Top 10 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Sedona

Could you use some good vibes? Whether you visit the famous vortexes, explore the red rocks, or simply enjoy a hike through nature, there are plenty of things to do in Sedona, Arizona, that will send those positive vibrations your way.

This town is awash in history, natural beauty, and spiritually rich experiences. Plus there are great arts, shopping, and dining. Here, learn about the 10 best things to do in Sedona, Arizona, and how to plan your trip to make the most of your time in the Southwest.

Best Times to Go to Sedona

Sedona can get hot for summer travel, so consider planning your trip for April, May, October, or November when it’s cooler. Bonus: There are flowers to enjoy.

Here are some annual events in Sedona you might want to plan your trip around:

•  April: Sedona Yoga Festival

•  May: Piano on the Rocks International Festival

•  July: Sedona Hummingbird Festival

•  September/October: Red Rocks Music Festival

•  October: Annual Sedona Rock, Gem & Jewelry Show

•  November: Sedona Food Truck Festival

•  December: The Festival of Lights

Bad Times to Go to Sedona

Summer can get pretty brutal in Sedona, with temperatures in the high 90s and even 100s June through August. If you’re traveling with pets, consider how the weather will impact them, especially if you go on a long hike in the dry air and high altitude.

Also, early July is monsoon season, so if you’re planning outdoor activities, there’s a chance you won’t be able to enjoy them during this period.

Average Cost of a Sedona Vacation

If you’re planning a weeklong vacation for two in Sedona, you’ll want to budget for renting a car and paying for a hotel room, activities, and food. On average, you can expect to spend about $3,614 a week for a couple or $2,012 for a solo traveler.

Hotels typically cost between $92 and $421, while vacation rentals often run from $260 to $600 per night, but you may be able to bring the whole gang or family.

Many of the best things to do in Sedona are free, so you won’t break the bank finding activities, but you do have to calculate how much it will cost you to get to and from Arizona. If a plane ticket will be involved, this could be a good moment to sign up for an airline credit card and earn some rewards or discounts.

Also think about whether you’d like to buy trip insurance. You may be covered by credit card travel insurance, or you may want to buy a separate premium to protect your investment in your vacation.

10 Fun Must-Dos in Sedona

If you’re saving your travel fund and thinking about your Arizona adventure, here are the top 10 things to do in Sedona based on recommendations from those who have recently visited, as well as top-rated attractions from travel review sites. There’s something for everyone, whether you are spiritual, sporty, or live to shop.

1. Take a Vortex Tour

Sedona is known for being a vortex hotspot. A vortex is considered to be a concentration of earth energy that you can feel in certain spots and may enhance meditation and self-knowledge. There are hikes like the Airport Mesa Vortex where you can try to feel the vortexes yourself, or you can take a tour.

There are many companies that offer vortex tours, including Sedona Spirit Journeys & Vortex Tours. The advantage of taking a tour with a guide is that they have permission to visit certain sacred sites that you won’t be able to access on your own, and they’re very knowledgeable about the vortexes. A three-hour tour for two people costs $194 each. You can use your plastic and earn some credit card rewards when paying. spiritjourneysofsedona.com/tour-journeys

2. Visit Tlaquepaque Art & Shopping Village

After your vortex tour, get your retail therapy on at the adorable Tlaquepaque Art & Shopping Village. This village is reminiscent of Old Mexico and houses art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. You might linger till nighttime and enjoy a romantic dinner at René, an upscale French restaurant. tlaq.com/

3. Follow a Wine Trail

A fun thing for couples or groups to do in Sedona (or more precisely, just outside of Sedona) is wine tasting in Verde Valley. Cool off in the shaded patio of Javelina Leap Winery with a tasting flight, or watch Oak Creek gurgle by at Page Springs Cellars over a bottle of New Mexico Pinot Gris and a picnic. visitcottonwoodaz.org/wine-trail.html

4. Go for a Hike

Sedona is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. A fun activity is to hike to see the many uniquely-shaped red rocks, like Snoopy Rock, Cathedral Rock, or Coffee Pot Rock, which looks just like what its name implies.

This amazing landscape will leave you with loads of memories, whether you hike for an hour or a full day. Plus, hiking is a free thing to do in Sedona, which can be a way that families afford to travel.

5. Book a Jeep Tour

Not in the mood to hike? One of the local Jeep tours, like the 60+-year-old Pink Adventure Tours (pinkadventuretours.com/), can get you out into the natural beauty of Sedona that you might not otherwise see. From one of these rugged vehicles, you can better appreciate the cliffs and ravines while (depending on which tour you take) learning about the lives of the indigenous Sinagua people or seeing where Hollywood Westerns were filmed. Prices start at around $79 for adults for a 90-minute tour.

