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A Look at VantageScore and FICO’s Credit Scoring Methods

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When it comes to good personal finance habits, knowing your credit score is key before making any large purchases to avoid high interest rates. There are two main players that lenders use to distribute scores and that’s VantageScore and FICO. Here’s a little background on both. The VantageScore credit scoring model is a collaboration between all three credit reporting agencies (CRA) Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It’s their attempt at presenting an alternative against the Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) method of determining creditworthiness. FICO’s dominance had run for years (since 1956) and led to FICO’s predictive analytics, introduced in 1989, being the standard lenders used to assess risks associated with specific borrowers. Currently, FICO is still the most widely used method creditors use to assess risk. However, VantageScore is gaining their share of the market. This is especially true thanks to free online credit scoring services like CreditSesame and Quizzle which use the VantageScore 3.0 version to let consumers monitor their progress. Scoring models FICO has its credit scoring models based on credit reports of millions of unspecified consumers obtained independently from each of the CRAs. A separate model is then built for each CRA and this is based on data … Read more

When is Enough, Enough? Stop Settling for a Mediocre Bank!

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Banks just aren’t what they used to be. A generation ago, competition between banks was fierce and customer service was excellent. Today, things have changed. The Great Recession has consolidated the market and consumers have fewer choices than ever before. However, just because there are fewer options, doesn’t mean you should settle for Mr. Wrong Bank. Bad customer service Not all banks are equal. Large banks have so much of the market that customer service doesn’t need to be a priority – the bank simply exists and, if you need access to your money from a lot of different places, you’re probably a customer of a bank with a lot of branches and ATMs. Luckily, with an increasing number of virtual banks in America, you don’t need to put up with poor service just to have access to your money. Virtual banks often have partnerships with brick-and-mortar banks, allowing their customers to access their money through a large network of ATMs or via cash back opportunities at local stores. If you’re fed up with long lines and rude tellers, tell your bank you’ve had enough and move on. Too expensive Not too long ago, the mere idea of a bank … Read more

How to Spot a Really Great Checking Account

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You’ve had enough! Your current bank and checking account just aren’t doing it for you anymore and you need to find something new. In this case, it’s definitely not you, it’s them. Millions of Americans change bank accounts every year and the banks are getting wise – they’ve begun offering lots of discounts and promotions to get you to sign up. But, do you know how to spot a really great checking account? The account The first thing you need to look for when trying to spot a great checking account is to find one that’s free. Don’t be fooled by promotions saying the account will be free for three-months or if you have a minimum balance of $5,000 – find an account that has no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum fees and no hidden fees. If the checking account you’re eyeing pays out interest, make sure that you understand the rate and how it’s structured. Some promotions will offer you a great interest rate for a short period, but will end up decreasing the rate once the promotional period is over. Read the fine print and only choose a checking account that has a rate structure you can understand. … Read more

Planning for My Self-Employed Maternity “Leave”

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I love being self-employed.  I think I will enjoy retirement even more in the future, but if I’m not financially independent, self-employment is the only craved income path for me.  My Pros of Self-Employment I enjoy the flexibility, the control, and the income diversification that comes along with having 150+ clients in pet sitting and a few streams we have for making cash online.  When I worked for the car dealership software company from 2005-2011, they could have fired me at any moment and I would have had my personal main income stream cut off all at once.  Being self-employed has, strangely enough, made me feel more financially stable overall. My Cons of Self-Employment BUT, there are some WHOPPING downsides.  I truly miss the 100% matching up to 6% in my old 401k.  I also miss being able to take a vacation without coming back to a pile of things to do since everyone in my old department could cover each other’s work.  And, I definitely don’t have any paid maternity leave options now (I’m not sure if my old job had them or not because I left WAYYYYY before we ever thought we even wanted to have kids). Planning … Read more

3 Considerations Before Putting Together Your Print Photo Albums

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The rise of social media might lead some to suggest that traditional print photo albums are somewhat unfashionable, but sales figures show that this isn’t the case in the slightest. On the contrary, its items like this which are soaring in popularity, with most people feeling that they make those special occasions feel a little bit more distinctive when they are printed out in a glossy book. At the same time, there are ways and means of putting together these albums. Get it wrong, and you can be left with something which certainly isn’t going to be showcased on the coffee table in front of relatives. Get it right, and every person who steps into your home will be shown it. Bearing the above in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the core considerations you should keep in mind as you plan your first print photo album. What is the size of your photobook? This first point is largely going to depend on the type of photos you are looking to show. For example, if you are looking to bring significant focus to each one, you will probably want the album to just hold one photo per … Read more

With Three Types to Choose from, Which GPS Tracking Device Is Right for You?

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It is now incredibly easy to fine a real time GPS tracking device that can be used to track cars, people, or any other asset. These devices monitor exactly where someone or something is and when. Thanks to the GPS (global positioning system) satellites, exact map coordinates can be found. With advances of technology, different types of GPS tracking devices have now been developed and it is important to recognize their differences in order to find the right one for your needs. GPS Tracking Device #1 – The Data Logger A data logger must be attached to the asset that is tracked. They come with a memory chip onto which data is stored of where the device is and when. To find out the routes taken, the tracker must be removed, after which the data on the chip can be downloaded on a different device. These trackers are common on fleets, with drivers being told to download the data on their chip at the end of their assignments so that they can be better managed. Car hire businesses also use them to ensure they know their vehicles remain within pre-agreed geographical perimeters. GPS Tracking Device #2 – The Data Pusher … Read more

Four Reasons to Read the Fine Print on Your Checking Account

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There are a hundreds of reasons why someone would want to get a new checking account – maybe you’ve moved and your bank doesn’t have a branch near your new place, or maybe you’re tired of the service you get from your existing bank. Whatever the reason, you have to be sure to read the fine print on your checking account before signing on the dotted line. With interest rates lower than we’ve seen in decades, banks in the 21st century are not making money off of depositors’ funds. Instead, banks earn money from fees, both overt and hidden. Some more common fees include monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees and ATM fees. Sometimes, when signing up for a checking account, the bank will promise that a checking account is free when, in reality, it is only free under certain conditions. Those conditions can be found in the fine print. Here are four reasons to read the fine print on your checking account: Avoid minimum account balance fees Requiring customers to maintain a minimum account balance has been a popular hidden fee in America for a number of years. If your balance falls below an amount, say $3,000, you are required … Read more