By now, it just makes sense to do your banking online. Between fast Internet and lingering concerns about the pandemic, it’s an easy and socially distanced way to get the cash you need in an emergency.
Convenient though it may be, borrowing online is still an enormous decision that can have a big impact on your finances in the future. You need to make sure it’s the right option for your emergency today.
Here are some things you should consider when finding the right fit.
Location may seem unnecessary considering you’re on the Internet but narrowing your search by state is important. Each state has unique lending laws regulating the financial products available in-person or online. What might be available in Minnesota isn’t an option in California and vice versa.
When searching for a line of credit online, you’ll have to specify your state. Otherwise, your search engine will generate thousands of results, some of which aren’t available for your location.
Some financial institutions make it obvious they offer a Minnesota line of credit. For example, they’ll make sure to mention the state in the details of a CC Flow Line of Credit in Minnesota. But other lenders may keep things generic until you get to the application page.
Rather than wasting time filling out an application for something you can’t get, be specific. If you live in Minnesota, use this search at the start: personal line of credit Minnesota.
From there, make sure you check what else you need to apply. Go through the entire list carefully to ensure you don’t miss anything.
If you are approved, get ready for more reading. The terms make up your line of credit’s rulebook, outlining the nitty-gritty details about this product. It tells you important things about how and when you’ll pay it back, including:
- Interest rate
- Finance charges
- Late penalties
- Billing statement schedule
- Minimum payment
You can overlook important dates or costs by only skimming these details before you sign. Even worse, you can miss hidden fees that may be buried within the fine print.
If you don’t factor in all the details, you might accept a line of credit you can’t afford. So always make sure you read your contract front to back before you sign across the dotted line.
3. Your Budget
How can you tell if you can afford a line of credit without first referring to your budget? This spending plan shows you how much disposable cash you have to put towards payments. Without it, you may not realize you have less money on hand than you realize.
Generally speaking, you should treat your line of credit like any cash advance or installment loan. Try to pay your balance in full by the due date, even though you have some more leniency with its minimum payment.
If you can’t bring your balance to zero, look at the rest of your budget to see what you can cut, like subscription fees or regular takeout. The sacrifices may be temporary, and they may help you find more cash to pay off your credit faster.
At the very least, use your budget to figure out a plan to pay as much of it off as possible at each billing statement.
Keep These 3 Things in Mind
If you’re looking for a line of credit, remember these tips — they’ll help you find the best possible option available today.