Banking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/800/all en-US Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/human_hands_exchanging_money.jpg" alt="Human hands exchanging money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You likely already know that credit unions are a bit different from banks, mostly in the way these financial institutions are owned and operated. But as you research your local credit unions, you'll see that some are listed as federal credit unions and others are not.</p> <p>Is there a difference? Does it matter whether you join a federal credit union or one chartered by the state in which it resides? It all depends on how important it is for you to have the money you deposit with a credit union insured by the U.S. government, instead of a private insurer.</p> <h2>Making the switch to credit unions</h2> <p>Both types of credit unions, federal and state-chartered, are not-for-profit organizations owned by its members. If you take out a loan or credit card, or open a savings or checking account with that credit union, this includes you. Because credit unions are not-for-profits, the earnings that they make are paid back to their members as higher savings rates and lower interest rates on loans and credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference?</a>)</p> <h2>Federal vs. state-chartered</h2> <p>Once you decide that you want to join a credit union, you'll have to determine if you want to become the member of a federal credit union, a state-chartered one, or whether it matters to you at all.</p> <p>The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, a federal insurance fund backed by the U.S. government, insures all federal credit unions. Congress created this fund in 1970 to protect the deposits members make at credit unions. Today, an independent agency, the National Credit Union Administration, oversees this fund.</p> <p>The fund operates much like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures the deposits made at traditional banks. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund covers deposits of up to $250,000 for each individual member of a credit union.</p> <p>The other type of credit union is state-chartered. The deposits members make here are not covered by the federal insurance fund. Instead, these deposits are insured by private insurers. These funds are still protected. They're just not protected by the federal government.</p> <p>If that matters to you, you can search MyCreditUnion.gov's <a href="https://www.mycreditunion.gov/Pages/mcu-map.aspx" target="_blank">Find a Credit Union</a> tool, which will find federal credit unions near you. Credit unions that are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund must display the official National Credit Union Administration sign in their lobbies. Federal credit unions usually include the word &quot;federal&quot; in their name, too.</p> <p>There is no better type of credit union. Both federal and state-chartered offer a range of banking services, credit cards, and loans. The big difference comes down to how these institutions are insured.</p> <h2>Limits</h2> <p>Whether you decide to join a state-chartered or federal credit union, be aware that there are sometimes requirements for membership that you might not be able to meet.</p> <p>Some credit unions are only open to current or former members of the U.S. Military and their relatives. Others are only available to those working in a specific profession, such as teachers or nurses. Others only serve a specific geographic boundary, and its members must live in those boundaries. As you research credit unions, keep these restrictions in mind.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520the%2520Difference%2520Between%2520a%2520Federal%2520and%2520Non-Federal%2520Credit%2520Union.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20the%20Difference%20Between%20a%20Federal%20and%20Non-Federal%20Credit%20Union"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20the%20Difference%20Between%20a%20Federal%20and%20Non-Federal%20Credit%20Union.jpg" alt="Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union">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/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</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-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</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-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</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/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</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 credit unions federal insurance interest rates not-for-profits u.s. government Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 2003616 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Big Ways ATMs Are Changing http://www.wisebread.com/6-big-ways-atms-are-changing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-big-ways-atms-are-changing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_at_the_atm.jpg" alt="Woman at the ATM" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Now that you can pay with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay" target="_blank">Facebook Messenger and selfies</a>, it seems that you no longer have reason to ever visit your bank's ATM again. In an effort to entice consumers back to the ATM, financial institutions are making serious investments to upgrade cash dispensers in big ways. Here's what you can soon expect coming to an ATM near you.</p> <h2>1. Deposit checks without an envelope</h2> <p>There was a time when payday meant a mad rush to the nearest ATM to deposit a check so it would clear on time to make your payments. Back then, you had to properly insert your check in an envelope and fill out a deposit slip. Nowadays, more and more banks are offering no-envelope ATMs with insertion slots for checks. Equipped with modern scan technology, these new ATMs can accommodate a stack of several checks and provide instant proof of your deposit with a printout of your check on a printed receipt.</p> <h2>2. Get cash using your smartphone</h2> <p>Using the smartphone app from your bank, you may be able to get &quot;cardless cash&quot; from select ATMs. Here's how it works: Open the app, set up a pre-staged withdrawal to create a QR code, and scan that code at participating ATMs to collect your cash. Some bank apps generate a code instead of a QR code and you punch in that code at the ATM.</p> <p>Besides saving you time, cardless cash also keeps your ATM card safe from illegally-installed skimming devices. Since your card isn't read, there's no way for somebody to get a hold of your card's number, expiration date, or security code. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Card Fraud and How to Avoid It</a>)</p> <h2>3. Interact with an eATM &mdash; not an ATM</h2> <p>In a bigger push to further integrate their ATMs with smartphone apps, banks are working to redesign their cash dispensers to have the look and feel of a giant tablet. The objective is that the ATM screen looks and feels like a natural extension of your bank's smartphone app, turning the ATM into an eATM.</p> <p>Some banks are currently experimenting with the near field wireless communication feature in smartphones so that customers won't need a code or QR code to get cash in the future. Imagine just holding your smartphone up to the ATM and getting instant cash. Another feature that some banks are experimenting with is the ability to allow videoconferencing with bankers, effectively expanding the range of services that customers can receive at an eATM.</p> <h2>4. Withdraw larger amounts without talking to a bank teller</h2> <p>One reason why fewer people were visiting ATMs was that they often couldn't take out enough cash to cover a major expense, such as rent or a car loan payment. Many banks took notice of this through customer feedback and are now allowing customers to withdraw larger amounts than the regular limits. For example, one bank in New York City is letting its customers withdraw up to $3,000 at ATMs located in bank branches and during branch hours. That's three times what most banks in NYC allow, and six times the regular limit in other cities.</p> <h2>5. Withdraw custom amounts</h2> <p>ATMs typically only pay out in $20 bills. But sometimes, you just need $16 to pay a friend or don't even have $20 in your account until the next paycheck comes around. In the near future, more ATMs will give customers a break and let them customize their withdrawals entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</a>)</p> <h2>6. Recycle cash deposits</h2> <p>Few things are as frustrating as standing in line for 20 minutes to withdraw cash to pay a bill that is due in a few hours, only to find out that the ATM is out of bills! Many banks are looking at ways to recycle cash deposits to minimize the possibility of the machine running out of bills. This feature is critical for banks promising their clients that they can customize their withdrawals.</p> <p>As the ATM gets a much needed upgrade and leverages features from your smartphone, keep an eye on upcoming changes to your bank's ATMs that can help you streamline your finances &mdash; and make sure not to lose your smartphone!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-big-ways-atms-are-changing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Big%2520Ways%2520ATMs%2520Are%2520Changing.jpg&amp;description=6%20Big%20Ways%20ATMs%20Are%20Changing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Big%20Ways%20ATMs%20Are%20Changing.jpg" alt="6 Big Ways ATMs Are Changing" width="250" height="374" /></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/6-big-ways-atms-are-changing">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/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee">8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee</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/10-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</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-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</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/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking 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-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Technology ATM automatic teller cash dispensers cash machines deposits money withdrawals Mon, 17 Jul 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1982853 at http://www.wisebread.com The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/banking_business_account_finance_economy_concept.jpg" alt="Banking Business Account Finance Economy Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Checking, savings, business, CD, money market, cash reserve, investment &mdash; with so many accounts available to U.S. consumers, should you keep them with a single financial institution? Let's review the pros and cons of keeping all your accounts in one place.</p> <h2>Pros of keeping all your accounts in one place</h2> <p>Here are some reasons why it makes sense to consolidate your accounts.</p> <h3>1. FDIC covers up to $250,000 for each eligible account</h3> <p>The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides coverage of <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/faq.html" target="_blank">up to $250,000</a> per eligible account at the same insured financial institution. Covered accounts include checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts (MMDAs), and certificates of deposit (CDs).</p> <p>So, as long as each one of your qualifying accounts has a balance under $250,000, it's OK to keep those accounts together at the same financial institution. For example, if you were to have $100,000 each in a CD, checking account, and savings account at the same FDIC-covered bank, you would still be insured. Even though the accounts together equal $300,000, each account has less than $250,000, and the coverage would still apply.