Why Refinance Makes Sense

pablo (2)With average car payments around $500, it is no surprise that Americans are turning to auto refinance to help put their families in a better financial position. Refinancing your auto loan with rateGenius can save an average of $81/month and the process is easier than ever before!

Refinancing means that you are applying for a new auto loan that will pay off the balance of your current auto loan. Many consumers are pressured by pushy salesmen to purchase new cars with high interest rates and payments out of their budgets. This practice leads to consumers owing more than their car is worth and struggling to pay their bills.

If you have a high monthly payment, a high interest rate, or a recently increased credit score, this may be the perfect time to refinance your auto loan! Even with a less-than-perfect credit score, rateGenius could potentially match you with a lender that will lower your payments and/or lower your interest rate saving you money over the life of your loan. RateGenius works with over 150 lenders nationwide to find the most competitive interest rates for our customers.

pablo (1)The application is fast and simple. Just input some information regarding your current auto loan and personal details and you are one step closer to lowering your monthly payments. Once your application is approved, a loan officer will contact you with the simple next steps. Your previous loan is paid off and transferred to your new lender. And many times, this process allows you to skip one monthly payment.

Be sure you are currently up-to-date on your loan payments before applying for your refinance and check the value of your vehicle to ensure this is a good move for you. Typically newer cars have a better loan value and are easier to refinance.

The benefits of refinancing don’t stop at lower monthly payments. It also offers the following benefits:

  • Shortens your loan term
  • Helps with financial security
  • Helps your credit score
  • Less interest paid over time

Put your new savings towards paying off other debt, pay down your car loan, or add steady funds to your emergency savings account.

RateGenius is dedicated to working with you to help you achieve financial excellence. Ask us how we can help with your refinance today!

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Minimize Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

Last week we discussed a few ways for you to minimize your vehicle’s carbon footprint. Today, we have compiled tips that will make your home a bit more eco-friendly, and can also help save on your energy bills!


Possibly the simplest way to minimize your carbon footprint is to plant a tree in your yard. Trees consume the carbon dioxide we emit, all while providing us with oxygen and shade that helps keep the earth cool. A small tree takes in about 13 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, and as it matures, the carbon dioxide consumed can grow to 48 pounds a year!

Home improvement changes such as insulation, weatherstripping, and caulking work hand-in-hand to reduce your home’s energy use. These also can make your home more quiet by protecting it from outside noise and help save money in the long-run.

You can lower your energy bull by up to 15% simply by turning off your thermostat while you aren’t home. Keeping your home two degrees warmer during the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter can also help you save a substantial amount over the year.

Small adjustments such as leaving your curtains closed during the day in the summer will help keep your home cool. Alternatively, keeping your curtains open in the winter to allow sunlight in, and keeping them closed at night will help trap heat, and reduce your reliance on your thermostat.


Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will help save over ⅔ of the energy used by a regular light bulb. If every household in the U.S. switched to CFLs, the amount of electricity used on lighting could be cut in half, and can reduce up to 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution! Even swapping your home desktop for a laptop can make a substantial difference in the energy you use. Because battery life is an essential component to laptop design, laptops can be up to 80% more energy-efficient than a desktop. Lastly, make sure to turn off any electronics after using them or unplug them if you’re leaving town to avoid any unnecessary energy loss from the item remaining on standby.

Water-conserving toilets and water-heads not only help reduce water cost, but can also help save on your energy bill. On a smaller scale, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving can reduce your water consumption by thousands of gallons of water each year! Comparatively, if you’re buying bottled water for your home, it might be time to change to a filtering system. Tons of plastic and energy are wasted on the manufacturing and transportation of bottled water annually, even though, in most Western countries, tap water is perfectly safe for you and your family to drink. If you still have your doubts, try using a water filtering pitcher such as a Brita or an attachable faucet filtering system to reduce your waste.

While some of these tips may require lifestyle changes, we can all work together to safeguard our world for generations to come.

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Minimize Your Vehicle’s Carbon Footprint

With uncontrollable wildfires in the past few years, and a record-breaking summer in 2015, minimizing global warming effects has been a hot (pun intended) topic. While there are always alternatives to driving such as walking, riding your bike, or taking the bus, making changes to our daily lifestyle is easier said than done. We’ve compiled a short list of easy, quick-fixes that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and also save money.

