Borrower Advice

Your loan and credit questions, answered.

Borrowing is a key building block to financial health. With every auto loan or HELOC or credit card, you build your borrowing power. As your credit union, we’re committed to your financial wellbeing – and to helping you make your best borrowing decisions. We created this resource center to share the latest tips, tools and lending trends. First-time home buyer? Super saver? Check your math with our handy mortgage loan and savings account interest calculators.

 

Celebrating the Holidays with Student Debt

The holidays are a time of joy and giving, but for many of us managing student loan repayments, it can also be a season of financial stress. But with a bit of planning, creativity, and focus on what truly matters to you this season, it’s possible to find holiday cheer without breaking the bank.

The Rise of Card Skimming and How to Fight It

Skimming is a persistent and evolving threat, but by being aware and taking preventative measures, we can fight against compromised cards and protect our financial well-being. Read this guide for tips and signs to watch out for.

Repaying Student Loans: Budget Your Way to Freedom

Managing student loan debt can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But the truth is, a smart budget, personalized to your income and other expenses, can be your greatest asset in paying off your student loans while maintaining your quality of life. In this guide, we walk you through the steps to create your own budget that works for you and your goals.

Recognizing Text Scams

Does this sound familiar? "Did you attempt a payment for $3,000? Reply YES or NO."  If so, you're not alone. Financial institution impersonations are the most common text scams and usually include bogus fraud warnings and transfer alerts. Follow these tips to help you identify potential scams and keep your personal information safe and secure.

How to Pick a Good Student Loan Co-Borrower

When delving into the world of private student loans, you may discover that many lenders mention a “co-borrower.” A co-borrower is someone who applies for the loan with you and is equally responsible for ensuring it is repaid. A private student loan will be held in your name as the primary borrower, but the co-borrower’s name and credit will be tied to the loan as well.

Student Loan Forgiveness Was Blocked by the Supreme Court. What’s Next?

On June 30, the Supreme Court struck down Biden's one-time student loan debt forgiveness plan, which was set to forgive up to $20,000 for 26 million borrowers. So, what's next? Read this blog post to review the latest updates.

Federal Student Loan Payments Resume Soon – What You Need to Know

Most federal student loan payments and interest have been suspended since March 2020. After numerous extensions, student loan interest will resume on September 1, 2023, and payments will resume starting in October.

The Top 4 Best Ways to Pay for College

Let’s face it – no one is accepted to college and thinks, “I can’t wait to pay my tuition bill!” College is a big investment, which is why it’s important to know your options, plan ahead, and choose wisely when paying for it. Remember: filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to securing any financial aid! Follow the “free, cheap, gap” method to responsibly pay for college, and set yourself for a strong financial future down the road.

How much down payment is normally required to buy a home?

For many people, buying a home is one of the most significant financial decisions they will make in their lifetime. One of the key considerations in this process is the down payment, which is the amount of cash that a buyer pays upfront toward the purchase price. While the amount of the down payment required can vary depending on several factors, it is an essential component of the home-buying process.

Why Do Credit Unions Have Better Rates?

There’s a reason more than 130 million people belong to a credit union. Individuals choose credit unions over traditional banks for higher dividend rates, minimal account fees, and lower interest rates on loan products. But how can a small army of 5,000+ federally insured credit unions offer these benefits and a host of other financial benefits to everyday consumers?

Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters

You’ve received your college acceptance letters – congratulations! If you’ve been accepted to multiple schools, one of the biggest determining factors for your final choice may be the out of pocket cost for each option. Along with your acceptance letters, you should receive an award letter outlining the financial aid for which you are eligible at each college. Here are some important definitions you should know.

5 Pinch-Proof Tips to Prevent Scams & Fraud

Don't let scams and fraud catch you off guard this St. Patrick's Day. Protect your identity and money with these 5 pinch-proof tips!

Auto Buying eBook

This eBook will give you everything you need to know before buying a car. Learn how to be a savvy car shopper so you don’t get taken for a ride. We’ll arm you with knowledge of financing, interest rates, terms, and more. Be prepared, so you can drive off the lot with confidence.

‘Pre-qualified’ and ‘pre-approved’ for a loan – what’s the difference?

As a home buyer, knowing the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved is an important step in the mortgage process. Making your decision on which one to choose starts with understanding the definition of each of those terms.

Debt Protection

If the unexpected happens, you don’t want to be compounded by financial worry. With Debt Protection, you may cancel your loan balance or payments in the event of involuntary unemployment, disability, or death.

Consolidation vs. Refinancing Student Loans

Student loan consolidation and refinancing are two options available to borrowers looking to manage their student loan debt. We break down the differences between loan consolidation and refinancing, discuss the eligibility requirements, and help you determine which option is best for your financial situation. 

7 Tips Every Credit Card User Should Know

Credit cards are convenient, powerful tools to help build your credit, make big purchases, and practice financial responsibility. With that said, credit cards can seem complicated. Between interest rates, balance transfers, late fees, and due dates, there’s a lot of information to keep up with.

Enjoy the Journey with a USC Credit Union Auto Loan

Remote start, leather interior, all-wheel drive – just like picking out the perfect vehicle, it’s important to find an auto loan that helps you enjoy the journey starting from the first day you drive your new vehicle off the lot. Depending on the term you pick, your auto loan can be with you for as long as 5 years. Avoid buyer’s remorse by following our tips to lock in the best auto loan and lowest interest rates.>

Student Loan eBook

Some college students graduate with honors. But a lot more graduate with debts. In this ebook we cover the lingo surrounding student loans, explain the importance of choosing the right lender, and how important it is to seek federal aid and scholarships first!

Student Loan Refinance Guide

Don’t let student debt hold you back from the finer things in life. In this ebook we cover the pitfalls of student debt, explore if refinancing is right for you, show you how much you can potentially save, and more!

Major Mechanical Protection

USC Credit Union has partnered with Mercury Insurance to provide members mechanical protection products with their auto loans! Protect your vehicle well beyond the manufacturer's warranty with Mechanical Protection.

Protecting Yourself at the (Gas) Pump

In the last few years, gas pumps have been a favorite target for fraudsters to place skimming devices. Here are risk mitigation and best practices for you to follow.

The Facts on Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your bank account number, Social Security number, credit card, or other personal information for his or her own ends. Here's what you need to know about identity theft and how to protect yourself.

How Can I Minimize the Risk of Identity Theft?

With the increasing amount of sensitive information stored online, it's essential to take proactive steps to protect your identity and prevent identity theft. If you're concerned about the safety of your personal information or just want to take a proactive approach to security, read this guide today.

What to do if you become a victim of “Phishing”?

Phishing is a fraudulent tactic used by cybercriminals to steal sensitive information, such as login credentials and financial information, from unsuspecting victims. Know what steps to take if you are a victim of “phishing” or any other form of identity theft.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) vs. Home Equity Loan

A HELOC and a home equity loan are two popular options for homeowners looking to tap into the equity they've built in their property. Dive deeper into the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each option to help you make the right choice.

Home Buyer’s Guide

USC Credit Union is here to help you feel more confident in today’s real estate market. We’ve helped thousands of our member-owners reach their homeownership goals and we will do the same for you. Download our Free Home Buyer’s Guide and learn about the entire home-buying process.

When is the best time to sell or buy a home?

In buying or selling your home, timing is everything. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best time to sell or buy a home, there are several factors to consider when making your decision.

What is a mortgage?

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll make in your lifetime. A mortgage is a loan that helps you finance the purchase of a home, and it's important to understand how it works.

Protect Yourself from Fraud & Scams

Fraud and scams are becoming increasingly common, with criminals using sophisticated methods to trick individuals into giving away their personal information or money. By staying informed and proactive, you can minimize your risk of falling victim to scams and protect your identity and money.

Member Fraud Awareness

Many people think they can spot and outwit a scam, but the truth is that scams become more savvy and sophisticated every year. Knowing some basics and being vigilant can keep you and your money safe from scammers.

Fraud Prevention Tips

It’s important to remain vigilant and protect yourself against fraud and identity theft. Member security is a top priority at USC Credit Union, so we’ve compiled a list of common scenarios to look out for.

Introducing Your Mobile Wallet

A mobile wallet is a way to carry a digital version of your credit cards or debit cards on your mobile device. Instead of fumbling through your wallet (or purse) to find your card, you can pay with your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.

Tell me more about credit scores and credit reports.

Your credit report is a comprehensive summary of your credit history and is used by lenders, landlords, and other financial institutions to determine your creditworthiness. It's a crucial document that has a significant impact on your financial life, and it's important to understand what it contains and how it's used.

What can I do to improve my credit score?

Credit can seem complicated. Many people think those 3 magic numbers are a mystery, but controlling your credit score is easier than you think! Here are some tips for establishing credit or building your credit score back to health.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Refinancing Your Auto Loan

You may have the car of your dreams already, but your current loan situation may be less than ideal. Refinancing your auto loan is a great way to lessen financial stress and make the remainder of your loan payoff process easy, all while saving money! Here are some things to keep in mind before making the switch.

Why Should You Refinance Student Loans with a Credit Union?

Student loans may have helped you get the education needed for your future career, but making student loan payments can also be a pain point in your monthly expenses. Refinancing one or more of your loans could save you money and simplify your repayment. Before you determine where you should refinance your student loans, you should consider if it’s a smart decision for you.

Tax Benefits for College Students and Parents

Did you know you can take advantage of special tax breaks just for college students and their parents? These benefits come in the form of tax credits and deductions when you file your income tax return. What’s the difference? A credit reduces the amount of income tax you have to pay. A deduction reduces the amount of your income that is taxed, which also typically lessens your tax bill. In other words, you could get a bigger tax refund.

8 Unexpected Homeowner Expenses

There’s a lot more to homeownership than paying the mortgage loan. Here are eight extra homeownership costs to consider as you plan for your dream home.

Home Mortgage Loans

Shop and borrow smart.

Starter home or “forever home” – whatever you call it, chances are you’ll need a mortgage before you can call it home. Learn what you need to know to close the deal with success.

See Current Rates

Learn More about Home Loans

Home Equity Lines of Credit

Leverage your home equity.

Home equity can be a powerful borrowing tool. How can you use it? How do HELOCs work? Find answers to these questions and more right under your thumbs.

See Current Rates

Learn More  about Home Equity

Personal Loans

Boost your borrowing knowledge.

Financial peace of mind costs less than you think. USC Credit Union offers affordable personal loans and lines of credit you can use for any purpose. Learn what you need to know to boost your borrowing power.

See Current Rates

Learn More  about Personal Loans

Managing Loan Debt

Your best financial future starts today.

The financial decisions you make today can put you on the right path for years to come. As your financial partner, we’re here for you every step of the way. Use our borrow resources to boost your financial literacy.

Learn More  about Managing Loan Debt

USC Credit Union has been a reliable source of financial support for me for 36 years! I’ve never had a better experience.

-Carol

  • Personal Loans

    Pay for the unexpected, consolidate debt, pay for home improvements, or make a major purchase with one of our affordable Personal Loan options.

  • Home Loans

    Starter home, second home or your “forever home” – whatever you call it, we can help you call it home with affordable fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

  • Auto Loans

    Why finance with us? Simple: We’re a credit union with no shareholder interests to cater to. The upshot: Bank-beating auto loan rates on cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, and more.

Let’s chat.

Need help deciding on a product or service? Talk to a member associate. We’re always here to lend an ear and all the guidance you need.