</p> <p>To find out if your deposits are insured by the FDIC, use the FDIC's <a href="http://www5.fdic.gov/edie/" target="_blank">Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator</a> (EDIE).</p> <p>When you add accounts to your portfolio with the same bank, just remember that the FDIC warns consumers that non-deposit investment products, such as mutual funds, annuities, life insurance policies, and stocks and bonds are not insured by the FDIC.</p> <p>Are you a credit union member?</p> <ul> <li> <p>Federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia are insured by up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).</p> </li> <li> <p>State-chartered credit unions may be covered by a state-sponsored or private insurance, so contact your credit union representative for more details about potential insurance of deposits.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>2. Quicker coverage of bounced checks</h3> <p>Having more than one account at the same bank may help you to quickly cover a check or automatic debit or credit transaction with insufficient funds.</p> <p>Some banks may give you a quick heads up early in the morning that an incoming transaction won't clear due to a low balance, giving you time to make a quick deposit. In the event that you have a savings and checking account with the same financial institution, you could quickly cover the cash crunch by transferring funds from the savings to the checking account over the phone or online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Fix Your Finances After Missing a Payment</a>)</p> <p>Doing a quick transaction to cover that mistake could prevent the bank from applying overdraft or insufficient funds fees.</p> <h3>3. Access to higher savings interest rates and lower account fees</h3> <p>When you hold a large total of deposits within the same institution, very often you can qualify for better savings rates and reduced account fees. Find out from your financial institution whether or not they offer benefits for consolidating your accounts.</p> <p>Similarly, holding a larger total balance across several investment accounts, such as an IRA or individual investment account, may grant you some breaks on investment fees. Generally, with at least $100,000 in investable assets in the same institution, you should get lower charges on future applicable fees, such as front-end or back-end loads.</p> <p>If you don't meet the necessary thresholds to access better rates and lower fees, ask your financial institution if they'll accept a signed letter of intent to meet those thresholds by a specific date.</p> <h3>4. More personalized service</h3> <p>Maintaining a wide variety of products with the same bank allows the bank to have a better understanding of your financial history, overview of spending habits, and ability to pay back loans. When a financial institution has a more comprehensive view of your finances, then it can help you optimize your finances with more suitable products. For example, keeping several deposit accounts may help you qualify for a personal line of credit with an interest rate lower than that of a credit card.</p> <h2>Cons of keeping all your accounts in one place</h2> <p>Now let's take a look at the disadvantages of consolidating all your accounts under the same roof.</p> <h3>1. Missing out on potentially better deals</h3> <p>By turning your back on other financial institutions, you may develop a case of &quot;financial myopia&quot; in which you don't think about shopping around for better banking options. Sticking to your same brick-and-mortar branch may cause you to miss out on the better annual percentage yield (APY) that online savings accounts often offer.</p> <p>According to the FDIC, as of June 12, 2017, the <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/" target="_blank">average rate for a deposit account</a> with a balance under $100,000 was 0.06 percent. On the same day, you could find online savings accounts paying a savings rate of up to 1.25 percent for an account of similar size.</p> <h3>2. Potential of losing FDIC coverage</h3> <p>The FDIC coverage limit is $250,000 for each qualifying account. High-earners may run out of options in the same financial institution for opening eligible accounts and risk having a portion of their deposits without FDIC coverage.</p> <h3>3. Higher chance of loss in case of identity theft</h3> <p>Keeping all your eggs in one basket may work against you if a fraudster gets a hold of one of your accounts or cards. Getting access to just one account may grant them access to all of your money! This is particularly true when connecting two or more accounts so that one account covers another when a balance is running too low.</p> <p>If malicious hackers were to get a hold of the password for your bank's online portal, then they would have hit a major jackpot accessing all of your accounts. By spreading your funds across more financial institutions, you lower the chances of a cybercriminal accessing your funds. Of course, this is as long as you don't use the same password for all online portals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <h2>The bottom line: Talk with your banker today</h2> <p>If you're thinking about opening more accounts with your current savings institution, it's a great time to sit with a representative and go over your available options. Armed with that information, you'll be in a better position to shop around for better banking options and make a more informed decision.</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/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Banks Still Offering Free Checking and Savings with Great Interest Rates</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/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Rush to Pay Off Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking accounts CDs checking Comparison shopping FDIC financial institutions investments pros and cons rates savings Fri, 16 Jun 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1963762 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Credit Union Is Changing — for the Better http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_bank_teller_636202058.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways her credit union is changing for the better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us understand the advantages offered by banking with credit unions, including better interest rates and customer service compared to their major bank peers. But even the savviest among us can learn new tricks, and to that end, CO-OP&rsquo;s 2017 THINK Conference highlighted some of the critical ways in which the credit union industry is changing &mdash; for the better. We also caught up with financial experts like Jean Chatzky and Bobbi Rebell at the conference, where they shared some key insights into the types of transformations you might be seeing soon at your local credit union.</p> <h2>It's instituting mobile apps</h2> <p>You might&rsquo;ve already noticed your local credit union instituting new technologies, such as mobile apps enabling remote deposits and mobile payments. This is part of an industrywide push to provide more customer-centric solutions utilizing the latest in mobile technologies. Expect more additions to mobile offerings in a bid to make your experience more efficient.</p> <h2>It's going digital to be more agile</h2> <p>Financial expert, author, and TV host Bobbi Rebell noted that, in addition to instituting mobile apps, credit unions are taking additional steps to create a digital-first platform for customers. But unlike big banks, which have a history of older, legacy customer platforms, credit unions are smaller and more agile, enabling them to build customer-focused digital experiences from the ground up.</p> <p>&ldquo;Digital transformation isn&rsquo;t just about implementing digital experiences here and there,&rdquo; says Rebell, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really about rethinking the entire customer experience so that digital technologies improve their overall experience.&rdquo;</p> <h2>It's promoting more women</h2> <p>Samantha Paxson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Co-Op Financial Services, notes that this lean, agile mentality not only enables credit unions to provide better customer service, but it also allows more women into leadership ranks.</p> <p>&ldquo;Credit unions are one of the few areas of the financial industry where women are represented in significant percentages in leadership. That&rsquo;s because key elements of female leadership &mdash; such as empathy and strong communication skills &mdash; are essential to the success of credit unions in the community.&rdquo;</p> <h2>It's staying true to your community</h2> <p>One of the personal finance world&rsquo;s biggest luminaries, Jean Chatzky of <em>Today Show</em> fame, was on hand to help host the THINK Conference, noting the importance of credit unions to the lives of so many people in communities across the country. And perhaps that&rsquo;s one of the biggest take-aways here: mobile apps, new digital platforms, and other innovations you can expect from your credit union are all designed to get closer to your needs. Credit unions aren&rsquo;t losing their local focus, nor will their digital innovations present a less human experience for their customers. Unlike other segments of the financial industry, credit unions are trying hard to stay true to their roots: you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better">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/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</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-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</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/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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking bank accounts banking banks credit unions local credit union saving money Mon, 22 May 2017 22:06:53 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1952546 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511213377.jpg" alt="Woman learning how money can support her values" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Giving to charity is an important line item in my family budget &mdash; but it's only one line. There are far more charitable organizations that I want to support than I can possibly give money to.</p> <p>But what if there were a way to support your values without having to free up more money to give to charity? In fact, there is a way. You can do the same things you always do with your money &mdash; bank it, invest it, spend it on utilities, and shop &mdash; all while providing important financial benefits to the causes you care about.</p> <h2>Socially responsible robo-investing</h2> <p>I'll never forget the stricken look on my financial adviser's face when I told him I was uncomfortable with big oil, tobacco, or firearms as investments in my retirement portfolio. He took a deep breath and told me that I would probably have to be a little flexible about that if I wanted to maintain my passive investment strategy. The only other option would be to individually choose the investments I wanted so that my money was aligned with my values. Not only would that be expensive and time consuming (someone would have to do the stock picking), but it would not necessarily grow my money.</p> <p>Passive investors like me now have the option of investing in funds that only go to companies we approve of. The new robo adviser <a href="https://www.openinvest.co/" target="_blank">OpenInvest</a> offers investors the ability to personalize the specific issues they care most about. You simply create an &quot;issue profile&quot; that narrows down the types of companies you would either like to invest in or steer clear of. The robo adviser's algorithm then creates a basket of about 60 stocks that match your values and <em>should </em>match the returns of the broader market.