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Watch Your Tire Pressure
Keeping your tire pressure at the recommended psi can help improve your MPG by up to 3%. Although 3% may seem minimal, proper tire inflation can also help reduce any unnecessary wear and tear on your tires, and it provides better handling to minimize accidents.

Avoid High Carbon Vehicles
Try to avoid purchasing or driving a minivan or an SUV if the extra space is only needed occasionally. Instead, invest in a hitch rack that sells for pennies on the dollar. While shopping, steer clear of any roof-top boxes which can decrease your fuel efficiency due to an increase in aerodynamic drag.

Composed Driving Style
Aggressive driving such as abrupt braking, brisk acceleration, and speeding can reduce your vehicle’s MPG by up to 33% at highway speeds. Not only does this increase your carbon footprint, but it also wastes your gas and hard-earned money. If you are heading out of town, try driving on cruise control to help minimize carbon emission by keeping you at a steady pace and improving your gas mileage.

Skip the Traffic
Avoid traffic when possible and combine your errands in order to make fewer trips across town. Before leaving home, plan accordingly and make a list of the locations you have to go to, in order to find the best available route.

Let us know how you are reducing your carbon footprint this summer!

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Budget Friendly Camping in the US

Summer is finally here! Whether you’re looking for an adventure, a budget friendly vacation, or family entertainment; camping captures the best of everything. With hundreds of locations to choose from, we’ve narrowed down the greatest and least expensive camping sites.

Beaver Pond, White Mountains, New HampshireWhite Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

This national park is open year around with over 20 drive-in campgrounds and around 800 unique campsites. Activities range from hiking, kayaking, and rafting to zip-lining, railroad, and brewery tours. The trails available for hiking have been said to be more strenuous than most, but well worth it. Park access is available with daily or weekly passes. However. backcountry camping is free! Visit their website for more information.

Moss Glen FoliageGreen Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Long Trail is Green Mountain’s biggest attraction and covers 270 miles. With 70 campsites it is also the oldest long-distance trail in the US. Park staff suggests visitors to set camp nearby for optimal hikes and to come prepared because there are no electrical hook-ups or dump stations nearby. Although the park is open year round, camping availability varies by season. Enjoy no entrance fees and some free campsites. Visit their website to plan your adventure!

photo by: http://grimbert.net/home.html

Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania

Located at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this Appalachian trail is one of the most famous foot trails in the world! Although the park is open year around, less than two thousand people each year attempt the 2,186 mile-long trail (and honestly, we don’t blame them). Campsites are open from April through December and there is never an entrance fee. Campsite fees range, but options include backpacking and river camping. Check them out on their website.

Voyageurs_National_ParkVoyageurs National Park, Minnesota

This national park has over 500 islands surrounded by four major connecting lakes whose narrows were once traveled by French-Canadian voyageurs. Summer is the perfect season to visit the park for water activities such as recreational boating and canoeing . If you are visiting and do not have a boat, the park offers guided boat tours with advance reservation. There are over 200 free campsites that are only accessible by water.Other than a small boating fee, there is no charge for individual sites. The park does require campers to carry a permit, but there is no charge to obtain one. Visit their website for more information.

photo by: Willam Dark Photography

Ozark National Forest, Arizona

This national forest covers 1.2 million acres of land, beautiful hiking trails, and an active underground cave. Blanchard Spring Caverns is home to glistening rock formations and is available for daily tours. The park’s best known hike is their 218 mile-long Ozark Highlands Trail that offers unmatched views. There are also nine accessible beaches for recreational swimming, and 23 campgrounds with 320 sites available for RV and tent camping. Entrance to the park is free and most campsites do not charge for camping. Visit their website to plan your next trip!

glacier-bay-glacier-bay-national-park-052720100277Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

This national park gives its visitors and campers a more adventurous camping experience. While the majority of the park consists of water, there are also no marked trails for hiking. We suggest arriving prepared and with a plan before leaving on any excursions. With only one campground, reservations are required for any camping, rafting, or boating. The campground is equipped with outhouses, safe food storage, and a warming shelter. Free permits are required for backcountry or basic camping. Please note that camping is only available from May to September. Visit their website for further information.

We hope you find this list of camping locations helpful when planning your next great adventure trip!

