Signing paperwork

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan After Bankruptcy

Your chances of qualifying for a personal loan after a bankruptcy depend in part on the type and date of your filing, your credit scores, and your income. If you are approved, you likely will pay a higher interest rate or fees.

A bankruptcy will remain on your credit reports for up to seven to 10 years, but with effort, your credit scores can become healthier during that time and beyond. While you should always consult with a qualified accountant or attorney regarding your finances post-bankruptcy, and never rely on a blog post like this one, here are a few tips to help you understand what to expect.

Two Main Types of Bankruptcy Filings

While bankruptcy can feel like an isolating experience, it’s not uncommon. Every year, hundreds of
thousands
of individuals file petitions, though it’s a figure dwarfed by the 1.6 million in late 2010, when a wave of filings spurred by the Great Recession crested.

There are two main types of bankruptcy available to individuals, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. With both, typically a bankruptcy trustee reviews the bankruptcy petition, looks for any red flags, and tries to maximize the amount of money unsecured creditors will get.

About 70% of the petitions in 2020 were filed under Chapter 7, and 30% were filed under Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This is often called liquidation bankruptcy because the trustee assigned to the case sells, or “liquidates,” nonexempt assets in order to repay creditors.

Many petitioners, though, can keep everything they own in what is known as a “no-asset case .” Most states let you keep clothing, furnishings, a car, money in qualified retirement accounts, and some equity in your home if you’re a homeowner. (Each state has a set of exemption laws, but federal exemptions exist as well, and you might be able to choose between them — definitely talk to a professional about this.)

After the bankruptcy process is complete, typically within three to six months, most unsecured debt is wiped away. The filer receives a discharge of debt that releases them from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This form, aka reorganization bankruptcy or a wage earner’s plan, allows petitioners whose debt falls under certain thresholds to keep all their assets if they agree to a repayment plan for three to five years. A trustee collects the money and pays unsecured creditors an amount equal to the value of nonexempt assets, according to Experian .

Once the terms of the plan are met, most of the remaining qualifying debt is erased.

If the debtor’s monthly income is less than the state median, the plan will be for three years unless the court approves a longer period. If the debtor’s monthly income is greater than the state median, the plan generally must be for five years, according to uscourts.gov .

Certain debts can’t be discharged through a court order, even in bankruptcy. They include most student loans, most taxes, child support, alimony, and court fines. You also can’t discharge debts that come up after the date you filed for bankruptcy.

Will Bankruptcy Ruin My Credit?

A bankruptcy will be considered a “very negative event” on your FICO® Score, the folks at FICO say, but the severity depends on a person’s entire credit profile.

Someone with a super high credit score could expect a “huge” drop, but someone with negative items already on their credit reports might see only a modest drop, FICO says .

The good news is that the negative effect of the bankruptcy will lessen over time.

Lenders who check credit reports will learn about a bankruptcy filing for years afterward. Specifically:

•   For Chapter 7, up to 10 years after the filing

•   For Chapter 13, up to seven years

Still, filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean you can’t ever get approved for a loan. Your credit scores can improve if you stay up to date on your repayment plan or your debts are discharged — among other steps that can be taken.

You may even be able to help your credit scores during bankruptcy by making the required payments on any outstanding debts, whether or not you have a repayment plan. Of course, everyone’s circumstances and goals are different so, again, always consult a professional with questions.

That said, realize that some lenders deny credit to any applicant with a bankruptcy on a credit report, according to VantageScore®, which, like FICO, calculates credit scores.

Should I Apply for a Loan After Bankruptcy?

Before applying for an unsecured personal loan, meaning a loan is not secured by collateral, it’s a good idea to get copies of your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Make sure that your reports represent your current financial situation and check for any errors.

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and had your debts discharged, they should appear with a balance of $0. If you filed for Chapter 13, the credit report should accurately reflect payments that you’ve made as part of your repayment plan.

Next, you can consider getting prequalified for a personal loan and comparing offers from several lenders. They will likely ask you to supply contact and personal information as well as details about your employment and income.

If you see a loan offer that you like, you’ll complete an application and provide documentation about the information you provided. Most lenders will consider your credit history and debt-to-income ratio, among other personal financial factors.

