banking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/794/all en-US The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000077673573_Large.jpg" alt="millennial using a money app" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more we become surgically attached to our phones, the more we need apps to help us along. According to a recent study, <a href="http://www.millennialdisruptionindex.com/">68% of Millennials</a> say that in five years, the way they access their money will be completely different, and 70% say that the way they pay for things will be totally different. So it's no wonder there are so many money apps out there, making it easy to do banking, investing, and budgeting on the go.</p> <p>Most of us money savvy Gen Y-ers have heard of Mint before, which is a great app that helps you budget and track your spending. But there are a number of other apps out there that can help us invest, save, and yes, even spend, easily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Acorns</h2> <p>If you want to invest in stocks, but don't know where to start, try out <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a>. This app invests your spare change. In other words, if you spend $1.75 on a soda, the extra $0.25 goes into Acorns. Once you've reached $5 in spare change, a team of financial advisers (including Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz) start investing for you. You can choose how aggressive you want your portfolio to be depending on how comfortable you feel. The app does cost $1 per month if your balance is under $5,000 and .25% per year if you're over $5,000. If you're age 24 or under, it's free. Make sure to do some research before you start investing (especially for a stock market newbie), but this app is well worth your time and investment.</p> <h2>2. Stash</h2> <p><a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/">Stash</a> is similar to Acorns, but with Stash, you get to choose how you want to invest. It also lets you know how risky your investment might be. You're not all alone in the process either &mdash; Stash provides support and guidance as you go. If you're new to the stock market, this is a good place to start, but make sure you do your homework on any company you invest in. The first three months of using the app are free, and then after that it has the same fees as Acorns.</p> <h2>3. Digit</h2> <p><a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> is a tidy little app that saves money for you. After the app checks out your payment history and spending habits, it starts to calculate ways for you start saving money. Every two to three days, Digit takes out between $5 and $50 and puts it into a savings account. The app helps you save without you even realizing it. And if you need your money, you simply text the app and it sends it to you. There are no fees and no minimums for this app, and they have a <a href="https://digit.co/about/faq#no-overdraft-guarantee">no-overdraft guarantee</a>. You can also pause savings at any point if you need to keep your money in your checking account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso">Can a Robot Called Digit Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Venmo and Square Cash</h2> <p><a href="https://venmo.com/">Venmo</a> is the fun way to send money with no fees. Set up much like a social media app, you can send money to friends for all kinds of things, and post emojis and jokes in public. While it sounds weird, it's the hippest way for Millennials to send money back and forth.</p> <p>The less &quot;fun&quot; version is <a href="https://cash.me/">Square Cash</a>, which I use on a regular basis to pay utilities to my roommate. Both apps are free, but do have a small fee for credit cards. Just make sure you never send any money to someone you don't know well. Both apps are good if you have a friend who owes you money for something. You don't have to awkwardly and consistently remind them in person &mdash; you can just request the money through the app.</p> <h2>5. Wally</h2> <p>Like Mint, <a href="http://wally.me/">Wally</a> helps you budget your money. The app shows your budgets in easy to understand charts and gives you an accurate look at your spending. The downside is that you have to upload each purchase, but it makes you more accountable. This is especially helpful on work-related travel. The app doesn't link to your credit card or bank account unless you want it to, so you don't have to worry about sharing your personal information. Wally is especially helpful for me so I can write off coffees and lunches and I don't have to keep the receipts! Try out Wally and see if it makes your life easier.</p> <p><em>Which money apps are you using? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apple-watch-apps-thatll-save-you-money">8 Apple Watch Apps That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Technology apps banking investing millennials money apps smartphone Wed, 17 Feb 2016 10:30:24 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1658140 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 MicroSaving Tools to Help You Start Saving Now http://www.wisebread.com/5-microsaving-tools-to-help-you-start-saving-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-microsaving-tools-to-help-you-start-saving-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_tree_000025470677.jpg" alt="Woman using microsaving tools to effortlessly save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not all of us have the ability to save large amounts of money every month, but saving for emergencies, future expenses, and large purchases are nonetheless important goals. That's where microsaving tools are helpful. Microsavings accounts are designed for small (and in some cases <em>very </em>small) deposits into a savings account that has little to no balance minimums. You simply save a few dollars every week and watch as your balance grows steadily over time.</p> <p>Your biggest asset with microsaving is time. The longer you give yourself to reach a financial goal, the more time you have to save up money, and the smaller financial burden you'll place on your bank account in the short-term.</p> <p>Below are five microsaving tools that help you save money with little effort.</p> <h2>1. Digit</h2> <p>I've been using <a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> since the middle of January 2015, and have been addicted to the service! Not only is it free and easy to use, but the company also caters to millennials who are interested in using their smartphones to make deposits and receive notifications of their account via text. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso">Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <p>Each week a small amount of money, based on your checking account balance, is transferred into your Digit account. The average deposit is usually less than $14, and in some cases as little as $2, depending on whether or not it's near payday.</p> <p>Digit's algorithm only transfers money that you can afford to save, and offers overdraft protection so you don't have to worry about overdrafting your account. In other words, you'll never know the money's gone &mdash; until you get a text detailing your ever-increasing Digit account balance.</p> <h2>2. Simple</h2> <p>Although <a href="https://www.simple.com/">Simple</a> is an up-and-coming bank in their own right, their service is unique because it focuses on multiple savings goals made right from their mobile app. You start by creating a new goal, naming it, and then setting up automatic savings transfers with just as little as $1.</p> <p>In addition, they offer spending and budget tracking features that allow you to view your spending habits to find holes where you could be saving more money. Once you sign up for the free service, you're given a Visa card that's attached to your Simple bank account. From there you get access to all their features, including microsavings goals, and never have to pay a fee to use it.</p> <h2>3. Acorns</h2> <p>Not only is microsavings perfect for small financial goals, but this same principal applies to investing as well. Smaller, more affordable amounts can add up to a large portfolio as time goes on.</p> <p><a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> capitalizes on this new trend by offering a service that rounds up your spending transactions to the nearest whole dollar amount. Similar to <a href="https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/keep-the-change.go">Bank of America's Keep the Change program</a>, Acorns takes the difference of your &quot;round ups&quot; and transfers the funds into your Acorns investment portfolio.</p> <p>While the service won't make you rich, and you definitely won't be able to retire solely on the funds saved with Acorns, it's still a great way to get started as a new or young investor. I've been pleased with their service and have been using it since October 2014.</p> <h2>4. SmartyPig</h2> <p>Similar to Simple, SmartyPig allows you to create multiple goals and transfer money into these microsavings accounts each month. The only difference is that <a href="https://www.smartypig.com/">SmartyPig</a> is not a bank and partners with the BBVA Compass institution to insure funds held by users.</p> <p>Another distinction is that when you've achieved your goal with SmartyPig you can then cash in your savings to spend via a gift card and receive an additional bonus (sometimes up to 14% cash back). Otherwise you can transfer the funds to your regular checking account and spend the money as you wish.</p> <h2>5. Kiva</h2> <p>While this tool doesn't allow you to save money, it does offer the chance to pay it forward through a microloan to entrepreneurs around the world. Your $25 microloan is added to loans from other Kiva donors dedicated to helping people in developing countries purchase much-needed supplies, equipment, and invest in their family-owned business.</p> <p>As someone who's newly self-employed, I live on a very tight budget, but that doesn't mean I don't want to give to others when I can. <a href="http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/carefulcents">Kiva</a> makes it possible, and very affordable, to give to other entrepreneurs and creatives around the world who are in the same place I am &mdash; trying to make a difference while providing for their family.</p> <p>The microfinance world is about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-money-boosts-that-grow-your-savings">making giving and saving affordable</a> for all of us, no matter what our financial situation is. The above tools listed here are bridging the gap between the wealthy and the lower class while making financial goals affordable to everyone.</p> <p><em>Have you experimented with any of these microsaving tools? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-microsaving-tools-to-help-you-start-saving-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account">10 Places to Stash Your Money Besides a Savings Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-money-like-a-grown-up">How to Do Money Like a Grown-Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking microsavings savings Thu, 28 May 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Carrie Smith 1432373 at http://www.wisebread.com Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/capital-one-360-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_000020578681.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <!--<p><strong>Special Bonus Offer!</strong> Open your first 360 Savings Account and earn up to $500! Offer ends 7/31! Details below</p>--> <p>It's been a few years since <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10478354?sid=mmarquit-959668">Capital One</a> bought ING DIRECT</a>, the popular bank that conducted most of its operations online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">7 Banks Still Offering Free Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts</a>)</p> <p>For most people looking to centralize their banking and find competitive rates, Capital One 360 is a viable option. Capital One 360 makes it easy to access all of your accounts, including your investment accounts, from your account summary.</p> <h2>Features and Benefits of Capital One 360</h2> <p>Capital One 360 offers a variety of banking products and services.</p> <h3>360 Savings</h3> <p>This is the classic account that started it all. There are no fees, no minimum deposit requirements, and no catches. Right now, the yield is <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10698040?sid=mmarquit-959668" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><script src="https://home.capitalone360.com/js/accounttype.js"></script> <script>document.write(type_3000_apy);</script></a>% APY, which is reasonably competitive, especially when you consider that there are no minimums and no fees. It&rsquo;s easy to link your account to other banks and set up automatic transfers to make saving easy.</p> <!--<p><strong>Now through 7/31/2015, earn up to $500 when you open your first 360 Savings account.</strong> <ul><li>This must be your very first 360 Savings account. If you've had a savings product with Capital One 360 or ING DIRECT before, you won't be eligible for the bonus.</li> <li>Your account must be funded within the first 10 days of account opening. Deposits from an existing Capital One 360 account will not qualify for the bonus.</li> <li>The minimum deposit to qualify for the bonus is $5,000, and the daily balance of $5,000 must be maintained for the 90 days, after the initial 10 day period.</li> <li>The amount of your bonus will be determined based on the highest amount you deposit within the first 10 days of account opening, and the balance that is maintained daily for the next 90 days after that.</li> </ul></p> <p>Bonus Tiers: <ul><li>$5,000 earns a $50 bonus</li> <li>$10,000 earns a $100 bonus</li> <li>$20,000 earns a $200 bonus</li> <li>$30,000 earns a $300 bonus</li> <li>$40,000 earns a $400 bonus</li> <li>$50,000 or more earns a $500 bonus</li> <li>$500 is the maximum bonus you can earn.</li> </ul> </p> --> <p><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10698040?sid=mmarquit-959668" rel="nofollow" target="_top"><strong>Click here to open a 360 Savings Account today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Kids Savings Account</h3> <p>My son&rsquo;s savings account at Capital One 360 kicks the crap out of the 0.20% he was getting at the local credit union. It&rsquo;s easy to monitor the account from your own dashboard and to teach your child the value of saving early on.</p> <h3>360 Checking</h3> <p>You can open a checking account with Capital One 360 and earn a yield on the balance. Current yields range from 0.20% to 0.80%, depending on how much money is in the account. There are 2,000 Capital One ATMs in addition to 38,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs account holders can use.</p> <ul> <li>This account has no fees and no minimums, and you can use P2P Payments to send money to family and friends for free.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bill pay is free, even when you have paper checks sent.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can use CheckMate to deposit checks remotely, and the account comes with overdraft protection.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you overdraw your account, you won&rsquo;t end up paying a fee. Instead, you are just charged an interest fee (currently 11.25%) on the overdraft until it&rsquo;s paid off.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10478354?sid=mmarquit-959668"><strong>Click here to apply for a Capital One 360 checking account now.</strong></a></p> <h3>MONEY (Teen Checking)</h3> MONEY is an account created specifically for the teen user. Teach your teen to manage her money with this no fee and no minimum account that earns interest. </p> <h3>CDs</h3> <p>The yields on the CDs from Capital One 360 are not as competitive as they could be, ranging from 0.40% to 0.90%. You can choose your term, and you can also choose when you want to receive your interest payments.</p> <h3>Mortgages</h3> <p>The Capital One 360 mortgage offers fixed and variable rate options for a new purchase or a refinance. The closing costs are very straightforward, and right now the rates are still quite low. You can also get a home equity loan with a variable rate starting at 4.0%, or lock in a slightly higher rate for 15 years.</p> <h3>ShareBuilder</h3> <p>With ShareBuilder you can invest in stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, as well as trade options. There is no account minimum, and you can choose between paying a $12 monthly fee and getting a lower price on trades, or just opening the account with the Basic version. I have this version, in which regular purchases are $9.95 a transaction. However, since I have an automatic investment plan set up, I only pay $4 a transaction. It&rsquo;s easy, straightforward, and the pricing is competitive with the automatic investing.</p> <h3>IRAs</h3> <p>You can choose to open a savings IRA, or you can use ShareBuilder to open an investment IRA. With the savings IRA, you have all the money in CDs and savings accounts; you need to go the ShareBuilder route if you want to invest in stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs. You can also rollover your 401(k) into an IRA from Capital One 360.</p> <h3>Business Account</h3> <p>Capital One 360 also offers business banking products. You can open a business savings account, or a business CD. The current yield on the business savings account is lower than what you get with personal savings, though.</p> <p>You can also use the ShareBuilder 401(k) to set up a retirement plan for your small business. It&rsquo;s fairly easy to set up, and you can offer this benefit to your employees.</p> <h3>Bottom Line</h3> <p>Overall, <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10478354?sid=mmarquit-959668" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Capital One 360</a> is a viable competitor. The products offered remain fairly competitive. Additionally, the low-fee, low-hassle structure of the bank makes it easy to open accounts, and avoid watching your wealth erode due to hidden fees and complicated requirements.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10478354?sid=mmarquit-959668" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to open an account now!</strong></a></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-black-friday-sale-get-100-when-you-open-an-account">Capital One 360 Black Friday Sale: Get $100 When You Open an Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking banks Capital One credit cards ing direct Fri, 28 Nov 2014 08:35:15 +0000 Miranda Marquit 959668 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shocked-woman-bill-121285155-small.jpg" alt="shocked woman bill" title="shocked woman bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Setting up automatic bill payments can be a great way to avoid late fees and save time. But if your attitude is &quot;set it and forget it,&quot; auto-payments can also come back and bite you in the butt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Watch out for these seven auto-pay betrayals.</p> <h2>1. Overdraft Fees</h2> <p>Personally, I only set up automatic payments using my credit cards, not my checking account. The reason is that if my account is ever on the low side, I don't want to risk having an automatic payment sink me down into the red, triggering an overdraft charge. Consider setting up account alerts to notify you of low balances in order to avoid this snafu.</p> <h2>2. Account Closure</h2> <p>A good friend was recently prey to the all-too-frequent scourge of credit card fraud. Her card issuer assured her she was not responsible for the fraudulent charges, so she wasn't worried about that. Her worry was that if she closed the account, she would have to call all her recurring billers &mdash; the gym, the cable company, etc. &mdash; to give them the new number. What's worse, if any of the billers mess up and don't switch to the new card number, you could end up with late fees on those accounts. And if you're me, you'll probably forget to notify at least one biller, and end up missing several payments before you realize your oversight.</p> <h2>3. Fraud</h2> <p>I had a stored-value card for our local public transit system, set to automatically replenish its funds from my credit card account. This is very convenient &mdash; for people who are good at keeping track of their card. I lost mine, and since I don't take public transit daily, it was a couple of months before I realized it was missing.</p> <p>It was only after I noticed one month that our credit card had been billed for over $100 for transit card refills that I realized something was going on. Once I looked into it, I realized that my card had been used by someone else for several months and I had been defrauded by more than $300. I have an investigation pending with the system, and I have a new card &mdash; which is not on auto-pay.</p> <h2>4. Vendor Errors or Vendor Fraud</h2> <p>Once you have given a vendor your credit card or checking account number, they can, in some cases, continue billing your account &mdash; even more than you agreed to. Check out this <a href="https://customer.uscellular.com/myaccount/autopay-faq.html">Q&amp;A cell phone company US Cellular</a> had to publish last year to deal with the fallout after their auto-pay system went haywire and billed people for two months' service at once. Then there are disreputable companies that might sign you up for one service and then start billing you for things you didn't order. Read the fine print and double-check that no additional charges will be forthcoming without your express permission</p> <h2>5. Cancellation Difficulties</h2> <p>This one happened to me with the phone company. I moved and canceled service, but they just kept right on charging my credit card every month. At first, the charges went unnoticed in the chaos of a cross-country family move, but by the time I noticed it, I had to call customer service again and again before it stopped. Each month, the agent would say the problem was taken care of and that a refund was being processed. But the the next month, lo and behold &mdash; I was billed again. Consider getting confirmation in writing of cancellations.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting to Cancel</h2> <p>The flip side of the above is when you put a service on auto-pay, then completely forget you are paying for it. If you don't study your credit card bill or bank statement carefully each month, you might pay for years of that music streaming service or beer of the month club without remembering that you never listened to it or you stopped drinking beer.