Plan 4th of July on a Budget

While a number of us look forward to celebrating the Fourth, it’s a holiday that gives Americans a reason to spend money on food, drinks, and entertainment. We hope to help you save money this Independence Day with these simple tips!

guide-to-4th-of-july-2015_heroFood and drinks are usually the main attraction for any party. Plan a potluck to save time and money! It also gives people the opportunity to brag about their famous dish or try a new recipe. Encourage friends to also bring their favorite cocktail.

Follow these links for ideas for potluck and cocktail recipes:

red-white-and-blue-homemade-4th-of-july-popsicleWho doesn’t love a cold dessert on a hot summer day? Popsicles are easy and perfect for feeding a large party! If you choose not to go the store-bought route, try making some of your own; they’re quick and tasty! All you need is fruit, juice, or yogurt, and a couple of popsicle molds.

Use fruits such as raspberries or strawberries with blueberries or blackberries, and mix them with either limeade or a low/nonfat vanilla yogurt.

Follow the links below for recipe ideas:

sprinklerfunwithcaprisun5_zps19d34a17If you don’t have have a pool in your backyard, it can be hard to keep children from complaining about the summer heat. Instead, try using a children’s water sprinkler that attaches to a hose in your front or backyard so they can freely run around while keeping cool. These sprinkler heads can be found at stores such as Target and Walmart, but you can also use Ebay and Amazon to find a deal on these summer toys.

Another idea is to use a plastic polyethylene tarp as a slip n’ slide. Keep the hose running on the tarp and add some dish soap for an afternoon filled with fun! If you want to get creative, have the kids wear old bathing suits and a white t shirt, and use red, white, and blue paint on the tarp, so the children’s shirts will be decorated in patriotic colors.

Tell us how your family plans to celebrate the Fourth!

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4 Ways to Save for Father’s Day


Father’s Day is quickly approaching, and the majority of us haven’t purchased a gift for dad. Planning ahead is undoubtedly the best way to save money, time, and stress. In order to help you, we’ve compiled a few out-of-the-box ideas that will help you save money this holiday.

Exchange your coins

There’s never been a better time to convert the spare change from your piggy bank or jar! Most grocery stores and banks have coin exchange services for public use. The majority of banks and kiosks charge a fee, but Coinstar offers a way to bypass any charges. Instead of receiving cash, Coinstar gives you the option to receive an eGift card for coin exchanges over $5. Some eGift card options include Amazon, Nike, AMC Theatres, Best Buy, and iTunes. After you’ve completed the exchange, the kiosk will print out a voucher with a code, then it is ready to use online or in-store.

Art Project

For families with younger children, this tip is a 3-in-1 combo. You can save money, entertain the kids, and make a gift for dad. We suggest shopping for art supplies at stores such as, Dollar General, Big Lots, and Five Below. For a truly unique gift, have your kids paint something special for dad and place it in a frame. He’s sure to love it!

Coupons, coupons, coupons!

We’ve all heard of websites that offer products and services at discounted rates, but how many of us utilize them? You can plan a day date, find a nice restaurant to try, or purchase new golf clubs. Take advantage of these sites as much as possible when planning for Father’s Day!

Here are a few of our favorites:
The Krazy Coupon Lady

Plan Ahead
Save money in time for Father’s Day by refinancing your auto loan with rateGenius. RateGenius works with over 150 lenders nationwide in order to get you the best rate, reduce the burden of your monthly payments, and most importantly save you money. The application is completely free and you are never obligated to take an offer. If you choose to refinance with us today, you may be able to skip your next payment.

Use these tips to be ahead of the game when the next holiday rolls around.

Happy Father’s Day from your friends at rateGenius!

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Lower Monthly Bills with 6 Easy Steps

With the cost of living skyrocketing in most US cities, we have compiled 6 simple ways to lower your monthly bills and increase the extra money in your pocket. With all the money you save we encourage you to pay off your debt or take a family vacation this summer!

Refinance Your Car

Refinancing your car can help your finances in more ways than one. It can lower your interest rate, monthly payment, and the lifetime interest that you will pay over the life of the loan. Refinancing your car can save you an average of $81/month. Consider how the extra money can help you pay off credit card debt, enjoy a summer vacation, or even save for a rainy day.

RateGenius is a nationwide, web-based vehicle refinance company. With more than 150 lenders across the country, we can find you the most competitive vehicle interest rate to refinance your car, truck, or SUV. Apply online and start saving today!

