Payday Loans 101: A Rundown on the Fundamentals

Payday loans happen to be one of the most advertised services you can find online. These loans are considered ‘short-term’ and are designed to offer clients a quick relief from financial troubles. People who are faced with unpleasant and unexpected finance-related problems often resort to loans for a quick fix. Others who find it difficult to stretch their budget until the next payday also come running to these quick loan providers for a little help. These payday loan stores usually offer round-the-clock services online.

If loaning money would ease your monetary burden away, this type of loan can easily be the answer to your needs.

So what are requirements are needed to avail the loans? Read on and learn the rest of the payday loan loans fundamentals.

What are the basic requirements?

A typical payday loan provider would normally ask applicants to complete or fulfill basic requirements to be eligible for the loan, such as the following:

• Borrowers must be of legal age. This means borrowers must be at least 18 years old in the UK or 21 years old in the US.

• Borrowers must also submit proof of permanent income.

In some cases, when the borrower is unemployed, he will be requested to submit any document that would attest to his capacity to pay the amount loaned.

• Borrowers must be a holder of valid savings or checking account.

What is the application process like?

Most lenders or loan provider now have their online portals so borrowers can apply even without having to drop by the office. Customer service representatives receive the applications and then process them. Borrowers can have their application approved in as short as one hour to 24 hours. The loan will then be digitally credited to their preferred bank account. Applicants with good credit standing often get to enjoy the money within the same day of application. The paperless application makes the entire process a breeze.

Other options may be provided. To some people who do not want to have the money deposited to their account, they can avail of the loan through checks. Each lender has its own set of rules, but most loan providers employ a simplified loan processing system.

What makes payday loans so enticing?

Most lenders market their services as a ‘no credit checking’ required system. They tend to capture a bigger market as those who have failed to be approved in traditional loans get another chance at this. The convenience in applying online, the simplicity of requirements, and the lenient processing are all a big plus to those who need instant cash the soonest possible time.

What are the loanable amounts?

In the US, the minimum amount depends on the state. In some state, borrowers can loan $50 minimum to a maximum of $1000 that is payable in 2-4 weeks. With some payday loan providers, they tend to require checks from borrowers if the amount exceeds $500. Note that there are states that also prohibit this kind of business.

How much are the interest rates?

This is probably one of the most important points to consider when planning to apply for this type of short-term loan. Payday loans come with a very high-interest rate. To illustrate an example, a borrower may have to pay an extra $20 for every $100 borrowed. Note that as this is a short-term loan, the amount may have to be paid back the next pay day or a within a maximum of three months. On average, a borrower in the US is required to pay roughly 400%, this is according to the Consumer Federation of America. When a borrower fails to pay the loan within the given timeframe, a massive interest rate is again included in the calculation.

Do banks offer payday loans?

Commercial banks are now slowly inching their ways towards this industry. Apart from the enormous returns earned in short-term loans, the growing market and potential customers are also growing by the day. This is also another way for banks to convince people to open checking and regular savings account. The banks can have full control and can easily monitor the borrower’s personal cash flow, making it easier for them to background and perform credit check if he or she intends to renew her loan. It is also a more convenient way of deducting payments directly from a bank accounts. Therefore, it is no longer surprising if all commercial banks would eventually branch into this kind of business.

What should borrowers remember?

Payday loans, like a mortgage or any type of loans, is a responsibility. It entails obligations and comes with serious penalties if not settled. Borrowers need to remember that while the loans are instant, they should stay within a reasonable bracket when applying. A number of interests are non-negotiable and they should expect a massive difference between the loan principal and the amount to be paid. As in any other crime involving money and the neglecting payments, serious legal consequences await irresponsible borrower.

Best Commercial Loans For Business Owners

Discover the “Forgotten” SBA Program Worthy of another Look

Much has been written on these pages in the past two years about a little understood and even less used commercial real estate loan program called the 504. As our lending firm was the first and is still the only nationwide commercial lender to exclusively focus on only this loan product, I’d like to succinctly put to rest some of the more common misconceptions about this terrific loan product. Rather than waste anymore ink, let’s get right to issue at hand . . .

Who Uses It?

The 504 loan is for commercial property owner-users. It is not an investment real estate loan product per se. Borrowers of 504 loans must occupy at least a simple majority (or no less than 51%) of the commercial property within the next year in order to qualify. Two operating companies can come together to form an Eligible Passive Concern (EPC) (otherwise known as a Real Estate Holding Company, typically as an LLC or LP), however, to take title to the commercial property. In other words, a 504 loan doesn’t have to be just one small business owner purchasing his commercial property. It could be a physician and an accountant each utilizing 3,000 square feet in a 10,000 square feet office building (at 6,000 total square feet in their LLC, they would occupy 60% and be eligible) for example. Additionally, at least 51% of the total ownership of the Operating company(ies) and EPC must be comprised of U.S. citizens or resident legal aliens (those considered to be Legal Permanent Residents) to qualify.

There are no revenue restrictions or ceilings for 504 loans, but there are three financial eligibility standards unique to them: operating company(ies’) tangible business net worth cannot exceed $7 million; operating company(ies’) net income cannot average more than $2.5 million during the previous two calendar years; and the guarantors/principals’ personal, non-retirement, unencumbered liquid assets cannot exceed the proposed project size. These three criteria usually do not disqualify the typical, privately-held small to mid-sized business owner; only the absolute largest ones get tripped-up on these. Last fiscal year (October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005), nearly 8,000 business owners used 504 loans for over $11 billion in total project costs representing a recent five-year growth rate in the program of 22% year-over-year.

Why Use It?

These loans are structured with a conventional mortgage (or first trust-deed) for 50 percent of the total project costs (inclusive of: land and existing building; hard construction/renovation costs; furniture, fixtures and equipment [FF&E]; soft costs; and closing costs) combined with a government-guaranteed bond for 40 percent. The remaining 10 percent is the borrowers’ equity and is usually a third to half as much as traditional lenders require. This lower equity requirement lowers the risk for small business owners as opposed to lowering a lender’s risk profile with more capital injected into the project like with ordinary commercial lending. It also allows the small business owner to better utilize their hard-earned capital, while still getting all of the wealth-creating benefits commercial property ownership provides.

