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

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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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What Are the Best Credit Cards? Choosing a Credit Card That Is Right for You

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.

Customer paying for their order with a credit card at a coffee shop.
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How Does a Credit Card 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.

Young African American man on laptop paying down credit cards.
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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? Calculate Your Credit Card Interest & More

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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Debt to Income Ratio Demystified

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.

Beautiful smiling young Asian woman grocery shopping online with mobile app device on smartphone and making online payment with her credit card, with a box of colourful and fresh organic groceries on the kitchen counter at home
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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.

Family looking over home improvement plans.
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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.

credit score concept, poor or excellent, loan in bank
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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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Learn How to Manage Your Debt

Struggling with debt? Having a hard time paying bills or keeping to your budget? Worried about bankruptcy? Explore ways to get back on track.

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Monthly Loan Payment 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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Video: Comparing Cards

Watch this video to learn more about the differences between credit, debit and prepaid cards.

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Alternative Payment Terms

The term of your vehicle loan can make a big difference in your monthly payment. It can also have a significant impact on the amount of interest you will pay over the course of the loan. You pay interest each month on the outstanding balance of the vehicle loan, so the longer the term of the loan the more interest that you will pay until the loan is paid off.

Video: Using Your Credit Card

This video is designed to foster a healthy relationship between members and their credit cards.

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Mortgage 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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Debt Pay Off Calculator: Credit Card Repayment & Loan Payoff Calculator

Setting a goal for paying off a mortgage, auto loan, credit card or personal loan makes sound financial sense. Some loans, such as a mortgage or car loan have defined repayment periods. Others do not. To reach a debt repayment goal, you will need to know what you need to pay each month. You also might want to compare it to your current repayment schedule to see how helpful reaching that goal might be.

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Personal 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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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 Debt 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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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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Calculate your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is a metric that lenders consider when approving a loan such as a mortgage, car loans or personal loans. You may be wondering “what is a good debt-to-income ratio?” Typically, lenders want to see an overall ratio of 36% or less with no more than 28% going towards housing expenses.

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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.

Video: Breakdown of a Credit Score

This video shows you how credit scores are calculated and why they are important. Helpful tips are provided for monitoring and improving your credit score. 

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Video: Loan Basics

Watch this video to learn more about how a loan works. Learn the important characteristics of a loan like the principal, interest rate and term length.

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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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Video: Student Loans 101

Watch this video to learn more about the different types of student loans and what your options are when applying for student loans.

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Loan Calculator with Extra Payments

If you're trying to pay down some debt, you might be wondering what the impact would be if you simply increased your monthly payment each month by just a little, or even a lot. When you increase your monthly payment, the amount of the increase gets applied directly to reducing the amount owed, or principle. Reducing the amount of money you owe will reduce your interest charges each month, as the interest rate will be applied only to the outstanding loan balance. An increase in your monthly payment will lessen the amount of interest charges you will pay over the repayment period and shorten the number of months it will take to pay off the loan.

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Home Equity Line of Credit: Monthly Payment 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.

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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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Video: A Student's Path to Establishing Good Credit

Watch this video to learn how students can use different loan products to safely establish good credit.

Video: Strategies for Debt Repayment

This video outlines three approaches to building a debt repayment plan.

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Video: How to Boost Your Credit Score

Watch this video to learn some tips and tricks to help boost your credit score.

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Video: Demystifying Mortgages

Watch this video to learn more about how a mortgage works to feel confident next time you're financing a home purchase.