A heads-up on “no credit check” loans: They usually have high fees or a high annual percentage rate (APR).

If You’re Approved for a Personal Loan

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s smart to take the following steps:

Read the Fine Print

Since you have or had a bankruptcy on your record, the terms of your offer may be less than favorable, so consider whether you feel like you’re getting a reasonable deal.

People with “average” to bad credit scores might see APRs on personal loans ranging from nearly 18% to 32%. Make sure you are clear on your interest rate and fees, and compare offers from different lenders to make the choice that works for you.

Avoid Taking Out More Than You Need

You’re paying interest on the money you borrow, so it’s generally better to only borrow funds that you actually need. Further, it’s probably wise to only take out as much as you can afford to repay on time, because paying on time is an important key to rebuilding your credit.

If You’re Not Approved for a Personal Loan

If you are denied a personal loan, don’t despair. You may have options for moving forward:

Appealing to the Lender

You can try to explain the factors that led you to file for bankruptcy and how you have turned things around, whether that’s a record of on-time payments or improved savings. The lending institution may not change its mind, but there’s always a possibility the lender can adjust its decision case by case.

You likely have the best chance at an institution that you’ve worked with for years or one that is less bound to one-size-fits-all formulas — a local credit union, community bank, online lender, or peer-to-peer lender.

Looking Into Applying With a Co-signer

A co-signer who has a strong credit and income history may be able to help you qualify for a loan. But keep in mind that if you can’t pay, the co-signer may be responsible for paying back your loan.

Building Your Credit

It’s OK to take some time to try to improve your credit scores before reapplying for an unsecured personal loan. You still have a chance to work toward reducing your other debt.

The Takeaway

Getting approved for an unsecured personal loan after bankruptcy isn’t impossible, but it’s a good idea to compare offers, go in with eyes wide open about interest rates and fees, and gauge whether it’s the right time to borrow.

SoFi offers unsecured fixed-rate personal loans with no fees. Adding a co-borrower may help you qualify for a loan or a lower interest rate.

Find your rate in two minutes, with no commitment.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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50 Charities to Support This Year

34 Charities To Support This Year

There are plenty of reasons people want to give to charities. Not only can it be a great way to support a cause you care about, there can be tax benefits as well. So how do you narrow down which charities to donate to?

What constitutes a good organization to donate to may vary depending on how much you’re donating, if you want to give money, time or other donations, and what causes are close to your heart. As a rule of thumb, though, it’s smart to research any organization you plan to support.

In order to help you do that, we reached out to CharityWatch , an independent watchdog organization founded in 1993. CharityWatch specializes in reviewing and ranking charities based on their financial reporting, including their:

•   Audited financial statements

•   Tax forms

•   Annual reports

•   State filings

Methodology: Ranking the Best Charities to Support

We used CharityWatch’s list of top charities to put together our list, using only those charities with an A+ ranking.

CharityWatch ranks charities based on the following calculations:

•   Program Percentage: The percent of total expenses the charity spends on charitable programming (as opposed to expenses such as fundraising, management, and operations)

•   Cost to Raise $100: How much it costs a charity to bring in $100 in cash donations from the public.

CharityWatch then assigns charities a letter grade, ranging from A+ to F. CharityWatch’s full methodology for ranking top charities to donate to can be found online.

Of the more than 600 charities the organization has ranked, only 34 have an A+ ranking at the time of this writing. (Please note CharityWatch updates rankings regularly, which is why we’ve linked to their rankings for each of the following organizations. Each charity’s website is linked on each of CharityWatch’s rating pages.)

1. Action Against Hunger-USA

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

Action Against Hunger-USA ‘s mission statement is to prevent, detect, and treat under-nutrition. The organization aims to tackle the underlying causes of hunger, and they also help regions experiencing conflict or natural disasters meet their nutritional needs.

2. All Hands and Hearts

Program Percentage: 96%
Cost to Raise $100: $1

All Hands and Hearts aims to address short- and long-term needs of communities after natural disasters. This includes helping rebuild homes, schools, and infrastructure.