Unlike most commercial bank deals, these loans are meant to finance total project costs as opposed to a percentage of the appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less. The first mortgage (or trust-deed) is typically a fully amortizing, 25-year term at market rates, while the second mortgage (or trust-deed) is a 20-year term, but with the interest rate fixed for the entire time at below-market rates. The second mortgage (trust-deed) on 504 loans is guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is, contrary to popular belief about SBA loan programs, the cheapest money available for typical small business owners. For most of the past two years, the SBA bond rate hovered near six percent fixed for 20 years, which is an incredible deal for any small to mid-sized business owner and very tough to beat. Not only do these loans provide better cash flow for borrowers (by borrowing at better rates and terms), but they also provide the highest cash-on-cash return available in the commercial-mortgage industry which is a financial metric used by most successful real estate investors. Furthermore, these loans are assumable should borrowers decide to sell their property in the future, but a better strategy for most small business owners would be to sell their operating company while keeping their EPC and cashing rent checks long into their retirement.

Why You May Not Know Much about These Loans?

Many bankers and brokers don’t like to offer 504′s because they fundamentally are smaller loan amounts for the bank (typically only 50% first mortgages or trust-deeds versus the common 80%), which means a banker has to work that much harder to bring in more assets and the smaller loan amounts also hit the typical commercial loan officer right in the pocketbook. They would rather discuss the SBA’s more notorious 7(a) loan program, which has a well-established, if not egregiously well-paying secondary market (due to Prime-based, floating rate pricing) already in place, when the issue of low down-payment commercial loans comes up. When you couple those two reasons with the fact that these 504 loans take more effort and skill only on the part of the lender, it’s no wonder this loan product has only recently started to catch fire in the marketplace.

So what are Some Common Questions about These Loans?

Isn’t There Tons of Paperwork Involved?

This was certainly the case years ago, but it is no more. With the advent of more and more specialty lenders and the recent focus on streamlining the SBA application process, 504 loans are no more involved than most ordinary commercial loans. While the documentation is specific and detailed, most small business owners are ably organized and prepared when the alternative is to pay two to three points higher in interest rates with no documentation or stated income commercial loans.

Aren’t There Extra Fees Involved?

When all closing costs are considered, 504 loans usually average about 25 to 50 basis points more in total loan fees on an average sized transaction. With stronger borrowers (i.e. better debt service coverage ratios [DSCR], higher personal liquidity, and/or better personal credit scores), these fees can usually be negotiated lower. Most small business owners utilizing 504 loans are willing to pay slightly higher fees, however, in order to receive longer-term, below-market fixed interest rates on nearly half of their deal, while receiving the highest cash-on-cash return from their property. This is exactly the reason my business partner and I chose a 504 loan when plenty of alternatives were available to us. That’s right – we actually have a 504 loan and have been in the shoes of 504 loan borrowers, so I have first-hand experience of using the loan product that we offer.

Don’t These Loans Take 3 or 4 Months to Close?

This is another old relic of the past regarding these SBA loans. Our quickest 504 loan to date took only 35 days from the first phone call to the closing table, and the commercial appraiser ate-up most of those days while we waited. We’ve done countless others in much less than the typical 60 day commercial real estate contract. If a lender claims they need nearly four months to fund a 504 loan, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. Twenty-four to forty-eight hour pre-approvals and four or five-day commitments are becoming the norm with most specialized SBA lenders.

Aren’t These Loans for Start-ups or Low DSCR Borrowers?

Plenty of 504 loans are approved with start-up borrowers and/or borrowers that don’t have DSCR’s greater than 1.25 times. While it is true that most 504 loans are for more credit-worthy (usually bankable) borrowers, this is not a necessary condition. Frequently, 504 loan borrowers with lots of experience in a given industry, but no actual ownership experience, will have an easier time securing a 504 loan than a conventional bank loan. Projections-based deals and franchised deals are often great candidates for 504 loans when the project involves commercial property. There are other SBA loan programs that may be a better fit for pure start-ups, as 504 loans do not allow for the financing of working capital, but those other SBA loans can often be used in conjunction with SBA 504 loans.

Doesn’t a Borrower have to Pledge their House as Collateral?

Only some lenders require this for 504 loans, and it is increasingly rare. Other SBA loans, on the other hand, must be “fully collateralized” in order to maintain their government-guarantee which is where this generalization comes from. Most 504 loans only secure the commercial property and/or equipment that are financed as part of the 504 loan project.

What if a Borrower has a “Checkered Past”?

Misdemeanors and/or felonies are not in and of themselves, reasons to disqualify someone from getting a 504 loan. There is an added process that often lengthens the time to closing, but the SBA usually approves borrowers with misdemeanors or borrowers with felonies that occurred in the distant past. Defaulting on previous government-guaranteed financing, however, will preclude someone from securing a 504 loan or any other SBA loan. Personal bankruptcies that occurred more than seven years ago usually will not prevent a 504 loan approval, assuming the present-day underwriting variables look promising, but more current bankruptcies are examined subjectively and frequently won’t be approved.

How do you determine who to Call for a 504 Loan?

If you visit a lender’s website to do some due diligence on them, make sure they at least list and/or mention 504 loans, as a means by which you might gauge their competency with these loans. Any lender can say they do 504 loans, but it is far better to work with those that can demonstrate their past experiences with the product, as well as detail their commitment to it on a go-forward basis. Like most things delivered better by specialists, it isn’t usually a question of if a regular lender can provide a 504 loan; it is a question of how well they can provide it. Choose wisely.

Christopher Hurn is President of Mercantile Commercial Capital (MCC), the nation’s leading 90-percent loan-to-cost commercial loan provider. He was recently named 2006 Banker of the Year by his industry’s only trade association, the Marketing Guru of the Year by Coleman Publishing, and the SBA’s Financial Services Champion of the Year for Florida and for the twelve-state Southeast region.

Secured Loans – How to Get Quickly Accepted For a Secured Loan and Get a Better Rate

When a lender receives a secured loan application form he only has two areas on which to base his decision – you and the property. If he can put a tick in both of these boxes then you will get your loan at a good rate.

However, it is possible to still get your loan if either you or the property are not A1.

This is one of the good things about secured loans, they allow you to obtain a loan when other sources of finance may not be available.