</p> <h2>7. Lack of Vigilance</h2> <p>When you have to manually pay a bill each month, you tend to look at the amount you're paying and the statement. When I pay my electric bill, I compare it to the past month and the year-before's bills, and if it went up, I think about what we might have been doing differently to use more electricity. But I tend to slide on watching bills that get paid automatically, like our phone bill. Even if we still receive a paper statement, if I know the bill is paid it's too tempting to just recycle the bill without opening it. This could lead to unpleasant surprises if your bill goes up or fluctuates. Fight the temptation to ignore the amounts billed, and pore over your statements on occasion. You might be glad you did.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned by auto-pay? Tells us your story in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-private-financial-information-you-must-share">The Private Financial Information You Must Share</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto-pay banking budgeting credit cards money management Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1260292 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/atm-withdrawal-479705383-small.jpg" alt="atm withdrawal" title="atm withdrawal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average checking account has about <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/average-checking-account-has-30-fees-2013-08-08">30 different fees</a>.</p> <p>So it's not a surprise that many Americans are considering dropping their banks and choosing a credit union instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <p>However, a total switch may not be necessary if you're able to significantly lower your banking and finance fees. Here are six fees that you really don't have to pay.</p> <h2>1. ATM Fees</h2> <p>Some ATM usage fees are just outrageous. For example, using a non-Bank of America debit or credit card for a withdrawal, transfer, or balance inquiry at a Bank of America ATM has a <a href="https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/resources/personal-schedule-fees.go">$2.50 fee per transaction in the U.S</a>., and $5.00 in a foreign country. The same fees are applicable when you use a Bank of America debit or credit card at an ATM outside their network.</p> <p>Here are some strategies to avoid paying ATM fees:</p> <ul> <li>Know what ATM networks belong to your network. Most banks have a page that details this information on their websites. Bookmark it on your desktop and smartphone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use cashback. Several retailers, such as CVS and Safeway, allow you to get cash back when using your debit card to process payment. If your bank doesn't charge you fees for using your credit card (more on the next point), then you can take out money without any charges.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look for banks that reimburse other bank fees. For example, USAA Bank <a href="https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/no_fee_checking_main?akredirect=true">refunds up to $15 in other banks' ATM usage fees</a> each month. Also, Ally Bank <a href="http://www.ally.com/resources/pdf/bank/ally-bank-straight-talk-product-guide.pdf">reimburses all other bank's ATM fees nationwide</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Checking Account Fees</h2> <p>Most banks charge between <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/08/23/3-bank-fees-you-should-never-pay.aspx">$10 and $20 every month</a> to maintain a checking account with them. That add ups to $100 to $240 per year in unnecessary banking fees! Follow these tactics to avoid checking account fees.</p> <ul> <li>Meet the monthly minimum or average balance requirements for your account. This amount varies per bank so make sure to check with yours.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find out if your bank waives checking account fees by signing up for direct deposit. Even if your bank doesn't waive the fees, this service helps you to meet the minimum balance requirements more easily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open a checking account with a credit union. Virtually all credit unions don't charge fees for checking accounts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your homework. Certain banks waive checking account fees to special demographics, such as <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/college/">university students</a>, <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/banks-target-seniors-free-checking.aspx">senior citizens</a>, or <a href="https://www.chase.com/online/military/military-personal.htm">current armed forces service members and veterans</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Overdraft Fees</h2> <p><a href="http://time.com/money/3070815/overdraft-fees-banks-save-money/">About $31 billion</a> are paid every year in overdraft fees around the country. In theory, overdraft fees are there to protect you when your checking account or credit card hs $300 and you decide to make a purchase for $320. The problem is that financial institutions and lenders are selectively choosing when to charge overdraft fees, which range from $25 to $35.</p> <p>Let's imagine that you have a credit cards balance of $30. Throughout the day, you spend $5 in breakfast, $15 in lunch, and $20 in dinner. If the fees were to be charged chronologically, you would only pay one overdraft fee. Unfortunately, some credit card companies selectively charge the fees so that you get dinged with the fee more than once. Suddenly, you are on the hook for up to $70 in overdraft fees.</p> <p>To make matters worse, while <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201407_cfpb_report_data-point_overdrafts.pdf">70% of checking account holders incur no overdrafts per year</a>, about 82% of checking accounts are hit with up to three overdraft charges per year. The conclusion? Do not sign up for any service labeled &quot;overdraft.&quot; Don't become part of the 8.3% of Americans that overdraft more than 10 times per year and opt out this service.</p> <h2>4. Fancy Checks</h2> <p>Do you really need to spend between $21.95 to $56.85 (before applicable taxes, shipping charges, and extras) for <a href="http://www.bradfordexchangechecks.com/products/1800538001-The-Little-Mermaid-Personal-Checks.html">Little Mermaid checks</a>? No, you don't.</p> <p>Generally, ordering a check through your own bank is not a good idea. For example, ordering <a href="http://www.samsclubchecks.com/line.aspx?lineid=212">personal checks at Sam's Club</a> starts at $8.70, while ordering checks through your bank often starts at $20. The only time to order checks through your bank is when they are free, such as when opening a new account.</p> <h2>5. Credit Reports</h2> <p>You don't need to pay for a credit report. Ever.</p> <p>Under federal law, you can get a free credit report through <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> every 12 months. This report includes all your credit history from the three main reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.</p> <p>It is a smart habit to order your free credit report every year so that you can go through it to find any inconsistencies. If you do find any issues, you can <a href="https://www.ai.equifax.com/CreditInvestigation/home.action">create an online dispute</a>. Notice that you only need to notify one reporting agency because it will notify the other two for you.</p> <h2>6. Extra 0.25% to 1.00% in Loan Interest</h2> <p>Several financial institutions are willing to knock off from 0.25% to 1.00% of your interest rate if you set up an automatic monthly payment from your checking account. While this is not strictly a fee, the effect of this policy is to charge account-holders who do not opt for automatic payments a fee.</p> <ul> <li>Get up to <a href="https://www.fiscal.org/new-and-used-auto-loans.html#auto-loan-discounts">1.00% off from the APR of your auto loan</a> at the Fiscal Credit Union.</li> <li>Receive a <a href="http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandiscounts.phtml">0.25% to 0.50% interest rate reduction</a> from your student loans.</li> </ul> <p>Make sure to double check with your bank if they offer rate discounts for automatic monthly payments.</p> <p><em>What are other banking and finance fees that you don't really have to pay?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-small-print-of-high-interest-savings-accounts">Beware the Small Print of High Interest Savings Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">5 Best Online Savings Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking checking credit cards fees savings Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1199895 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile-banking-160857206-small.jpg" alt="mobile banking" title="mobile banking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you've heard a story like this: An entirely ordinary &mdash; and often reclusive &mdash; elderly person passes away, revealing the millions of dollars they have stashed away in their modest homes.<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/09/7-million-in-gold-discovered-in-dead-mans-home/"> One Nevada man died to reveal a fortune</a>, including gold bars and coins, worth more than $7 million. His bank account was found to be holding a meager $200.</p> <p>In an age when there are so very many options for saving, investing, and managing our money, the notion that people still really do put cash under their mattresses is a bit hard to imagine. Then again, if you've been faced with the task of deciding where to keep your savings, you've probably discovered it isn't an easy one, precisely because there are so many choices.</p> <p>So where can you keep your money safe but still earn a decent return? Here are some key options.</p> <h2>Savings Accounts</h2> <p>They're simple, they're convenient, they're easy to find and they're perfectly safe in terms of protecting your principal investment. Because there is so much competition, you can also find a decent interest rate if you shop around. Just be sure to choose an account with no fees. Who wants to pay to save? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-savings-account-interest-rates-are-so-low?ref=seealso">Why Savings Account Interest Rates Are So Low</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who prioritize liquidity (the ability to withdraw your money whenever you want it without restrictions) above all other conveniences. If you're looking to save for shorter term goals, or for an emergency fund, a savings account is a great option.</p> <h2>Money Market Accounts</h2> <p>This type of savings account tends to provide higher returns than a typical savings account, but that also has more restrictions on withdrawals and minimum deposits. Some money market accounts even allow some check-writing privileges. These accounts are risk free in terms of losing your initial deposit and, like a simple savings account, are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects your deposits against bank failure.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who value safety and are willing to forego some convenience and accessibility for higher rates of return.</p> <h2>High-Yield Checking Accounts</h2> <p>Many checking accounts charge a monthly fee, but some checking accounts, often called &quot;high yield checking accounts,&quot; actually offer pretty solid interest rates instead. These accounts are typically offered by local credit unions and online banks and, as of July 2014, some offered interest rates as high as 5% &mdash; although there are quite a few caveats to scoring that kind of return. You can run a search of these types of accounts and what they offer at <a href="https://www.checkingfinder.com/">CheckingFinder</a>.