3. American Kidney Fund

Program Percentage: 97%
Cost to Raise $100: $2

American Kidney Fund helps those suffering from kidney disease during every step of the process. That includes prevention, early detection, disease management, and post-transplant. The organization provides those in need with financial support and other resources they need to manage their kidney disease.

4. Animal Welfare Institute

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $1

Animal Welfare Institute helps animals who have suffered because of human cruelty. The organizations aims to reduce animal cruelty through advocacy and education.

5. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America (National Office)

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $7

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America (National Office) pairs children facing adversity with a “brother” or “sister” mentor who can provide them support. They also offer training and workshops about child safety.

6. Catholic Relief Services

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $10

Catholic Relief Services assists the poor in the U.S. and across the globe. Its goal is to prevent and end poverty regardless of the races, religions, or nationalities of those in need.

7. Child Find of America

Program Percentage: 92%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

Child Find of America aims to both prevent child abductions and find abducted children. Part of that work involves responding to the family conflicts and crises that may lead to potential abduction or abuse.

8. Comic Relief

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $8

Comic Relief uses entertainment to eliminate poverty, improve children’s lives, and help disadvantaged individuals around the world. The organization is well known for its Red Nose Day fundraiser, in which people can buy a red clown nose to raise money to help end child poverty.

9. Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS)

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $7

Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) helps families and coworkers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The organization provides them with resources to help rebuild their lives after the death, and it also provides training to law enforcement on how to help surviving co-workers and families.

10. Conservation Fund

Program Percentage: 95%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

Conservation Fund helps protect America’s land and water resources with the help of public, private, and nonprofit partner organizations. The fund also helps educate the public about sustainability, resource management, and creating environmental goals for individuals, communities, or organizations.

11. Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation

Program Percentage: 93%
Cost to Raise $100: $2

Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation’s mission is to prevent and treat diabetes. It helps fund new research to help cure diabetes and diabetes-related illnesses and complications.

12. DonorsChoose.org

Program Percentage: 94%
Cost to Raise $100: $5

DonorsChoose.org aims to help raise awareness about accountability issues and educational inequality in public schools. It seeks to create a world in which all American children have equal access to high-quality education by engaging the public in educational issues and reform.

13. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $9

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s mission is to prevent pediatric HIV infections. Through education, research, advocacy, and treatment, the organization aims to help end pediatric AIDS.

14. Environmental Defense Action Fund

Program Percentage: 98%
Cost to Raise $100: $2

The Environmental Defense Action Fund seeks to educate the public about the environment and conservation. The organization also advocates for legislation and policies it believes will protect the environment.

15. Fisher House Foundation

Program Percentage: 93%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

The Fisher House Foundation creates and furnishes “Fisher Houses” for military and veteran families to stay at while a loved one is in the hospital. The organization also provides further financial assistance and scholarships to military families.

16. Friends of Animals

Program Percentage: 94%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

Friends of Animals aims to help animals experiencing cruelty or institutional exploitation. They help fund and create litigation for no-free shelters, protect wild animals’ ability to roam freely, and more.

17. Hearing Health Foundation

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $7

Hearing Health Foundation works to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus. It also hopes to develop a cure for both by supporting research and hearing health education.

18. Hispanic Federation

Program Percentage: 94%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

Hispanic Federation is a Latino nonprofit organization aiming to advocate and advance Hispanic communities and families. It provides communities with a variety of services and resources for education, health, immigration, civil engagement, economic empowerment, and more.

19. Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Program Percentage: 92%
Cost to Raise $100: $1

Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides scholarships and student services to help Hispanic students prepare for and earn their college degree. The organization provides students with support services and other resources they need to not only make it into the college classroom, but to succeed in college and after graduation.

20. Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

Program Percentage: 92%
Cost to Raise $100: $5

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund helps military members who have traumatic brain injuries or PTSD. The organization provides them access to treatment centers to help them continue to serve or enjoy life post-service.

21. Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $6

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation seeks to invest in research and education to find a cure for multiple myeloma. The organization also helps fund innovative new ways to treat myeloma and extend the lives of those affected by it.

22. National Alliance to End Homelessness

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

National Alliance to End Homelessness aims to help prevent and end U.S. homelessness. The organization seeks to educate the public on the causes of homelessness and potential solutions.