Secured loans – You

Unfortunately, most things in this day and age are broken down and put into boxes and that includes you when you apply for a secured loan.

Your boxes will be:

o Your employment/ self employment
o How many outstanding loans you have
o Your usable (free) monthly income
o Your credit rating
o How you have treated your current (and previous if less than 12/ 24 mths) mortgage company

Secured loans – how to improve “you” in the eyes of the secured loan lender

Most applications for secured loans are made through a broker as most lenders do not like to gather all the information needed to process a secured loan. There is also a lot of overhead in this process which they prefer the broker to pay for.

Secured loans – rule 1

Make sure you find yourself a good secured loan broker. The secured loan lenders are not going to like me saying this but all brokers are not equal in the eyes of the lender. The better ones earn more money per application and get more secured loans paid out, as a percentage, than others.

These both directly effect you as the more the lender pays the broker the less of a fee he will need to charge you and the other reason is that you are more likely to get you loan paid out (and at possibly a lower rate) by using a well established secured loan broker.

Secured loans – rule 2

Work with you broker – not against him. I know it is a pain to keep having to produce paperwork but the more you have, the less pain you will receive when your full loan application reaches the secured loan lender.

Secured loans – rule 3

Go through your available income with your broker and get him to explain how the lender, he is putting you with, is working out your available income calculation. You might find you get a better rate if you do a bit of debt consolidation.

If you are self employed but have regular contractual work that you can prove goes back a few years, then you may be able to argue for a better rate. Self employed applicants for secured loans are usually penalised with the rate as they are considered a high risk.

Secured loans – rule 4

Your credit rating is nowhere near as important for secured loans as it is for personal loans (unsecured). However, it is still important if you want a good rate. Lenders of Secured loans (like most lenders) don’t like to see arrears on a credit report. A credit report will show the lender how you have paid your credit cards and loans over the last 12 months. It will also show any defaults or county court judgements.

Most secured loan lenders will ignore one months arrears on most loans as this can be argued that it is just a late payment. When you start to get to two months or more then you need a good (preferably provable) explanation or your rate will start to go north.

One thing secured loan lenders hate is current arrears when you apply to them for a secured loan. So, if you can, make sure your current commitments are up to date when you apply and this will keep your rate down.

Secured loans – rule 5

How you have paid your mortgage is sometimes more important than your credit report as the secured loans lenders see themselves as an extension of your mortgage and the best way they can see if you are going to pay them is to see how you have paid your current mortgage.

So, if you can, make sure your mortgage is up to date when you apply and if you have had any arrears then you will need a good explanation to keep your rate down.

To speed up you application you could get proof of your last 12 months payments from you mortgage lender and proof of the outstanding balance.

Secured loans – your property

Your property is the security that the secured loan lender has. If all goes wrong and you stop paying and communicating with the secured loan lender then eventually he will reposes your property (although he will not want to as it is creates another set of problems for them).

So, putting the above cautionary note aside, you are putting up your property as security for the loan. You are only doing this because it benefits you and you probably fall into one of the following categories:

o A lower rate than other unsecured loans offer
o A larger loan than is available through other financial sources
o You want a loan but your employment is questionable or you are self employed
o You have missed a few payments on some credit and the loan rates you are being offered from other sources are unpalatable
o Your credit is poor and you need to put up security to get a loan

It only makes sense that if you are putting your property up as security for your secured loan then you may as well maximize its value and get a lower rate.

The secured loan LTV (loan to value) is one of the major calculations that will effect the rate you are offered. It is simple to work out: you take your current outstanding mortgage, add to that the secured loan you are applying for and divide it by the current value of your property. The lower the percentage the better rate you should get.

So, if you want a lower rate then maximizing the properties value is one of the best ways to go about it. It might take a little bit of time but you could be paying for the secured loan for anything from 5 years to 25 years so the extra bit of effort could save you a lot of money in the long term.

Secured loans – property rule 1

You will almost certainly have a valuer come round to have a look at your property towards the end of your secured loan application.

Valuing property is not a science but an opinion and in this case the the persons whose opinion counts is the valuers that you have coming round. You don’t know if he has spent most of the day sitting in a traffic jam, had an argument with his children or forgotten his anniversary and what is more you can’t do a thing about it.

What you can do is be friendly and offer him a cup of coffee and make sure you have allocated time for him. Go round the property and point out any improvements you have made and are going to make.

Valuers like to be told that the property is going to be improved as it lessens their risk of getting sued by the secured loan lender in case they value the property wrongly.

Secured loans – property rule 2

Before the valuer gets to your property make sure it is looking its best. A small bit of effort will add thousands to your valuation if the property looks well kept rather than run down.

First impressions count so make sure the front and entrance hall is spotless, try and put any junk away to make the rooms look bigger and also try to finish those jobs that were half started and never quite completed.

Secured loans – property rule 3

As previously stated, the property value is an opinion so you need to make sure that the valuers opinion is the correct one. All valuers will contact local estate agents to see what is selling in the market near your property.

It would be to your benefit if you contacted the estate agents and got comparable properties that are on the market and recent sales. You can then decide which of your collection you wish to give the valuer (or you can send them on to your broker but this is not quite as good as giving them to the valuer).

Human nature being what it is, your comparables will probably end up in the valuers file and he will take these into account when valuing your property.

For advice on the best way to apply for all types of loans including secured loa

Low Interest Auto Loans

Car buyers know the benefit of a loan. A loan can help you get a vehicle you want at a monthly payment that fits their budget. What you may not know is that in the case of an auto loan, you can avoid travel and apply for the car loan from your computer! The availability of online auto loans comes from the emergence of online financial institutions. Banks and several other businesses have become comfortable operating online, with some banks even performing loan interviews over the internet. In the case of online auto loans, banks and other financial aids can operate via online lenders to help people receive their loans through online transactions.

One of the benefits of applying for a car loan online is that the car loan application takes no time at all to finish. Whereas you would have to commute to the bank and then the dealership to fill out the paperwork involved with applying for a loan, you will not have to leave the house to fill out an online auto loan application! The streamlined service involved in applying for an online auto loan comes from the plethora of online loan lenders that will work with you quickly and efficiently to find the best loan that you need.