6. Explore a Wild West Town

Just outside of Sedona is the not-to-be-missed Wild West town of Jerome. How can you not visit a place that was called “The Wickedest Town in the West”?

Jerome, perched on the side of a hill, boomed in the late 1800s, thanks to its copper mines, and was a hub for the best and the worst of life back then. Today, you’ll find a historic downtown with cute boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Start your morning with an indulgent breakfast at The Clinkscale, followed by a few hours of shopping and exploring. The first Saturday of each month, from 5 pm to 8 pm, there’s the Jerome Art & Wine Walk. jeromechamber.com/

Recommended: How Does Credit Card Travel Insurance Work?

7. Spiritual Reading

Take advantage of Sedona’s plethora of spiritual practitioners by having a tarot card or palm reading, going on a shamanic journey, or having your aura read. You can also have a reiki healing, a sound bath, or learn about transformational breathwork. If you’ve ever been curious about such pursuits, Sedona can be a great place to explore and experience them.

8. Meditate at Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park

Step out of Sedona and into Asia at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. This beautiful park welcomes people of all faiths and is a wonderful place to walk, meditate, or pray. The Stupa, a dome-shaped structure, is 36 feet high and is said to bring visitors happiness and protection. tara.org/amitabha-stupa/

9. Have a Spa Day

A Sedona vacation, by its very nature, demands relaxation. What better way to slow down than to book an individual or couple’s massage at one of Sedona’s many spas?

Or you might try something different by experiencing a sweat lodge at Sedona’s New Day Spa, or pick the Time for Two package at Amara Spa.

10. Get Arty

Sedona draws (pun intended) artists from all around the world, who yearn to capture its famous red rocks and endless vistas. See exhibits at the Sedona Arts Center, which features 100 local and regional artists. You can also purchase jewelry, art, and photography made by the artists, and, if you’re an artist yourself, there are workshops and classes you can participate in. sedonaartscenter.org/

The Takeaway

Sedona offers nature, healing, and spirituality, as well as the chance to unwind from your busy life. The problem is: You won’t want to return home! Whether you are looking for an active getaway or something more relaxing, you’ll find it among the beautiful red rocks, along with great cultural attractions, shopping, and dining.

SoFi Travel has teamed up with Expedia to bring even more to your one-stop finance app, helping you book reservations — for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more — all in one place. SoFi Members also have exclusive access to premium savings, with 10% or more off on select hotels. Plus, earn unlimited 3%** cash back rewards when you book with your SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card through SoFi Travel.

SoFi Travel can take you farther.

FAQ

How long should I spend in Sedona?

You can see and do a lot in just three to five days in Sedona, including hiking to the famous red rocks, getting a massage or spiritual reading, shopping, and enjoying great cuisine.

What are some hikes in Sedona?

There are hikes for every level of expertise, including the Airport Mesa Vortex, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock Climb, and Fay Canyon.

Can I find a vortex by myself in Sedona?

There are trails that you can hike to find vortexes in Sedona like the Airport Mesa Vortex, though taking a guided tour may help you discover vortexes in protected areas you can’t visit on your own.


Photo credit: iStock/bboserup

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You must book the travel on SoFi’s Travel Portal reached directly through a link on the SoFi website or mobile application. Travel booked directly on Expedia's website or app, or any other site operated or powered by Expedia is not eligible.
You must pay using your SoFi Credit Card.

SoFi Member Rewards: All terms applicable to the use of SoFi Member Rewards apply. To learn more please see: https://www.sofi.com/rewards/ and Terms applicable to Member Rewards.
Additional Terms: Changes to your bookings will affect the Rewards balance for the purchase. Any canceled bookings or fraud will cause Rewards to be rescinded. Rewards can be delayed by up to 7 business days after a transaction posts on Members’ SoFi Credit Card ledger. SoFi reserves the right to withhold Rewards points for suspected fraud, misuse, or suspicious activities.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How to Renew a Passport Fast

Standard processing time for passport renewal is between 10 and 13 weeks. While that may work for people who don’t have an international trip already planned, you may need to renew your passport faster than that.

The State Department offers a few ways to get your passport faster. One option that is available to everyone (for a fee) is Expedited service, which takes seven to nine weeks. If you have urgent travel or a life-and-death emergency that requires overseas travel, you may be able to call to get an appointment within a few days.

How Does Passport Renewal Work?