</p> <p>Your money grows just like it would with any investment, but you are supporting companies that reflect your values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth</a>)</p> <h2>Cellphone activism</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine life without your cellphone &mdash; which makes it an excellent tool to help support your values. Simply changing your cellphone provider can make paying your bill part of your activism.</p> <p>Whether your politics align left or right, you can switch to an activist cellphone carrier that will use a portion of their profits to fund important causes. <a href="http://www.credomobile.com/" target="_blank">Credo Mobile</a> is a mobile and long distance provider that has donated $83 million to various progressive nonprofit groups since its inception in 1985. On the right, <a href="https://www.patriotmobile.com/" target="_blank">Patriot Mobile</a> offers conservatives the opportunity to choose the organization that a portion of their monthly phone bill will be donated to.</p> <p>In both cases, the mobile carrier allows you to keep your phone and phone number when you make the switch. You are already paying for your cellphone usage; why not have the money fund causes you care about?</p> <h2>Shop your values</h2> <p>Amazon has become the most convenient way to handle shopping in the modern age, but did you know it can also be the most convenient way for you to donate to charities you love?</p> <p><a href="https://smile.amazon.com/ref=nav_logo" target="_blank">AmazonSmile</a> is exactly like the Amazon store you already know, with the exact same prices and fees, and the exact same login you already use. But when you sign on with AmazonSmile, you are allowed to choose any one of over a million 501(c)(3) charitable organizations to benefit from your shopping. Each time you make a purchase, AmazonSmile gives 0.5 percent of the purchase price to your charity.</p> <p>While not all purchases are eligible for AmazonSmile, the vast majority are. In addition, there are occasionally limited-time special promotions that increase the donation percentage.</p> <p>Once you have signed up with AmazonSmile, just make sure you start any Amazon shopping from that page to keep your donations going to your favorite charity whenever you shop.</p> <h2>#BankBlack revitalizes communities</h2> <p>You might remember seeing the rapper Killer Mike on MTV in 2016 asking 1 million people to open a savings account with a black-owned banking institution. That helped start the #BankBlack movement, which is credited with bringing $50 million in new deposits to black-owned banks over a six-month span in 2016, according to the Huffington Post.</p> <p>But banking with a black-owned financial institution is more than just a hashtag. These institutions were once the only places where African Americans could expect fair treatment when discrimination was rampant in the banking industry. Nowadays, black-owned banks offer access to necessary banking services in distressed neighborhoods, while also providing economic revitalization.</p> <p>Since black-owned banks specifically market to the African American communities that are disproportionately unbanked or underbanked &mdash; meaning they rely on check cashing services and pawnshops for their banking needs &mdash; opening an account with a black-owned bank is an excellent way to put your money to work for social justice.</p> <p>The Blackout Coalition offers a <a href="http://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/" target="_blank">map of black-owned banks and credit unions</a> across the United States, so you can find one near you. Alternatively, if you are not in an area with a local black-owned bank, <a href="https://www.oneunited.com/" target="_blank">OneUnited</a> is an online bank that is also the nation's largest black-owned bank.</p> <h2>Put your money where your values are</h2> <p>Not everyone has money in the budget to support the social programs they are most passionate about. But making a few tweaks to how you bank, invest, call, and shop will allow you to make the world a better place without spending any more money. You'll feel good about how your money represents your values, and your favorite causes will benefit from your choices. It's a win-win.</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/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</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/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive</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/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</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/manage-your-charitable-giving">Manage your charitable giving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment activism amazon smile banking black owned businesses cellphones charity donations giving politics social causes values Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1931274 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-646688660.jpg" alt="Couple learning things about a joint checking account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Joint checking accounts offer convenient money management for many different types of relationships, including married and cohabiting couples and adult children and their parents.</p> <p>But the convenience of joint checking accounts potentially comes with a cost that families need to consider before signing up. Here are six issues you need to think through before you open a joint checking account with a spouse, a significant other, an adult child, or a parent.</p> <h2>1. There is no accountability for withdrawals</h2> <p>Generally, couples tend to open joint accounts because they are sharing a home and expenses. That means that it's in their best interests to be responsible with the money, since it will affect them both if the rent money is spent on a weekend in Vegas. However, if one person is unreliable with money, or planning to leave the relationship suddenly, a joint account can be dangerous for the other account holder.</p> <p>This issue can be more difficult when the two account holders are parent and child. Often, an adult child will request that they be added to their elderly parents' checking account to help protect dear old Mom or Dad. They can help pay bills, and make sure that there is no fraudulent activity on the account. The problem is that both account holders have every right to withdraw money from the account &mdash; which an unscrupulous adult child could take advantage of.</p> <h2>2. Joint accounts are vulnerable to the financial mistakes of both owners</h2> <p>If either account owner has unpaid debts that go into collection, the creditor has every right to use the joint account to satisfy those debts. This means you might potentially find your joint checking account completely drained in order to pay off debts you are unaware that your co-owner has run up.</p> <p>In addition, if there is a legal judgment against either account owner, the money in the joint account could be considered part of the assets awarded in the judgment. For instance, if Jane is sued because she crashed into a bus, then the assets in the joint account she holds with her elderly father are considered part of Jane's assets in terms of the lawsuit &mdash; even if the account was originally solely in Dad's name.</p> <h2>3. A joint account could hurt your credit</h2> <p>Although your spouse or child's credit rating can't ding your score, the way they handle their money can hurt your credit if you share a joint account with them. Since creditors are required to report joint account information, an account holder who struggles with debt and paying bills on time will negatively affect the co-owner's credit rating &mdash; unless and until the money behavior improves.</p> <h2>4. A joint account can affect eligibility for financial assistance</h2> <p>If either account owner needs to qualify for any kind of financial assistance, from financial aid for college to Medicaid, the money in a jointly held account is included in the eligibility calculations for the financial aid. That means you might end up forfeiting your ability to qualify for the financial assistance if your account co-owner holds more cash in the account than you would as a sole account owner.</p> <h2>5. Your co-owner can close the account without your permission</h2> <p>Certain banks require consent from both parties to close a joint checking account, but most do not. Typically, state laws dictate that any person who can write checks on the account can close it, at any time, regardless if their co-owner is present or even aware. The benefit to this is if one party relocates, passes away, or otherwise becomes incapacitated, there are very few issues the remaining co-owner must go through to close the account. The danger, however, lies in the potential for one co-owner to simply deplete the funds, close the account, and disappear. Always make sure you're sharing a checking account with someone you trust.</p> <h2>6. Parent/child joint accounts can have estate implications</h2> <p>A joint account holder retains sole control of the money in the account in the event of the co-owner's death. In the case of spouses or other cohabiting couples, this kind of financial transfer in case of death is not a problem. However, if the account owners are a parent and child, the issue is much more complicated.</p> <p>That's because the money in the checking account stays with the surviving account holder, bypassing whatever the deceased account holder may have put in their will. For instance, Loretta has three children and has specified in her will that her assets will be distributed evenly among them. But Loretta has a sizable joint account with her son Jason, and upon her death the money in that account will be solely under his control. Unless Jason feels like splitting up the money in the account three ways, his siblings are not going to see that portion of their inheritance.</p> <h2>Merge with caution</h2> <p>While joint checking accounts offer convenience to couples and parent/child relationships, they also come with a number of potential headaches. Make sure you know what you are signing up for before you and your potential co-account owner start picking out your personalized checks.</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/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">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/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup">6 Reasons Average People Should Consider a Prenup</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</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/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</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-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Family children credit score debts estate planning joint checking accounts marriage parents shared finances spouse withdrawals Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1927307 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482043394.jpg" alt="Woman learning sales strategies her bank is using" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people fail to realize that their banking institution is, in fact, a business. And as such, they're using a wide range of marketing and sales strategies on you, whether you realize it or not. It's up to you to be the smart customer. Let's review five of the sales strategies you should keep an eye on.