A man tries to move the ticker on his credit score rating

5 Things to Know about FICO’s Newest Credit Score System

Credit scores are traditionally figured using a system by Fair Isaac Corp. Commonly called FICO credit scores. The scores range from 300 to 850. They are figured on a mix of credit use, length of credit, payment history on credit, and debt to income ratio. If any of those are “off”, the credit score is lower.

Of U.S. consumers with credit scores, a record 58.2 percent had a score of 700 or higher on a scale that tops out at 850. The average FICO score is at a record 704. Lenders may have different cutoffs, but Experian considers scores under 670 subprime.

According to FICO, around seven million applicants who have low credit scores as a result of thin borrowing histories would likely see their scores improve under the new system. (Source Fox News)

Some consumers may be cash rich but credit poor. This would be consumers who use cash, checks, or debit cards only for their purchases. This can be wise financial management, but in the eyes of the credit score model currently in use, it would give them a very low credit score.

The Announcement

“The UltraFICO™ Score is the latest innovation from FICO, a pioneer in pursuing new and alternative data to responsibly improve the credit score process and reach more consumers. With the UltraFICO™ Score, consumers are empowered to contribute their checking, savings or money market account data to be leveraged by the score, providing an unprecedented and broader view for lenders to assess credit worthiness”. (Source FICO)

Consumers who have what is considered a subprime credit score or have a lower score than the lender’s cutoff for a loan program can give permission to the lender to have access to their bank savings, checking and money market accounts.

Breaking Down The Benefits

  1. The length of time these accounts have been open will improve your credit score.
  2. If the checking account usually has a balance of a couple hundred dollars that can improve your score.
  3. If you do not have overdrafts in your checking, your score can improve.
  4. Showing savings in a bank savings account or money market can improve your score.
  5. It will increase the speed in which a fair credit score can be ascertained, and the loan approved.

Consumers with a score that falls just under the cutoff score have a chance with this new method of scoring to increase their score. Those that are not scorable because of not using credit cards or installment loans will be able to have a score that fairly assesses their credit worthiness. FICO stresses that this is done only by consumer permission. It may be implemented in a simple way by using a secured application on your smartphone.

Inclusive

  • It will attract those who are underscored or non-scored. Such as those who are self-employed, have a short credit history, cash only buyers, or immigrant entrepreneurs, making them have a longer or better credit history.
  • This new system will give a second chance and better rates to those who have come through a difficult financial time. It can show their credit worthiness to be better than the older late payments that show up on a traditional credit scoring product.

The new credit scoring system called the Ultra FICO will follow the same general blueprint as the traditional FICO. Data from checking and savings accounts have not been included in the old, traditional system. The new system will boost the number of approvals and the speed at which they can be done by the lender. This shortens the waiting time for the applicant, as well as making the lender more efficient.

The Ultra FICO is set to roll out at the early part of 2019. An exact date has not been indicated. To see how this new method of credit scoring increases your score contact the professionals at Timberline Financial.

If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis.  Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs.  You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.  Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website https://timberlinefinancial.com.

A vibrant senior couple smiles while shopping outdoors

The 12 Best Senior Discounts Out There

The senior years can be challenging in many ways. Financially, seniors normally have less to spend but have an increase in medical expenses. The aches and pains of being a senior citizen may not be considered a blessing, but companies that provide a discount are a blessing. There are age requirements, with some starting as early as 50. Also, some locations may not honor them, so check before you purchase. Here is a listing of the 12 best ones available for seniors.

  1. Amtrak – Travelers 65 and over can receive a 10% discount off most fares on Amtrak. Have your proof of age identification ready, and check before you book.
  2. Avis – Offers card-carrying AARP members 30% off base rates for those who are renting in the US and Canada.
  3. Bloomin Brands – This includes the restaurants of Bonefish Grill, Outback Steakhouse, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. AARP members can receive 10% off their meal every day.
  4. British Airways – It must be booked by January 31, 2019, but if you carry an AARP membership you can get $65 off economy travel and $200 off business club travel.
  5. Grocery Stores – Publix, Kroger, Fred Harris, Piggly Wiggly, Harris Teeter, Bi-lo, Fred Myer, ShopRite, and many others are included. Almost all grocery stores have some kind of discount, 5 to 10% and a special day they offer it. These offers change from time to time. Check with your favorite store to see what the policy is that they have in place.
  6. Joann Fabric and Craft – They announce special senior discount days. They offer customers 55 and older, with a state-issued ID, 20% off. There are limitations on what is or is not included so check ahead of time so you won’t be disappointed.
  7. Kohl’s – Every Wednesday, for shoppers 60 plus, a 15% discount is given. If you are over 60 plan your shopping at Kohl’s on Wednesday.
  8. Marriott If you are 62 or older you can receive 15% or even more off your room rate. It is subject to availability, but there are not any limits to the number of nights. Please check if it is available at the Marriott you are booking. This offer is also available worldwide.
  9. Pep Boys – 10% off every day for those 55 and up.
  10. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta – They all offer senior rates, but for domestic flights and subject to availability. When you book online look for the “seniors” designation. If you don’t see it, even though it can be a hassle to call an airline, do call them. You could save 10% off an expensive ticket. Do not expect to just show up and get the discount. Check ahead.
  11. Uno Pizzeria and Grill – If you are 55 or older you are eligible to join their Double Nickel Club on their website. This gives you 30% off their deep dish pizza and other menu items.
  12. Walgreens – You only need to be 55 or older to receive 20% off on the first Tuesday of the month. This is for eligible purchases. Check at the store what that includes. Also, if you are an AARP member there are special discount days that will be advertised.