There are a few ways to renew your passport. Many people simply mail in their forms. But if your passport was issued a long time ago, damaged, or issued in a former name, you’ll need to appear at a passport processing facility in person.

In 2022, the State Department began a pilot program for citizens to renew their passports online. At the time of this writing, however, the program was paused.

If you are renewing your passport by mail, you can mail in Form DS-82, your old passport, a passport photo, and any relevant name change documentation. If you don’t qualify to renew your passport by mail, you must appear in person. You’ll need to bring Form DS-11, along with documents like proof of citizenship, identification, and two passport photos.

Average Wait Time for Passport Processing

According to the State Department, the standard wait time for processing a passport is between 10 and 13 weeks. If you choose to pay for expedited processing, it will take between seven and nine weeks. Figuring out when to renew your passport can be tricky, especially if you are a frequent international traveler or need to schedule getting a visa.

Expedited Passport Services

If waiting 10 to 13 weeks for a standard passport renewal doesn’t work for you, you have a few options. You can pay $60 for expedited service. The State Department offers additional services for emergencies and urgent travel.

How to Renew a Child’s Passport Fast

If you travel internationally with your family, you’ll need to keep your children’s passports current. This can be even harder for an adult passport. While adult passports are valid for 10 years, children’s passports are good for only five and must be renewed in-person. There are no special exemptions for renewing children’s passports fast — you’ll need to pay for expedited processing or call the State Department if you qualify for emergency- or urgent-travel processing.

Using Passport Expediters and Couriers

There are many companies that claim to be able to renew your passport fast. These companies are not part of the State Department, and you won’t get your passport any faster than if you appear in person at an official Passport Renewal Facility. Passport expediter or courier companies also charge additional fees.

Pro Tips for Getting Your Passport Fast

Regularly check your passport expiration date: Put it on your calendar once a year, tied to a larger financial or documents review. If international travel is on your agenda, don’t put off passport renewal; assume that it will take 13 weeks, and start the process ASAP.

Here are a few tips for getting your passport fast:

•  Gather all of your citizenship and identification documents.

•  If you have a life-or-death emergency or urgent international travel, you can call the State Department to get a rapid appointment.

•  If you’re renewing a young child’s passport, you’ll need both parents to appear in most circumstances.

The Takeaway

The State Department notes that passport renewal processing times are 10 to 13 weeks. You may pay an additional fee for expedited processing, which is between seven and nine weeks. If you have a life-or-death emergency or urgent international travel, you may also qualify to renew your passport fast by calling the State Department for a renewal appointment.

SoFi Travel has teamed up with Expedia to bring even more to your one-stop finance app, helping you book reservations — for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more — all in one place. SoFi Members also have exclusive access to premium savings, with 10% or more off on select hotels. Plus, earn unlimited 3%** cash back rewards when you book with your SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card through SoFi Travel.

SoFi, your one-stop shop for travel.

FAQ

Can you renew a passport online?

In 2022, the State Department began a pilot program that allowed certain people to renew their passports online. As of March 2023, that program is paused, but it may open again at some point. Courier and expediting companies that are not part of the Department of State cannot help you renew your passport online — be wary when dealing with companies that promise online passport renewal.

What happens if my passport has already expired?

If your passport expired, what happens next will depend on how long ago it expired. Generally you can still renew your passport by mail as long as it’s not more than five years out of date. After that, you will need to renew your passport by appearing in person.

What is the quickest you can get a passport renewed?

If you qualify, you may be able to get your passport renewed within 24 hours. You’ll need to show proof of a life-or-death emergency that requires urgent international travel. You’ll also need to call the State Department and hope that there are immediate renewal appointments available. If possible, do your best to plan ahead before it becomes an urgent issue.


Photo credit: iStock/Evgenia Parajanian

**Terms, and conditions apply: The SoFi Travel Portal is operated by Expedia. To learn more about Expedia, click https://www.expediagroup.com/home/default.aspx.
When you use your SoFi Credit Card to make a purchase on the SoFi Travel Portal, you will earn a number of SoFi Member Rewards points equal to 3% of the total amount you spend on the SoFi Travel Portal. Members can save up to 10% or more on eligible bookings.
Eligibility: You must be a SoFi registered user.
You must agree to SoFi’s privacy consent agreement.
You must book the travel on SoFi’s Travel Portal reached directly through a link on the SoFi website or mobile application. Travel booked directly on Expedia's website or app, or any other site operated or powered by Expedia is not eligible.
You must pay using your SoFi Credit Card.