</p> <h2>1. Cash or Gift Card Offer for Opening an Account</h2> <p>When a new bank branch opens in your neighborhood, you may receive a mailer informing you that you could receive a hefty cash bonus or gift card for opening a new account. Free money may sound great, until you realize that there is a catch. Very often you have to meet a minimum balance deposit for a required period of time, effectively locking you into doing business with the bank. Think about it: How often do you switch banks? Consider whether you really want to deal with having a new bank account before you jump at the offer.</p> <h2>2. Free Checking Account</h2> <p>There's no such thing as a free lunch, and some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=internal" target="_blank">free checking accounts</a> are no exception. Common requirements that banks impose on their customers include:</p> <ul> <li>Maintaining a minimum balance. Some banks require a minimum daily balance per statement cycle to have a $0 monthly maintenance fee;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Meeting a minimum number of transactions. Some banks may require you to use your debit card a minimum of 10 to 12 times per month; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Making at least one monthly deposit. Often, that monthly deposit must be a direct deposit from your employer.</li> </ul> <p>Banks may set only one of these requirements or a combination of them. If you were to fall short on any of these requirements &mdash; such as making only 11 out of 12 required monthly transactions, or having an account balance below the required minimum for even just one day &mdash; you would get charged a fee for using your &quot;free&quot; checking account. Make sure you can easily meet their requirements before signing up.</p> <h2>3. Higher Interest Rate on Savings</h2> <p>A bank may offer what sounds like a very high savings rate, but the bank will use language such as &quot;up to 2% APY.&quot; To get the promised 2%, you'd have to keep a very high balance. Depending on the amount of money you actually have to put into the savings account, you might end up with a lower rate than you already have &mdash; 0.20% or 0.25% APY, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>4. ATM Fees Refund</h2> <p>Let's face it: ATM fees are annoying, and some banks will offer to reimburse all or some of the ATM fees to make up for the inconvenience. However, the limit of the ATM fee reimbursement varies widely per banks. Some banks offer $10, $15, or $20 per statement cycle or month. With the average ATM fee at $2.90 in 2016, you could easily eat up any of those refunds in just a few trips to the ATM. Consider your ATM needs and options in your area before you sign up with a bank with limited network ATMs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Avoid ATM Fees</a>)</p> <h2>5. Mobile Check Deposit</h2> <p>You've seen the TV ads: a busy Millennial, mom, or retiree totally ecstatic about how they can save time by depositing checks on the go with their smartphone. Snap, click, deposit! It's great for the average person with a few checks for small amounts, but if you're a freelancer or small business owner who thinks this will save you trips to the bank, think again. There are all sorts of limits on the amount per check (and even amount per 30 days) that you can deposit this way. Some banks offer special equipment that allows higher limits, but still, it may not be as convenient as you think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Modern Ways to Send Money Instead of Using a Check</a>)</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Know Your Bank Fees!</h2> <p>When you're unhappy with your current financial institution, the promise of better banking through a higher savings interest rate, lack of fees, or refund of all ATM fees may sound enticing. While some of these selling points can indeed improve your financial situation, make sure to thoroughly review the requirements, if any, to gain access to the promised features. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>When facing a list of potential requirements, do a cost-benefit analysis. For example, can I leave a $5,000 deposit to get a 1.5% APY without putting any pressure on my monthly budget? If so, then take advantage of that higher savings rate. Be a smart bank user, shop around, and evaluate all of your options.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money.jpg&amp;description=5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money.jpg" alt="5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money" width="250" height="374" /></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/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">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/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</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/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union">Here&#039;s the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</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/how-to-earn-a-good-interest-rate-in-a-low-rate-environment">How to Earn a Good Interest Rate in a Low-Rate Environment</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking atm fees atms cash incentives credit unions interest rates mobile deposits sales strategies savings accounts Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Damian Davila 1893288 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_62580866_LARGE.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Certain life events require more cash than we have on hand. It is easy to just grab a credit card, charge those expenses, and forget about them until it&rsquo;s time to make a payment. Although sometimes more convenient, credit cards aren&rsquo;t always the best answer. Depending on your credit rating and your needs, a personal loan can be the less expensive option.</p> <p>If you need long-term option financing, you can likely get a lower interest rate and possibly higher limit with a personal loan than you would with a credit card. Here are a few instances in which a personal loan can be better than a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Personal Loan Companies</a>)</p> <h2>Weddings and Important Life Events</h2> <p>Because events like weddings and other big celebrations are not the types of purchases that benefit from rewards programs or the extra benefits that credit cards provide, you aren&rsquo;t losing anything by using a personal loan to pay for them. You can choose the loan amount, based on your budget and according to the installments you can pay each month. Personal loans also allow a longer period to pay off the wedding expenses, at a lower interest rate than most credit cards offer. Companies like <a href="http://promisefinancial.evyy.net/c/27771/245132/4106">Promise Financial</a> specialize in financing for life events.</p> <h2>Health Expenses</h2> <p>Whether you end up with a bill for an emergency visit or have unexpected medical expenses, unless you can pay the entire balance in full right away, it isn&rsquo;t a good idea to charge it to a credit card. You can often qualify for much higher amounts with a personal loan than many credit cards will offer. In fact, personal loan providers such as <a href="http://lendingclub.pxf.io/c/27771/322506/4962">Lending Club</a> offer an exclusive Lending Club Patient Solutions loan specifically for medical expenses. Loans for as much as $50,000 are available with terms from 2 to 7 years, and interest rates as low as 3.99%. Lending Club Patient Solutions loans also offer a 0% promotional period for up to 24 months, in which you can save quite a bit of money if you pay your balance in full during that time.</p> <h2>Business Startup Expenses</h2> <p>Although a plethora of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">small business credit cards</a> exist designed to reward business purchases, credit cards aren&rsquo;t great for startup capital. Companies such as <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11145625-1452787774000">Kabbage</a> specialize in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan?ref=internal">small business loans</a> and can help get your business going. Loans with Kabbage can be from $2,000 to $100,000 with fees ranging from 1% to 12% of the loan the first two months and 1% the remaining four months.</p> <h2>Debt Consolidation</h2> <p>If you have acquired an enormous amount of debt that includes credit card debt, there&rsquo;s a good chance you won&rsquo;t be able to consolidate it all with another credit card. Even if you get a credit card that offers a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">0% introductory APR for balance transfers</a>, you might not get a credit limit high enough. Using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">balance transfer to pay off credit card debt</a> only works if you can pay it all off within the promotional period. Otherwise it&rsquo;s not worth it, because credit card APRs are generally very high.</p> <p>An alternative option for consolidating large debts is personal loans. Loan platforms such as <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11789034-1427835327000">Avant</a> specialize in providing personal loans to consumers with fair credit that help consolidate debt.</p> <h2>Home Improvement</h2> <p>Although there are credit cards for home improvement projects that award supplies and materials with special cash back and discount offers, many only award these purchases at certain times of the year and charge much higher interest rates. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">Store cards</a> specific to home improvement may offer cash back and deferred interest. However, after the promotional period the APRs are very high. In addition to personal loans offering higher credit limits that are more likely to cover the costs of your home improvement project, interest rates are available with various lenders for as low as 3%.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520Personal%2520Loans%2520May%2520Be%2520Better%2520Than%2520Credit%2520Cards.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20Personal%20Loans%20May%20Be%20Better%20Than%20Credit%20Cards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20Personal%20Loans%20May%20Be%20Better%20Than%20Credit%20Cards.jpg" alt="5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards">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/credit-cards-vs-debit-cards-a-comprehensive-comparison">Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards: A Comprehensive Comparison</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-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</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-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</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-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Credit Cards Debt Management best personal loans Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:52:46 +0000 Christina Majaski 1776218 at http://www.wisebread.com Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_check_78686861.jpg" alt="Woman switching to a new bank in 5 easy steps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Switching banks is a pain. You have to close accounts, research new banks, and rework all those automatic bill payments you've set up at the financial institution you'd like to leave.</p> <p>But sometimes making the switch is the right move. Maybe your bank has raised its fees. Maybe it's closed the branches that operated near your home or work. And if you're moving, you might have no choice but to make the switch.</p> <p>Yes, switching banks does take a bit of work. But it's relatively simple work.</p> <p>If you need or want to switch to a new bank, follow this simple step-by-step guide. Doing so will ease any stress from jumping to a new financial institution.