Refinancing your mortgage can bring your interest rate down, lower your monthly payments and generally save you some money. With rates still low, you may be pondering whether nowâs the right time to try for a better deal on your home loan. But you donât want to pull the trigger too soon. If any of the following apply to you, you may want to think twice before jumping on the refinancing bandwagon.
Compare refinance mortgage rates.
1. Your Creditâs Not in Great Shape
Refinancing when youâve got a few blemishes on your credit report isnât impossible, but itâs not necessarily going to work in your favor either. Even though lenders have relaxed certain restrictions on borrowing over the last year, qualifying for the best rates on a loan can still be tough if your score is stuck somewhere in the middle range.
If you took out an FHA loan the first time around, you might be able to get around your less-than-spotless credit with a streamline refinance, but approval isnât guaranteed. Interest rates are expected to rise toward the end of the year, but that still gives you some time to work on improving your score.
Getting rid of debt, limiting the number of new accounts you apply for and paying your bills on time will go a long way toward improving your number so that when you do refinance, youâll be eligible for the lowest interest rates.
Related Article: refinance closing costs.
3. A No-Closing Cost Loan Is Your Only Option
If you donât have a few thousand dollars to spare to cover the closing costs, you can always look into a no-closing cost loan. With this type of refinance, the lender folds the costs into the loan itself so you donât have to pay anything extra out of pocket. While thatâs a plus if youâre short on cash, you may be really putting yourself at a disadvantage in the long run. Increasing your mortgage (even if itâs just by a few thousand dollars) means youâre going to pay more interest over the life of the loan.
For example, letâs say you refinance a $200,000 mortgage at 4 percent for 30 years. Altogether, youâd pay $143,000 in interest if you donât pay anything extra. Your closing costs come to 3 percent but you roll them into the loan so youâre refinancing about $206,000 instead. That extra $6,000 would cost you another $11,000 in interest so you have to ask yourself whether the monthly savings from refinancing justify the overall added expense.
4. Compare Your Refinance Loan Options
Once youâre ready to refinance, itâs important to take the time to compare whatâs available from different lenders carefully. Checking out the rates and fees each lender charges ensures that you wonât spend any more money on a refinance loan than you need to.
Chase Credit Journey is one of the many credit monitoring services that gives you a credit score for free. Launched by Chase, Credit Journey also monitors your score and gives you advice on to improve it.
One of the best ways to get approved for a loan or a credit card is to have a good credit score. Think of this 3-digit number as a representation of your credit worthiness and credibility.
In fact, lenders use your credit score to see how risky it is for them to let you borrow. The higher your score, the better.
So, it is very important to use a free tool like Chase Credit Journey, to know your credit score before applying for a loan, a credit card, or an apartment.
Doing so will give you an idea whether or not you will be approved or denied.
One way to get a credit score for free and monitor it is through Chase Credit Journey. If your credit score is excellent, then you are all good.
All you have to do is maintaining it. If it’s bad, then you can take steps to raise your credit score.
In this article, we will address what Chase Credit Journey is, why you should use it, and some of its limitations.
What is Chase Credit Journey?
Chase Credit Journey is a free online service offered by Chase that gives consumers a credit score and credit report for free. You don’t have to be a Chase customer to use the service.
You’ll need to register by entering personal information, including your credit cards information, existing loans, etc.
Checking your credit on Chase Credit Journey does not hurt your credit score, because it counts as a soft credit inquiry. Soft inquiries, as opposed to hard inquiries, leave your credit score untouched.
In addition to getting a credit score from Chase Credit Journey, you can get one from the following credit monitoring services all for free:
How Does Credit Journey Work?
Chase Credit Journey uses Experian, one of the three credit bureaus, to give you a credit score and report.
Chase Credit Journey uses the VantageScore 3.0 model, which is a collaboration from the three credit bureaus.
Your score is updated weekly but you can access it as much as you can and anytime you want.
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Also, you can sign up for credit alerts through Credit Journey which can notify you if your score changes or if something suspicious is happening on your credit file.
If there are errors, Chase Credit Journey will guide you on how to file a dispute with the credit bureaus. You can’t get your FICO score via Chase Credit Journey.
In addition to getting a free credit score, you also get an analysis of your score and advice on how to raise it and other free resources. This way you can take steps to improve your credit score.