SoFi Member Rewards: All terms applicable to the use of SoFi Member Rewards apply. To learn more please see: https://www.sofi.com/rewards/ and Terms applicable to Member Rewards.
Additional Terms: Changes to your bookings will affect the Rewards balance for the purchase. Any canceled bookings or fraud will cause Rewards to be rescinded. Rewards can be delayed by up to 7 business days after a transaction posts on Members’ SoFi Credit Card ledger. SoFi reserves the right to withhold Rewards points for suspected fraud, misuse, or suspicious activities.
©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


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Can You Get A Student Loan With No Credit History?

If you’re considering borrowing student loans, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get a student loan without a credit history.

It is. You can borrow a student loan with no credit history, and it’s possible to get student loans with no credit check. Federal student loans (except PLUS Loans) don’t require a credit check.

Private lenders do, however, review an applicant’s credit history during the application process. Potential borrowers who don’t have a strong credit history may be able to add a cosigner to strengthen their application, but there are no guarantees.

Federal vs Private Student Loans

Student loans fall into two general categories: federal (offered by the government) and private (offered by banks and other lenders). There are options under each category that range from different eligibility requirements to fixed vs. variable interest rates. You can learn more about private vs. federal student loans in this student loans guide.

Types of Federal Student Loans

If you’re searching for “student loans, no credit check,” federal student loans (aside from PLUS loans) fit that description. Federal student loans are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and are based on education costs and your current financial situation, not your credit history.

The most desirable type of federal loan, the Direct Subsidized Loan, has relatively low fixed interest rates that are set each year by the government.

Subsidization means that the government will pay for any interest that accrues on the loan while you’re in school at least half-time, as well as during your grace period and some deferral periods. Direct Subsidized Loans are awarded based on financial need and are only available to undergraduate students.

The other type of no-credit-required federal loan is the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. It also typically has low interest rates, but no subsidy means the interest starts to accrue as soon as the money is loaned, and borrowers are required to pay the interest that accrues. Unsubsidized loans are available to students at all levels of higher education and are therefore one of the most accessible types of student loans.

One advantage with both these types of federal student loans is repayment flexibility, including deferment, income-driven repayment plans, and forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. If you’re trying to build or improve your credit score, repayment options that could help keep you out of default are key.

Private Student Loans

Students also have the option of applying for private student loans, including graduate loans, which are available through some banks, credit unions, or private lenders. The terms can be very different depending on the type of loan, whether you choose a fixed or variable interest rate, and your financial history — which includes things like your credit score.

If you have less-than-stellar credit, or not much of a credit history and income, you’ll likely need to apply with a cosigner, typically a family member or a close friend who guarantees to repay the loan in the event that you can’t. It’s important to choose a cosigner wisely. It should be someone with a solid financial history that you trust.

💡 Quick Tip: Fund your education with a low-rate, no-fee SoFi private student loan that covers all school-certified costs.

Applying for Student Loans With FAFSA®

To start the federal student loan application process, fill out the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Filling out the FAFSA is free, and it doesn’t commit you to any particular type of loan. The FAFSA is also the tool used by many schools to determine a student’s full financial aid award, including scholarships, grants, work-study, and federal student loans.

You can explore student loan and scholarship information for more ways to help cover the costs of college.

Applying for Private Student Loans

To get a private student loan, potential borrowers will apply directly with the private lender of their choosing. Each loan application may vary slightly by lender as will the terms and interest rates. Private student loans don’t have the same borrower protections that federal student loans offer, such as income-driven repayment plans or deferment or forbearance options. Therefore, they’re generally considered as a last resort, after all other sources of aid have been exhausted.

Parent PLUS Loans

Students aren’t the only ones who can apply for federal financial aid. Parents of undergrad students that are enrolled at least half-time can apply to receive aid on their behalf via the Parent PLUS Loan.

This is another type of unsubsidized federal loan, but it’s more restrictive in that both parents and children need to meet the minimum eligibility requirements. This type of federal student loan requires a credit check.

Like private loans, borrowers who don’t have optimal credit history may apply with a cosigner to guarantee a PLUS loan. And students are still typically able to seek additional unsubsidized loans for themselves to cover any gaps.

💡 Quick Tip: Parents and sponsors with strong credit and income may find much lower rates on no-fee private parent student loans than federal parent PLUS loans. Federal PLUS loans also come with an origination fee.

Tips for Building Credit

Entering college can be a smart time to start establishing credit. A borrower’s credit score could mean the difference between getting a good deal on a loan, or not getting a loan at all. Even a few points higher or lower might impact the interest rates a borrower may qualify for.