Bundle Auto and Home Insurance

Bundling your auto and home insurance can lead to discounts that may lower your monthly payments by a sizable amount. Don’t own a home? Look for ways to bundle your renters and auto insurance through your auto insurance agency.

If you aren’t looking to bundle, you should also consider reevaluating your current policy. There may be another company out there that can offer the same service at a discounted rate. Why pay more?

Cut back on your Electricity

Every night before bed, turn off lights, fans, and even unplugging or turning off appliances can help you cut back on your usage. Unplugging unnecessary appliances before leaving your home is another way to maintain a lower monthly bill.

Carpool or Use Public Transportation

Leave your car at home and opt for riding the bus or carpooling with co-workers. If you live in a city with ample public transportation, take advantage of it and save yourself from the rush hour traffic frustration. Ask co-workers who live near you to meet a few days a week at a close location and rotate driving each other. This will help you save gas, mileage, and potential wear and tear on your car.

Cancel Your Gym Membership

With summer just around the corner, this is the perfect time to drop your gym membership and opt for outdoor or in-home workouts. Soak up some sun on a brisk walk or run and end with lunges, squats, and arm exercises for a well-rounded workout! Too hit where you live? No worries, pick up a cardio or yoga video at your local grocery store and get moving!

Cook at Home

Preparing meals at home can save you time and calories! Meal prepping helps to plan your meals in advance and is a great way to ensure you have food when you need it. Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant once a week, but cut back throughout the week by making simple and delicious meals at home.

Find us on Facebook and tell us how you are saving money this month!

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4 Ways to Shop for Less

Several people holding shopping bags

Let’s face it, spending money is fun for us, but can be dangerous for our bank accounts. We are weighing in on some ways to spend less money without losing the thrill of shopping!

Subscription Services
Subscription services have taken the world by storm. Today, you can go online and sign up for a TV subscription like Netflix or Hulu and music subscriptions like Spotify or Tidal. Gone are the days of CD and DVD purchases. Maybe we are all better for it. Think about it, to purchase one CD, you will pay at least $12. Now, you can listen to thousands of CDs and custom playlists for as little as $10/month. Subscription services offer us much more than music and movies at our fingertips, it gives us access to the world at a minimal cost.

Beauty subscription services allow you to test new products that you may not purchase on your own. Monthly boxes that are delivered to your door can range from perfume and make-up to socks and clothes. Check out some of 2016’s hottest subscription boxes:

Dollar Stores
Sure, there are some items that should not be purchased at the dollar store. But many of the items are the same products that are sold in your local grocery store. Some items to stay away from include; toys, batteries, detergent, and tools. Consider purchasing cleaning supplies, bread, coloring books, and spices the next time you visit the dollar store. Also, if you are the party coordinator at your office, this is a cheap way to stock up on party supplies, balloons, and greeting cards.

Thrift Shopping
Thrift stores offer customers the opportunity to buy gently used and sometimes new items at a fraction of the cost. Most thrift stores offer clothing, toys, furniture, shoes, and more. Some local thrift stores will even offer you a Sunday discount if you spend a certain amount during the week. Shop til’ you drop friends!

Garage Sales
If you have the time to peruse garage sales, you are in for a treat. Garage sales are perfect because many times, people are selling quality items that they have just outgrown or no longer need. You can find treasures at the right garage sale, so be sure to pay attention to yard signs and neighborhood garage sales. Be on the lookout for formal attire, art, exercise equipment, and jewelry. Take the time to strike up a deal and you could walk away a winner!

Leave us a note and tell us how you are getting the most bang for your buck!

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Developing Refinance Guidelines that Work

Car (automobile) insurance and collision damage waiver concepts. Businessman with protective gesture and icon of car.

As auto refinance has gained popularity in the last few years, lenders are realizing these portfolios perform 2 to 3 times better than a standard indirect program and are asking, how do we acquire more?

Reevaluating lending guidelines, relaxing credit minimums, and allowing for higher loan-to-value gives credit unions more opportunity to bring on new borrowers. Managing pre-determined performance metrics—delinquencies, charge-offs, and yield—is the key to ensuring that your program stays on track long term.

When taking on new borrowers, credit unions typically want to see two years of credit history and prefer borrowers who are in higher credit tiers. If a potential borrower has a solid payment history, exception to standard underwriting guidelines should be considered. When considering exceptions for capacity ratios like debt-to-income it’s important to note that you’re placing the borrower in a better financial position by refinancing their loan so the likelihood that the loan will perform well is high.

