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Tips on How to Borrow Money Wisely

Aug 4, 2008
Borrowing money from a bank or lending institution can help one achieve personal and financial opportunities that may not otherwise be feasible. However, without proper knowledge and discipline, borrowing can get a person into trouble. When it comes to borrowing, being an educated consumer may save a lot of headaches and plenty of money.

To ensure access to the best loan rates and credit opportunities, keep these tips in mind:

Pay bills on time.

Late bill payments create creditor concerns. Enlisting handy devices like online bill pay services help keep one's life organized and make bill paying easy.

Be responsible with revolving credit.

Revolving credit is open-ended credit, similar to a basic credit card. This type of credit gives the opportunity to spend whenever more money is needed or desired, as opposed to staying within one's budget. Furthermore, borrowers should be concerned about the sometimes high interest rates attached to revolving credit.

Be prompt in responding to creditors' phone calls.

Responsible borrowers stay in communication with their creditors - especially if they encounter trouble making a payment. It's a good idea to take a proactive approach when it comes to maintaining good credit.

Review credit reports.

Since the U.S. government offers a free annual credit report program, there really isn't any excuse to leave credit reports unchecked.

Be Smart about Debt Consolidation Programs.

With many U.S. consumers carrying significant credit card debt, debt consolidation programs are in high demand. The programs are typically a large loan that pays off other smaller loans. With consolidation, monthly statements and payments are typically reduced. In addition, if strapped for cash, a debt consolidation program may stretch payments out over a longer period of time - decreasing monthly debt payments.

Still, while these programs can be beneficial to borrowers, there are pitfalls to avoid. After all, the reality is that consolidation programs shift debt - they do not eliminate the debt. Borrowers still owe the money and it will have to be paid back sooner or later. One potential pitfall is that borrowers may feel that there is less outstanding debt. For example, a person may notice that credit cards once again have generous amounts of available credit. If this credit is used, it is possible to dig into an even deeper debt hole.

Use loan amortization calculators to plan for success.

A loan amortization calculator is intended to show how a loan will work month-by-month. The calculator helps determine how much interest will be paid over the years, and how much of the balance is paid off at any given time.

An online loan amortization calculator includes an amortization table for reference. After filling in information related to a loan, the calculator tabulates results in a textbox below the loan amortization calculator.

Look further than APR to choose the best loan

Some consumers make the mistake of comparing loans by only looking at the APR. Borrows should keep in mind, however, that not all lenders calculate APR the same way. Some may or may not include all the loan costs. For example, the credit report fee, appraisals fee, and inspection fees may not be included in an APR quote. Furthermore, because various lenders can charge different credit report fees, the APR comparison becomes less valuable. Customer-focused lenders may actually include more fees that accurately reflect a borrower's circumstances, which may make their APR appear higher. Therefore, focusing solely on APR is not the best way to shop for a loan.

Overall, to choose the best loan, it's helpful to look at each lender's quote closely. One should take time to review the rate and closing costs - not just the APR - and note carefully which costs are excluded.
About the Author
AmericanMomentumBank.com provides a wide array of personal banking and business banking options and banking solutions tailored to your individual needs. For more information, please visit AmericanMomentumBank.com.
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