There are a number of sites that let you see your credit score for free and offer notifications if there are changes, so it’s easy to keep track of where you are.

The number that signifies “good” credit is between 670-739 for FICO Scores®. These scores are determined by factors such as the number of credit accounts a person has and how they are managed. One way to start building credit is to open some kind of credit account, and then make regular payments.

Paying bills on time, the credit mix you have, and your credit utilization ratio may all play a role in determining a credit score. While everyone’s circumstances are unique, try to make bill payments on time. Another general rule of thumb to aim for is to keep the credit utilization ratio under 30%.

The Takeaway

Most federal student loans do not require a credit check and may be considered no credit check student loans. They are available to borrowers with no credit history. Parent PLUS loans are one exception as they are federal student loans that do require a credit check.

Private student loans also require a credit check. Students with a limited credit history may have the option to apply with a cosigner if they are interested in borrowing a private student loan. As noted earlier, however, adding a cosigner does not necessarily guarantee approval for a loan.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


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What Is Consumer Debt, and How Can You Get Out of It?

Consumer debt refers to any money you borrow for personal, family, or household purposes. It includes credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and payday loans.

White “debt” can have negative connotations, having consumer debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Borrowing money allows you to achieve your goals, such as buying a house or going to college. However, consumer debt can become a burden if you borrow too much or for the wrong reasons.

Unfortunately, many Americans are currently saddled with high levels of debt. According to a recent credit and loan review by Experian, the average person in the U.S. had a total consumer debt balance of $101,915 in 2022. This number includes mortgages, credit card balances, auto loans, personal loans, and student loans.

If you’re curious about consumer debt or worried that you may have too much, read on. What follows is an in-depth look at the different types of consumer debt, including how each can help — or hurt — your finances, plus how to pay off high levels of consumer debt.

What Is Consumer Debt?


Consumer debt, as its name implies, is debt held by consumers, meaning private individuals as opposed to governments or businesses. It includes debts you may already have or might seek in the future — credit cards, student loans, auto loans, personal loans, and mortgages. It doesn’t include business loans or lines of credit or business credit cards.

Consumer debt products are offered by banks, credit unions, online lenders, and the federal government. They generally fall into two major categories: revolving debt and non-revolving debt.

With revolving debt, you repay your debt monthly (credit cards are a prime example). With non-revolving debt, you receive a loan in one lump sum and then repay it in fixed payments over a defined term. Non-revolving credit typically includes auto loans, student loans, mortgages, and personal loans.

Consumer debt can also be broken down into secured vs unsecured debt. Secured debt is debt backed by an asset (such as a home or car) used as collateral. If the loan isn’t paid back, the lender has the option to seize the asset. Unsecured debt, on the other hand, does not require collateral. The lender simply relies on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

The Different Types of Consumer Debt


Consumer debts vary widely in terms of how they work, their terms, and their impact on your financial well-being. Here a closer look at some of the most common types of consumer debt.

Mortgage Debt


Mortgage debt is the most common (as well as the largest) type of debt in the U.S. This type of consumer loan is used to purchase a home and the home is used as collateral.

Mortgages are installment loans, which means you pay them back in a set number of payments (installments) over the term of the loan, typically 15 or 30 years. Mortgage interest rates are usually lower than other types of consumer loans, and the interest may be tax deductible if you itemize your taxes.

If you make your payments on time, a mortgage can have a positive impact on your credit profile, since it shows you are a responsible borrower. If you stop making payments on a mortgage, however, it can negatively impact your credit. Plus, the lender can begin the foreclosure process, which typically includes seizing the property and selling it to recoup its losses.

Student Loan Debt


Student loans are unsecured installment debt used to pay for education expenses, such as tuition and room and board. They are offered by federal or private lenders and issued in one lump-sum payment. The borrower is then responsible for making repayments in regular amounts, typically after they graduate or are no longer in school.

Student loans are often one of the first debts consumers take on and can be an important way to build a positive credit history, provided you make on-time payments. Interest rates vary by lender. If you get a student loan from the U.S. Department of Education, the interest rate is set by the federal government and will remain fixed over the life of the loan.

Depending on your income, interest paid on student loans may be tax-deductible up to certain limits.

Auto Loan Debt


Auto loans are secured installment loans used to purchase a vehicle. These loans can have varying terms and interest rates, and the vehicle serves as collateral for the loan. You can get an auto loan through a bank or through a lender connected with a car dealership.

Unlike a house, a car depreciates in value over time. As a result, you, ideally, only want to take out financing for a vehicle if you can get a low interest rate. Some car companies offer low- or no-interest financing deals for individuals with good credit.