If you’re ready to give Chase Credit Journey a shot, go online to the homepage to see how Credit Journey works.
You can also access the Chase Credit Journey through the Chase mobile app as well. If you’re not convinced yet, keep reading.
Chase Credit Journey helps you understand the 6 factors to come up with your VantageScore credit score. They are:
1) Payment history (or late payments): payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score. In fact, it is the most important factor in your total credit score. Late or missed payments can negatively affect your credit score.
2) Credit utilization ratio (or credit usage): Credit utilization is how much of your credit limit youâre using versus your balance. Credit card utilization accounts for 30% of your total credit score. So keeping it low is ideal. Keeping your credit card balance under 30% is the way to go. For example, letâs suppose your credit card has a credit limit of $5000. You have used $2500 of that credit. Then your credit utilization is 50%. To keep it below 30%, you should only use $1500 of that credit.
3) Credit age: The third most important factor of your total credit score is your credit age. That means how long you have had credit. Lenders like to see a longer credit age. In your credit report, youâll be able to see your average credit age.
4) Hard Inquiry: The higher your credit inquiries, the lower your credit score can become. Anytime you apply for a loan or a credit card or when a landlord checks your credit, it can cause a small dip in your credit score. So multiple credit inquiries can hurt your credit score rather than improving it.
5) Total Balances: total balances refer to the amount owed over all of your credits, including your mortgage, student loans, credit cards, personal loans, etc.
6) Available credit: This factor represents the current amount of unused credit you have over your accounts.
Chase Credit Journey best feature: the score simulator
In addition to providing you a free credit score and report, a credit alert, and credit resources, Chase Credit Journey has an invaluable feature called the score simulator.
The score simulator gives you an estimate of how certain changes in your credit behavior can affect your credit score. Those changes include missing a payment, card balance transfer, and closing an old account, etc.
The importance of checking your score via a free credit service like Chase Credit Journey
Your credit score is perhaps the first thing lenders look at to decide whether to approve you for a loan or credit card. The better your score, the higher is your chance of getting that loan.
On the other hand, if you have a bad credit score, getting a loan or a credit card not only can prove very difficult, but applying for it puts a hard inquiry that can actually lower your already bad credit score.
So knowing your score before you actually apply will give you an idea whether lenders will approve you. It will also allows you to apply for credit with confidence. That’s why is important to use a free credit service.
Additionally, checking your credit score and credit report on a regular basis will help you identify what is on your credit report. Outstanding debts and a history of late payments can directly impact your credit score.
You can get your credit report for free by logging on AnnualCreditReport.com from each of the three credit bureaus. But these credit reports do not give you a credit score. Moreover, you get these reports only once every year.
While there are several options, Chase Credit Journey is just another option. It’s never a bad idea to have several options to choose from.
In other words, it’s better to get your score from more than one source. However, there are some limitations to using Chase Credit Journey.
Chase Credit Journey Limitations
One of the limitations Chase Credit Journey has is that it only uses one of the three major credit bureaus, which is Experian. When you get your score from only one credit bureau, you might not see the whole picture.
So, your credit score might not be entirely accurate.
For example, letâs say you transfer a credit card balance to a new credit card. If Transunion and Equifax are the only credit bureaus that recorded the card was closed during the transfer, you credit score might drop, because Experian recorded you opened a new card.
Another disadvantage of Chase Credit Journey is that the VantageScore’s scoring model is not the industry standard. Most companies use FICO scores to decide whether to approve or decline you for a loan or credit.
And while VantageScore and FICO scores range from 300 to 850, the two models use different criteria in coming up with your credit score. In other words, each model weighs the factors differently in calculating your credit score.
So your Chase Credit Journey credit score might be different than a FICO score. So, if you are ready to apply for a loan, find out which actual credit score your lender will use to improve your chance of approval.
The Bottom Line
Chase Credit Journey provides free credit scores and reports from Experian. The scores are updated weekly. The free credit score is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model.
However, while VantageScore’s system is accurate, it is not what most companies use. But one important thing about Chase Credit Journey is that it one other free tool that allows you stay proactive and monitor your credit on a regular basis. In turn, it allows you to know your score before applying for credit.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
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