</p> <h2>1. Research a New Bank</h2> <p>Before closing any accounts at your current bank, make sure that you spend some time researching a new home for your money. Choose a bank that offers online bill pay and direct deposit, of course. You also want one that offers free checking and higher interest rates on savings accounts &mdash; relatively speaking, since interest rates are still near historic lows.</p> <p>Customer service matters, too. Search for a bank that has plenty of ATMs near you and that still operates branches within a short drive of your home or office. You might also consider investigating a credit union or an online bank, both solid alternatives to traditional banks.</p> <p>The key in this search is the checking account. Make sure you know exactly how your new checking account will operate. Is there a minimum-balance requirement? Are there fees if you make too many withdrawals during a month? How large of an initial deposit do you need to set up your new account? These are all key questions that you should answer during your research.</p> <h2>2. Open Your New Checking Account</h2> <p>Once you select a new bank, start the switching process by opening a checking account there. Do this before you close the checking account at the bank you are leaving. You might still need money in your old account to cover payments that haven't yet cleared.</p> <p>To open a checking account, you'll need some basic information. You'll need to provide, of course, your name, address, and date of birth. But you'll also need to provide your Social Security number and one official piece of photo identification. Usually, this will be your driver's license. But banks will also accept an official state ID card or your passport.</p> <p>Your bank will then require you to make an initial deposit into your new account. How big this deposit must be will vary by bank.</p> <h2>3. Cancel Automatic Payments at the Bank You Are Leaving</h2> <p>Once you've established a checking account at your new bank, it's time to cancel any automatic payments that you've set up at the bank you are leaving. Do this right away, so that your creditors don't try to take money out of an account that is either empty or has been officially closed.</p> <p>Then set up the same automatic payments with your new bank. You'll need your bank's routing number and address and your checking account number to do this.</p> <p>If you had signed up to have your paycheck deposited directly into your old account, cancel that direct-deposit arrangement, too. Then contact your company's human resources department to move your direct deposits to your new checking account.</p> <h2>4. Close Your Old Account &mdash; When the Time Is Right</h2> <p>You can now close your old account, if all of the checks you've written against it have cleared. Compare your check register against your online account to make sure.</p> <p>If you don't do this? Any checks that have not yet cleared will bounce if your old account is closed. The companies that you were paying might charge you late fees if this happens. This danger is why it usually makes sense to wait at least a month after opening your new checking account before closing your old one.</p> <h2>5. Get It in Writing</h2> <p>When you're sure that all your checks and payments have cleared, you can officially close that old account. Doing this in person might be the best choice. That way you can instantly receive written verification that your account has been closed. You'll want this documentation in case your former bank reopens your account or claims that it was never shut down in the first place.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">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-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</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/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank">Think Twice Before Ditching Your Current 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/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union">Here&#039;s the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</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-earn-a-good-interest-rate-in-a-low-rate-environment">How to Earn a Good Interest Rate in a Low-Rate Environment</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-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking automatic payments checking accounts credit unions customer service interest rates savings accounts switching banks Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1826531 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons to Visit Your Credit Union on October 20 http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_103388239.jpg" alt="Woman visiting her credit union on Credit Union Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October. This October 20th, 2016, more than 217 million credit union members around the world are joining in the celebration.</p> <p>About half of all credit union members are Americans (<a href="http://www.cuna.org/Research-And-Strategy/DownLoads/mcue/">108.1 million</a>!), but if you're not one of them, this Oct. 20th is a great opportunity to visit a local credit union, shop around for financial services, and find out whether or not you can get a better deal at a credit union.</p> <h2>Key Differences Between a Bank and a Credit Union</h2> <p>Only 36% of people surveyed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) were aware that credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. This is just one of the many differences between a traditional bank and your local credit union.</p> <h3>1. Credit Unions Have Members</h3> <p>You're not a client; you're a member or owner of the credit union. You're required to make a deposit in a savings account (often from $25 to $100) that grants you a share of the credit union.</p> <h3>2. You Must Be Eligible for Membership</h3> <p>Typical fields of membership include employee groups, associations, religious or fraternal affiliations, and residential areas.</p> <h3>3. You Can Vote on Key Issues</h3> <p>Including electing unpaid officers and directors for the credit union to establish operating policies and other key issues. Each member has one equal vote, no matter how small his or her deposit.</p> <h3>4. Deposits Are Insured by the NCUA or State or Private Insurance</h3> <p>While qualifying deposits in banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), deposits in federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Each individual account, joint account, trust account, retirement account, and business account at any federal credit union is insured for up to $250,000. If you have a savings account, a trust account, and a Roth IRA at a federal credit union, you're covered for up to total of $750,000. State chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in states other than the ones listed earlier may be covered by either state or private insurance.</p> <h3>5. Credit Unions Collaborate With Each Other</h3> <p>Many credit unions offer shared branching that allows you to make deposits and withdrawals at locations other than that of your own credit union. With <a href="https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/">nearly 30,000 ATMs</a> and more than 5,000 shared branches, credit union members have more direct, surcharge-free access to their money than most traditional bank customers do.</p> <h2>Why It Pays to Take Part in Credit Union Day</h2> <p>In a nutshell: higher savings rates for your deposits and lower costs for your loans.</p> <p>Let's compare some financial products from credit unions with those from banks, as of <a href="https://www.ncua.gov/analysis/Pages/industry/credit-union-bank-interest-rates-june-2016.pdf">June 2016</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Credit unions had a national average rate of 4.40% for five-year home equity loans, while banks had a 4.97% average rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage would have only cost an average 3.06% per year at credit unions and an average 3.10% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A classic credit card would have only charged you an average 11.56% at credit unions and an average 12.66% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $10,000 five-year CD yielded a national average 1.51% at credit unions and 1.22% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 48-month new car loan charged a national average 2.61% at credit unions and 4.58% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $2,500 money market account paid a national average 0.17% at credit unions and 0.12% at banks.</li> </ul> <p>Year after year credit unions demonstrate that they are working hard to get you the best bang for your buck. (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> <h2>What Can You Expect on International Credit Union Day</h2> <p>Several credit unions around the country will provide special offers and freebies to their current and new members.</p> <h3>1. Even Lower Fees</h3> <p>CUNA advises credit unions to offer loans or new share draft accounts for the <a href="http://www.cuna.org/Marketing-And-Member-Education/DownLoads/2016-ICU-Day-Celebration-Ideas/">same fees</a> that credit unions charged the year they opened.</p> <h3>2. Free Money or Freebies to Open a New Account</h3> <p>The Eagle Community Credit Union in California is offering a <a href="http://www.eaglecu.org/ICUDay">$25 deposit</a> and a lunch tote to new account holders from October 1 until October 31, 2016. The Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyoming is offering a <a href="https://www.mymeridiantrust.com/about/support/international_credit_union_day/international_credit_union_day_special_offers.aspx">$50 Visa gift card</a> to those opening a new checking account.</p> <h3>3. Chance to Win a Discount Off Your Qualifying Rate for a New Loan</h3> <p>The University of Hawaii Credit Union is offering on October 21 and 22, 2016 the chance to pull a rate as low as 1.49% APR or <a href="https://www.uhfcu.com/?Cabinet=Main&amp;Drawer=UHFCU+Advantages&amp;Folder=Specials&amp;SubFolder=Auto+Loan+Special&amp;page_name=Auto+Loan+Special">up to 0.75% off</a> your qualifying rate. &quot;Checking in&quot; at the event with your Yelp app will get you 0.25% off your qualifying rate.</p> <h3>4. Free Gas Cards</h3> <p>Other credit unions may offer you incentives to receive free gas cards when you bring a completed certificate to a participating car dealership. If you get a new-car loan with the credit union at a qualifying dealer, the gas card can be of higher value.</p> <h3>5. Chance to Win Free Money</h3> <p>Last but not least, some credit unions may just be handing out money. In 2014, the Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wisconsin handed out cups filled with $2 bills and fliers about the credit union to 500 students. All cups were entered into a drawing for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/likeRCU/posts/797687906961897">five real $2 bills</a>.</p> <h3>6. Opportunity to Fundraise for Your Community</h3> <p>The River Cities Community Credit Union in Atchison, Kansas hosts every year a hot dog meal fundraiser to donate to the Atchison County Food Pantry. Several credit unions host fundraisers to contribute to the local community.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Save the Date!</h2> <p>From a better saving rate for your deposits to a competitive new car loan to a freebie to boost your emergency fund, there is a lot you can gain from International Credit Union Day. As of December 2015, there 6,259 credit unions in the U.S. This Thursday October 20, 2016 is a great time to find out what you've been missing at your local credit union. Some special deals may only be available on that day or for a very limited time so plan ahead and use the <a href="http://mapping.ncua.gov">NCUA's credit union locator</a> to find the ones nearest you.