You get the proceeds of an auto loan in one lump sum then repay that amount, plus any interest, in a set number of payments (typically made monthly) over an agreed-upon period of time, often three to six years. If you stop making payments, the lender can repossess your car and sell it to get back its money.

Like other types of consumer loans, making on-time payments on your auto loan can help you build a positive credit history.

Personal Loans


Personal loans are consumer loans that individuals can use for a wide variety of purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvements, or emergency expenses. You can get a personal loan with an online lender, bank, or credit union. They typically have fixed interest rates and set repayment terms, often two to seven years.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, meaning you don’t need to provide any collateral. Instead, lenders look at factors like credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and cash flow when assessing a borrower’s application.

Once approved for a personal loan, you receive a lump sum (which can be anywhere form $1,000 to $50,000 or more) and start paying it back, plus interest, in fixed monthly payments over the loan’s term. On-time loan payments can help build your credit, but missed payments can damage it.

Recommended: Typical Personal Loan Requirements Needed for Approval

Credit Card Debt


Credit card debt arises from using credit cards to make purchases or cover expenses. This type of debt is revolving, meaning you don’t have to pay it off at the end of the loan term (usually the end of the month). If you carry a balance from month to month, you pay interest on the outstanding amount.

Credit card debt is an unsecured loan, since it isn’t tied to a physical asset the lender can repossess to cover the debt if you don’t pay your bills. Interest rates vary depending on the card, your credit scores, and your history with the lender, but currently average around 24%.

To remain in good standing, you’re required to make a minimum payment on your balance each month. However, only paying the minimum allows interest to accrue, which can make the debt increasingly harder to pay off. As a result, credit card debt is often the most problematic type of debt for consumers.

A long history of making on-time payments can have a positive impact on your credit profile, while missing and late payments (and using a large amount of your available credit line) can have a negative impact on your credit.

Payday Loans


Payday loans are a type of short-term credit offered to consumers looking to get access to cash fast. Generally, these loans are for relatively small amounts of money ($500 or less) and must be repaid in a single payment on your next payday, hence the name. Payday loans are typically available through storefront payday lenders or online.

Although these fast-cash offers can be tempting, the high cost associated with them make them a last resort. A typical two-week payday loan will charge $15 for every $100 you borrow, which is the equivalent of a whopping 400% annual percentage rate (APR).

Generally, payday loans are not reported to the three major consumer credit bureaus, so they are unlikely to impact your credit scores.

Pros and Cons of Consumer Debt

There are both benefits and drawbacks to consumer debt. Here’s a look at how they stack up.

Pros of Consumer Debt

•   Access to immediate funds Consumer debt allows individuals to make large purchases (like a home or car) or cover expenses (like a college education) when they do not have the necessary cash on hand.

•   Building credit history Responsible borrowing and timely repayments can help establish and improve an individual’s credit history and credit score.

•   Emergency financial support Consumer debt, such as a personal loan, can provide a safety net in unexpected situations when someone needs funds immediately.

Cons of Consumer Debt

•   High interest rates Many forms of consumer debt, such as credit card debt or payday loans, carry high interest rates, making them costly in the long run.

•   Risk of overborrowing Without careful financial planning, consumer debt can lead to excessive borrowing, making it difficult to manage monthly payments and potentially causing financial stress.

•   Negative impact on financial goals Excessive consumer debt can hinder individuals from achieving long-term financial goals, such as saving for retirement or buying a home.

Getting Out of Consumer Debt


To get out from under unhealthy levels of consumer debt, consider the following steps:

•   Assess your debts You might start by making a list of all your debts, noting balances, interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. This will allow you to see where you stand and make a plan for debt repayment.

•   Create a budget Next, you’ll want to assess your average monthly income and expenses to determine how much you can allocate towards debt repayment each month. At the same time, you may want to look for ways to cut back on nonessential spending; any funds you free up can go towards extra payments.

•   Prioritize repayment If you have multiple high-interest debts, you may want to focus on paying off the highest-interest debt first, while making minimum payments on other debts. Or, you might focus on repaying the debt with the smallest balance, making minimum payments on all your debts. Once that is paid off, you move on the next-highest balance.

•   Explore debt consolidation options Consider consolidating multiple debts into a single loan to simplify repayment and, ideally, save money. One way to do this is through a debt consolidation loan, a personal loan that may come with lower interest rates than your existing debts.

•   Negotiate with creditors Another option is to reach out to your creditors to see if you can negotiate lower interest rates, extended payment terms, or possible debt settlement options.

