bad credit

6 Things Every Credit Card Owner Should Know

6 Credit Card Rules to Always Follow

Credit cards make purchases and paying your bills easier. Using a credit card is also a good way to boost your credit score. However, failing to properly manage your credit cards can lead to a lot of unnecessary expenses.

If you’re tempted to buy things you can’t really afford just because you can charge them on your cards, it will benefit you to leave them at home when you go shopping. When you have an emergency, rely on an emergency fund to avoid charging unplanned expenses on your cards.

Selecting a credit card that’s right for you is also important. This can be difficult, since the cards you qualify for are limited by your credit score. Compare credit card limits, rates, and other fees to figure out which card will work the best for your circumstances.

Follow these tips to avoid spending a lot on fees and interest while boosting your credit score:


  1. Pay your bill on time, and pay more than the minimum. Not only will you avoid late fees with this strategy, but you’ll also pay off your balance quicker, thus saving money on interest, too. 
  • For example, if you have a $500 balance on a card with a 15% Interest Rate, you would end up paying $595 over two years if you make the minimum payments of $20/month.
  • However, if you make payments of $50/month instead of the $20 minimum payment, you would end up spending a total of $528 to pay off your balance in a little less than a year.
  • Be consistent with your payments. Missing a payment or paying less than the minimum may negatively impact your credit score resulting in bad credit.
  1. Keep your balance as low as possible. Ideally, your balance should be less than 30% of your available credit limit.
  • Avoid maxing out your credit card or making large purchases unless you plan on making a significantly larger payment to cover these expenses.
  • Consider applying for a credit limit increase if you cannot pay off enough on your card to stay around the 30% mark.
  1. Read the fine print on rewards cards. Credit card providers typically charge higher rates and fees to compensate for the cash back and other rewards. 
  • The best strategy for using a credit card with rewards is to make enough purchases to qualify for the rewards, but then pay off your balance in full every month to avoid paying interest.
  1. Keep it simple. Owning too many credit cards can make managing your accounts difficult. You’ll be more likely to miss a payment.
  1. Be careful with balance transfers. This can sound like a good option if you qualify for a credit card with lower fees and rate. However, some credit card companies will charge you a transfer fee, which is usually a percentage of the debt you are transferring. Paying 3% of the amount you’re transferring to get a slightly lower rate might not save you money.
  1. Avoid cash advances on your credit cards. A cash advance can be a tempting option because this cash is very easy to get, but you’ll have to pay a fee and will have to make larger monthly payments to compensate for this charge. Cash advances often have a higher rate of interest as well.

These tips will help you stay on the right track with your credit cards. Keep in mind that you can easily avoid fees and spend less on interest by being responsible and planning your expenses and payments in advance.

Shop around for a better credit card every two years or so. You will qualify for better products as your credit score improves from following these strategies.

If you are looking to consolidate debt, or discuss any of your finance options, one of our expert lending specialists is here to help you.  Call or email us today!

bad credit, credit score, credit card

What Is Bad Credit?

When it comes to impaired credit, there are many kinds; the main ones include:

  • Bad Credit History – Negative marks like bankruptcy, defaults, court writs, judgments and an excessive amount of credit enquiries could lead to mistrust in your loan application…

interest rates

How Do I Save Money on My Mortgage? (It’s not all about Interest Rates!)

save money

If you are looking at buying a home or refinancing your existing home, you have probably been having a lot of conversations about interest rates. If you enjoy talking about interest rates, fine, go ahead. It’s like talking about the weather: it won’t make any difference, but it gives you something to talk about.

The simple truth is that the variance in interest rates on standard home loans from one lending institution to another is so small that it will not make a big difference in the total cost of your mortgage.

As a matter of fact, the average difference is only about .06%, which is a saving of $240 per year on a $400,000 mortgage.

With all the emphasis lately on credit scores and credit ratings, it is surprising that a lot of people still believe that shopping around for the best rate will make such a big difference. Credit scores are based on a consumer’s credit worthiness: whether you pay your bills on time, if you have ever defaulted on a loan, whether other lenders have been willing to lend to you, etc.  So apart from a few points difference, all the banks are going to quote the same or very similar rate for one applicant if they present the same as another. Lets’ look at that interest rate savings of $240 per year. If you look around for more than a day, you are paying yourself only $10 per hour for your time.