</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/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20">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/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</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-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</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/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union">Here&#039;s the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank">The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking accounts community credit unions freebies international credit union day local business lower fees membership Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1815062 at http://www.wisebread.com Christmas Club Accounts: Are They Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-club-accounts-are-they-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/christmas-club-accounts-are-they-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/christmas_jar_money_80893365.jpg" alt="Learning if Christmas club accounts are worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're not yet to Halloween and, yes, we're going to talk about Christmas shopping. During the 2014 holiday season, a poll found that families with children planned to spend $578.10 on gifts. But, when you add up additional gifts, decorations, and miscellaneous purchases, the estimated average total for holiday spending is over $1,200, depending on location.</p> <p>If you're thinking of paying that holiday tab with credit, one great way to curb that debt is to start saving for those expenses today by leveraging a Christmas club account. Let's review what Christmas club accounts are, their advantages and disadvantages, and other criteria to evaluate whether they're suitable for your holiday shopping needs.</p> <h2>What Are Christmas Club Accounts?</h2> <p>First offered by several U.S. banks during the Great Depression, these short-term savings accounts encourage account holders to make regular deposits that accumulate interest and provide access to the funds only at a predetermined date (usually December 1st).</p> <p>Through the years, there have been many versions of Christmas club accounts. However, they all share one key feature: Withdraw your money earlier than the set date, and you'll not only lose all earned interest, but also receive a hefty penalty.</p> <p>Christmas club accounts enjoyed their height of popularity in the 1970s, but nowadays they are not as common. You're most likely to find these type of savings accounts in credits unions, because about 72% of these financial institutions offer them, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). (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> <h2>Advantages of Christmas Club Accounts</h2> <p>First, let's take at the benefits of these savings accounts.</p> <h3>Higher APY Than Regular Savings Accounts</h3> <p>As of September 6, 2016, the national average APY of savings accounts for deposits under $100,000 is a measly 0.06%, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Christmas club accounts easily defeat that APY. For example, in Honolulu, Hawaii I can find two credit unions offering Christmas club APYs of <a href="https://www.hawaiiusafcu.com/Resources/Tools-More/Rates">0.40%</a> and <a href="https://www.uhfcu.com/?Cabinet=Main&amp;Drawer=Advice+and+Planning&amp;Folder=Rates&amp;SubFolder=Savings+Rates&amp;Page_name=savings+rates">0.50%</a>.</p> <h3>Shorter Holding Period</h3> <p>To get a comparable APY at a credit union, you would need to look for a certificate of deposit with a maturity ranging from six to 23 months. At the credit union offering a Christmas Club APY of 0.50%, you would need to deposit a minimum of $500 for at least six months and 12 months to gain an APY of 0.30% and 0.75%, respectively. With a Christmas club account requiring no minimum balance to earn interest, you have immediate access to an APY of 0.50% at the same financial institution.</p> <h3>Forced Savings</h3> <p>A Christmas club can be a good choice to create a barrier between your bad spending habits and your money. The threat of losing all accumulated interest and paying a big penalty fee can be strong deterrents to prevent you from putting your hands in the cookie jar.</p> <h3>Covered Up to $250,000 by NCUA</h3> <p>While the FDIC doesn't cover credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures deposits in federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia. A Christmas club account in a qualifying credit union is covered by up to $250,000 by the NCUA.</p> <h2>Disadvantages of Christmas Club Accounts</h2> <p>Of course, Christmas club accounts do have some drawbacks.</p> <h3>Even Higher Savings APYs Are Available</h3> <p>While a 0.40% or 0.50 APY is good, a 0.75% APY is better. That is the current savings rate offered by the Capital One 360 Savings Account. If you're willing to enroll in online banking, you'll have access to higher APYs than those from Christmas club accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso">5 Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <p>(Note about other forms of savings: While you could save money also through an investment account, we are sticking to comparable financial vehicles that won't trigger taxes or investment fees, such as front-end and back-end load fees.)</p> <h3>Required Purchase of Shares</h3> <p>Unlike banks, credit unions have owners. To open a Christmas club account in a credit union, you'll need to make a separate deposit, usually $100, in a regular savings account from the same financial institution. You'll still retain ownership and gain interest on that deposit, but you won't be able to access it for a predetermined period. This is not a fee at all, but it may feel like one for some savers.</p> <h3>Limit to Savings</h3> <p>Christmas clubs often have a limit on how much you can earn interest at the higher savings rate. For example, the Christmas club offering a 0.50% APY only applies that rate to the first $5,000. Any balances exceeding $5,000 revert to the lower APY from the regular savings account (0.20%). One easy way to get around that limit is to have another member of your household open a separate Christmas club account. However, you'll need a willing family member who is eligible to become a credit union member.</p> <h3>Keep an Eye on Distribution Dates</h3> <p>Christmas clubs set different dates for the distribution of funds. The Christmas club with the 0.40% APY distributes funds on October 1st, and the one with the 0.50% APY distributes funds on November 1st. Choose a distribution date that allows you to maximize savings for this holiday season.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Are Christmas Club Accounts Worth It?</h2> <p>A Christmas club account can be useful way to reach your financial goal if you:</p> <ul> <li>Are looking to build up a holiday shopping fund between $500 and $1,200;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are just starting to save now for the current holiday season;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Need a way to force you to save;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prefer to do business with a local financial institution; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have about $100 that you can set aside for at least a year (unless you're already a credit union customer).</li> </ul> <p>On the other hand, you may be better off with another type of savings account, if you:</p> <ul> <li>Have a savings target well above $5,000;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are comfortable with banking online;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Require &quot;just-in-case&quot; access to deposits without penalty;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have access to a savings account with an APY that beats that of Christmas clubs in your area; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are only eligible to Christmas club accounts with a very early distribution date.</li> </ul> <p><em>How are you planning to pay for your holiday shopping?</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/christmas-club-accounts-are-they-worth-it">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/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It?</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/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In 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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking apy christmas clubs christmas shopping fees holiday shopping Holidays saving money Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1791530 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clock_money_94923537.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to protect her money from inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in January 1980, when Jimmy Carter was President and Michael Jackson led the music charts with &quot;Rock with You,&quot; Americans were experiencing one of the periods of highest inflation in modern history. In January 1980, inflation was over 13.9% per year and peaked in April 1980 at 14.76%.</p> <p>With the consumer price index (CPI) at <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">0.8% in July 2016</a>, many Americans have never experienced the dramatic increase in prices that other generations have. But even though inflation is low these days, it still eats away at your savings and investments. Let's review four (nearly) foolproof strategies and investments that will reduce the hit.</p> <h2>1. Invest in an S&amp;P 500 Index Fund</h2> <p>The average annual inflation rate since the U.S. government began tracking it in 1913 is <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp">about 3%</a>. To combat inflation's effect on your money, you need investments that provide greater average returns than the inflation rate.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1928, the S&amp;P 500 has provided an <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">average annual return of 11.25%</a> until 2015, making this stock market index a leading choice to protect yourself from inflation. For the greatest ease and cost-efficiency, invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500's performance.</p> <p>Not only are the average returns of passively-managed S&amp;P 500 index funds higher than those of actively managed funds, but also the expense ratios of S&amp;P 500 index funds are lower than those of actively managed funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16%, which is 84% lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings.</p> <p>Of course, this approach isn't actually foolproof, since both the rate of inflation and market returns vary from year to year. But when considering long-term averages, it's a fairly safe bet.</p> <h2>2. Increase Annual Contributions to Saving Accounts</h2> <p>Even when you leverage <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal">high-yield online savings accounts</a>, you'll only make between 0.75% and 1.05% per year, according to data from August 2016. With a July 2016 CPI of 0.8%, you're actually losing 0.05% and gaining only 0.25% per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?ref=seealso">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a>)</p> <p>Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck or main checking account to your investment and saving accounts is a smart idea, but adjusting those contributions for inflation is an even better one. A good practice is to make an adjustment for inflation once a year. Check with your financial institution to find out if it offers the option of automatic adjustments for inflation to your contributions.