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who seek safety, reasonably good liquidity and don't mind jumping through a few hoops for a higher return.</p> <h2>Certificates of Deposit</h2> <p>A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a sort of IOU from a bank in which the bank agrees to pay back the amount you deposited plus a specific amount of interest within a certain time frame. For example, if you buy a $1,000 CD with a 5% interest rate, you'll be owed $105 when the CD matures. Generally, you can't withdraw this money before the CD's maturity date without incurring a penalty. However, CDs are very low risk and generally provide higher returns than a savings or money market account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering?ref=seealso">The Basics of CD Laddering</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who are seeking a long-term savings vehicle and don't expect to need to access their savings immediately.</p> <h2>U.S Savings Bonds</h2> <p>If you can afford to keep your money tied up for at least a year, U.S. savings bonds might be another option to consider. These super-safe investments are sold and backed by the U.S. government and they tend to provide competitive interest rates. As an added bonus, interest on government bonds (unlike corporate bonds) is accrued monthly and compounded semi-annually, helping your investment grow a bit faster. You may also get tax deferral or exemption benefits on the proceeds of government bonds.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>If you're seeking safety and plan to keep your money invested for between one and five years, government bonds may be a good bet for you.</p> <h2>Pay Down Debt</h2> <p>We often think of savings as money that we save, but you could also think of it as money that you spend to save you money. If you have a lot of debt that you're trying to pay off, it's probably best to save up an emergency fund and then put the rest of any money available for saving toward your debt. If you consider that some credit cards have interest rates of 20% or more, paying down your balance actually has a pretty great financial return.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who have what's called &quot;revolving debt,&quot; or debt that you aren't able to pay off at the end of the month and continues to compound interest charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a>.)</p> <h2>Pay Down Your Mortgage</h2> <p>Just as paying off your credit card or line of credit can provide a return in the form saved interest expenses, so can paying down your mortgage. Plus, if you consider that a home is one of the most valuable assets many people own, paying into that asset can act as a bit of a savings account you can cash in when you downsize later in life.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Anyone with a mortgage &mdash; as long as you have other essential savings bases covered, such as an emergency fund and retirement savings.</p> <h2>Real Estate</h2> <p>Not everyone is a fan of watching the number of digits in their bank balance grow; some people prefer to invest in something concrete, and that often means investing in real estate. Yes, the real estate market in the United States has had some serious lows in recent years, but over the long term, <a href="https://www.ncreif.org/property-index-returns.aspx">real estate has proved to have reasonable growth</a>.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who like concrete investments, who can handle some long-term risks, and who aren't interested in liquidity at all. Seriously &mdash; it can take months, or years, to sell a property.</p> <h2>Your Workplace Retirement Program</h2> <p>If you have a workplace retirement program, use it. It's as simple as that. Not only will contributions to a retirement plan such as a 401(k) reduce your taxable income, but your investment will also go to work immediately to help ensure that your golden years really are golden. Plus, any employer contribution represents free money, so at least contribute enough to your plan to maximize your employer's matching program.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Anyone who has access to one, particularly if your employer matches some of your contributions.</p> <h2>An IRA</h2> <p>Most types of IRAs are investment vehicles that allow you to save money and defer paying taxes on that money until you retire. The benefit of this arrangement is that savings can grow faster without the headwind taxes represent. It is also assumed that people's income will be lower when they're no longer working, putting them into a lower tax bracket and allowing them to withdraw their funds at a lower tax rate when they retire. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=seealso">Choosing a Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>IRAs are suitable for most investors, but there are many different types with different rules and benefits. Therefore, it's best to do some research or consult with a retirement planner to help you decide what kind of IRA might work best for you.</p> <h2>A Flexible Spending Account</h2> <p>Medical and other health related costs add up very quickly. That's why some employers offer what are called flexible spending accounts, or FSAs. In an FSA, your employer will deduct pre-tax income from your paycheck and set it aside for you to use on qualifying health expenditures that aren't covered by your regular health insurance plan. Often, you get to decide how much you contribute up to a certain limit. FSAs are a good bet because they ensure you have some money set aside for unexpected medical expenses. Because they're funded with pre-tax income, they can also significantly reduce your income tax bill.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who are concerned about medical expenditures, have health problems or have a number of dependents on their health plan.</p> <h2>Educational Savings Account</h2> <p>If you have children, an education savings account (read: college fund) may be a great place to park your cash. You can contribute up to $2,000 per year, and interest is accumulated tax free. The only caveat to avoiding taxes is that your child has to use the money by the age of 30 for qualifying educational purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-not-to-save-for-your-childs-college-fund?ref=seealso">3 Reasons Not Save For Your Kid's College Education</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>People with kids, especially if they're bound for the Ivy League &ndash; you're going to need all the money you can get!</p> <p><em>Do you have a great savings vehicle I missed? Let me know where you're keeping your savings in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-savings-in-2007">Easy savings in 2007</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking checking investing IRA money market safe investments saving Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:00:22 +0000 Tara Struyk 1180824 at http://www.wisebread.com The Private Financial Information You Must Share http://www.wisebread.com/the-private-financial-information-you-must-share <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-private-financial-information-you-must-share" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-4526050-small.jpg" alt="couple whispering" title="couple whispering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, my husband and I decided to make some money moves to reduce our taxes and diversify an investment holding. One of the steps required transferring funds from our online brokerage firm to our regular checking account with our credit union. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a>)</p> <p>My husband has been managing the day-to-day aspects of our family finances while I have been taking care of longer-term investments. So, he had the log-on information to the checking account while I had the log-on to the brokerage account.</p> <p>It took multiple online sessions as well as phone calls and text messages with my husband in order to share information required to facilitate the transfers between our accounts. This episode made me realize that if you share a financial future with someone, then you should share private financial information, too. I could see how challenging a major transition (such as an extended overseas trip or deployment, emergency situation, incapacitating accident or illness, or death) could be. After all, my husband and I were working together to make a financial move but still found the process challenging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting">How to Stay Married for 29 Years and Counting</a>)</p> <h2>Financial Information to Share</h2> <p>You may think you have a simple financial life. But it&rsquo;s likely that you have more accounts than you realize. And the number grows as you get older and accumulate assets, have children, change jobs, and restructure holdings based on changes in tax laws. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the most missed items is the paid-up life insurance policy, according to <a href="http://uphelp.org/ask-an-expert/expertanswer?field_expert_uid=400">Tony Steuer, CLU, Life Insurance Analyst, CPFFE, and Director of Financial Wellness for United Policyholders</a>. He also mentions various employer-sponsored plans as often-overlooked assets.</p> <p>Take an inventory of your accounts among these major categories: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Personal and Business Accounts With Financial Institutions</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Checking accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>Savings accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>CDs</p> </li> <li> <p>Mortgages</p> </li> <li> <p>Debit/credit/charge cards</p> </li> <li> <p>Vehicle loans</p> </li> <li> <p>Brokerage accounts (online and traditional)</p> </li> <li> <p>Mutual fund accounts (not held in brokerage accounts)</p> </li> <li> <p>Safety deposit boxes</p> </li> <li> <p>Annuities</p> </li> <li> <p>529 plan accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>Children&rsquo;s checking, savings, and investment accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>Life insurance policies, including paid-up policies and key person insurance policies</p> </li> <li> <p>Other insurance policies (property and casualty, personal umbrella, disability, long-term care)</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Work-Related Financial Accounts With Current and Past Employers</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Employer-paid or sponsored insurance policies (life, disability, etc.)</p> </li> <li> <p>Health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and/or flexible spending accounts</p> </li> <li> <p>Defined benefit plans (pension plans)</p> </li> <li> <p>Defined contribution plans (401k or similar plans)</p> </li> <li> <p>Stock options</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Online Accounts for Shopping, Account Management, and/or Bill Payment Purposes</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Department store and specialty retailers</p> </li> <li> <p>Cell phone providers</p> </li> <li> <p>Utilities</p> </li> <li> <p>Media and entertainment companies</p> </li> <li> <p>Airline miles and travel rewards programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Tax software and electronic filing programs</p> </li> </ul> <p>For each account, document the name of the financial institution or provider; account or policy number; and contact person such as the account representative, personal banker, or insurance agent. According to <a href="http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/access-online-accounts-helping-executor-35013.html">legal site Nolo.com, you will also want to record online access information such as usernames, passwords, PINs, etc.