All Resources - Using Credit Wisely and How-to Use Credit Responsibly

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Should I Refinance My Auto Loan?

Many of us need to take out a loan to buy a new or used car, considering many makes and models can cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, you don’t need to stick with the original loan you used to purchase the vehicle. Refinancing your current auto loan can potentially help you lock in a lower interest rate, helping you reduce your monthly payments. However, auto loan refinancing isn’t for everyone. Learn about the pros and cons of this option before you sign off on a new loan.

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Interest Rates' Impact on The Housing Market

Most people need a mortgage to buy a home, and this means borrowing money from a lender. The lender will always charge interest on top of the principal amount used to buy the home. The interest rate depends on a number of factors, including those related to monetary policy and the health of the economy, as well as those related to your personal finances and credit history. Learn more about how these rates affect the housing market and your bottom line.

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Have Home Equity? Cash-Out Refinances versus Home Equity Loans

If you’ve been in your home for several years or more, chances are you have what is known as home equity, which means you’ve paid off a substantial part of your mortgage loan. You can turn your home equity into cash with a cash-out refinance or a home equity loan. Refinancing your mortgage may also allow you to lock in a lower interest rate, helping you save money in the years to come.

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How to Get the Best Mortgage Rates

For homeowners, a common financial goal is to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible and avoid paying extra interest. The lower the interest rates, the less you will owe down the line. That’s why it’s important to find a loan with the lowest possible interest rates, usually represented as annual percentage rate (APR), and other fees associated with the lending process. Use this guide to help you find the best mortgage rates to save money over time.

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How Much Equity Do I Need for a Home Equity Loan?

One upside to owning a home is that you can start building equity. Once you pay off a certain percentage of your mortgage, you can use this equity to borrow money against your property by taking out what’s known as a home equity loan. This money is often used by homeowners to make repairs, pay down debt or invest in their education. If you are interested in borrowing against the equity you’ve built up in your home, learn more about how these loans work and how to qualify.

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Student Loan Forbearance

Student loan forbearance is a period in which you aren’t required to make a payment on your student loans. You can temporarily make a smaller payment, but the principal amount of the loan will continue to accrue interest. Forbearance can help you reduce your monthly expenses in the short term, however, you won’t make any progress in terms of paying off the loan or loan forgiveness. Learn more about student loan forbearance and when to consider this option.

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Credit Card Debt and Your Health

Carrying high credit card debt month to month can have a negative impact on your finances. Credit cards have some of the highest interest rates on the market today, making it more difficult to get out of debt. Carrying around credit card debt can also negatively affect your health. This kind of debt can lead to increased stress and anxiety. If you have credit card debt, learn more about how it can affect your health and what you can do to pay it off.

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Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Loan

If you’re in the market for a consumer loan, you may have the option of choosing between what’s known as a secured loan and an unsecured loan. Both types of loans will give you access to funds that you will need to pay back at a later date, but they come with clear differences that every borrower should be aware of. Learn more about the difference between secured and unsecured loans so that you can find the right type of loan for your needs.

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Spring Cleaning with the Help of a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Spring is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to get your home in shape. Spring cleaning is a time for cleaning, organizing and improving your living space. From adding a new deck to renovating your kitchen, there are so many projects to consider. However, spring cleaning home improvements can be costly.  Depending on the size and scope of your project, you might need to borrow money. You can use a HELOC to help finance your spring cleaning plans. Learn more about how to use a HELOC to improve your home.

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What are Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) and Home Equity Loans?

If you are new to the world of Home Equity Loans and HELOCs, learn how these loans work and how you may be able to use them to your advantage.

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Paying Off Holiday Loans

Now that the holidays are over, many Americans are winding down from the celebrations and family time that come this time of year. The extra shopping, eating and travel are fun, but can take a toll on your finances. It’s now time to get back on track. From credit card bills to paying off your holiday loans, use these tips to get out of debt as soon as possible.

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The Good and Bad of Store Credit Cards

If you’ve ever been to a department store or chain retailer, the salesperson probably asked you if you wanted to open a store credit card, which is like a normal credit card except that, in most cases, you can only use it at participating stores and businesses. Some of the biggest chain outlets and retailers, such as Target, Home Depot, Walmart, Macy’s and other clothing retailers offer this option. But how do these cards work? And can they actually help you save money? Let’s find out.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Rewards Credit Card

Rewards credit cards may sound like free money, but that’s not always the case. Credit card companies typically use rewards programs to attract consumers that like to travel, rack up points or burn through gallons of gas on long road trips. If you sign up for one of these cards, you may be able to earn a free flight, cash back rewards or discounts on gas, groceries and other everyday purchases. Whatever the reward may be, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using these cards. Learn how to make the most of your rewards program without spending more than you need to.

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Holiday Loans: When to Use Them for Holiday Spending

It’s probably no surprise that the holidays tend to be one of the most expensive times of the year. Between holiday shopping, gift-giving and traveling, the holidays can be hard on your bank account. If you’re looking for a temporary way to increase your spending power this holiday season, you might consider using your credit card or applying for a personal loan. Both options can help you cover seasonal expenses, but they come with pros and cons that can have lasting impact on your finances.