</p> <h2>3. Seek Real Estate Income</h2> <p>While gold has a great reputation as an investment hedge against inflation, real estate income has proved to be a better hedge tool. A study from financial company Fidelity back-tested the performance of several assets against inflation on an annual basis during a 40-year period and found that gold and real estate income beat inflation 54% and 71% of the time, respectively. &quot;Real estate is regarded consistently as a <a href="https://www.reit.com/news/videos/wharton-professor-discusses-reits-inflation-hedging-benefits">good inflation hedge</a>, and it is&quot;, asserts Susan Wachter, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in a Home</a>)</p> <p>While most individual investors can only afford to buy their own home, all individual investors can gain exposure to real estate income from a wide variety of properties through real estate investment trusts (REITS). Some advantages of REITs are their requirement to maintain a dividend payout ratio of at least 90% and their liquidity because they trade on major stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, the 10-year annual average return of the Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VGSIX?ltr=1">VGSIX</a>] is 7.46%, as of June 30, 2016. In comparison, the 10-year annual average return of the S&amp;P 500 was 7.42% for the same period.</p> <p>Adding REITs provides you access to assets with inflation resistance and helps you protect against the negative of higher inflation. Still, REITs should only be a part of a well-diversified portfolio. Depending on your tolerance to risk, financial advisers suggest allocating from 5% up to 20% of your investment in portfolio in REITs. And of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Salary</h2> <p>If your salary were to consistently go up every year, you would not to worry about inflation to begin with! However, <a href="http://time.com/money/3657524/odds-of-getting-raise/">less than half of working Americans</a> ever even ask for a raise, and about 30% of them are uncomfortable negotiating salary.</p> <p>Start your career on the right foot by successfully negotiating the salary offer of your very first job. Three out of four U.S. employers typically have room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations, but only 38% of applicants negotiate those first salary offers. Let's imagine that your first salary offer was $38,000, that would mean that you have the potential of increasing that offer from $39,900 to $41,800. Given the historical inflation average of 3% per year, you have the potential of covering inflation for 40 months just by negotiating your first salary offer.</p> <p>And things only get better after that.</p> <p>By bumping up your salary from the start, you're increasing your chances of future raises. As your salary grows over time, so does your probability of getting a raise. For example, people making $40,000 to $50,000 have about a 40% chance of receiving that raise they requested and people making $60,000 to $70,000 have about a 50% chance.</p> <p>While there are other factors that may influence pay raises, the main one is the decision to request better compensation. From U.S. workers asking for a raise, 75% of them get something: 44% of them get what they asked for and 31% of them receive a smaller amount. Getting at least a small raise is a very smart strategy to protect yourself from inflation because inflation erodes the value of your dollars year after year.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to protect yourself from inflation?</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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">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/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</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-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you">8 Types of Investors — Which One Are You?</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/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in the stock market?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment consumer price index Economy hedging inflation negotiating real estate REITs returns s&p 500 salary savings stocks Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1784422 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_paperwork_house_83751927.jpg" alt="Man learning things lenders check besides credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know how important your FICO credit score is to mortgage lenders. They rely on this number to gauge how well you've handled credit and paid your bills in the past. A high credit score means that you'll qualify for a low mortgage interest rate. A low score? You might not qualify for a loan at all.</p> <p>But mortgage lenders don't look only at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score" target="_blank">your credit score</a>&nbsp;when you apply for a home loan. They also consider several other key factors &mdash; everything from your job history to the size of your down payment.</p> <p>Here is a look at four noncredit factors that lenders will be studying when you apply for a mortgage loan.</p> <h2>Debt</h2> <p>Outside of your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is the most important number for mortgage lenders. This ratio measures the relationship between your monthly debt obligations and your gross monthly income.</p> <p>As a general rule, lenders strongly prefer your total monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new mortgage payment &mdash; equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (your income before taxes).</p> <p>If your debt-to-income rises past this level, lenders won't be as willing to lend you mortgage money. They'll worry that you're already overburdened with debt, and the addition of a monthly mortgage payment will only make your financial situation worse.</p> <h2>Job History</h2> <p>Lenders prefer borrowers who have worked for the same employer, in the same position, for at least two years. Lenders believe that such workers are less likely to lose their jobs and, therefore, less likely to lose the income stream they need to pay their mortgage loan on time each month.</p> <p>But there's a lot of flexibility with this rule. For instance, if you took on a new job with your same employer in the last two years, this probably won't hurt you. Even if you moved onto a new job with a different employer in your same industry, lenders probably won't worry.</p> <p>But what if you've taken a new job in a new industry in the last two years? That might cause some concern. Lenders might worry that you'll be more likely to lose that new position. However, you can usually still qualify for a loan.</p> <p>If you've been unemployed for a significant amount of time in the last two years, that can cause more problems. Be prepared to explain to lenders why you have a gap in your work history. As long as you have a solid income now, the odds are still good that you'll be able to qualify for a home loan.</p> <h2>Savings</h2> <p>To qualify for the lowest interest rates, make sure you have enough money in savings. You'll need money to pay for your down payment, closing costs, and a certain number of months' worth of property taxes, of course.</p> <p>But lenders often require that you also have enough in savings to pay at least two months of your new mortgage payment, including whatever you're paying each month for property taxes and insurance. If your total monthly mortgage payment will be $2,000, you'll need at least $4,000 in savings in addition to whatever you'll be paying for closing costs and down payment.</p> <p>Lenders want to see that you have savings in case you suffer a temporary reduction in your monthly income. This way, you'll be able to use your savings to pay for at least a couple months of mortgage payments.</p> <h2>Down Payment</h2> <p>The size of your down payment plays a big role in the size of your mortgage interest rate. In general, the bigger your down payment, the smaller your interest rate.</p> <p>That's because lenders consider you less of a risk to default on your loan if you come up with a larger down payment. You've already invested more in your home, the theory goes, so you'll be less likely to walk away from it.</p> <p>You can qualify for mortgage loans today with a down payment of as little as 3% of your home's final purchase price, in many cases. But if you want to qualify for the lowest interest rates? Putting down 20% of your home's final purchase price &mdash; admittedly not an easy task &mdash; will increase your chances of nabbing that ultralow rate.</p> <p><em>If you're getting ready to buy a house, have you taken steps to improve these parts of your finances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">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/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</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/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</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-things-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators 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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Real Estate and Housing closing costs credit history credit score debt down payment FICO score interest rates job history lenders loans mortgages savings Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1779806 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Bitcoin Still a Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bitcoin_sign_41596574.jpg" alt="Man wondering if Bitcoin is still a thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bitcoin. You may have heard the term. You may even know someone who has a bunch of them. But is Bitcoin just a fad that's dying out, or is it here to stay?</p> <p>Let's dive into a brief history of Bitcoin, the troubles it has faced, and the answer to the question on so many lips&hellip;is Bitcoin still a thing?</p> <h2>What Is Bitcoin?</h2> <p>Bitcoin is a form of currency that falls under the umbrella of &quot;cryptocurrency.&quot; To keep this simple, think of Bitcoin as currency that exists primarily in cyberspace, at a specific Bitcoin address that is linked with an access key. Unlike every other form of currency, it is decentralized, meaning large banks and corporations have no control over it. Plus, Bitcoins are not produced in the same manner as dollars or euros; they are generated by people through a process known as mining, which requires software that can solve complex mathematical problems.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest selling point of Bitcoin is the finite nature of the currency. There is something called Bitcoin protocol, and it stipulates that only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be created. That's it. So clearly, as the demand for Bitcoins increases, so, too, does their value. (It's a little like trying to move into a town or city that has outlawed new construction. The houses in that area continue to rise in value as more people want to move in.)</p> <p>Another huge selling point is that it is completely anonymous. Plus, Bitcoin has tiny transaction fees, it's fast, and it's transparent. Every transaction is recorded (which is why Martin Shkreli's claim about <a href="http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/02/15/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli-lied-about-bitcoin-so-someone-spent-his-real-money-on-lube/">losing $15 million in Bitcoins</a> was bogus).</p> <h2>How Did Bitcoin Come to Exist?</h2> <p>Created by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoins came into existence in 2008 after his paper <em>Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System</em> was published. The idea was to create a low-fee electronic payment system that was free from any central authority, and easily or instantly transferrable. It wasn't until two years later that the first Bitcoins were used, and at the time they were worth less than a penny each (today, Bitcoins are valued at over $560 each, but the price fluctuates daily, and has hit a high of $1216.73). The biggest draw of Bitcoins &mdash; anonymity &mdash; meant that it became the preferred unit of currency for illegal activities on the online black market, such as the now shuttered Silk Road. However, as the price of Bitcoins rose meteorically, people who simply wanted to make money took an interest.