23. National Council on Aging

Program Percentage: 95%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

The National Council on Aging seeks to help older Americans who may be struggling financially, physically, mentally, or experiencing other issues. It also educates caregivers and advocates on how best to serve the elder community.

24. Pathfinder International

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

Pathfinder International works to ensure that everyone around the world has the right to a healthy sexual and reproductive life. During COVID-19, the organization is also helping vulnerable communities survive the crisis.

25. PetSmart Charities

Program Percentage: 95%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

PetSmart Charities helps pets find life-long homes. The organization hosts adoption events and centers, as well educational and training programs to help humans learn how to support pets in need.

26. Population Services International

Program Percentage: 92%
Cost to Raise $100: $1

Population Services International provides those in developing countries with products and services to plan families and lead healthier lives. The organization also develops programming to help address gender-related health issues, including violence against women and women’s access to health services.

27. Prevent Child Abuse America (National Office)

Program Percentage: 90%
Cost to Raise $100: $6

Prevent Child Abuse America (National Office) aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in America. The organization educates the public on ways to build healthy environments for children using science and advocates for policies that protect children.

28. Scholarship America

Program Percentage: 95%
Cost to Raise $100: $2

Scholarship America helps American students make it into college classrooms through scholarships and educational support. The organization also provides mentorship to students and emergency grants for students at risk of dropping out for various reasons.

29. Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

Semper Fi & America’s Fund helps combat-wounded, critically ill, or catastrophically injured veterans and their families with financial, family, and wellness support programs. The program also helps veterans transition back into their communities after a serious combat-related injury.

30. Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Program Percentage: 93%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation seeks to honor fallen firefighter Stephen Siller, who died on duty on September 11, 2001. The organization helps the families of fallen firefighters and police officers pay off mortgages, among other programs.

31. Unbound

Program Percentage: 93%
Cost to Raise $100: $4

Unbound partners with families living in poverty to help them become self-sufficient and reach their full potential. The organization works with those experiencing poverty in 19 countries using Catholic theology to foster family and community relationship-building and self-empowerment.

32. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

Program Percentage: 98%
Cost to Raise $100: $3

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) aims to alleviate human suffering around the world caused by conflicts, war, natural disasters, and other causes of suffering. The organization has helped with refugee resettlement and other humanitarian missions.

33. Waterkeeper Alliance

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $7

Waterkeeper Alliance creates a network of global leaders to help protect peoples’ rights to clean water around the globe. The organization also has several campaigns to promote clean and safe energy, clean water, and to battle pollution caused by industrial meat farms, among other causes.

34. World Resources Institute

Program Percentage: 91%
Cost to Raise $100: $2

World Resources Institute aims to help people learn how to live in ways that better protect the environment for current and future generations. It educates the public on ways to make cities, energy, food, and businesses more environmentally friendly.

Making a Difference with Your Finances

Budgeting for charitable donations can be a good way to ensure your money helps the causes you care about. It can also benefit your finances if you receive a tax deduction for your donation. You could use that deduction to invest, reach your savings goals, contribute more to your retirement, or build up your emergency fund.

Recommended: How to Make End of Year Donations

The Takeaway

Need help learning how to make your money work for you and causes near and dear to your heart? Consider opening a SoFi Money® cash management account.

SoFi Money offers a special Vaults feature where you separate your savings from your spending, while still earning competitive interest on all your money. You can even set up a vault for your future charitable giving.

Photo credit: iStock/busracavus


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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How to Sell a Car You Still Have a Loan On

How to Sell a Car You Still Have a Loan On

When someone wants or needs to sell a vehicle, but they still owe money on it, the process can be different from selling one without a loan balance — in other words, with a vehicle that’s been paid off in full. This post will guide you through how to sell a car with a loan under a few different scenarios and then will offer tips on buying the next vehicle.

How to Sell a Car You Still Owe Money On

At a high level, selling a vehicle with a loan has three main steps:

1.    Gather important info.

2.    Determine if you have positive or negative equity.

3.    Pick a selling option.

We’ll explore each of these steps in more depth next.

