Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester does a lot more than credit counseling

  • Should I apply for a retail credit card?

    For starters, a retail store credit card is a physical charge card that gives you credit for a specific retailer.  The amount of credit given can vary depending on your current credit score. More credit is usually given to those with higher credit scores and less credit is typically given to applicants with lower credit scores.  Not everyone is approved, but if you are, there are pros and cons to keep in mind.
                    Having a retail store credit card can be great financial tool.  It can help build credit if you are at least making the minimum payment on time each month.   Payment history is key in building and maintaining good credit. When you don’t have the funds available right away, using your retail card allows you to get the items you want sooner.  For example, you might find a nice sweater that’s only on sale this week, but you get paid the week after, so you use your credit card to make sure you take advantage of the sale.  It gives a sense of instant gratification. You may even earn rewards or points that could turn into discounts or coupons for future purchases.  At the same time, it is a great way to track your spending at that store.
                    Keep in mind if you’re not careful, pros can turn into cons.  There may be a sale on that nice sweater and you want one in every color.  Your retail credit card can help you get all those sweaters at once.  Some people reach the maximum credit allowance and bask in the instant gratification, but then the account will start to accrue interest if the balance isn’t paid in full by the due date.  It’s been found that retail store credit cards typically have higher interest rates than regular credit cards. If you’ve maxed out the card and now owe the interest, those sweaters begin to cost more than you thought.  It’s important to keep a low balance on the credit card.  It is recommended that you shouldn’t use more than 30% of your credit limit.  If you maintain a high balance and only pay the minimum amount due, your credit may not improve for a while. Be mindful that a retail credit card is supposed to be a tool to improve your score, not lower it.  &nbs...

  • UltraFICO

    Consumers with low credit scores may soon have a way to boost that three-digit number! A new product is supposed to become available in Summer 2019 and it will be geared towards consumers with low credit scores. Currently, potential lenders use your credit report, which includes your credit score and credit history, to see if you have paid your mortgage, personal loans, credit cards, and other debts on time. Your credit score is then calculated off of all of your debts and it’s broken down in five different categories which include: Payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%) - the different types of credit that you have. Lenders us this information to determine your credit risk and the interest rate that you would be charged, should they approve your loan or credit card.
    Here’s the change with regards to the new scoring method, UltraFICO™. It will have a different focus on your credit and will allow you to show lenders your financial behavior for areas that are not included on a traditional credit report. Once consumers opt in to the alternative scoring method, their banking behavior will be used to calculate their UltraFICO™ score. These areas include:

    Length of time of their bank account

    Evidence of savings (an average of $400 min. balance)

    The frequency of activity

    On-time and regular payments

    The voluntary scoring method is intended to boost the number of approvals for credit card, personal loans and other debt by considering the consumers cash transactions (their banking behavior), which may indicate how likely they are to repay the debt. Before enrolling, consumers need to remember that they would be sharing their sensitive checking and savings account information and data. For more information and to keep up to date on when the new scoring method will be rolled out to the public, visit

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CCCS of Rochester is proud to be the only locally-based non-profit Credit Counseling Agency in the Rochester area. Over the last 40+ years, we have helped hundreds of thousands of people reclaim their financial health

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