Sources in part are found here and here for the companies offering senior discounts.

Any discount you can get in your senior years can add to your quality of life. If you have extra debt, take the savings you receive and apply it to other areas to help your financial picture. Timberline Financial can help you to figure out a solution to balances that just don’t seem to become reduced.

The previous has been researched to give the most accurate representation. However, sometimes the terms or the discount changes, or is completely removed. What is true at some locations may not be true at another. Also, there are many other discounts and deals available to seniors. A prudent way to shop is to just ask before purchasing to make sure you don’t miss any offers available.

If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis.  Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs.  You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.  Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website https://timberlinefinancial.com.

A man in a Christmas sweater looks distressed while viewing bills

7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Debt This Season

As holiday season gets underway, many people are busy looking through store websites and flyers that come in our mailboxes. We are anxiously anticipating the release of the latest holiday gadgets and goodies. According to CNBC, last year many Americans racked up more than $1,000 in debt last holiday season. To avoid finding yourself in debt this holiday season, here are seven things that you can do.

Create a Realistic Budget

Before you start buying gifts, sit down and determine how much money you have to spend this holiday. Now, work backwards to determine how much money you would like to spend on each of your gift recipients. This may require you to be more creative in your gift giving when it comes time to spread the holiday cheer.

Creativity is Always Appreciated

Take some time to scroll through Pinterest to find some unique holiday gift giving ideas. Teachers and grandparents love to get gifts that are made by hand and they are budget friendly too. Some great examples of creative gift ideas are handmade soaps and bath bombs or treats like chocolates or cookies. Other ideas are giving the gift of an experience. Offer to take your friend out after the holiday season has calmed down so you can spend time together without all the hustle and bustle. This also helps you spread out budget past December.

Stay Away from Store Credit Cards

It is tempting to open a store credit card when they are offering you !0-15% off your total purchase prices. After all, you are saving money, right? However keeping track of the amount you are spending gets more difficult as you open more lines of credit. Keep your spending in as few places as possible and try to spend cash when you can to avoid the “credit card hangover” in January. Remember that opening more credit cards means more lines of credit and banks will see this as a risk to your overall credit score.

Look for Sales

Once you have set your budget and created your list of gift to give, find the best price. If a trip is in your plans as a gift for your family, sites like Hopper can help you track prices for airfare and hotels. It lets you know when the best prices will be coming out. There are more apps out there for everything from department store to online shopping sites. Remember to only purchase what you intended to buy and avoid impulsive purchases.

Get Together During Happy Hours

With all the time we spend shopping and finishing big projects at work, people are looking for ways to get together during the holiday season and spread some cheer but eating out can be a strain on your budget. Suggest that you meet up for happy hours where drinks can be 2 for 1 or you can eat an appetizer as your meal. Remember you can always skip the drinks if you are the designated driver.

Think Economically When It Comes to Transportation

If you usually drive to your destination for the holidays, consider using gas apps that can help you find the best prices along your route. If driving includes tolls and long waits on the highways, you may want to consider an alternate form of transportation like the bus or train. Price out all your options.

Party Ideas

If throwing a holiday party is something you love to do, here are a two suggestions for how you can make more budget friendly. One ideas is to make it a potluck. Ask your friends to bring their favorite holiday dishes. Assign a category like drinks, appetizers or desserts and you can supply the paper products and the space. Another suggestion is to make it a dessert only party. Baking is a great holiday tradition and what better way to celebrate than with homemade goodies.

Spending time with friends and family is the most important aspect of the holiday. Remember to stick to your budget and more importantly, give the gift of time.

If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis.  Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs.  You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.  Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website https://timberlinefinancial.com.

Young adults make funny faces into the camera.

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