Gather Important Info

First, get a sense of what the car is worth. This will depend upon its condition, so objectively look at your vehicle. How clean is it? How well has it been maintained? What does the body and interior look like? Examine other used cars like yours for sale and see how they’re priced.

Look at used car valuation guides, as well. They will have different values for trade-ins (when working with a dealership) than for private-party sales (when selling to an individual), and will also list retail values. Look at the one that will fit the situation.

Also, verify the payoff amount on the vehicle’s loan. This will include the principal balance plus any accrued interest and is often available online or can be obtained by calling the lender. During the conversation about selling a vehicle with a loan, you can also find out how to send the payoff amount to the lender and when the lender wants to receive it (before or after the sale of the car).

Recommended: 31 Ways to Save Money on Car Maintenance

Determine If You Have Positive or Negative Equity

The vehicle’s equity is the difference between the resale value and the amount owed on it, and this number can be positive or negative.

Let’s say that a vehicle is valued at $20,000 with a loan amount of $10,000; that car has a positive equity amount of $10,000. If, though, the vehicle is valued at $20,000 and the outstanding loan amount is $25,000, then it has negative equity of $5,000. Loans on cars with negative equity are referred to as “upside-down” or “underwater.”

So, when figuring out how to sell a car with a loan, the processes will differ based on whether the vehicle has positive or negative equity as well as the selling option you select.

Pick a Selling Option

If you have a car with an outstanding loan balance — and it isn’t practical or even possible to pay it off — then selling a car with a loan can typically be handled in one of three ways:

•   Selling it to a used car dealership.

•   Selling it privately to another person.

•   Trading it in.

Selling a Car to a Used Car Dealership

If a car dealership will buy used cars without requiring that you buy one from them during the transaction, then the process will probably be pretty straightforward. The dealer will offer you a certain dollar amount and, if you agree, they will pay off the lender in exchange for getting the vehicle’s title.

If there is positive equity on the vehicle, then you’ll get the money that remains after the loan balance is paid off. If it’s a negative equity situation, then you’d need to pay the difference between what the used car dealer is willing to pay and what it takes to pay off the loan.

For example, If a dealer offers $15,000 on a vehicle that has a $10,000 loan, then the dealer would take care of the loan payoff and provide the person selling the car the remaining money (minus any fees involved). In a negative equity situation, for example, if the vehicle’s value is $10,000 and the outstanding loan is $13,000, then the seller would need to chip in the difference (in this case, $3,000 plus any fees) to complete the sale and transfer the title to the buyer.

Recommended: Smarter Ways to Get a Car Loan

Selling a Car Privately

With a private sale, you might get more money than you would from a used car dealer (who needs to re-sell the vehicle at a profit), but you’d also need to take on more responsibility for managing the sale. This includes the transfer of title and payment of fees among other duties.

Steps to take include the following:

•   Get the current loan payoff from the lender (there will likely be interest owed beyond the principal amount).

•   Find out what paperwork they’ll need and how they want the process to work.

•   Have the buyer follow the lender’s procedures when paying for the car.

From the lender’s perspective, they want to ensure that they get paid. So, as just one possibility, they may have a buyer pay them the agreed-upon price for the vehicle. If it’s more than what’s owed, then the lender could give you the overage. If it’s less than what’s owed, you could give the bank the difference between the price and loan amount.

When selling a car with a loan privately, you’ll also need to handle any fees and forms with the motor vehicle department of your state.

Trading In a Car You Still Owe Money On

As a third possibility, you could trade in the car with a loan balance to a dealer as part of purchasing either a new or used car. The dealer will offer a certain amount of credit for the trade-in vehicle and if its value is more than the loan amount, that difference would go towards the purchase of the replacement vehicle.

If the loan amount is higher than the value, then the dealer may agree to combine the vehicle’s negative equity with the loan for the replacement vehicle. If this is the chosen route, the term may need to be extended to create affordable payments and this will potentially lead to more interest being paid on the new loan.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

The Takeaway

Selling a car with a loan is a little different from selling one that’s paid in full. When thinking about how to sell a financed car, it’s easier to do so if you have positive equity in your car but still can be doable with negative equity. Some options include selling to a dealer or to an individual or trading in the vehicle towards another one.