</a></p> <p>Use whatever secure method of capturing these details works for you. For example, I prefer to write down the information on paper, whereas someone else may want to use a more sophisticated set-up involving password-protected spreadsheets or <a href="http://www.principledheart.com/">online services</a>.</p> <p>Finally, an essential piece of information is your financial plan. <a href="http://www.michaelslabic.com/">Financial advisor Michael Slabic, CLU, ChFC</a> tells me that developing and sharing this vision for your future is critical to effectively implementing the plan, particularly in the case of an <a href="http://www.multivu.com/mnr/59530-northwestern-mutual-client-story-a-world-without-reb">unexpected death of a spouse or loved one</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-financial-5-year-plan">How to Create a 5-Year Financial Plan</a>)</p> <h2>Steps to Sharing Information</h2> <p>Start by deciding what accounts ought to have shared access all the time and make changes to those accounts if needed. Then, determine the best approach to structure and share information about the remaining accounts in ways that protect both you and your family.</p> <p><strong>Share Emergency and Daily Cash Accounts</strong></p> <p><a href="http://thechicagofinancialplanner.com/">Certified financial planner Roger Wohlner</a> emphasizes the need for cash in emergency situations. So, share information that will allow your family to take care of basic financial needs in a crisis. For example, establish and share access to a joint checking account or savings account designated for certain situations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-to-prepare-for-a-health-emergency">How to Prepare for a Health Emergency</a>)</p> <p>In addition, you might work with charge card companies, cell phone companies, and other providers to establish account management rights so that one person can handle urgent problems if the other is unavailable.</p> <p><strong>Share Long-Term Planning Details</strong></p> <p>For longer-term financial planning purposes, share a comprehensive inventory of accounts with information on holdings such as bonds, mutual funds, and individual stocks. In addition, record outstanding debt such as student loans, mortgages, and vehicle loans. Mike tells me that many of his clients keep such a list with their financial plans for easy reference. You can share your account information (such as the name of your financial institution and average balances), yet still retain control of and online access to your accounts.</p> <p><strong>Don&#39;t Let Assets Stay Hidden</strong></p> <p>If there are accounts you&rsquo;d prefer not to discuss right now, such as your company&rsquo;s stock options or a child&rsquo;s 529 plan, you should still find a way to share this information when you are gone. Otherwise, your family may have difficulty tapping your assets. For example, Tony tells me that paid-up life insurance policies, some of the accounts you are most likely to forget you own, often end up as unclaimed property after the policyholder&rsquo;s death.</p> <p>Let your spouse, family member, and/or loved one know where to find your asset list, whether stored in a file cabinet, locked in a safety deposit box, kept in a sealed envelope in your top desk drawer, or documented in an online site.</p> <p>Note that there may be legal ramifications to giving out online access information. For example, sharing passwords for certain accounts may be a violation of the terms of service and federal regulations. In fact, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-05-26/business/ct-biz-0526-problem-kripke--20110526_1_online-account-online-banking-access">Bank of America refused online banking access to a wife who has power of attorney for her husband</a>. So, consult with your attorney about ways to gain access to funds at the proper time.</p> <p>Though my husband and I share all aspects of our financial lives, other couples and family members may have different arrangements. Set your boundaries before you start giving out information. But don&rsquo;t ignore the need to share information until it&rsquo;s too late.</p> <p><em>Do you share financial information and details with a spouse or partner?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-private-financial-information-you-must-share">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-personal-finance-for-lazy-people">Easy Personal Finance for Lazy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-balance-staying-away-from-financial-extremes">The Frugal Balance: Staying Away from Financial Extremes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia">Afraid of Spending Money? Here Are 5 Perks of Your Phobia</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking financial planning money management Tue, 29 Oct 2013 10:00:03 +0000 Julie Rains 1049125 at http://www.wisebread.com Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank? http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-4063970-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When many of us think of Discover, we think of credit cards (including the new <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers">Discover it card</a>). However, Discover offers standard banking services as well as credit cards. In fact, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1534621&amp;fot=1072&amp;foc=1">Discover Bank</a> features competitive yields on savings products and some loan products.</p> <p>Discover markets is its savings account as &quot;over 5X the National Savings Average,&quot; although the yields aren't the highest available. But they are high enough to justify considering an account with Discover Bank.</p> <h2>A Little History Behind Discover Bank</h2> <p>The Discover card was launched in 1986, but the bank is a more recent invention. The company likes to push that fact that the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index has ranked Discover (the card) #1 in customer loyalty for 17 years in a row.</p> <p>Discover Bank cropped up during the boom in online banking that occurred a few years ago. The online aspect provides Discover with the ability to offer savings products to consumers, in addition to credit cards.</p> <p>For the first quarter of 2013, Bankrate gave Discover Bank its 5-Star Safe &amp; Sound rating. Even though Discover Bank is FDIC-insured, many consumers still like to see that their bank has good health.</p> <h2>Features and Benefits of Discover Bank</h2> <p>As you might expect, Discover offers credit cards, including the Discover it card, a version of the Discover it for students, and business credit card options. All of these credit cards are considered reasonably competitive and offer access to Discover's cash back program. In addition to the well-known credit card offerings, Discover Bank offers a range of savings products, as well as three loan products.</p> <p><strong>Online Savings</strong></p> <p>As of June 2015, Discover Bank offers <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1534621&amp;fot=1072&amp;foc=1">0.95% APY on its online savings account</a>. This is one of the highest yields you'll find out there. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. However, you do need $500 to open an online savings account.</p> <p><strong>Money Market Account</strong></p> <p>Discover Bank also offers a <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.393621&amp;fot=1072&amp;foc=1">money market account</a>. As of this writing, the APY on a money market account is 0.75% on deposits of between $2,500 and $99,999. Balances of over $100,000 pay a yield of 0.80%. You need $2,500 to open a money market account, and there is a $10 fee for months in which your average daily balance dips below $2,500. You can access funds via check, debit card, or online. However, this is still considered a savings account, so you are limited to six withdrawals a month.</p> <p><strong>CDs</strong></p> <p>Discover Bank offers competitive CD rates, with a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.393635&amp;fot=1072&amp;foc=1">one-year CD at 1.00%</a> as of this writing. If you are willing to lock up the money for a longer period of time, the rates are above 1%. You need a minimum of $2,500 to open a CD account. There are also renewal options that make it easy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering">to build CD ladders</a> and renew your CD when the term is up.</p> <p><strong>Retirement</strong></p> <p>You can include your retirement planning with Discover Bank. Discover Bank can help you rollover your 401(k) to an IRA, or to transfer your IRA. You can also include CDs in an IRA, and Discover Bank can help you do that, too. Although Discover Bank touts its IRA CD, the reality is that the virtually the same APYs are offered, and you don't get any truly special perks; you just hold the CD account in an IRA.</p> <p><strong>Loan Products</strong></p> <p>You can choose from three different types of loans with Discover Bank:</p> <ol> <li>Mortgages</li> <li>Student Loans</li> <li>Personal Loans</li> </ol> <p>Discover Bank touts its personal loan as one that can be used to consolidate debt as well as to finance larger purchases. There are also a variety of student loans to choose from, including those intended for graduate students as well as undergraduate students. It's even possible to get a bar exam loan designed to help law students pay for prep and the cost of the exam.</p> <p><strong>Mobile Banking</strong></p> <p>Discover Bank offers a mobile banking app that makes it easy to access your account from anywhere. You can manage your account from your mobile app, including taking a look at how much interest each account has earned. The mobile banking app from Discover also includes remote deposit. This is a convenient feature that many banks are adopting. It's also possible for you to schedule your bill payments using this app. There is a handy ATM locator that can help you access your money in the &quot;real world&quot; &mdash; no matter where you are.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that Discover is compatible with Google Wallet, so you can add your credit card information to your digital wallet without too much trouble.</p> <h2>Educational Resources and Customer Service</h2> <p>You will find a number of educational resources on the Discover Bank website. There is a retirement planning center, as well as a number of helpful articles on financial management. You can also find an extensive help center that features FAQs related to various products and services. You can find contact information as well, including online contact, phone contact, and even snail mail contact information. Discover claims that it offers 24/7 assistance, so you can call anytime.