</p> <h2>How Do You Acquire Bitcoins?</h2> <p>You can set up an <a href="https://bitcoin.org/en/getting-started">account at Bitcoin.org</a> in seconds. Once there, you choose a wallet, and can then get Bitcoins in a few different ways:</p> <ol> <li>Simply purchase them. You can set up a currency exchange with your bank, and have the Bitcoins (or pieces of a Bitcoin) deposited in your account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can accept Bitcoins as a payment for goods or services. If you sell items online, you can ask to be paid in Bitcoins. If you freelance, you can do the same thing. It's not easy at the moment, but as more retailers and people realize the value of Bitcoins, it could become as natural as using PayPal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mine Bitcoins. This is the hardest part. It would take a much longer article to explain it all, but just know it is not exactly a walk in the park. With the current difficulty level and requisite hardware, it will take you <a href="https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=556189.0">1,367 years to mine just one Bitcoin</a>!</li> </ol> <h2>What Troubles Have Plagued Bitcoin?</h2> <p>Aside from being associated with the sale and purchase of illegal guns, drugs, and other black market goods and services, Bitcoin has certainly had some setbacks.</p> <p>For starters, Bitcoin is a digital currency, and anything digital comes with hackers ready to find a weakness and exploit it. Just last week, a major Bitcoin exchange called <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/08/06/theft-and-mayhem-in-the-bitcoin-world/#52d897a951ae">Bitfinex was hacked</a>, and 120,000 Bitcoins (roughly $60 million) were stolen. Back in 2014, another exchange, MtGox, was hacked and lost over 850,000 Bitcoins, valued at the time at over $620 million!</p> <p>Not only that, but some authorities refuse to even acknowledge that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency. Recently, a judge in Florida ruled that Bitcoin was <a href="https://thebillfold.com/florida-judge-rules-bitcoin-is-not-money-35752c22b67e#.cjr8xphlj">not considered money</a> because it &quot;cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash or gold bars.&quot; Ironically, this statement is going to have people running to use Bitcoin if they now realize they can legally launder money with it. What's more, you can actually have physical Bitcoins. You can even print them with a 3D printer. As long as they are linked to a Bitcoin address, and have an access key, they work. But for millions of people, this idea of money existing only in cyberspace is very disconcerting.</p> <h2>So&hellip;Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</h2> <p>In a word, yes.</p> <p>Although the price of a Bitcoin is less than half what it was in 2013, the thing that makes Bitcoin a success is usage. Several years ago, few retailers were willing to touch Bitcoin as a method of payment. Now, more and more blue chip, big name <a href="http://spendbitcoins.com/">companies are taking Bitcoin</a>, and as more join the list, Bitcoin will become even more enticing. Here are just a few of the many companies now taking the cryptocurrency:</p> <ul> <li>Expedia</li> <li>NewEgg</li> <li>Amazon</li> <li>Overstock</li> <li>AliExpress</li> </ul> <p>With so many big names willing to accept Bitcoins, and the price of them rising as more people get into the market, Bitcoins are still viable and may even become more attractive to the average consumer. So, if you're interested, you may want to consider getting in sooner rather than later. After all, the person who spent <a href="https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-pizza-day-anniversary/">10,000 Bitcoins on two pizzas</a> back in 2010 would have $4 million today!</p> <p><em>Are you over Bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Or are you still mining?</em><em><br /> </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">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/heres-everything-you-need-to-get-started-with-bitcoin">Here&#039;s Everything You Need to Get Started With Bitcoin</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-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income</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/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</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-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</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-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Financial News bitcoin cryptocurrencies digital wallets fads online payments value Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Paul Michael 1775888 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_atm_fees_82999015.jpg" alt="Women learning how to avoid bank fees while traveling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The worst thing to get charged for when you're on vacation is a fee for using your own money. Even worse, there are fees you may not even know existed until you return home and check your statement. They're not all small fees, either. Some of them can be as much as $7 per transaction.</p> <p>Imagine if over the course if your trip you visited the wrong ATM 10 times and ended up with $70 worth of fees. Fear not, though. I'll go over the most common fees you may run into on the road and show you how to avoid them.</p> <h2>ATM Fees</h2> <p>ATMs are probably going to be your biggest enemy when it comes to overseas bank fees. Most American banks will charge you between $5&ndash;$7 per overseas ATM withdrawal. If you travel a lot or take out money frequently while on the road, these can quickly add up.</p> <p>The best way to save money on bank fees is to do a little bit of preplanning before your trip. You have a couple of options that can help you eliminate ATM fees.</p> <h3>1. Capital One 360</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360 Checking</a> account holders can use any ATM without incurring usage or foreign transaction fees. This is an online only account (which is why it has no fees), but it even earns interest. Those are two big bonuses for anyone who travels internationally frequently.</p> <h3>2. Charles Schwab</h3> <p>Charles Schwab accounts have no fees and they reimburse all your ATM fees at the end of each month.</p> <p>You have to open a high-yield checking account in order to qualify, but their debit card can be used in any ATM around the world and you'll never pay a cent in bank fees. There is no minimum deposit required and no monthly service fee either.</p> <h3>3. TD Bank</h3> <p>With the TD account, you are charged a flat $2.50 fee for ATM withdrawals and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <h3>4. Global ATM Alliance</h3> <p>A group of international banks have come together to form the Global ATM Alliance. Basically, any customer who holds an account with a participating bank can take out money from any associated ATMs without a fee. Note that while you won't be charged for using a member bank ATM, you may still get charged foreign transaction fees based on the amount you withdraw. Make sure you check with your bank precisely what their fees are.</p> <p>The Global ATM Alliance includes the following banks:</p> <ul> <li>Bank of America (United States)</li> <li>Barclays (England, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and certain countries in Africa)</li> <li>BNP Paribas (France, Ukraine)</li> <li>China Construction Bank (China; Bank of America card holders only)</li> <li>Deutsche Bank (Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, and Italy)</li> <li>Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (Italy)</li> <li>Santander Serfin (Mexico; Bank of America card holders only)</li> <li>Scotiabank (Canada, Caribbean, Peru, Chile, and Mexico)</li> <li>Westpac (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands)</li> <li>ABSA (South Africa)</li> <li>UkrSibbank (Ukraine)</li> </ul> <h3>5. Avoid Credit Card Fees</h3> <p>Many credit cards charge a 3%&ndash;5% fee on any purchase made overseas. Think about that for a second. If you go on a two-week family vacation and spend $6,000 out of country, you would end up paying $180 in fees. Luckily, not all credit cards charge this fee, so choosing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">the right credit card for travel</a> can save you a lot of money on the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>A Few Extra Tips</h2> <p>Take a few other extra steps to make sure you aren't spend a few more extra dollars every time you reach for more cash.</p> <h3>6. Don't Use Random ATMs</h3> <p>While it may be convenient to use the ATM at your hotel or at the corner store, these are typically the ones that will cost you the most in fees.</p> <h3>7. Don't Exchange Money on the Street</h3> <p>Sometimes it's tempting to exchange money with the random guy outside the bank or the people standing around at border crossings. <em>Don't</em>! You may think that they have better rates than the bank, but they're usually scammers. Best case scenario, you get a bad exchange rate, worst case ... you get completely ripped off.</p> <h3>8. Avoid Currency Exchange Booths</h3> <p>While not quite as bad as the hustlers on the street corner, currency exchange booths are the next worst thing and typically have horrible exchange rates, especially ones located in airports.</p> <h3>9. Exchange With Other Travelers</h3> <p>If you end up with a bunch of extra local currency at the end of your trip, consider selling it to another traveler for USD. You'll probably get a better rate and you can avoid all bank and conversion fees this way.</p> <h3>10. Always Pick the Local Currency</h3> <p>Oftentimes when you use your credit card abroad, the machine will give you an option to use your home currency. Don't do this. They will usually charge you a worse conversion rate than your credit card if you just use local currency.</p> <h3>11. Download the XE App</h3> <p>It's always best to know the exchange rate for the country you're traveling to. The <a href="http://www.xe.com/apps/">XE Currency App</a> is a handy little app will automatically update every day with the exact exchange rate.</p> <p><em>How do you access cash when you travel &mdash; and avoid bank fees?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Bank%20Fees%20While%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=11%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Bank%20Fees%20While%20Traveling" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Bank%20Fees%20While%20Traveling.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">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/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</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/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</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/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</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/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</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-amazing-honeymoons-that-only-seem-expensive">5 Amazing Honeymoons That Only Seem Expensive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Travel abroad atms bank fees exchange rates foreign transaction fees overseas Fri, 08 Jul 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Nick Wharton 1746055 at http://www.wisebread.com