•   Seek professional help if needed If you are struggling with debt, you may want to consult a nonprofit credit counseling service. Credit counselors help you go over your debts to devise a plan for repayment, and they can also help you with budgeting and other personal finance basics.

The Takeaway

Consumer debt is debt you take on for personal, rather than business, reasons. But all consumer debt is not created equal. Some debts, such as mortgages or student loans, can be characterized as “good” debts, since they can benefit your long-term financial health. Other debts, like high-interest credit card debt or payday loans, on the other hand, can be considered “bad debts,” since they can put your financial health at risk.

If you’re having trouble paying off your consumer debts, you may want to consider debt consolidation. With a low fixed interest rate on loan amounts from $5K to $100K, a SoFi personal loan for debt consolidation could substantially lower how much you pay each month. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.

See if a personal loan from SoFi is right for you.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Credit Card Late Payment Consequences

Missing a credit card payment can happen to anyone. But a credit card late payment may also come with certain consequences, such as late fees, interest accrued on the credit card balance, and potential negative impacts to your credit score. The longer you go without paying your bill, the more consequences you may experience.

Here’s a look at what happens if you miss a credit card payment and solutions to help prevent this from happening in the first place.

When Is a Credit Card Payment Considered Late?

As soon as you fail to pay your credit card bill by the due date, it’s considered past due. Your credit card company may send you notices about it in the form of calls, emails, letters, or texts. You could also face some financial consequences for being late.

What Happens if You Make a Late Credit Card Payment?

The Credit Card Balance Could Increase

Even if you didn’t use the card to make new purchases during a particular billing cycle, making a late payment could still potentially increase your balance in a few different ways.

With even the first missed due date, the credit card company can charge a late fee of up to $30. If you miss another payment within the next six billing cycles, the late fee can go up to $41.

The silver lining here is that the late fee can’t be more than the minimum amount due on the account. So, for instance, if your minimum payment is $25, your late fee won’t exceed $25.

There’s also a chance the creditor could increase your interest rate if your payment is late by a certain number of days. Increasing your interest rate will also increase your total credit card balance because that new, higher rate (generally referred to as a “penalty APR”) will apply to the entire unpaid balance.

Not all credit card companies have penalty APRs for late payments, so check with your credit card company to verify.

Recommended: What Is APR on a Credit Card?

Your Credit Score Might Be Affected

Your credit score includes information about your credit history, such as your payment history and the standing of your accounts, so a late payment could have a negative impact.

Generally, creditors send information to credit bureaus using different codes to indicate if a payment is current or late. Since there is no credit code for payments that are one to 29 days late, they may use a “current” code.

Once the payment is more than 30 days late, however, creditors generally use the “late” code to denote that the payment is delinquent. But different creditors will send different codes at different times so there’s no way to know for sure when you will see the late payment reflected in your credit report.

Creditors may not report a late payment to credit bureaus until a full billing cycle has gone by with no repayment (typically 30 days). So, for example, if your payment’s due date was the 11th and you paid on the 13th, there’s a chance your credit won’t take a hit.

Although every situation is different, a late payment might end up staying on your credit report for several years. And because credit history is just one factor used to determine your credit score, it’s hard to predict exactly how a late payment will impact your overall score.

The Balance Could Be Charged Off

Another consequence of not paying your credit card bill is that the credit card company may not allow you to continue to use your card for other purchases until your account is in good standing.

What’s more, if your payment is 180 days past due, the credit card company can close your account and charge off the balance. “Charging off” means the credit card company will permanently close the account and write it off as a loss, but the debtor still owes the balance remaining.

Sometimes, credit card companies will attempt to recover what’s owed through their own collection department, but charged-off debts are sometimes sold to third-party collection agencies, which then attempt to get payment from the debtor.

Credit card companies do have leeway to work with their customers. Under FDIC regulations governing retail credit, the creditor can help customers who have had financial setbacks — like job loss or the death of a family member — get back on track.

This leniency is typically shown to people who are willing and able to repay their outstanding debt, and the FDIC encourages creditors to proceed with this step with a structured repayment plan and to monitor the progress of the plan.

Consolidate your credit card debt
and get back in control.


How to Resolve a Credit Card Late Payment

Make a Payment Right Away

If the payment just slipped your mind, don’t panic. Paying the credit card balance in full immediately helps avoid accruing interest charges and potentially saves your credit score from dropping. Alternatively, you might want to ask your credit card company about arranging a payment plan to minimize the damage.