A simple search will reveal thousands of sites and lending services ready to help you on the spot and the applications are stress free. As with all loans, whether they are for a car or house, when applying for a loan online, research it! The online loan rates can differ wildly depending on what bank, company, or business the online lender works with. In order to find the best APR on a loan, I would recommend searching various lender web pages, such as Up2drive.com or Myautoloan.com. These sites have APR estimates on the main web page and can give you a rough idea of what you are looking at paying for your monthly bill.

As with all loans, the APR is extremely important to take into account when looking at repaying your loan. The APR, or annual percentage rate, is the interest returned on your borrowed loan from the bank or financial service. These institutions can help settle your financial matters through a fixed APR, meaning an interest rate that cannot change, regardless of the bank’s situation. A non-fixed APR means that the interest rate on the loan from the bank or in some cases, the dealership itself, would fluctuate at the end of a year. At the beginning of the New Year, the bank can either decrease or increase your APR, and although they are rare, a decreased APR could be obtained under the precedent that your financial institution is working with you to help you repay your loan.

This could stem from a financial hardship or simply not having enough money at the time to repay your loan. To counteract bad credit, a bad credit auto loan can be applied for. These loaning situations are for those that have a credit score of 600 or lower. When applying for loans, if your score is below 600, it’s very likely that a loan corporation or business will simply pass you over. However, applying further for loans will actually hurt your credit score more, so to counter this you could visit Myautoloan.com. This site helps you connect with high risk lenders and nearby car dealers that can help you finance your new car.

An online auto loan holds many benefits to the average consumer. In one example, an online auto loan will typically beat out a dealer’s overall APR. As well as being cheaper overall, an online auto loan application does not incur fees, such as one may be subject to at a dealer’s. Many car dealers tack on application fees to squeeze that extra bit of cash out of the customer beforehand. In another example of why an online auto loan is more beneficial than an in-person one, you may find that the online application is considerably easier to fill out, since you do have the internet at your fingertips. Besides having the information needed to properly fill out an app online, you will also be able to work at your own pace to fill the application out. Lastly, the best part about an online auto loan would be that with most online auto loans, there is no down payment involved. Unlike at a dealership’s, an online auto loan steps around any down payments by working directly with the lender, as opposed to working through the dealer to find financing.

The availability of online auto loans comes from the emergence of online banking and financial institutions. Banks and several other businesses have become comfortable operating online, with some banks even performing loan interviews over the internet. In the case of online auto loans, banks and other financial aids can operate via online lenders to help people receive their loans through online transactions.

One of the benefits of applying for a car loan online is that the car loan application takes no time at all to finish. Whereas you would have to commute to the bank and then the dealership to fill out the paperwork involved with applying for a loan, you will not have to leave the house to fill out an online auto loan application!

The streamlined service involved in applying for an online auto loan comes from the plethora of online loan lenders that will work with you quickly and efficiently to find the best loan that you need. A simple search will reveal thousands of sites and lending services ready to help you on the spot and the applications are stress free.

As with all loans, whether they are for a car or house, when applying for a loan online, research it! The online loan rates can differ wildly depending on what bank, company, or business the online lender works with. In order to find the best APR on a loan, I would recommend searching various lender web pages, such as Up2drive.com or Myautoloan.com. These sites have APR estimates on the main web page and can give you a rough idea of what you are looking at paying for your monthly bill.

As with all loans, the APR is extremely important to take into account when looking at repaying your loan. The APR, or annual percentage rate, is the interest returned on your borrowed loan from the bank or financial service. These institutions can help settle your financial matters through a fixed APR, meaning an interest rate that cannot change, regardless of the bank’s situation.

A non-fixed APR means that the interest rate on the loan from the bank or in some cases, the dealership itself, would fluctuate at the end of a year. At the beginning of each year, the bank can either decrease or increase your APR, and although they are rare, a decreased APR could be requested and obtained under the premise that your financial institution is working with you to repay your loan. This could stem from a financial hardship or simply not having enough money at the time to repay your loan.

For car buyers with bad or no credit there are special bad credit auto loans available. These loans are for those that have a credit score of 600 or lower. When applying for loans, if your score is below 600, it’s very likely that a loan corporation or business will simply pass you over. However, applying further for loans will actually hurt your credit score more, so to counter this you could visit Myautoloan.com. This site helps you connect with high risk lenders and nearby car dealers that can help you finance your new car.

An online auto loan holds many benefits for the average car buyer. In one example, an online auto loan will typically beat out a dealer’s overall APR. As well as being cheaper overall, an online auto loan application does not incur fees, such as one may be subject to at a dealer’s. Many car dealers tack on application fees to squeeze that extra bit of cash out of the customer beforehand.

Another example of why an online auto loan is superior to a traditional in-person one, you will find that the online application is considerably easier to fill out. Besides having the information needed to properly fill out an app online, you will also be able to work at your own pace to fill the application out.

Lastly, the best part about an online auto loan would be that with most online auto loans, there is no down payment involved. Unlike financing at a car dealership, an online auto loan steps around any down payments by working directly with the lender, it also lowers your cost and rate and removes dealer mark ups.

Car Title Loans: Choosing the Right Financial Service

How is this a good investment for both the borrower and the title loan company? It is an excellent investment for the borrower. This is why: at this point of time, let’s assume the borrower is in some kind of financial disposition. That means the borrower may have lost their job, can’t afford to pay their rent, may need money for their child’s school tuition; there could be a number of possibilities why the borrower is in search for instant cash. Depending on the borrower’s vehicle value, the borrower can receive up to whatever the maximum the loan company may offer. Some loan companies offer up to $100,000 and others may offer lower loans of up to $5,000. Obviously if the borrower is driving a Mercedes or BMW they will be looking at a larger loan value, but every title loan company is different.

Let’s look at the other side of the spectrum. How is this a good investment for the loan company? If we scroll back to the first few sentences in this article, we can see that the title loan company “uses the borrower’s vehicle title as collateral during the loan process”. What does this mean? This means that the borrower has handed over their vehicle title (document of ownership of the vehicle) to the title loan company. During the loan process, the title loan company collects interest. Again, all companies are different. Some companies use high interest rates, and other companies use low interest rates. Of course nobody would want high interest rates, but the loan companies that may use these high interest rates, probably also give more incentives to the borrowers. What are the incentives? It depends on the company, but it could mean an extended loan repayment process of up to “x” amount of months/years. It could mean the loan company is more lenient on the amount of money finalized in the loan.

Back to why this is a good investment for a title loan company (for all the people who read this and may want to begin their own title companies). If by the end of the loan repayment process, the borrower cannot come up with the money, and the company has been very lenient with multiple loan extensions. The company legally receives the collateral of the borrower’s vehicle title. Meaning the company receives ownership of their vehicle. The company can either sell the vehicle or turn it over to collections. So are car title loan companies a scam? Absolutely, NOT. The borrower just has to be careful with their own personal finances. They must know that they have to treat the loan like their monthly rent. A borrower can also pay-off their loan as well. There are no restrictions on paying a loan. He or she could choose to pay it monthly, or pay it off all in a lump-sum. Just like every situation, the sooner the better.

Car Title Loans: The Pros and Cons
It is very helpful to analyze the pros and cons of a car title loan before you decide to take a loan out. Learning about your financial investment before you finalize anything is a great financial tool to success. A borrower must consider their options fully before making a decision.

If you go online to most car title loan companies and read their “about us”, “apply-now”, “FAQ” pages you will see how bias their information really is. This is called false marketing. Just like the terminology “false advertising” most of these companies never state the entire truth about their company. They may hire outsourced journalists and columnists to write their content. Read the content before you make your final decision. If the content is cheesy and uses imagery in their content, the company is probably bullshit. Writing jargon in articles, is not something to brag about, but come on? Really? This is 100% needed! An example of poor imagery content may be: “Tired of thunderstorms and rainy days, get a car title loan today, and turn your day into a bright-sun shiny day”. The content shouldn’t be a story, if the borrowers really wanted to read a story, they could take their “nooks” out and read an article from “Reader’s Digest”. The content should be straight to the point, to get the borrowers’ to want to receive a loan from the car title loan company.

The Pros of Car Title Loans
The most clear-stated pro would be the advantage of receiving instant cash. Anyone could walk into their local 7-11 or convenient store and purchase a state lottery ticket. That process is extremely easy; however the probability of receiving a large amount of cash instantly is extremely low. The probability of receiving instant cash at your local auto loan company is extremely high. Unlike traditional banks, and credit bureaus, another advantage of the car title loan industry is NO CREDIT CHECKS. Most of the time, borrowers come to tile loan companies because they’re stuck in financial situations. Their credits scores are usually poor at this point, after collections have had to continuously made adjustments because they couldn’t pay their bills on time. That is a major “Pro” for a car loan company. No matter what the borrower’s credit score may be, the borrower is still qualified to receive a car title loan. Another pro of the car title loan industry (which was actually mentioned previously in the article) is since the borrower is putting their car loan as collateral, it is easy to convince the lender to extend the loan to you.

How does a borrower qualify? Like stated before, there is NO CREDIT CHECKS, therefore the borrower is already pre-qualified for a loan at this point. However, the borrower must meet the following requirements to receive a car title loan. The borrower must be over the age of 18 years old, the borrower must be the owner of their vehicle title, they must have already paid off their vehicle liens-free, and they must have a valid driver’s license or state identification card.

How long does the application process take? The simplicity and speediness of the application process is another “pro” or advantage for the car title loan. The average online application just asks basic personal questions pertaining to the borrower’s vehicle, and location. The application roughly takes about a minute or less to complete. Most companies get back to the borrower within a few minutes of submitting an application. Once the loan representatives read through the borrower’s application information, they quickly give the borrower a call based on the number provided in the app, and go over the details and process of obtaining a loan.

How long does it take to receive the loan? Every company depends and probably has a different loan process, but it usually takes within 24 hours or less to receive the “instant cash”. That is another advantage, or “pro” of the loan industry. Traditional banks, and credit bureaus, can take up to a few weeks to finalize the loans. By that time, the borrowers would have already lost their homes, been in serious debt, etc. Taking out a car title loan is the best financial choice. Check.

The Cons of Car Title Loans
Now that we looked at the Pros, let’s look at the Cons of car title loans. Honestly, no financial decision is 100% perfect. Nothing is perfect, but some things get close. If this article was based on telling the reader that the car loan industry is the best financial choice, then the article would be full of shit. That’s why the title is “key-worded” “Choosing the ‘RIGHT’ financial service. Not the BEST. The “Right” financial service. Remember, nothing ever is perfect, especially in finances, but some things come close.

The cons of a car title loan are indeed straightforward. The borrower is basically handing the ownership of their personal transportation over to the car loan company as collateral in order to receive a cash loan. As stated before, the borrower can face extremely high interest rates- depending on the company. If you have poor to no credit because of your financial situation, and learn that you cannot pay-off the loan you will be stripped of your vehicle, and instead of being able to alleviate your debt, you will fall into even more debt. At this point, the collections agencies will be completely done with you. The saying “follow the directions, and it’ll turn out right” is extremely important and accurate when obtaining a car title loan. A borrower may also be at risk of taking out a loan from a disreputable company that will charge extra fees on top of the accrued interest, or instant hidden feeds that were written in the fine print in the contracts, that are almost impossible to see, unless observed carefully with a magnified glass. Thus, a borrower must be careful before making a finalized decision in any financial situation, especially when their biggest ticket possession is being used as collateral.

Now that this article has closely examined the Pros and Cons of the car loan industry, it is up to the borrower to make the right financial decision. The final decision is the hardest part. The final step is always the hardest part because the borrower now has to make a final decision whether he or she wants to take out a car title loan or choose to use another financial recourse. Honestly, after everything stated in this article, it would seem to be that choosing a car title loan is the right financial service. Again, banks and credit bureaus take too long to process a loan, so why choose them? If the borrower is in need of fast cash, they might want to consider choosing a car title loan.

40+ Home Insurance Savings Tips

Your dwelling is often your most precious asset that you need to protect. We created a list of all savings opportunities associated with Home insurance. This list is the most complete perspective on home insurance savings tips. Numerous insurance brokers contributed to this list. So, let’s start!

1. Change your content coverage: Renting a Condo? You can often lower your content coverage. No need to insure your belongings to up to $250,000 if you only have a laptop and some IKEA furniture!