The only way to have a real savings on your mortgage is to have an overall mortgage strategy. There are many types of mortgages being offered, and the combinations of benchmark rate used, terms of payment and duration of loan can have a great overall impact on the loan over time. This is what is more important to look at. Finding the mortgage expert who will discuss more than just the interest rate, but instead will understand the economic markets and examine your financial situation and longer term plans will achieve much more savings on your mortgage. Choosing the right mortgage strategy can save you tens of thousands of dollars, as compared to the $240 cited above that can be saved on a lower interest rate.

How can you find out the best strategy? Working with a mortgage consultant who understands the economic markets, who works closely with you, who understands your needs and particular circumstances, and who combines this knowledge and information with the best rates available is the secret to finding the right mortgage strategy. Understanding this concept can save you tens of thousands of dollars in home loan costs, rather than tens of dollars.

Not convinced? You can get more details and understand how this is true by having a brief, no obligation, chat with one of our lending specialists today.

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Click here to request a free no obligation quote from one of our specialist lending advisers to see just how much you could be saving on your loan!

Seven Steps to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Here are Seven common sense guidelines to eliminate credit card debt:

1) DO make a budget listing all your fixed expenses. Rent or mortgage, car insurance, car payments, mobile phones, utilities, day care, fixed loans, etc. Then try to estimate a reasonable budget for discretionary items like food, entertainment, clothes, etc.

2) DO make a second list of all your outstanding balances and sort by balance, minimum payment, and interest charges if you have multiple credit card debts.

You may think the wisest thing to do is paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate. However, there are 2 preferred methods to follow.

First, you should reduce the number of credit cards. Pay off the smallest balance first with larger payments until the number of credit cards you have in debt is down to one. Your ultimate goal is zero, or when you can pay your monthly balance in full every month.

The other strategy is to pay the balance on any card exceeding 50 percent of your credit limit because balances above this level may affect your credit score.

3) DO use cash or a debit card linked to your bank account. You can’t spend what you don’t have.

4) DO look for extra income. Most likely your rent or mortgage is your biggest expense, so consider a roommate if possible. If you like your occasional privacy, consider an International student for shorter periods of time.

5) DO look for the little things that add up in your expenses. Maybe change your phone plan if you are constantly going over the monthly minutes? How about that $3.50 latte or cappuccino every work day? That’s almost $1,000 a year!

6) DON’T sign up with a new credit card with a 0% Interest Rate for the first 6 months.

You probably receive a lot of junk mail enticing you to sign up with a new credit card with a 0% Interest Rate for the first 6 months before it jumps to 18% or even higher. Then 6 months later you would transfer your huge balance to another piece of plastic. Unfortunately, the biggest risk is they are simply giving you more credit to spend, and the number of cards and liability increases.

Unless you are extremely disciplined, this doesn’t really work as you end up bigger and deeper in the hole! Reducing the number of credit cards is the goal.

7) DO consider refinancing your home (if you have one) and consolidating all your debts into one

Logically, a 4.50-5.50% home loan is a lot less than 18% on a credit card. You can’t spend what you don’t have. You will be asked to have all your cards cut up (except maybe one with a small credit limit) and you have reduced the number of credit cards. You are now paying back that debt at far lower interest rates – often we find that the overall new monthly mortgage payment incorporating the consolidated debts is lower or at least equal to what you were previously paying out across several loans (credit cards included). Plus – the temptation has now been removed as you no longer have the credit cards!

Melanie Burns

Here are Seven common sense guidelines to eliminate credit card debt: 1) DO make a budget listing all your fixed expenses. Rent or mortgage, car insurance, car payments, mobile phones, utilities, day care, fixed loans, etc. Then try to estimate a reasonable budget for discretionary items like food, entertainment, clothes, etc. 2) DO make a…

If Real Estate Investment Is So Great, Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?

Oh, that’s an easy one. I can answer that in one word. FEAR.

Real Estate investment is a great way to change just about everything in your life, but it’s one of those things where doing it for the FIRST time is the toughest. In fact, the second is exponentially easier! It’s fear folks, plain and simple! And why it is fear doesn’t make much sense to me. Consider that:

– “Everyone knows that the surest path from low income to millionaire is through real estate.” This appears to be a well-documented truism. I’ve seen a similar statement in some of the most prestigious financial resources on the planet.