Negotiate Fees

Even though your credit score may not drop because of one missed payment, you may incur late fees or a penalty interest rate (or, more accurately, a penalty APR as mentioned above), which will likely increase your total balance.

However, sometimes credit card companies are willing to work with customers to waive those fees. Calling your credit card company to request a waiver of late fees could be a first step, especially if your account is up to date and you’re not a repeat offender.

If your credit card company seems unwilling to change your rate back to the original amount, you might consider asking if they will do so once you show responsible payment history.

Automate Your Credit Card Payments

To help prevent any late payments in the future, you may want to consider setting up autopay to cover the minimum payment on your credit cards.

This way, if a payment slips your mind, you shouldn’t face any late payment consequences. Setting your bill to be automatically paid in full a few days before the payment is due can ensure you pay your balance in time.

If you would prefer not to sign up for autopay, many credit card companies have an option to sign up for notifications that remind you when your payments are due.

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

To avoid late credit card payments once and for all, you may want to consider solutions for getting out of credit card debt entirely. Strategies depend on your unique financial situation, of course, but here are some you might want to explore.

Budget to Get Out of Debt

Creating a budget can help you better manage your money so you know what you have coming in and going out. You can use either a simple spreadsheet or a spending tracker app to simplify your efforts.

Once you have a handle on how much extra money you can put toward your debt, you may want to select a debt repayment strategy, such as the snowball method or avalanche method.

With the snowball method, the focus is on paying off the smallest debt balance first and then moving on to the second smallest debt balance, and so on, while still making minimum payments on all debt. This type of method is meant to give a psychological boost.

The avalanche method tackles the debt with the highest interest rate. Since you’re starting with the most expensive debt, this strategy can be a big money saver in the long run.

Open a Balance Transfer Credit Card

If your credit is in good standing, opening a balance transfer credit card could be a solution. Usually, these types of credit cards come with low or 0% APRs for a certain period.

Some companies may offer up to 21 months of interest-free payments during the promotional period. But it’s important to note that while the introductory period might be interest-free, you may still have to pay a balance transfer fee between 2% and 5%.

Ideally, you would pay your credit card balance in full by the time the introductory period is over, which would allow you to avoid interest payments on the debt.

Keep in mind, however, many balance transfer credit cards have restrictions. For example, if you make a late payment, you may lose your introductory rate.

Another limitation may be that your introductory APR only applies to the transferred balance and all other transactions may have a higher rate.

Before taking out another line of credit, understand that it can impact your total credit score. Credit scores are calculated using several factors, including credit history and new credit, both of which could be affected when opening a new account.

Consolidate Debt with a Personal Loan

Another option may be to combine separate payments into one credit card consolidation loan, hopefully for a reduced interest rate. While a loan doesn’t erase your debt, it can help you focus on one monthly payment, which might enable you to pay down your debt faster.

As you compare rates, it’s important to understand how a new loan could pay off in the long run. If your monthly payment is lower because the loan term is longer, for example, it might not be a good strategy, because it means you may be making more interest payments and therefore paying more over the life of the loan. You can use an online personal loan calculator to get an idea of how much interest you could save by using a personal loan to pay off debt.

Recommended: 11 Types of Personal Loans & Their Differences

The Takeaway

Late credit card payments can happen to anyone, but unfortunately, they may come with consequences, like late fees, interest, or a temporary hit to your credit score. And the longer your bill goes unpaid, the more consequences you may experience. Fortunately, there are ways to resolve a late payment, starting with making a payment as soon as you realize one is overdue. If you incurred penalty fees, you can ask your credit card company for a one-time waiver and look into setting up automatic payments to ensure your future bills are paid on time.

Looking into ways to pay down your debt? Budgeting is one solution, as it helps you keep tabs on where your money is going. If combining multiple bills into one fixed monthly payment, at a potentially reduced interest rate, is part of your strategy, then a credit card consolidation loan may be an option to consider. (Debt management is a common use for a personal loan.)

If you are thinking about taking out a loan to consolidate your debt, a SoFi personal loan may be a good option for your unique financial situation. SoFi personal loans offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.

See if a personal loan from SoFi is right for you.

FAQ

Can you go to jail for not paying credit card bills?


No, you can’t be arrested for not paying your credit card bills.

What happens if you never pay your credit card bill?


There are some serious potential ramifications for not paying your bills. The delinquency may be noted on your credit report, which can damage your credit score. You could even face a civil lawsuit if the debt goes unpaid.

Can my creditor garnish my wages for not paying my credit card?


Yes, if your credit card debt has been sold to a debt collector, and the collector has a court judgment, then they can garnish your bank account or wages.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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