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How to Build Credit

Some ways you can build your credit report are by opening a secured credit card, getting a cosigner on a credit account and maintaining good credit habits. However, there is a lot more you need to know about each of these approaches. It is also important to have an overall understanding of the importance of a good credit report and how the credit reporting agencies operate.

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How to Apply for a Credit Card

Applying for a credit card, using it responsibly and paying bills on time every month can help you achieve your credit goals. Are you wondering how to apply for a credit card? Depending on your existing credit, payment history and income, applying can either be a breeze or a bit of a challenge.

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Choosing a Credit Card: What Credit Card Should I Get?

Interested in signing up for a new credit card? Choosing a credit card can be daunting for some consumers. With so many vendors and options to choose from, these cards may look alike. However, every type of option comes with its pros and cons. Making the right decision all depends on your finances and what you’re looking to achieve with the card. From credit scores, interest rates, and valuable rewards, the terms of the card can have a major impact on your finances. Use this guide to find the right credit card based on your needs and lifestyle.

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Debit vs. Credit Cards: How Do Credit Cards Work?

If you’re thinking about getting a credit card, you may be wondering “How does a credit card work?” Applying for credit cards can open up a world of possibilities for you by helping you build credit and maintain a respectable credit score.

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Debt Elimination: How to Get Out of Debt

Getting out of debt is a lot more difficult than getting in it. You might feel overwhelmed or even discouraged at times, but it’s worth the discipline and determination it takes to pay it off. Getting out from under that financial burden will feel like a heavy weight has been lifted from your shoulders. It’s worth the effort.

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Paying Student Loans: How to Pay Back Your Student Loans

Paying off student loans is a top financial priority for many people, but it can be confusing and hard to navigate. Many people don’t understand how student loan debt works or what their options are to reduce their payments. Read this article to learn more about student loans and what options you have to pay them back.

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How Much Are You Really Paying? Use our Credit Card Interest Calculator

It’s always a good idea to know exactly how much you’re paying every time you use your credit card. What may seem like an innocuous purchase could come back to haunt you down the line after you calculate the interest and other related fees. You should be aware of how much you will have to pay down the road when using a credit card, including how soon you will need to pay it off, the annual interest rate and any other guidelines for using the card. Use this guide to find out how much you’re really paying every time you swipe.

Picture of a pie chart showing the different credit score categories. The average score for Americans at the time of this survey is 701.

Very Poor: <579
Fair: 580-669
Good: 670-739
Very Good: 740-799
Excellent: 800-850
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What is a Good Credit Score?

A good credit score generally falls within the range of 670 to 739, while a very good credit score is between 740 to 799. A score that is 800 or above is considered excellent. While it is important to know what is considered a good credit score, there is more to understand regarding credit scoring and how it affects you. Even though it is simply a number, it can make a big difference in your financial life. Therefore, let’s step back a moment and take a closer look at the impact your credit score has on purchases, the factors of a credit score and how to get a good score.

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Learn How to Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

If you’re hoping to get a home loan, auto loan or debt consolidation loan, there’s one important number lenders will want to take a close look at. That number is your debt-to-income ratio (DTI.) Even if your credit report is squeaky clean, your DTI is a good indicator of whether or not you’re overextended and might have trouble with additional monthly debt payments like house or car loans.

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How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt the Right Way

If your credit card debt is getting out of control or you’re having trouble making payments, you should consider consolidating your credit card debt. Depending on which route you take, you may be able to lock in a lower interest rate, which will help you pay off your debt sooner. Consolidating your debt will also make it easier to manage, especially if you have an outstanding balance on more than one card. You will only have to make one monthly payment instead of sending money to multiple creditors. There are several ways to consolidate your credit card debt but choosing the right option depends on how much money you have and the current outstanding balance. Some options could leave you with a higher interest and even more debt, so make sure you understand how these changes will affect your finances. Use this guide to learn how to consolidate your credit card debt the right way.

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What Is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and What Can You Use It For?

Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) have a wide variety of uses. Read this article to learn more about how they work and how they can help you tackle your next project.

Infographic breaking down statistics of personal loans.
Pie chart showing personal loans account for 2% of U.S. consumer debt balances.
Average personal loan balance in Colorado (2019) is $21,187
Approximately one out of ten American have personal loans.
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Four Uses for a Personal Loan (Including a Few You Might Not Have Considered).

If someone asked you about different types of credit and lending tools, what would you think of first? Credit cards, student loans, mortgages and auto loans would probably come to mind. But what about personal loans? Personal loans are general-purpose credit products that can be used for a multitude of purposes. Whether you’re covering an unexpected expense, big-ticket purchase or home improvement project, personal loans can provide some much-needed financing to help you achieve your goal.

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Seven Things That Can Damage Your Credit Score

Credit plays an important role in our financial lives and keeping a good score is essential. Avoid these seven things that can significantly damage your credit score.