</p> <h2>ShopDiscover</h2> <p>Discover offers its own shopping portal, which you can access from the Discover Bank website. If you have a credit card, you can get &quot;super-charged&quot; cash back at more than 200 retailers. For frequent shoppers, this can be a way to build up cash back even faster.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>Discover Bank isn't particularly outstanding when it comes to online banking, but it is a solid choice. On savings products, you receive yields that are considered top tier. You can also get access to a different loan products that provide you with a range of options.</p> <p>Hard-core rate chasers will probably find Discover Bank a bit tame. However, if you are looking for a reliable online bank with easy-to-use features and a mobile app, Discover Bank is a reasonably good choice.</p> <p><strong><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22914403&amp;fot=1085&amp;foc=1">Click here to apply now.</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zen-and-the-art-of-hiding-money">Zen and the Art of Hiding Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank">Think Twice Before Ditching Your Current Bank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking CD credit cards IRA online bank savings accounts Fri, 02 Aug 2013 10:36:38 +0000 Miranda Marquit 980983 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Save on Banking Fees http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-save-on-banking-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-save-on-banking-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7541834640_d94d5d7932_c.jpg" alt="atm" title="atm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on saving on banking fees, decluttering your kitchen, and time management rules you are breaking.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/how-to-save-on-banking-fees/">How to Save on Banking Fees</a> &mdash; Limit your debits and ask for cash back when shopping to save on banking fees. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Small-Kitchen-Organization-Ideas-28496255">De-Clutter Your Kitchen: 10 Tips For Maximizing Cooking Space</a> &mdash; To maximize your cooking space, keep essentials in a cubby. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/03/beware-10-time-management-rules-that-you-are-breaking/">Beware: 10 Time Management Rules That You Are Breaking</a> &mdash; Do you schedule back-to-back meetings? If so, you are breaking a time management rule! [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/5-tests-claim-dependent-tax-return/">5 Tests To Claim a Dependent on Your Tax Return</a> &mdash; Before you claim a dependent on your tax return, run the gross income test and the citizen/residency test. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/career-fair-tips/">3 Must Have Career Fair Tips For Hungry Job-Seekers</a> &mdash; When attending a career fair, make sure you have a smart introduction. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/retirement/can-5-money-fights-year-solidify-your-relationship-and-finances-0">Can 5 Money Fights a Year Solidify Your Relationship and Finances?</a> &mdash; Did you know that 43% of newlyweds don't follow a family budget? [MainStreet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/11/11mar14c.cfm#.UUCvlIXi6UM">Yard Sale Presentation</a> &mdash; If you want to have a successful yard sale, test and repair items before your sale. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/03/10/7-traits-of-a-highly-effective-mindset/">7 Traits of a Highly Effective Mindset</a> &mdash; To have a highly effective mindset, accept and embrace great challenges. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/03/5-tips-to-spice-up-your-life-with.html">5 Tips to Spice Up Your Life with an Exciting Passion</a> &mdash; When spicing up your life with an exciting passion, try any new activities at least a couple times. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-get-and-keep-your-house-clean-when-you-have-kids">How to Get (and Keep) Your House Clean When You Have Kids</a> &mdash; Get and keep your house clean when you have kids by bringing in a mother's helper. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-save-on-banking-fees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-beat-debit-card-fees">4 Ways to Beat Debit Card Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking banking fees best money tips save Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:00:30 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 970376 at http://www.wisebread.com Open Secrets: Surprising Things Your Spending Reveals http://www.wisebread.com/open-secrets-surprising-things-your-spending-reveals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/open-secrets-surprising-things-your-spending-reveals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-covering-mouth-iStock_000021768886Small.jpg" alt="woman covering mouth" title="woman covering mouth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The chrome skull shift knob that I gleefully replaced the original shift knob with on my 1998 Mazda 626 several years ago has quite a story behind it. I had wanted one for ages, particularly since it would be such an incongruous detail on my boring car, and my husband bought and installed one for me to get himself out of the doghouse. He knew that an ironic skull shifter knob would go over much better than the traditional flowers.</p> <h2>What a Chrome Skull Shift Knob Says About Me</h2> <p>But the fact that he bought that chrome skull accessory with a credit card is enough for <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/magazine/17credit-t.html?pagewanted=3&amp;_r=0">J.P. Martin</a>, a former executive of Canadian credit card and retail giant Canadian Tire, to assume that my husband would be at a higher risk for missing credit card payments. That&rsquo;s because Martin was one of the pioneers of data mining: the gathering and analysis of information about consumers based upon (among other things) their spending patterns and habits.</p> <p>For example, J.P. Martin&rsquo;s data showed that consumers who bought things like felt pads for the bottom of their furniture, carbon monoxide detectors, and birdseed were extremely diligent about always paying their bills on time. Why do these purchases matter? Because they can give some insight into the psychology of the purchaser. In the case of felt furniture pads, someone who cares about protecting his hardwood floors is also someone who is likely to want to protect his credit score. Carbon monoxide detectors and birdseed indicate a sense of responsibility for others&mdash;why else pay to feed birds you don&rsquo;t own?</p> <p>And of course, things like chrome skull car accessories and other after market car additions generally indicate someone who does not necessarily buy into the importance of financial responsibility&mdash;although that was certainly not true in my case.</p> <p>While banks vehemently deny that they use data mining to make any changes to a cardholder&rsquo;s interest rate, credit limit, or other aspects of their account, the information is readily available to banks and card issuers, and gathering, analyzing, assessing, and selling that data is perfectly legal.</p> <h2>Tracking Big Life Changes Is Big Business</h2> <p>In particular, credit card issuers and retailers want to know if you are going through a major life change.</p> <p>For example, many people have now heard the anecdote about how Target was able to determine that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father had a clue. As Charles Duhigg reported the anecdote in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?pagewanted=7&amp;_r=2&amp;hp">New York Times</a> (and again in his book <a href="http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/"><i>The Power of Habit</i></a>), Target&rsquo;s pregnancy-prediction model is able to use any shopper&rsquo;s buying habits to figure out she is pregnant. In one case, an angry father of a teenager complained to his local Target that the store had sent her coupons for baby-related items. He came to find out later that his daughter was, indeed, pregnant, and had simply not told him yet. Target knew he&rsquo;d be a grandfather before he did.</p> <h3>Some Life Changes Make You a Better Customer</h3> <p>Why does Target want to be able to send pregnant women coupons for cribs and onesies? Because major life changes often lead to major spending changes, as well. In particular, a new mother is poised to spend a great deal of money over many years, and during her pregnancy is the ideal time for retailers to earn her brand loyalty.</p> <p>According to Duhigg, Target uses information gathered through loyalty cards, coupons, and credit card use in order to paint a picture of each shopper in order to target (ahem) advertising and coupons. Duhigg believes that this practice helps explain Target&rsquo;s incredible growth over the past decade&mdash;from $44 billion in 2002 to $67 billion in 2010.</p> <p>Similarly, banks will comb through your data to determine if you have recently moved. Moving is an ideal time to market to cardholders, and banks will want to know as soon as possible so that it can alert its marketing partners&mdash;like home improvement businesses.</p> <h3>And Some Life Changes Make You a Poor Credit Risk</h3> <p>Of course, not all life changes are as happy as the arrival of a baby or the purchase of a new house. Credit card issuers are very interested in determining when a cardholder might be <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/04/06/how-mastercard-predicts-divorce.html?cid=hp:mainpromo6">going through a divorce</a>. Not that banks are interested in your romantic life per se; it&rsquo;s just that divorce is often a precursor to major financial troubles. So credit card issuers want to know what behavior is likely to indicate your marriage is on the rocks and if you might start missing payments.</p> <p>What kinds of information indicate future divorce-related financial problems? Anything from a shift in buying habits&mdash;like switching from a high-end department store to a cost-conscious Dollar Store&mdash;to charging a session of marriage counseling on your credit card. When these changes occur, your card issuer may be interested to know and keep an eye on your account&mdash;although it is important to once again point out that credit card companies deny making any decisions or changes to cardholder accounts based on data mining.</p> <h2>What Else Are They Doing with Your Data?</h2> <p>While the use of data mining in managing the various risks of the credit card industry is not something that banks are going to openly talk about, there are a few indications of what this data mining is used for, other than promoting products.</p> <p>But the data available through your credit card usage is not just useful to the credit card industry itself. Insurance companies are also interested in your buying habits. For instance, <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/21556263">The Economist</a> reports that &ldquo;people who frequent ATMs so they can make cash payments tend to live longer than those who prefer writing cheques or paying with credit cards&hellip;Why this should be is not clear: some speculate that ATM users tend to be more spontaneous types, who like to have cash in their pocket and whose lifestyle may be more active.