2. Renovations: Renovating your house can result in lower home insurance premiums, as home insurance premiums for older, poorly maintained dwellings are usually higher. Additionally, renovating only parts of your dwelling (e.g. the roof) can lead to insurance savings.

3. Pool: Adding a swimming pool to your house will likely lead to an increase in your insurance rates since your liability ( e.g. the risk of someone drowning) and the value of your house have increased.

4. Pipes: Insurers prefer copper or plastic plumbing – maybe it is a good idea to upgrade your galvanized / lead pipes during your next renovation cycle.

5. Shop around: Search, Compare, and switch insurance companies. There are many insurance providers and their price offerings for the same policies can be very different, therefore use multiple online tools and talk to several brokers since each will cover a limited number of insurance companies.

6. Wiring: Some wiring types are more expensive or cheaper than others to insure. Make sure you have approved wiring types, and by all means avoid aluminum wirings which can be really expensive to insure. Not all insurers will cover houses with aluminum wirings, and those that would, will require a full electrical inspection of the house.

7. Home Insurance deductibles: Like auto insurance, you can also choose higher home insurance deductibles to reduce your insurance premiums.

8. Bundle: Do you need Home and Auto Insurance? Most companies will offer you a discount if you bundle them together.

9. New Home: Check if insurer has a new home discount, some insurers will have them.

10. Claims-free discount: Some companies recognize the fact that you have not submitted any claims and reward it with a claim-free discount.

11. Mortgage-free home: When you complete paying down your house in full, some insurers will reward you with lower premiums.

12. Professional Membership: Are you a member of a professional organization (e.g. Certified Management Accountants of Canada or The Air Canada Pilots Association)? Then some insurance companies offer you a discount.

13. Seniors: Many companies offer special pricing to seniors.

14. Annual vs. monthly payments: In comparison to monthly payments, annual payments save insurers administrative costs (e.g. sending bills) and therefore they reward you lower premiums.

15. Annual review: Review your policies and coverage every year, since new discounts could apply to your new life situation if it has changed.

16. Alumni: Graduates from certain Canadian universities ( e.g University of Toronto, McGill University) might be eligible for a discount at certain Insurance providers.

17. Employee / Union members: Some companies offer discounts to union members ( e.g. IBM Canada or Research in Motion)

18. Mortgage insurance: Getting mortgage insurance when you have enough coverage in Life insurance is not always necessary: mortgage insurance is another name for a Life/Critical Illness / Disability insurance associated with your home only but you pay extra for a convenience of getting insurance directly when lending the money. For example a Term Life policy large enough to pay off your home is usually cheaper.

19. Drop earthquake protection: In many regions, earthquakes are not likely – you could decide not to take earthquake coverage which could lower your premiums. For example, in BC earthquake coverage can account for as much as one-third of a policy’s premium.

20. Wood stove: Choosing to use a wood stove means higher premiums – Insurance companies often decide to inspect the houses with such installations before insuring them. A decision to get rid of it means a lower risk and thus lower insurance premiums.

21. Heating: Insurers like forced-air gas furnaces or electric heat installations. If you have an oil-heated home, you might be paying more than your peers who have alternative heating sources.

22. Bicycle: You are buying a new bicycle and thinking about getting extra protection in case it is stolen when you leave it on the street e.g. when doing your groceries? Your Home insurance might be covering it already.

23. Stop smoking: Some insurers increase their premiums for the homes with smokers as there is an increased risk of fire.

24. Clean claim history: Keep a clean claim record without placing small claims, sometimes it makes sense to simply repair a small damage rather than claim it: you should consider both aspects: your deductibles and potential raise in premiums.

25. Rebuilding vs. market costs: Consider your rebuilding costs when choosing an insurance coverage, not the market price of your house (market price can be significantly higher than real rebuilding costs).

26. Welcome discount: Some insurers offer a so called welcome discount.

27. Avoid living in dangerous locations: Nature effects some locations more than others: avoid flood-, or earthquake-endangered areas when choosing a house.

28. Neighbourhood: Moving to a more secure neighbourhood with lower criminal rate will often considered in your insurance premiums.

29. Centrally-connected alarm: Installing an alarm connected to a central monitoring system will be recognized by some insurers in premiums.

30. Monitoring: Having your residence / apartment / condo monitored 24 hour can mean an insurance discount. e.g. via a security guard.

31. Hydrants and fire-station: Proximity to a water hydrant and/or fire-station can decrease your premiums as well.

32. Loyalty: Staying with one insurer longer can sometimes result in a long-term policy holder discount.

33. Water damages: Avoid buying a house which may have water damage or has a history of water damage; a check with the insurance company can help to find it out before you buy the house.

34. Decrease liability risk: Use meaningful ways to reduce your liability risk (e.g. fencing off a pool) and it can result in your liability insurance premiums going down.

35. Direct insurers: Have you always dealt with insurance brokers / agents? Getting a policy from a direct insurer (i.e. insurers working via call-center or online) often can be cheaper (but not always) since they do not pay an agent/broker commission for each policy sold.

36. Plumbing insulation: Insulating your pipes will prevent them from freezing in winter and reduce or even avoid insurance claims.

37. Dependent students: Dependent students living in their own apartment can be covered by their parents’ home insurance policy at no additional charge.

38. Retirees: Those who are retired can often get an additional discount – since they spend more time at home than somebody who works during the day and thus can prevent accidents like a fire much easier.

39. Leverage inflation: Many insurers increase your dwelling limit every year by considering the inflation of the house rebuilding costs. Make sure this adjustment is in line with reality and that you are not overpaying.

40. Credit score: Most companies use your credit score when calculating home insurance premiums. Having a good credit score can help you to get lower insurance rates.

41. Stability of residence: Some insurers may offer a stability of residence discount if you have lived at the same dwelling for a certain number of years.