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Mortgage Comparison Calculator: Home Loan Comparison Calculator

When purchasing a home the mortgage you choose and the options you want with it will have a significant impact on how much your home costs you in the long run. Interest charges, origination fees, fees paid for a particular interest rate (formerly referred to as 'points') and settlement costs will often have the most impact. Of these, the interest rate you pay will matter most.

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Simple Loan Payment Calculator

Repayment of a loan requires that the borrower make a monthly payment to the lender. With each monthly payment, you pay down a portion of the loan principal, as well as monthly interest on the outstanding balance. Loan payments are amortized so that the monthly payment remains the same throughout the repayment period, but during that time, the percentage of the amount that goes towards principal will increase as the outstanding loan balance decreases.

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Credit Card Calculator: Compare Options with our Credit Card Payoff Calculator

Like many credit card holders, there are times when you might have overdone it on the spending and are now facing the task of paying off your credit card balance. The length of time it will take is primarily driven by the interest rate you are paying on the outstanding balance, how much you continue to use the card and how much you pay off monthly. A good rule of thumb is to try to pay off any card balance in 36 months, but you might want to see what it will take to pay off the balance in shorter or longer increments of time.

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HELOC Calculator: Home Equity Line of Credit Calculator

The amount of equity available for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit is determined by the loan-to-value ratio of the home and the ratio requirements of the lender. A loan-to-value ratio is calculated by taking total mortgage debt (including any second mortgages or existing home equity loans) and dividing it by the current, appraised value of the home. The size of a home equity loan or line of credit will also depend on the loan-to-value requirements of the lender. Higher loan-to-value requirements can result in larger home equity loans or lines of credit.

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Save or Pay Off Calculator

Having savings is important, especially when the savings are part of an emergency fund or a hedge against a loss of income. However, when you also have debt, in the form of an outstanding credit card balance or loan, you might want to consider whether you are better off using the money you have in savings to pay down debt. Whether it makes sense or not is determined by the interest rate you are earning on your savings versus the interest rate you are being charged on your outstanding loan balance. The difference between earning interest and paying it should give you a good indication of where you can get the best return.

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HELOC Calculator: Consolidate Debt with Home Equity

Consolidating high-interest debt with home equity can help simplify your debt payments and save you money on interest payments. Use this calculator to see if a consolidation loan can lower your monthly and help you get out of debt.

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Loan Payment Calculator: Estimate Monthly Payment with Simple Loan Calculator

Use this calculator to estimate your rate and monthly loan payment for a car, motorcycle, recreational vehicle or personal loan. You can also use this calculator to contact an Ent Lending Specialist. 

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What is a Secured Credit Card? - How Does a Secured Credit Card Work?

Are you looking to improve your credit score? A secured credit card can help you do just that. Like a traditional credit card, you can use a secured credit card to pay for everyday expenses, such as gas, groceries and even booking your next vacation. However, to qualify, you will need to put down a deposit, which safeguards your credit in case you fall behind on your credit card payments. If you don’t qualify for a traditional credit card, you may have to use a secured credit card until your credit score improves. Use this guide to find out if a secured credit card is the right choice for you.

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Debt Consolidation Calculator

Debt consolidation loans allow consumers to transfer the account balances from multiple credit cards or installment loans into a single loan and to make a single monthly payment. For debt consolidation loans to be beneficial, the repayment period for paying off the consolidation loan should be shorter than what it would be for your existing debts without the loan. Secondly, the interest that you pay over the repayment period should be less than what you would pay with your existing repayment terms. In some cases, a debt consolidation loan may look attractive because it has a significantly lower monthly payment than what you are paying today, but it is likely the case that the lower payment is due to extending the repayment of the loan over a much longer repayment period.

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Adjustable Rate Mortgage Calculator

Adjustable rate mortgages typically offer home buyers the advantage of having a lower mortgage payment during the initial period of the mortgage. Adjustable rate mortgages are generally offered on a 1, 3, 5 or 7-year basis. Once the initial period expires, the mortgage rate will reset at then current interest rate levels. Depending on the direction interest rates are taking, these resets can result in higher or lower monthly payments to the borrower. This adjustable rate mortgage analyzer will help you understand the implication of your adjustable rate terms by showing what your monthly payment will be under different scenarios.

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Loan Comparison Calculator

As you determine which loan terms to choose, the choices you make can have a significant difference regarding what your monthly payments will be and what the costs of the loan will be once the loan is paid off.

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HELOC Payment Calculator: HELOC - Home Equity Line of Credit Calculator

Repayment of a home equity line of credit requires that the borrower makes a monthly payment to the lender. For some home equity lines of credit, borrowers can make interest-only payments for a defined period, after which a repayment period begins. Interest-only payments are based on the outstanding loan balance and interest rate. During the repayment period, the payment includes both repayment of the loan principal, plus monthly interest on the outstanding balance. Loan payments for the repayment period are amortized so that the monthly payment remains the same throughout the repayment period, but during that time, the percentage of the amount that goes towards principal will increase as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases.