In December, the CFPB reported that although an individual may sign personally for a credit card, if it is a business credit card many are not listed with the credit bureaus unless the card goes into default. There are also business credit cards that are approved with liability only on the corporation and will not show up on personal credit. How can this help consumers that use their personal credit for business expenses?
We have found that a great amount of business owners use their personal American Express cards for business. When they are ready to purchase a property or refinance an existing loan they may find their Fico scores are low due to high balances on revolving credit. Revolving credit balances have a greater impact on credit scores than other types of credit.
Business owner John has an Amex card with a limit of $40,000 and a balance of $38,000. His second credit card (he uses for personal reasons only) has a limit of $10,000 and a balance of $5000. The $5000 balance is manageable and can be paid off at any time. Since his aggregate balance to limit ratio on revolving credit is 86% his scores have dropped 60 points and he no longer qualifies for the best interest rate on the large mortgage he needs. In this situation he may wind up paying an additional $200,000 over the life of his mortgage loan. In some cases applicants might even be rejected entirely due to a lowered score. Since he can’t pay the $38,000 on his business credit card debt he is stuck. If John had known in advance that there were other options things might be very different. With a business credit card that does not show on personal credit reports he could pay down the $5000 balance and his credit score would be much higher, affording him a much better cost mortgage loan. This would have kept his business and personal credit separate giving him more options on his personal financing.
Whether you find a business credit card you must sign for personally, or you are applying for a corporate credit card without personal liability, your business and personal credit reports and scores will be reviewed. With the best scores approvals and better offers are much more likely. With this knowledge a business owner might shop differently for a credit card. There can also be restrictive qualifications for approval on business credit cards depending on liability. Creditors check both personal and business credit scores for corporate liability. With the best business/personal credit scores and a healthy business history there are great offers out there giving business owners access to funds they might otherwise not qualify for. Making an effort to keep business and personal credit separate can work wonders and save a fortune for business owners.
To view your business and personal credit scores go: http://www.northshoreadvisory.com/orderreports.html
Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 3.26 percent, down from 3.33 percent at this same time last week.
After peaking at 3.35 percent on Wednesday, the 30-year fixed rate hovered between 3.28 and 3.33 percent over the remainder of the week before dropping to the current rate this morning.
“Rates are down slightly from last week’s 16-week high as optimism about an improving economy began to wane after successful fiscal cliff negotiations,” said Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. “Although there is a fair amount of economic news scheduled this week, we don’t expect any surprises that would move rates significantly.”
*The weekly rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.
Do you spend too much time, design energy and money making the entry hall of your home attractive for guests, and forget to pay enough attention to the “family entry”?
It’s your house, right?
The family entry is the one that you use the most. More often than not, you’ll be entering your home through the garage or a side door, while the front entry is reserved for greeting the occasional invited guest.
Some home styles demand a grand foyer, of course, but don’t you and your family also deserve an entry that welcomes you with warmth, style and function?
Why should your insurance salesman get to use the grand foyer while you have to kick laundry baskets out of the way to enter your own home every day?
Here are a few ideas to help you design an attractive and functional family entry and improve your daily living experience:
Get the location right
A good family entry has access from the garage and from the outside (the door to the outside should be protected from the weather and should lead directly to a parking area for guests). Ideally, the door should be easily seen from the kitchen.
The entry space should contain or have direct access to a family coat closet, a bathroom and the laundry room, but each of these spaces should be separated from the family entry by doors. (We’re trying to get away from walking through the laundry room!)
Get the details right
Finishes in the family entry should be durable but attractive and warm. Allow plenty of space for several people to hang coats and pull off boots. Space under a bench seat can be used for boot storage, and the bench is a great place to set down groceries while you’re hanging up your coat.
A recessed shelf or desk can hold a purse, briefcase or laptop computer. For families with children, a set of open shelves or lockers can help keep their book bags, hats, gloves and other stuff organized and off of the floor.
Design for yourself first
Too many homes work too hard to impress guests without taking care of their owners. Your budget allows you only so much space to work with; put it where it’s needed — where it serves the needs of the family — not just where it looks good to the outside world.
And if you’re like most of our clients, you’ll take space from that rarely-used entry foyer and use it to make your family entry first-class.
And what’s more impressive than that?
Highlights from the Fed’s US economic survey
By By The Associated Press – 3 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve survey released on Wednesday found the U.S. economy grew at a “modest or moderate” pace from mid-November through early January.
The Fed said growth was helped by holiday shopping, strong auto sales and a recovering housing market.
The report, known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information from the Fed’s 12 regional banking districts.
Here are some highlights:
BOSTON (includes Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and part of Connecticut):
The economy grew modestly. Most retailers and tourism businesses cited increases in demand compared with a year ago. Manufacturers also reported sales gains compared with a year ago.
NEW YORK (includes New York and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey):
Economic activity rebounded following widespread disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy. Retailers reported holiday sales that were better than last year but slightly below expectations.
PHILADELPHIA (includes Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey):
The economy picked up after disruptions from Superstorm Sandy. Sales of new and used autos accelerated. Home sales remained strong. Manufacturers saw only mild growth.
CLEVELAND (includes Ohio, Kentucky and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia):
Business activity expanded modestly, although some companies in the region expressed uncertainty because of the resolved budget debate in Washington. Manufacturing orders were flat or down slightly.
RICHMOND (includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, District of Columbia and part of West Virginia):
Economic activity expanded at a modest pace but manufacturing growth slowed. Retail sales also slowed with the exception of auto and food sales. Tourism was at normal winter levels.