A Beginner’s Guide to Insurance

Having the right kind of insurance is central to sound financial planning. Some of us may have some form of insurance but very few really understand what it is or why one must have it. For most Indians insurance is a form of investment or a superb tax saving avenue. Ask an average person about his/her investments and they will proudly mention an insurance product as part of their core investments. Of the approximately 5% of Indians that are insured the proportion of those adequately insured is much lower. Very few of the insured view insurance as purely that. There is perhaps no other financial product that has witnessed such rampant mis-selling at the hands of agents who are over enthusiastic in selling products linking insurance to investment earning them fat commissions.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a way of spreading out significant financial risk of a person or business entity to a large group of individuals or business entities in the occurrence of an unfortunate event that is predefined. The cost of being insured is the monthly or annual compensation paid to the insurance company. In the purest form of insurance if the predefined event does not occur until the period specified the money paid as compensation is not retrieved. Insurance is effectively a means of spreading risk among a pool of people who are insured and lighten their financial burden in the event of a shock.

Insured and Insurer

When you seek protection against financial risk and make a contract with an insurance provider you become the insured and the insurance company becomes your insurer.

Sum assured

In Life Insurance this is the amount of money the insurer promises to pay when the insured dies before the predefined time. This does not include bonuses added in case of non-term insurance. In non-life insurance this guaranteed amount may be called as Insurance Cover.

Premium

For the protection against financial risk an insurer provides, the insured must pay compensation. This is known as premium. They may be paid annually, quarterly, monthly or as decided in the contract. Total amount of premiums paid is several times lesser than the insurance cover or it wouldn’t make much sense to seek insurance at all. Factors that determine premium are the cover, number of years for which insurance is sought, age of the insured (individual, vehicle, etc), to name a few.

Nominee

The beneficiary who is specified by the insured to receive the sum assured and other benefits, if any is the nominee. In case of life insurance it must be another person apart from the insured.

Policy Term

The number of years you want protection for is the term of policy. Term is decided by the insured at the time of purchasing the insurance policy.

Rider

Certain insurance policies may offer additional features as add-ons apart from the actual cover. These can be availed by paying extra premiums. If those features were to be bought separately they would be more expensive. For instance you could add on a personal accident rider with your life insurance.

Surrender Value and Paid-up Value

If you want to exit a policy before its term ends you can discontinue it and take back your money. The amount the insurer will pay you in this instance is called the surrender value. The policy ceases to exist. Instead if you just stop paying the premiums mid way but do not withdraw money the amount is called as paid-up. At the term’s end the insurer pays you in proportion of the paid-up value.

Now that you know the terms this is how insurance works in plain words. An insurance company pools premiums from a large group of people who want to insure against a certain kind of loss. With the help of its actuaries the company comes up with statistical analysis of the probability of actual loss happening in a certain number of people and fixes premiums taking into account other factors as mentioned earlier. It works on the fact that not all insured will suffer loss at the same time and many may not suffer the loss at all within the time of contract.

Types of Insurance

Potentially any risk that can be quantified in terms of money can be insured. To protect loved ones from loss of income due to immature death one can have a life insurance policy. To protect yourself and your family against unforeseen medical expenses you can opt for a Mediclaim policy. To protect your vehicle against robbery or damage in accidents you can have a motor insurance policy. To protect your home against theft, damage due to fire, flood and other perils you can choose a home insurance.

Most popular insurance forms in India are life insurance, health insurance and motor insurance. Apart from these there are other forms as well which are discussed in brief in the following paragraphs. The insurance sector is regulated and monitored by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority).

Life Insurance

This form of insurance provides cover against financial risk in the event of premature death of the insured. There are 24 life insurance companies playing in this arena of which Life Insurance Corporation of India is a public sector company. There are several forms of life insurance policies the simplest form of which is term plan. The other complex policies are endowment plan, whole life plan, money back plan, ULIPs and annuities.

General Insurance

All other insurance policies besides Life Insurance fall under General Insurance. There are 24 general insurance companies in India of which 4 namely National Insurance Company Ltd, New India Assurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and United India Insurance Company Ltd are in the public sector domain.

The biggest pie of non-life insurance in terms of premiums underwritten is shared by motor insurance followed by engineering insurance and health insurance. Other forms of insurance offered by companies in India are home insurance, travel insurance, personal accident insurance, and business insurance.

Buying Insurance

There are an umpteen number of policies to choose from. Because we cannot foresee our future and stop unpleasant things from happening, having an insurance cover is a necessity. But you need to choose carefully. Don’t simply go with what the agent tells you. Read policy documents to know what is covered, what features are offered and what events are excluded from being insured.

1. Know your Needs

Determine what asset or incident must be protected against loss/damage. Is it you life, health, vehicle, home? Next determine what kinds of damage or danger exactly would the assets be most probably be exposed to. This will tell you what features you should be looking for in a policy. Of course there will be losses which cannot be foreseen and the cost of dealing with them can be very high. For instance nobody can predict that they’ll never suffer from critical illnesses no matter if they’re perfectly healthy at present.

The biggest mistake while it comes to buying insurance, particularly life insurance is to view it as an investment. Clubbing insurance and investment in a single product is a poor idea. You lose out on both fronts because for the premiums you’re paying more cover could’ve been got in a term plan and if the premiums were invested in better instruments your returns could’ve been several times more.

Be wary of agents who want to talk you into buying unnecessary policies like child life insurance, credit card insurance, unemployment insurance and so on. Instead of buying separate insurance for specific assets or incidents look for policies that cover a host of possible events under the same cover. Whenever possible choose riders that make sense instead of buying them separately. Unless there is a fair chance of an event happening you do not need insurance for it. For instance unless you are very prone to accidents and disability due to your nature of work or other reasons you do not need an Accident Insurance policy. A good Life Insurance policy with accidental death rider or waiver of premium rider or a disability income rider will do the job.

2. Understand Product Features and Charges

The worst way of choosing an insurance product or insurer is to blindly follow the recommendation of an agent or a friend. The good way to do it is to shop around for products that suit your need and filter out the ones offering lower premiums for similar terms like age, amount of cover, etc. All details you need about the product features and charges will be provided on the company’s website. Many insurance policies can now be bought online. Buying online is smarter because premiums are lower due to elimination of agent fees. If buying offline in case of life insurance, tell the agent that you’re interested only in term insurance.

Before you sign on the contract make sure you have understood what items are covered and what items are exempted from the cover. It would be so devastating to learn in the event of damage or loss that the item you hoped to cover with the insurance was actually excluded. So many people rush to their insurers after being treated for diseases only to realize that the particular disease was excluded. Understand details like when the cover begins and ends and how claims can be filed and losses be reported.