– I rarely hear of someone losing it all from real estate. I might be living in la-la land, but for the most part I only hear of people prospering from real estate investing. Sure, occasionally I hear of a deal going bad or growing complicated, but not to the point of ruining people.

– There are a lot of properties available. People are still selling, divorcing, dying, or just not paying the bills and getting their homes sold out from under them. Much of the mortgagee auction activity is not SEEN by the public, but most of it is available to the public.

– There are a lot of properties available at below market prices. That’s been my experience anyway. Of course, I have people right here in my area that tell me they can’t find properties. I just smile and nod my head.

– Rental demand is strong and rents never go down!

So with all this common knowledge and raw opportunity out there, why isn’t everyone investing in real estate?

Here’s my theory.

* Real estate transactions are more involved than going to K-Mart for a pair of undies, so that scares people. You have to learn a little bit. Mind you, this isn’t a lot of learning, but it is apparently enough to keep some on the sidelines.

* The numbers are big. I’ve seen folks nearly FREEZE UP mentally talking about large amounts of money. Merely talking about a $400,000 mortgage causes some people to break out in a sweat.

* Horror stories. Everyone’s heard about some scam, sink hole, meteor or something else on the fringes of believability that has happened somewhere at sometime. I mean, there is SOME risk involved.

* Fear of taking action! It’s hard to do something you’ve never done, and harder to do something you’ve never done before in a subject matter on which you aren’t an expert! People fear something, which makes facing that fear hard. What I’m referring to is what I call, “IT’S EASIER NOT TO.”

So what does one do to face fear and make a change in their life,

Ah, that’s just as easy as the first question. I can also answer that in one word…KNOWLEDGE.

Once properly armed with the knowledge they need, most people can overcome their fears to the point of taking action.

So if you are contemplating taking your financial future into your own hands by investing in real estate, FOCUS on one thing for the next 3-6 months. Buy books or courses, got to real estate investing club meetings, visit websites and get on discussion groups. Let those things be your action steps for awhile. I suspect you’ll be ready to dive into the market with the knowledge you’ll gain.

 “Knowledge Always Precedes the Money.”

Author: Melanie Burns

If you have found a property, or are looking at refinancing to access equity so you can take the leap into Real Estate Investment then contact us to discuss your home loan options. Whether you are self-employed, PAYG, credit impaired, looking to invest via Self Managed Super or looking to construct, or even if you are seeking funding for a commercial property the team at Sherlock Holmes are mortgage specialists here to help you finance your dreams!

Oh, that’s an easy one. I can answer that in one word. FEAR. Real Estate investment is a great way to change just about everything in your life, but it’s one of those things where doing it for the FIRST time is the toughest. In fact, the second is exponentially easier! It’s fear folks, plain…

Buying A Home With Bad Credit – A few key tips to keep in mind

You can buy a home with a bad credit history; you just need to find the right mortgage financing package. Before you sign up with the first company that offers you a loan, remember to research offers to be assured you are getting a fair deal.
Know Your Credit Rating
Your credit report/history is one of the biggest factors in determining the interest rate you will pay for your loan and the features (or lack thereof) of the loan that will be available to you.  Lenders will require a deposit of generally between 10-20% if their are impairments on your credit file.  The more severe the impairments – the greater the deposit. It is always a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit file prior to applying for finance. This is a good time to make sure all the information is correct. Any discrepancies should be checked out and corrected before applying for a loan.


Know The Fees

Arm yourself with information so you will know what are reasonable fees for your type of loan. Mortgage brokers are paid for their work through points paid up front or through the lifetime of the loan by the lender. Lenders also make money through points.It is reasonable to expect to pay up to 2-4% above normal variable interest rates for credit impaired mortgage, but any higher and you should be wary. There are always exceptions to this, so use your best judgment and compare.

Read The Fine Print

Once you get an offer from a broker, make sure you read the fine print. Interest rates are easy to compare, but you should also look over the fees that are involved which can add up to thousands of dollars. Also, be sure to understand any fees for late or missed payments.To discuss your mortgage options please feel free to contact us and we can review your options and provide you with a free comprehensive loan assessment.