Save Money Today on Your Student Loans

If you’ve ever applied for a loan and been denied — despite your good credit score and history of on-time payments — your debt-to-income ratio may be the unseen culprit.

Your debt-to-income ratio is the total of your monthly debts, divided by your gross monthly income. It’s a simple way for lenders to assess your current debt load — and your ability to take on new debt.

This number isn’t the only way lenders decide whether to give you a new loan. But it’s an important one. Borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios are generally considered at increased risk of defaulting, and may be offered higher interest rates and less flexible terms.

Here’s how to determine yours.

See also: Paying Off Student Loans 

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Your credit score can shape the future of your finances, even more so than your age or income. No single factor matters more to potential lenders, and those with poor scores can wind up shelling out hundreds more in interest payments over time. But despite the crucial nature of this three-digit number, many Americans are unsure of their score and how to obtain it.

Considering the complexity of credit reporting today, we can’t say we blame those confused about credit scores.

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When it comes to personal finance, it’s hard to find a number that’s more important than your credit score. From the loans you can get to the interest rates you’ll pay, the financial implications of your score are hard to overstate.

It’s no wonder, then, that many Americans are searching for clarity about how their scores are calculated, and how they influence financial outcomes in their own lives.

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Building credit can seem like the ultimate Catch-22: You need a good score to borrow money, but you need to borrow money to get a good score. This system leaves millions of Americans confused about where to start, unsure of what they can do to break this cycle of credit exclusion.

According to the latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau numbers, 26 million adults are credit invisible, meaning credit reporting agencies have no data available for potential lenders.

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