might feel hopeless and embarrassed. But declaring bankruptcy does not brand you a failure. Some prominent people who have filed for bankruptcy include Donald Trump, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford. As long as you dedicate yourself to fiscal restraint and learn about credit repair after bankruptcy, you can rehabilitate your credit score in a few years.
In fact, a careful campaign of credit improvement can even help you get a personal or business loan after bankruptcy in relatively short order. Follow the tips below and you will be well on way to obtaining a loan after bankruptcy.
Though a bankruptcy will severely damage your credit score, it also gives you a chance to rebuild your finances without looking over your shoulder and worrying about creditors. After filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will bottom out, and you will need to begin acquiring lines of credit and slowly improving your score. But first create a structured plan for recovery that allows you to work within your limits. Obtain a copy of your credit report and make sure all debts have been marked as “discharged through bankruptcy” and that all your accounts have a balance of zero.
Next, open new lines of credit so that you can demonstrate a newfound ability to responsibly manage your debt. Because credit-scoring bureaus place more weight on recent credit activities than your past history, your credit score will begin to rebound as creditors recognize a regular pattern of timely payments. Opening up lines of credit may be difficult at first, so you might need to use secured credit cards or become a credit card authorized user.
A secured credit card requires you to provide a cash deposit or access to a savings account as collateral for a new card. Secured credit cards frequently have high interest rates and low limits, but if you can create a history of responsible behavior, you’ll be able to transition to a regular card with corresponding benefit to credit score.
Another way to improve your credit score so that you can qualify for a loan after bankruptcy is to have a family member with good credit add you to an account as an authorized user In essence, you are borrowing this person’s good credit to improve your credit rating.
Soon after a bankruptcy, you will probably have to offer collateral to obtain a loan. If you have a car or a property, this could be enough to ensure a loan after bankruptcy. If you do obtain a loan without collateral, the odds are that interest rates will be relatively high. You can also accelerate your chances to secure a decent loan by making a sizable down payment. Like offering collateral, this offer will gain your valuable credibility and will help to reassure the lender that you will be able to carry through on your loan payments.
Though bankruptcies once prevented borrowers from receiving loans for 10 years, or the time it takes for a bankruptcy to be erased from your record, you may now be able to obtain a personal or business loan after bankruptcy within two years, providing you are assiduous in carefully building your credit. Be sure to create a plan for yourself and start a new, healthy pattern of promptly paying your debts on time by learning how to fix credit.