Setting up a SoFi Money® Vault as a car fund can be a good option for saving towards a new car if you’re considering selling your current vehicle. Account-holders earn interest on their deposits and pay zero fees, so more of your hard-earned money can be put toward your financial goals.

Learn how you can save, spend, and earn all in one place with SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/Sakkawokkie


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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When Should You Pay In Cash?

When Should You Pay in Cash?

It may seem old school to whip cash out of your wallet to pay for your purchases. But there are times when good-old greenbacks can actually be a better way to pay than tapping your credit card.

While credit can be a quick and convenient way to pay, using cash for many of your routine transactions can be more secure. Paying in cash can also help you save money, stick to your monthly spending budget, as well as duck savvy marketers.

Read on to learn when it’s better to pay with cash, and when plastic may be the ideal way to go.

The Benefits of Cash

You May Get a Discount

You may be rewarded for paying cash, like paying a lower price at the gas station or when you get take-out at a restaurant.

Many businesses pay a fee for accepting credit and debit cards, so they may be willing to charge you less if you’ll pay in cash. If you frequently fill up your tank, saving even 10 to 20 cents per gallon can add up to significant savings over time.

It Can Help You Avoid Overspending

When you tap or swipe your credit or debit card, you don’t physically see your money leaving your account. Since there’s no sense of immediacy or consequence, it can be easy to spend more than you originally intended.

If, on the other hand, you leave home with only the amount of money you need for the day in cash, your spending is likely to be more mindful and you may have a better chance of sticking to your budget.

Recommended: 9 Tips to Stop Overspending

There are Fewer Security Risks

Yes, someone could rob you when you are carrying cash. However, there is less risk of identity theft or your information getting stolen when you pay with cash vs a debit or credit card.

You Can Avoid Fees

Cash is a one-shot deal — the purchase you made won’t end up costing you a penny more. With credit and debit, however, you can end up paying additional charges down the line, from late fees and overdraft charges to interest payments on debt.

Recommended: How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

Times When You Should Pay in Cash

Your Tab is $10 or Less

It can be a good idea to carry cash for small purchases. Many retailers have a minimum amount of money you must spend in order to use debit or credit. If your purchase is under, you’ll have to throw in extra things (you probably don’t need) to meet the minimum.

When Shopping at a Small or Local Business

Small businesses often offer discounts for cash payments, since it helps them save on bank fees. This can be an easy way to support your local businesses and save a few dollars at the same time.

You Want to Keep Advertisers at Bay

You may have noticed that after you buy something with a credit or debit card, you often get hit with ads and offers for similar products. That’s because retailers can track their customers’ spending and share their information with a third party, who can then target them with ads.

This can be annoying, and also lead to more spending if you’re enticed by an offer. Using cash makes it much harder for businesses to collect and share your information.

Times When You Shouldn’t Pay With Cash

Buying a House

If real estate is hot where you live, you may be tempted (if you can) to plunk down cash to ensure you get that dream house before someone else does.

While buying a home with cash vs getting a mortgage may get you the house, it may not be the most prudent move in the long run, especially if it wipes out all of your savings.

A mortgage has tax benefits and timely payments can help you build good credit. Also, there could be better uses for all that cash, like investing in the stock market or elsewhere.

Business Expenses

If you own your own business, have a side gig, or do freelance work, it can be better to use credit (or even a check) to pay for business-related purchases. You’ll likely want a paper trail so you can deduct these expenses on your tax return.

Another potential perk of using credit is that it may offer some purchase protection in event something you buy for your business that breaks or gets stolen soon after you purchase it.

Paying Service Providers

You may think a service provider, whether it’s an electrician or an auto mechanic, did a good job, but only time will tell. Using credit can offer you some protection in the event that you experience problems with a service after you’ve already paid for it.

Renting a Car

Often your credit card will provide insurance on car rentals, but only if you use that form of payment, as opposed to debit or cash. Using credit for the car rental can help you avoid paying for something you don’t need to purchase.

Recommended: 10 Tips for the Cheapest Way to Rent a Car

You’re Looking to Build Credit

If you need to build your credit score, one way to accomplish that is to use your credit card on a regular basis and show that you’re responsible by paying what you owe each month, consistently and on time.