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/">Kevin Pledge</a>, a data analyst with Insight Decision Solutions, takes the insurance industry&rsquo;s interest in purchases to a somewhat paranoid level: in the eventuality that data miners (and insurers) take a look at your food purchases, he has given up using his loyalty card to buy junk food at grocery stores and pays for his burgers in cash.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Mr. Pledge&rsquo;s paranoia may be justified. The fact of the matter is that your information is available to data miners, and privacy law will take some time to catch up. Until then, banks and other industries will continue to take advantage of the enormous amount of data available&mdash;to sell to you, to assess your riskiness, and to tailor their services to your needs. Being aware of this practice is the first step in making sure it doesn&rsquo;t bite you in the butt.</p> <p>And here&rsquo;s hoping that the data miners and the companies who rely on their results recognize an important chrome-skull shaped truth: there are always exceptions to the rules they find in the patterns of our buying.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/open-secrets-surprising-things-your-spending-reveals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-the-chance-of-someone-returning-your-lost-wallet">How to Increase the Chance of Someone Returning Your Lost Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Credit Cards Shopping banking credit history Mon, 05 Nov 2012 10:37:34 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 955533 at http://www.wisebread.com Security Breach Puts 50,000 Credit Card Holders at Risk http://www.wisebread.com/security-breach-puts-50000-credit-card-holders-at-risk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/security-breach-puts-50000-credit-card-holders-at-risk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/safety-first-warning.jpg" alt="Security Breach Puts 50,000 Credit Card Holders at Risk" title="Security Breach Puts 50,000 Credit Card Holders at Risk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A security breach at Global Payments Inc., a third-party U.S. based processor, may have compromised <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303816504577313411294908868.html">50,000</a> Visa and MasterCard cardholder accounts. According to <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/warning-over-massive-mastercard-visa-security-breach/72829">ZDNet</a>, both Visa and MasterCard have sent out non-public alerts to banks notifying them of the breach.</p> <p><a href="http://krebsonsecurity.com/2012/03/mastercard-visa-warn-of-processor-breach/">Krebs on Security</a> reported that the breach was first detected by Global Payments in early March. The accounts were compromised between January 21st and February 25th 2012. The information obtained in the breach could be used to make counterfeit cards. It is unknown whether or not banks will issue new cards to cardholders as a result of the breach.</p> <p>Affected banks have begun analyzing transactions on the potentially affected cards in an attempt to find common points of purchases. So far, the transactions of the cards that have been analyzed seem to share the characteristic that they were used in parking garages in the New York City area.</p> <p>Visa has released information saying that the breach is being investigated by the Secret Service as well as an unidentified forensics company. The investigation is still in its early stages. Visa and MasterCard have both stated that their networks were not compromised as a result of the breach.</p> <p>If you use a Visa or MasterCard credit card, you may be affected by this breach. The good news is that most credit cards have fraud protection, so even if you are affected by this security breach, you most likely will not be affected by fraudulent charges if you catch them early enough.</p> <p>Make sure you spend some time this weekend checking your credit card statements either online or by phone to see if there has been any unusual activity going on. If there has been, get in touch with your credit card company ASAP!</p> <p>Additionally, if you have yet to get your free credit report this year, get your <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/freereports/index.shtml">free annual credit report</a> to make sure there are no discrepancies on your report.</p> <p>Be sure to share this article with your family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email so they know about the security breach and can check their credit card statements to make sure they were not affected.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/security-breach-puts-50000-credit-card-holders-at-risk">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition">Best of Personal Finance: Credit Where Credit Is Due Edition</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-debit-cards-as-safe-as-credit-cards">Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards: Fees and Fraud Protection</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards banking credit cards MasterCard security breach VISA Fri, 30 Mar 2012 22:10:52 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 915072 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Turn When Your Bank Doesn't Love You Anymore http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/where-to-turn-when-your-bank-doesnt-love-you-anymore <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/where-to-turn-when-your-bank-doesnt-love-you-anymore" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/where-to-turn-when-your-bank-doesnt-love-you-a...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/where-to-turn-when-your-bank-doesnt-love-you-anymore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015182591Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s the ultimate kick-in-gut as an entrepreneur: Your bank says your loan doesn&rsquo;t fit its lending criteria anymore and won&rsquo;t renew your line of credit. Or it changes its services or lending terms in a way that makes it unattractive for you to continue doing business there.</p> <p>In these days of financial industry turmoil, getting the brush-off from a bank can happen even if you run a multimillion dollar business that has been loyal to one institution for years. If your loan isn&rsquo;t profitable, even a longstanding relationship may not be enough for the institution to want to hold onto your business.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is not a time when many small businesses and entrepreneurs are feeling the love from their banks,&rdquo; says attorney Andrew Sherman, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day and author of books such as <i>Raising Capital </i>and the new release<i> Harvesting Intangible Assets</i>.</p> <p>Big banks aren&rsquo;t, of course the only place to turn for financing. If you&rsquo;re willing to think creatively, there are <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/unlikely-sources-of-capital-1" target="_blank">plenty of other sources</a>. (To comparethe costs of various deals, use <a href="http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/business-tools/loan-calculator/" target="_blank">Yahoo&rsquo;s calculator</a>.)</p> <p><b>Your Credit Union</b></p> <p>Credit unions have come a long way since the days when they mainly focused on serving employees of a single company or industry, notes Sherman. &ldquo;Just because it has a name like the Farmer&rsquo;s Credit Union, you don&rsquo;t have to be a farmer to join,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Some credit unions are branching out into small business lending or stepping up their lending in this area. And they may view your loan application with a friendlier eye than a megabank would. In Biz2Credit&rsquo;s November index, the rate of loan approvals by credit unions in the company&rsquo;s network was 57 percent, compared to 10 percent by big banks.</p> <p><b>A Community Bank</b></p> <p>Small community banks may not have the brand-name draw of the banking giants, but many will be more eager for your business. In the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, issued by online loan brokerage Biz2Credit, for November 2011, community banks approved 47 percent of loan applications. That&rsquo;s a lot better than the one in ten loans that their big bank counterparts did.</p> <p><b>Peer to Peer Lending Sites</b></p> <p>For small loans, check out sites such as <a href="http://www.prosper.com/" target="_blank">Prosper</a> and <a href="http://www.lendingclub.com/" target="_blank">Lending Club</a>, the two largest players in this field in the U.S. The two sites issued a combined $37.4 million in loans in November, according to the industry publication P2P Lending News. Lending Club&rsquo;s interest rates on business loans start at 6.78 percent. At Prosper, they start at 6.59 percent. Interest rates depend on your credit history.</p> <p><b>Vendor Financing</b></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re facing cash flow challenges, but need to make an urgent purchase, such as a computer, look into the financing options your vendor provides.<b> </b>&ldquo;Many companies in recessionary times are more aggressive in wanting to sell products and services and are willing to provide vendor financing,&rdquo; says Sherman.</p> <p><b>Equipment Leasing</b></p> <p>You may be able to lease equipment and machinery at far more favorable rates than a bank offers.</p> <p><b>Crowdsourced Funding Sites</b></p> <p>These can be an ideal source of small amounts of financing for businesses, such as popular restaurants, that have an avid fan-base or for those, like artists and musicians, who are working on creative projects, says Sherman. <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/" target="_blank">Kickstarter</a> and other such sites enable fans to make small donations which, collectively, can add up.</p> <p>And now for some good news.</p> <p>The bank lending picture seems to be improving since the darkest days of the credit crisis. The Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index found that loan approval rates by both big banks and smaller lenders are continuing to rise.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/where-to-turn-when-your-bank-doesnt-love-you-anymore">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center banking business loans crowd sourcing finance small business vendor financing Thu, 22 Dec 2011 22:28:22 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 835745 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Use Online Banking? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010829645Small-1.jpg" alt="Do You Use Online Banking?" title="Do You Use Online Banking?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking#comment-512207"><em>windkey</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking#comment-512304"><em>Verl</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking#comment-512240"><em>jenn</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Technology makes it possible to do almost everything online. From ordering groceries to buying books to paying your bills, you can rely on the Internet for almost anything. While most people have switched over to online banking, there are still people out there who opt to continue getting bank statements in the mail.</p> <!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><p><b>Do you use online banking?</b><span style="font-weight: normal;"> Why or why not?</span></p> <!