ATLANTA (includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee):
Merchants reported gains in holiday sales. Tourism companies noted continued strength in both business and leisure travel. Most businesses predicted modest sales growth in 2013.
CHICAGO (includes Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana):
Economic activity expanded at a slow pace in late November and December. Many business contacts said they expected growth in 2013 would match or exceed 2012. But some were cautious because of the uncertainty surrounding the budget debate in Washington.
ST. LOUIS (Includes Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi):
The economy grew modestly. Service firms offered positive reports, manufacturers in the area held a more negative outlook. Commercial and industrial real estate conditions improved.
MINNEAPOLIS (includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan):
Consumers in the region spent more. Tourism, professional services, manufacturing and energy all improved. Construction and real estate continued to recovery.
KANSAS CITY (includes Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and New Mexico):
Retail sales remained solid through December. Auto sales were higher than a year ago. Manufacturing activity, while higher than a year ago, slowed a bit.
DALLAS (includes Texas and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana):
Manufacturing remained mixed. Real estate and construction activity continued to improve. Retailers reported stronger holiday sales and auto dealers reported sales that were above year-ago levels.
SAN FRANCISCO (includes California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska):
Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace. Retail sales rose slightly from a year ago. Manufacturing was mixed. Demand for farm products increased.
Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Have you ever noticed some videos manage to captivate pop-culture more than Hollywood movies? So why don’t they receive the poster treatment?
Behold! A handful of legendary viral videos and web series have been given the minimalist poster treatment. It’s a fun way of saying “you made it” to the online video Hall of Fame. Unofficial minimalist poster designs by New Antics (disclosure: I am a partner at New Antics) and Harshness. Enjoy!
What YouTube video or web series would you like to see posterized? Let me know in the comments!
Pinterest – even the most reluctant social media participant can’t have failed to have noticed its impact over the past 12 months. However, you’d be wrong if you continued to buy into the misconception that it’s just all pictures of wedding plans and cupcake designs. Pinterest is now the fourth largest source of traffic after Google, direct traffic and the ubiquitous Facebook and is continuing to grow exponentially.
In fact, it drives more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ put together. It’s time to start taking this site very seriously.
Those active on Pinterest also tend to shop a lot more often and spend more money on those purchases than users of any other social network. And although images form the bulk of the content being pinned, videos are becoming increasingly important to both the site and its users. Google are now indexing over 200,000 of those videos and both Pinterest based videos and images regularly appear in the universal search results. Now that Pinterest have removed their previous ban on commercial and business accounts and facilitated ways for merchants to promote their content, this particular social network should be very high on the list of those that are being optimised for.
We’ve put together 5 ways in which video content producers and marketers can make sure they get the very best out of the site to generate brand visibility or champion their product or service.
1. Create Board Titles & Pin Descriptions that Include “Video”
Obvious, we know, but users do search for specific video content and with an image heavy site like Pinterest, getting your particular pins to stand out means understanding user intent. If it’s video content they specifically want then make sure you can be found for that!
On the subject of titles and descriptions, try to follow general SEO best practise guidelines – be aware of what the searcher is likely to be looking for. If you have keyword research data or feedback then use those findings here too.
2. Add Backlinks in the Description Field
Pinterest won’t allow you to leave the description field empty so this area is the ideal place to tell the user about your video and/or the product it references. This is really, REALLY important as the video content itself will take the user back to YouTube or Vimeo, not to your site (even if you have embedded the video there). If you want the pinner to visit your site you will need to add a backlink in the description box for them to do so.
Also, remember that even if the thumbnail image is clear and inviting, users will take a second to read what you have written, so make it engaging and add as much info (without keyword stuffing) as you can in a couple of sentences. Don’t forget that you can deep link back to a specific page on your website – handy for individual product pages.
Finally, if you are uploading video from YouTube or Vimeo then make sure that you have optimised those particular landing pages so they include a link back to your site or a page within your site too.
3. Add Pinterest CTA on Your Video Landing Pages
Pinterest itself make this very easy for you by providing the coding for ‘Pin It’ and ‘Follow Me’ buttons on their Goodies page. Pinterest is currently the third most popular social network after Twitter and Facebook so if you have those social media icons activated, you need to think about adding a Pinterest one too.
4. Curate and Share Other Video Content
We’re not suggesting that you promote your competitors video content but as Pinterest is based primarily on the concept of sharing (i.e repinning) you need to make sure that you are as active in this area as you are about marketing your own brand. Those who receive the most traffic to their own boards are busy re-pinning, liking, sharing, and commenting on others’ pins so make sure you are doing the same.
Curating others’ video content is a great way of utilising the medium if you don’t have any of your own. For instance, if you sell jewellery you can create video boards that tell a user how to clean specific pieces, or what jewellery to wear with what outfit etc. and look for videos on YouTube or Vimeo that reflect those aims. Informational videos do fantastically well on YouTube and in Google’s Universal Search results and there’s no reason why you can’t utilise them to bring others to your Pinterest account. User generated content is handy for this too!
5. Produce Videos that Others Want to Repin
As with any other aspect of video marketing, fresh, informative, original content is everything. If your video is doing well in terms of engagement outside of Pinterest, the chances are that it will do well on Pinterest.
If you are promoting video content elsewhere on the web but not on Pinterest, now is a great time to set up an account and see how it works for you and your brand.