Flexibility with higher loan-to-value (LTV) ratios is an essential part of running an auto refinance program. Higher LTVs are common with refinanced auto loans as the borrower may have purchased the car at a higher interest rate, causing minimal dent in the principal loan balance. Higher LTV’s may also be a result of vehicles depreciating at a higher rate because borrowers have rolled in negative equity and back end products to their original purchase. Use this to your advantage. Those who owe more on their auto loans are less likely to pay off their loans early. These borrowers will stay on your books longer and make your program more profitable.

Additionally, many institutions have strict LTV ratios due to the fear of total loss. However, backend products such as GAP and Vehicle Service Contracts can actually help protect your institution from a loss. While the loan balance may be greater, your institution is now protected from a car that is a total loss, or a consumer who would normally stop paying due to unexpected car repairs.

With proper guidelines in place, lenders are in the position to scale their auto refinance program to maximum profitability. Developing these guidelines is an important step to creating a profitable program.

Auto Refinance Best Practices in Action

Credit unions looking to grow their auto refinance program and increase profitability should develop a realistic plan to implement these best practices. Partnering with rateGenius is a simple and effective way to ensure refinance program success.

RateGenius provides end-to-end auto refinance services for its nationwide lender network. The company offers a high-touch and efficient loan fulfillment process that provides lenders with complete and consistent document packages, as well as guaranteed title work. RateGenuis allows its lender network to maintain full control of their underwriting guidelines.

With its full service marketing service, RateGenius brings new members to its lenders, creating more opportunities to cross-sell. This service helps lenders increase share of wallet with current members by recapturing their auto loans, and promoting additional products, such as credit cards or mortgage offers.

To learn how you can develop an auto refinance program that adheres to industry best practices, contact lenders@rategenius.com or call 866-413-5976.

About rateGenius

RateGenius is a nationwide web-based vehicle refinance loan broker. With more than 150 competitive lenders, rateGenius can find customers the most competitive vehicle interest rate to refinance their loans on cars, trucks, SUVs and specialty vehicles, such as RVs and motorcycles. Visit www.rategenius.com to learn more.

5 Ways to Establish or Repair Your Credit This Year

Credit Report concept formula on a chalkboard

Understanding the countless factors that affect your credit score can seem overwhelming. The only way to improve or establish your credit score is to start making small changes today.

Secured credit cards
Do you have as little as $500 available in your savings account? We suggest putting that amount in a secured loan or credit card. A secured account means that you are borrowing against your own money. This helps to establish payment history and can help combat negative credit history. Generally, these accounts have very low interest rates. Make sure you send at least 6 on-time payments to make a difference. Ask your credit union how to get started with a secured account now.

Pay everything on time
Paying your bills on time increases your creditworthiness and reflects a good payment history, which is important to creditors. If you have a low credit score, your goal is to take positive strides in increasing your credit score over time.

Reduce balances on credit cards
Avoid maintaining high balances on your credit cards, as it can significantly reduce your credit score. Minimize the accounts you apply for and do not close any accounts while in the process of paying off your debt. Making your payments on time and paying above the minimum payment are all ways to show positive change on your credit report.

Keep in touch with creditors
It is important to keep in touch with creditors when you are making late payments. Giving a promise-to-pay can sometimes keep them from reporting negative activity. Sure, you may not want to answer their calls, but explaining your situation and providing them with a payment date can make all the difference.

Create a payoff schedule
List out your debt balances and interest rates to help create a payoff schedule. Start with the highest interest rates and focus on paying off one balance at a time. To do this, you will want to make the minimum payments on all balances, except the one you are working on. After you pay off the first one, you can move on to the next debt. Remember to focus on line of credit accounts first, such as; credit cards, personal loans, etc. Save the car and student loans for later as they generally carry a lower interest rates.

Rebuilding and establishing your credit takes time and patience. The best way to stay on top of changes to your credit report and address any issues that may arise is to request your annual free credit report . Refinancing your auto loan can also lower your monthly payment to make extra money available to pay off credit card debt quickly.

RateGenius is a nationwide, web-based vehicle refinance loan broker. With more than 150 lenders across the country, rateGenius can find you the most competitive vehicle interest rate to refinance your car, truck, or SUV.

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