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment--><p>Tell us if you use online banking and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, October 24th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after October 24th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.</p> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you use online banking and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-use-online-banking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-will-this-winter-be-more-expensive-chance-to-win">Ask the Readers: Will This Winter Be More Expensive? (Chance to Win!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-would-you-ding-your-credit-to-get-out-of-debt">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: Would You Ding Your Credit to Get Out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-winter-savings-tip-do-you-swear-by">Ask the Readers: What Winter Savings Tip Do You Swear By?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-gift-cards-make-a-good-gift">Ask the Readers: Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers banking online banking Tue, 18 Oct 2011 10:36:16 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 750919 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Things You Can Do to Help Your Banker Say Yes http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-banker-say-yes <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-banker-say-yes" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-banker-say-ye...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/3-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-banker-say-yes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013058784Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lenders can tell at a glance if your loan application is worth considering. If you know what they're looking for, you can make sure the story is as good as honestly possible.</p> <p>When lenders look at your application all they really want to know is the answer to three simple questions: Can you pay? Will you pay? and What happens if you don't? The final decision will involve a careful look at the details, but they do that only to confirm and document their original assessment.</p> <p>The numbers they use to evaluate the Can? Will? and Didn&rsquo;t! issues are simple ratios you can calculate yourself. The bank's credit department will run your numbers though a program to produce ratios that are based on key income statement and balance sheet numbers. You can dig them out yourself and figure the ratios by just using the calculator on your smart phone.</p> <p>If you have those ratios and understand what they say about you, you can use our tips to help get the loan you want.</p> <h3>Can You Pay?</h3> <p>What's left over after your bills are paid is a clue your banker uses to tell if you can pay back the loan you&rsquo;re applying for. But your cash coverage ratio, as it&rsquo;s called, tells them a bit more.</p> <p>Use the financial statement your accountant put together for your loan application and find your net income, and add to it your non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization. That&rsquo;s, roughly, your net cash flow. Now divide that number by the annual total of your loan payments, and you have your cash coverage ratio.</p> <p>Your lender will want that ratio to be 1.5 or higher. If your payments on the new loan totals $20,000 a year, and your net cash flow is $30,000, your cash coverage ratio is about right.</p> <p><b>What to Do:</b> If your numbers don&rsquo;t come out to the 1.5 ratio, another source of cash such as your spouse's or other personal income can make the difference. Be sure to let your lender know if such sources exist if your ratio is close.</p> <h3>Will You Pay?</h3> <p>How you've handled debt in the past, your personal and business credit score, is probably the best indication of how you'll handle it in the future. Your &quot;debt-to-worth ratio,&quot; though, tells an important story, too. It tells a lender how much <i>you</i> have at risk, which is a good indication of how much <i>they&rsquo;ll </i>have at risk if they give you another loan. If you're already using a lot of other people's money (not including investors'), they&rsquo;ll think twice.</p> <p>Your ratio of debt-to-worth (also known as debt-to-equity) is easy to figure. Just look at your balance sheet and divide total equity by total liabilities.</p> <p>Lenders will want to see a ratio that&rsquo;s no more than three or four times equity. So if you have $100,000 of equity, you should have no more than $300,000 to $400,000 of debt.</p> <p><b>What to Do:</b> You can improve your ratio if there's &quot;friendly debt&quot; on your balance sheet. If Uncle Joe is willing to &ldquo;subordinate&rdquo; his loan (allow you to pay back the bank before you pay him), your banker may actually treat the debt as equity. You still have to include your debt to Uncle Joe in your application and financials, but if the bank agrees to the idea, treating his loan as subordinated debt could dramatically improve your ratio.</p> <h3>What If You Don't Pay?</h3> <p>But what if the worst happens: your business situation changes and you can&rsquo;t pay? The bank will want some way to get their money back, and that means they&rsquo;ll want to know what you have they can sell &ndash; the tangible assets that can be liquidated, in banker-speak. Hard assets such as buildings, machinery, and vehicles are usually what they&rsquo;ll what.</p> <p>You can use whatever you&rsquo;re buying as part of the collateral, but it won&rsquo;t be worth enough to do the job. Here&rsquo;s why.</p> <p>If you buy a piece of equipment for $75,000 the lender may assign a collateral value of just $45,000 because if the bank has to sell it, they'll never collect full value. Buy a new car and drive it off the lot, and you&rsquo;ll have the same problem. Imagine if you&rsquo;re in the aviation business and you&rsquo;re pledging collateral that can literally fly away? If you don&rsquo;t think that can be a problem for a lender watch the Discovery Channel TV show <a href="http://blogs.post-trib.com/davich/2010/12/local-airplane-repo-man-show-d.html" target="_blank">Airplane Repo Man</a>.</p> <p>Various kinds of collateral have various &ldquo;collateral valuations,&rdquo; and your banker will use a range as a guide.</p> <ul> <li>Accounts Receivable: 20% - 80%</li> <li>Inventory: 10% - 80%</li> <li>Furniture and Equipment: 10% - 80%</li> <li>Real Estate (business or personal): 50% - 90%</li> <li>Cash/investments: 50% - 90%</li> </ul> <p>Whether your collateral is valued at the high or low end of the ranges depends on its quality and marketability. In the case of accounts receivable, the quality of your customers, their credit ratings, and their payment histories will determine the collateral value. With inventory, it depends on what it is, where it is, how old it is, and whether anyone wants it.</p> <p><b>What to Do:</b> Anything you can do to prove the salability of your assets will help your collateral case. If you can arrange a contingent sale of, say, raw materials, it can help a lot. Be sure your lender knows what you know about the value of your collateral &ndash; they will change the valuation if you can convince them it&rsquo;s worth more than they estimated.</p> <p>Keep in mind that ratio expectations aren't cast in concrete. If your debt to worth ratio isn&rsquo;t 1.5 or better, for example, it might be offset by strong cash flow.</p> <p>To a lender, your ratios are like the jacket copy on a book. If they don't read well, they may not bother to look any further. Calculate the ratios yourself, follow our tips, and you may be able to sell them a lending story they might not have considered otherwise.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-things-you-can-do-to-help-your-banker-say-yes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center banking cash coverage ratio collateral debt to equity ratio small business small business loan Fri, 08 Jul 2011 19:08:25 +0000 Tom Harnish 600986 at http://www.wisebread.com Think Twice Before Ditching Your Current Bank http://www.wisebread.com/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4393736284_c74f50e6dc_o.jpg" alt="bank options" title="bank options" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="210" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you finally had enough with your bank? With so many changes in the banking industry, it is not unusual for many bank customers to get frustrated or even disheartened to see their money being handled in an unfavorable manner. There are thousands of options available to consumers as to where they can place their money, but there are also many considerations that must be taken into account to find the best bank to meet your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">financial needs</a>.</p> <p>If you are truly frustrated or even disgusted with the way your current bank is treating you, take a step back and consider the following tips to make sure you are upgrading banks rather than going from one bad apple to another.</p> <h2>What's the Problem?</h2> <p>Digging to the root of your issue with your current bank makes it possible to avoid getting in the same boat with your new bank. Are you unhappy with the rules and restrictions? Does your current bank bleed your account with endless fees? Do you want better rates? By knowing what it is that makes you unhappy in your current bank, you can take the necessary steps to avoid a new bank with the same issues.</p> <h2>Do Your Own Research</h2> <p>The days of banking with one of three banks in your local community are long gone. Today's consumers can choose to bank locally, nationally and online. With so many options, it may become overwhelming deciding which bank is right for you. This doesn't have to be the case.</p> <p>With a little online research on your part, you can narrow your options quickly. You can compare not only banks, but <a href="http://www.depositaccounts.com/checking/">individual accounts</a> as well as money market accounts, CD and IRA rates, making the process quick and easy. When looking at banks and bank accounts side-by-side, you have the opportunity to see where you can make the most money, save the most money, and access your money with ease and convenience.</p> <h2>Make a Clean Break</h2> <p>Once you have decided on a new bank, it is time to make the switch. A few decades ago, that would be as simple as taking your money from one place to the next. However, in this age of technology a few additional steps are required.</p> <p>First you must open your new account. You will need this new account information available to set up direct deposit and automated payments. You will want to stop using your old account, but do not close it just yet. Leave some money in the account to cover any outstanding checks or other scheduled withdrawals. Your old account should remain open until all matters concerning the switch are completed. When you have confirmed all credits and debits are now working from your new account and all outstanding checks have cleared, you can then close you old account.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-love-your-bank">6 Reasons to Love Your Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-teen-needs-or-doesn-t-need-in-a-bank-account">5 Things Your Teen Needs (or Doesn’t Need) in a Bank Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Consumer Affairs banking checking accounts consumer tips customer service savings accounts Sat, 09 Oct 2010 16:00:10 +0000 Tisha Tolar 258606 at http://www.wisebread.com