When Buying Electronics

Using your credit card instead of cash for electronics can be a big advantage if your credit card offers extended warranties as a cardmember benefit. This allows you to get peace of mind without having to pony up for the store’s warranty. And, you can simply pay off the balance as soon as the bill comes.

You’re Looking to Track Your Spending

If you’re looking to see where your money is going so you can track your spending and set up a monthly budget, it can be easier if you pay with credit or debit.

Your financial institution may even offer you a pie chart of your spending, broken down into categories. Seeing everything in black and white can help you become better at budgeting.

Alternatives to Using Cash

Cash vs Credit cards

A credit card can be a good alternative to cash if you are able to pay it off in full every month, and you do. If managed well, credit cards (even secured credit cards) can help you build credit to buy a home or another large purchase in the future.

Cash vs Debit cards

A debit card can be a good substitute for cash, as long as you know there’s money in the bank. By using a debit card, you’re not incurring any new high-interest debt. As long as you are not incurring any overdraft fees, or withdrawing money from ATMs that charge high fees, debit cards can be a simple way to make purchases.

Cash vs Financing or Loans

It can sometimes be better to pay for a major purchase, like a car or a home, with a loan rather than cash if the interest rate is lower than what you could likely earn by investing that money.

However, you’ll also want to keep in mind that there is risk involved in investing in the stock market, so there is always a chance that you could lose money.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

The Takeaway

Even as we move towards a more cashless society, it can be important to keep cash in your wallet and use it for certain everyday expenses.

Paying in cash can help you garner discounts at local businesses, stick to your budget, avoid paying overdraft and interest fees, protect against identity theft, and keep advertisers from targeting you.

There are times, however, when it can make more sense to pay with credit rather than cash. These can include: when you’re making business purchases and buying electronics and/or you’re looking to build credit or closely track your spending.

Another easy way to keep close tabs on your everyday spending is to open a SoFi Money® cash management account. With SoFi Money, you can easily track your weekly spending — and make sure you’re not going overboard — right in the dashboard of the app.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you keep better track of your money today.

Photo credit: iStock/towfiqu ahamed


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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
.

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.
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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Extended Car Warranties: Are They Worth It?

Extended Car Warranties: Are They Worth It?

When you buy a new or used car, the salesperson may offer you an extended warranty.

These policies are designed to cover the cost of certain repairs that occur after the manufacturer’s warranty — typically three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first) — comes to an end.

Extended warranties can offer peace of mind and, if you end up needing an expensive repair down the line, they can cover some, or all, of the cost.

However, extended warranties often come with a high price tag you may not have counted on when you were saving up for a car, and they generally don’t cover everything that could go wrong.

Read on to learn more about extended car warranties and their pros and cons to help you decide if it’s worth getting one for your car.

What is an Extended Car Warranty?

While all new cars (and some used cars) come with a manufacturer’s warranty, an extended warranty is an optional plan you can buy to help you pay for the cost of certain repairs your vehicle may need while you own it.

Extended car warranties, also called extended service contracts, typically cover the price of major repairs or replacements (with exclusions) for a certain number of years or number of miles.

The extended warranty usually begins when the manufacturer’s warranty expires, but sometimes the two overlap.

While these plans are often offered at the point of sale, you can typically purchase them any time until the original manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Extended warranties are also offered by third-party vendors. If you’re interested in getting an extended car warranty, it can be worth going online to compare policies from independent providers to see exactly what each one covers, what’s excluded, and how much it costs. This can help you decide which warranty would work best for you and whether it is worth getting.

What Does an Extended Car Warranty Cover?

Exactly what the policy covers will vary with every provider and the type of warranty you choose.

The only way to know for sure is to carefully read the extended warranty policy agreement, but here are some general rules of thumb.

What it Covers

Extended warranties typically cover the major mechanical parts of your car, such as the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, clutch, air-conditioning, and electricals, including in-car audio and navigation systems.

So if your engine blows or oil starts leaking, it will likely be covered. Coverage may not be 100 percent, however, and you may have to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.

Some policies also offer add-ons like 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, trip interruption service, and tire protection.

