We recently finished the first round (or season) of many upcoming episodes of #AskPelican. In Season 1, we received lots of great questions, and Pelican’s Nationally Certified Credit Counselor Heike Reagan answered them for you!
What is #AskPelican?
You ask the questions, and our experts provide honest, real answers. We post new #AskPelican videos every other week, usually on Monday morning. Keep an eye on Pelican’s YouTube channel to see the latest episodes!
We’ve been getting dozens of questions on a variety of topics, including:
- Mortgages and the home-buying process
- Credit scores
- Auto loans
- Overdrafts and repossessions
- Starting businesses
- Finance for kids
Check out the questions featured in Season 1!
What’s the best way to pay off credit card debt?
You should start by paying off the highest interest rates first. Then transfer high interest rate cards to ones that have a lower interest rate (some have 0% introductory rates). Pay more than the minimum required and stop charging on the cards, but don’t close them!
Is it possible to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy gives you an opportunity for a fresh start. Start small; maybe get a small share secured loan or a share secured Visa, and establish a payment history with those.
Don’t try to get credit everywhere. It’s not about how much credit you get; it’s about how you handle the credit you do have. Get credit with major financial institutions, not small finance companies. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the financial trap that caused you to file bankruptcy in the first place.
What’s the best way to use credit cards?
Credit cards should be used to build credit. Use a major credit card, like a Visa®, instead of small department store cards. Always try to pay off your balance in full, and if you’re not able to do that, pay it down to 30% or less of your limit. Always pay on or before the due date to avoid additional fees.
Check this out!Heike dives deeper into this topic in her blog post Credit Cards: Making Them Work for You!
Do credit unions help you rebuild your credit?
Absolutely! Credit unions like Pelican offer financial counseling to help members establish goals and gives the best steps to achieve those goals.
We offer second-chance checking accounts to help re-establish financial relationships. Some credit unions also offer small “rebuilder” loans, as well as secured loans and secured Visa® accounts.
Is it better to save money or pay off bills first?
Savings should always be one of your monthly “bills.” Pay yourself first! Have funds taken out of your check and directly deposited into a savings account.
Try paying off smaller bills or those with higher interest rates first. When one is paid off, roll that payment into the next bill to pay it off quicker.
When should you consider getting a debt consolidation loan?
You should consider getting a debt consolidation loan when the interest rate is much lower than you are currently paying and the monthly payments are lower than your current combined monthly payments.
Only consider this if it takes less time to pay off than your current debts. Make sure that you are committed to not getting back into the same financial situation that you are trying to get out of.
I have a question! Can you answer it?
Of course! Ask us on Facebook, Twitter or using our contact form (select #AskPelican as the subject), and we’ll answer it in an upcoming video. You can also shout out in the comments below. We’re here to help!