Don’t choose an insurance company because your neighbourhood friend is their agent and never let them coax you into buying from them. Insurance premiums run for years and it means a sizeable amount of money. Apart from the premiums charged look for the service provided. When you are faced with a peril you want the claims collection processed to be complicated with non-cooperating staff in the insurance company’s office. Seek answers from people who have had previous experience with the company for questions like how customer friendly and responsive the company is when it comes to handling claims.

3. Evaluate and Upgrade in Time

As you walk from one life stage to another or when the asset insured changes your policies must be reviewed. Perhaps your cover will need to be increased (or decreased) or you’ll need to top it up with a rider. Some instances when you need to review your cover are when you getting married, when you have children, when your income increases your decreases substantially, when you’re buying a house/car and when you’re responsible for your ageing parents.

How an Insurance Policy Works

Insurance is synonymous to a lot of people sharing risks of losses expected from a supposed accident. Here, the costs of the losses will be borne by all the insurers.

For example, if Mr. Adam buys a new car and wishes to insure the vehicle against any expected accidents. He will buy an insurance policy from an insurance company through an insurance agent or insurance broker by paying a specific amount of money, called premium, to the insurance company.

The moment Mr. Adam pay the premium, the insurer (i.e. the insurance company) issue an insurance policy, or contract paper, to him. In this policy, the insurer analyses how it will pay for all or part of the damages/losses that may occur on Mr. Adam’s car.

However, just as Mr. Adam is able to buy an insurance policy and is paying to his insurer, a lot of other people in thousands are also doing the same thing. Any one of these people who are insured by the insurer is referred to as insured. Normally, most of these people will never have any form of accidents and hence there will be no need for the insurer to pay them any form of compensation.

If Mr. Adam and a very few other people has any form of accidents/losses, the insurer will pay them based on their policy.

It should be noted that the entire premiums paid by these thousands of insured is so much more than the compensations to the damages/losses incurred by some few insured. Hence, the huge left-over money (from the premiums collected after paying the compensations) is utilized by the insurer as follows:

1. Some are kept as a cash reservoir.

2. Some are used as investments for more profit.

3. Some are used as operating expenses in form of rent, supplies, salaries, staff welfare etc.

4. Some are lent out to banks as fixed deposits for more profit etc. etc.

Apart from the vehicle insurance taken by Mr. Adam on his new vehicle, he can also decide to insure himself. This one is extremely different because it involves a human life and is thus termed Life Insurance or Assurance.

Life insurance (or assurance) is the insurance against against certainty or something that is certain to happen such as death, rather than something that might happen such as loss of or damage to property.

The issue of life insurance is a paramount one because it concerns the security of human life and business. Life insurance offers real protection for your business and it also provides some sot of motivation for any skilled employees who decides to to join your organization.

Life insurance insures the life of the policy holder and pays a benefit to the beneficiary. This beneficiary can be your business in the case of a key employee, partner, or co-owner. In some cases, the beneficiary may be one’s next of kin or a near or distant relation. The beneficiary is not limited to one person; it depends on the policy holder.

Life insurance policies exist in three forms:

• Whole life insurance

• Term Insurance

• Endowment insurance

• Whole Life Insurance

In Whole Life Insurance (or Whole Assurance), the insurance company pays an agreed sum of money (i.e. sum assured) upon the death of the person whose life is insured. As against the logic of term life insurance, Whole Life Insurance is valid and it continues in existence as long as the premiums of the policy holders are paid.

When a person express his wish in taking a Whole Life Insurance, the insurer will look at the person’s current age and health status and use this data to reviews longevity charts which predict the person’s life duration/life-span. The insurer then present a monthly/quarterly/bi-annual/annual level premium. This premium to be paid depends on a person’s present age: the younger the person the higher the premium and the older the person the lower the premium. However, the extreme high premium being paid by a younger person will reduce gradually relatively with age over the course of many years.

In case you are planning a life insurance, the insurer is in the best position to advise you on the type you should take. Whole life insurance exists in three varieties, as follow: variable life, universal life, and variable-universal life; and these are very good options for your employees to consider or in your personal financial plan.

Term Insurance

In Term Insurance, the life of the policy-holder is insured for a specific period of time and if the person dies within the period the insurance company pays the beneficiary. Otherwise, if the policy-holder lives longer than the period of time stated in the policy, the policy is no longer valid. In a simple word, if death does not occur within stipulated period, the policy-holder receives nothing.

For example, Mr. Adam takes a life policy for a period of not later than the age of 60. If Mr. Adam dies within the age of less than 60 years, the insurance company will pay the sum assured. If Mr. Adam’s death does not occur within the stated period in the life policy (i.e. Mr. Adam lives up to 61 years and above), the insurance company pays nothing no matter the premiums paid over the term of the policy.

Term assurance will pay the policy holder only if death occurs during the “term” of the policy, which can be up to 30 years. Beyond the “term”, the policy is null and void (i.e. worthless). Term life insurance policies are basically of two types:

o Level term: In this one, the death benefit remains constant throughout the duration of the policy.

o Decreasing term: Here, the death benefit decreases as the course of the policy’s term progresses.

It should be note that Term Life Insurance can be used in a debtor-creditor scenario. A creditor may decide to insure the life of his debtor for a period over which the debt repayment is expected to be completed, so that if the debtor dies within this period, the creditor (being the policy-holder) gets paid by the insurance company for the sum assured).

Endowment Life Insurance

In Endowment Life Insurance, the life of the policy holder is insured for a specific period of time (say, 30 years) and if the person insured is still alive after the policy has timed out, the insurance company pays the policy-holder the sum assured. However, if the person assured dies within the “time specified” the insurance company pays the beneficiary.

For example, Mr. Adam took an Endowment Life Insurance for 35 years when he was 25 years of age. If Mr. Adam is lucky to attain the age of 60 (i.e. 25 + 35), the insurance company will pay the policy-holder (i.e. whoever is paying the premium, probably Mr. Adam if he is the one paying the premium) the sum assured. However, if Mr. Adam dies at the age of 59 years before completing the assured time of 35 years, his sum assured will be paid to his beneficiary (i.e. policy-holder). In case of death, the sum assured is paid at the age which Mr. Adam dies.