National Business

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MoneyTips


By Roshni Chowdhry, head of customer experience at SafetyNet

Of the roughly 17 million Americans currently enrolled in college, 74 percent qualify as what we used to call "nontraditional" students:

  • One in five is 30 years or older.
  • About half don't rely on their parents for money.
  • One quarter are caring for a child.
  • 47 percent attend college part time at some point.
  • 25 percent took a year off between high school and college.
  • 44 percent have parents without a bachelor's degree.

In other words, if you're a college student today, there's a good chance you're not the Hollywood stereotype of an 18-year-old on your own for the first time. Still, whether it's your first year o...

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MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) today announced that its board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of 66 cents per common share. The dividend is payable December 10, 2019, to shareholders of record at the close of business November 20, 2019. The 4th quarter dividend will be the Company's 209th consecutive dividend paid since October 1967 when the Company became publicly held.

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MoneyTips

Few things are more satisfying than driving your brand-new car – until you realize that it lost value immediately after you left the dealership. Thanks to depreciation, it's possible for a car to lose over 20% of its starting value within the first year. According to CARFAX data, cars can lose over 10% of their value after the first month.

During the early stages of car ownership, it's easy for a car loan to be underwater – meaning that you owe more on the loan than the current value of the car. With a down payment of 20% or less, you're very likely to have an underwater period.

If all goes well, it's okay to be underwater. You'll continue to make payments and the car's value should overtake the remaining loan balance as the balance decreases. Early payments are mostly dedicated to interest and not principal – so it takes time to go from negative to positive equity. As long as you hold onto the car long enough, you should be fine.

What happens when all ...

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MoneyTips

Can your checking account affect your credit score? It's possible, but only in certain circumstances that you should avoid.

Your credit score is calculated using information from your credit report, which is a history of all of your credit-based transactions. Checking accounts are funded by your deposits – there's no borrowing of money involved. Normal daily activities like writing checks and transferring funds aren't reported to credit reporting agencies and don't show up on your credit report.

When you open a new checking account, banks can ask for a hard credit pull as part of your evaluation. Hard credit pulls will cause a small temporary drop in your credit score. However, most banks use soft credit pulls that do not affect your credit score at all.

So how can checking account activity affect your credit score? Generally, there's only one way to damage your credit report with a checking account. You have to allow your checking account to be used fo...

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MoneyTips

With the school season starting again, education is job number one for students and parents alike. A proper education includes an education in personal finance, and one of the best ways to start is to learn how to protect yourself against scams.

You can and should learn fast, too, because scams can become more common during the back-to-school buying season. Here are some practical suggestions on how to avoid credit and debit card fraudsters:

  • Only patronize known retailers.

  • Avoid jackpot online deals that offer items like $3,000 laptops for $400. These are often scams.

  • "Good PC hygiene" cannot be overstated for every handheld device, laptop, and phone. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs are key to staying safer online.

  • Avoid pooling or sharing credit card information in a dorm setting. There is no reason for students to share...

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MoneyTips

You're ready to take out a loan, only to realize that your credit score actually dropped since you last checked it. With a low credit score, you'll be paying higher interest rates than you expected – and you may not qualify for the loan at all.

What happened?

Remember that your credit score reflects your risk to a lender at any point in time. As new information is reported to credit bureaus, your credit report is updated. Your credit score is periodically recalculated to incorporate that new information. If the update implies any risk of non-payment, your score will suffer.

To find out why your score dropped, ask the following five questions and think like a lender. Would you be less likely to lend someone money if you didn't like the answer?

1. Did You Miss a Payment? – On-time payments are the most important factor in your credit score. Lenders assume that if you've missed a payment before, you're more likely to do it again....

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MoneyTips

It's always best to pay off a loan as soon as you can, isn't it? Not necessarily. There are several reasons you may not want to pay off your loan early, including the effects on your credit score.

The obvious reason for early payoff is interest savings. By paying your loans off early (especially large ones), you can save substantial interest charges. Some loans discourage early loan repayment by charging penalty fees. Know the terms of your loan and include these fees in your calculations when deciding whether to repay a loan early.

When assessing early loan repayment, follow two trains of thought. How will this affect my credit score, and is early loan repayment the best use of my money?

Consider your credit score first. Five factors influence your score – on-time payments, amounts owed/credit utilization (the amount of your available credit that ...

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