What it Doesn’t Cover

Generally, extended warranties won’t cover routine maintenance or damage caused by normal wear and tear, such oil changes, replacing the timing belt (unless it fails before the recommended replacement time), new tires, new brakes, windshield wipers, and more.

If an item isn’t listed in the policy, you can assume it’s not covered.

How Much Does An Extended Car Warranty Cost?

Pricing will vary depending on the type of vehicle, what the plan covers, what the deductible is, and the length of the contract. The upfront cost of the warranty can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

If you purchase a car warranty from a dealer and include it in your financing, you are likely also going to pay interest, which will increase the total cost of the warranty.

You might have to pay a deductible every time you submit a claim, plus kick in money for a portion of the bill.

Recommended: Smarter Ways to Get a Car Loan

Is an Extended Car Warranty Worth it?

Whether you should get an extended car warranty or not is a personal decision. It will depend on how reliable the car is and, if you’re buying a used car, how old the car is. It will also depend on how well you would be able to manage if your car encountered a problem that will be costly to fix.

Here are some pros and cons you may want to consider when making the decision.

Pros of an Extended Car Warranty

•   You may save money. If your car needs a very costly repair that’s covered under your extended warranty, you could save money. Instead of paying the entire bill out of pocket, you’d only be responsible for covering the deductible (if you have one) and then the warranty provider would pay for all or most of the rest.

•   It provides peace of mind. If you’re worried about how you’d cover a car repair bill, having an extended warranty can make you feel less stressed about something going wrong with your car. If your plan also incorporates roadside assistance, you won’t have to worry about breaking down on the road.

•   It can make your car more attractive to a future buyer. If you plan to sell your car down the road, a transferable warranty can make your car more appealing to prospective buyers.

Recommended: Is it Smart to Buy Your Leased Car?

Con of an Extended Car Warranty

•   You may never use it. Many people who purchase an extended car warranty don’t end up using it. And if they do, the cost of the repairs they need may be less than the cost of the warranty.

•   There may be overlap. If the coverage period of the extended warranty overlaps with the manufacturer’s warranty, you may end up paying for coverage you’re already getting at no cost.

•   Exclusions and limitations. Every contract comes with fine print that specifies how you can use the warranty. For example, the provider might deny coverage for a problem caused by normal wear and tear or reduce the payout based on your car’s depreciation. You may also be required to take the car to certain auto repair shops to be covered.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

How to Choose an Extended Car Warranty

If you decide an extended warranty makes sense for you, it’s a good idea to look at the policy contract closely — this is where you’ll find the fine print that spells out all the rules and exceptions — and not just the glossy brochure or the online advertising.

If the seller won’t show you this info before you sign on the dotted line, it can be wise to take your business elsewhere.

Here are some things you may want to look for in a contract before you sign:

•   Is there a deductible for each visit? You might have to pay $100 or more out of pocket every time you get a repair.

•   Is the service contract transferable to another owner? This is a consideration if you are thinking of selling your car down in the future. Typically, these contracts aren’t transferable if you sell to a dealer.

•   Does the service contract pay the repair shop? In some cases, you may have to foot the bill and then file a claim to get reimbursed. With this scenario, it’s possible that after you pay for a repair, the claim can be rejected.

•   What are the exclusions and requirements? You will need to read the fine print to find out what repairs are and aren’t covered and other limitations or restrictions.

•   Where can you go for repairs? Manufacturer-backed contracts typically require that you go to a dealer. Third-party vendors may have restrictions on where you can take your vehicle, or let you choose the repair shop.

The Takeaway

An extended warranty could add thousands of dollars to the purchase of a new or used car and may or may not be worth the price tag.

If you would have trouble covering the cost of a major repair and/or worrying about car expenses keeps you up at night, the cost of one of these contracts might be worth the peace of mind it can bring.

If you’re buying a vehicle with a reliable track record, however, it might make sense to skip the warranty and, instead, set aside the money you’d spend on it, then use the funds for needed repairs.

If you don’t end up using all of it for your car, you can keep saving it or use it for something else.

With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can actually create a separate savings “vault” for car repairs (or any other savings goal), then set up automatic transfers so you have a solid back-up when and if you need it.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you save for unexpected expenses.

Photo credit: iStock/Pekic


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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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