Banking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/800/all en-US 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 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-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/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/5-amazing-honeymoons-that-only-seem-expensive">5 Amazing Honeymoons That Only Seem Expensive</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/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards</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/charged-with-an-overdraft-fee-get-your-money-back">Charged With an Overdraft Fee? Get Your Money Back!</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 A New Bank On The Block: Fee Free Banking with Simple http://www.wisebread.com/a-new-bank-on-the-block-fee-free-banking-with-simple <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-new-bank-on-the-block-fee-free-banking-with-simple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/78686861.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Online banking has become increasingly popular not just with traditional banks that have added mobile and web capabilities to their list of features. Although the services have been updated and extended, however, brick and mortar banks have yet to compete with online banks when it comes to their fees. Simple is a relatively new Simple online bank chockfull of services but with no fees.</p> <h2>About Simple Banking</h2> <p>Simple was founded in 2009 out of frustration with the level of technology and customer service offered by traditional banks. The company aims to offer all the features you want from a bank -- only smarter, less complicated, and more accessible. You can&rsquo;t step into a physical Simple branch (there aren&rsquo;t any), but you&rsquo;ll have all the tools you need to manage your money built right into your account.</p> <p><strong>Fee-free.</strong> The Simple bank account is entirely free of any fees. There are no minimums required to maintain a fee-free account. Use their services. Keep your money.</p> <p><strong>ATM Access.</strong> Use any of Allpoint's 50,000 ATMs around the country for fee-free ATM access.</p> <p><strong>Simple Visa card.</strong> Your Simple bank account includes a Visa debit card for making transactions. You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted and at more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs. The card itself is backed by The Bancorp Bank, but Simple powers everything else regarding your bank account.</p> <p><strong>Photo Check deposits.</strong> Snap photos of the checks and deposit with your smartphone. No more trips to the bank to deposit a check.</p> <p><strong>Safe-To-Spend.</strong> It can be confusing determining when certain payments are going to clear and figuring out exactly how much you have in your account to spend. The Simple Safe-to-Spend feature calculates and subtracts upcoming bill payments and pending transactions to give you an accurate idea of how much money you actually have on hand.</p> <p><strong>Goals.</strong> Budgeting and saving can be difficult, usually requiring a completely different app to manage your finances. Simple banking, however, includes its Goals feature to assist you with saving money for certain events or payments and figuring out exactly where your money is going. If you choose, you can set up vacation or expense fund accounts, and Simple will subtract and set aside the amount you choose to go into those Goals accounts. You can also manage the money you spend in certain categories, such as restaurants, by only setting aside the amount you are allowing in that category and withdrawing when you go to eat.</p> <p><strong>Making payments.</strong> Simple provides a number of easy ways to make payments whether it's a payment to a friend or family member, utility, or rent. When making payments to other members, it's not only free but instant so you don't have to wait days or weeks for payments to clear like you would with other banks. If you need to send an actual check, Simple will print it, address it, and send it, at no additional cost. You can also transfer funds for free via ACH, between your Simple account and any account you have at a U.S. financial institution.</p> <p><strong>Advanced record keeping.</strong> While many banks still send out statements reporting the funds that have gone in and out for the month, Simple provides more comprehensive data, which is useful for budgeting and tracking finances. Simple's tools allow you to categorize and analyze data to allow you a clear picture of where your money is going. You can also personalize the information to meet your needs.</p> <p><strong>Interest.</strong> The Simple deposit account has an interest rate of 0.01%, with an APY of 0.01%. The daily balance method is used to calculate the interest on the account so that a daily periodic rate is applied to the principal in the account each day.</p> <p><a href="http://9nl.at/hk80"><strong>Sign up for a Simple account today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Considerations</h2> <p><strong>No checkbooks.</strong> You can use their bill pay service to send a check, but you won't be able to order checks to write and sign yourself (and using a third party to print checks with your Simple account/routing number won't work).&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>No other products.</strong> If you want a bank to hold all your various financial accounts, like CDs, brokerage, mortgage accounts, Simple doesn't offer them (at least not yet).</p> <h2>Competitors</h2> <p>There are a popular online banks in the marketplace. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=review">Capital One 360</a> is one of our favorites. It offers an interest bearing checking account with a 0.20% APY. There are no fees and no minimums. Get access to 38,000 fee-free Allpoint&reg; ATMs and 2,000 Capital One ATMs. You'll also get a MasterCard debit card for purchases. They've been around longer, but Simple offers additional tools and services that will be helpful for anyone not just looking for a place to keep their money.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Is Simple Banking Right for You?</h2> <p>Simple banking is best for those looking for an alternative to traditional banking that doesn't include any fees and offers tools for budgeting and saving money. In the world of financial institutions, fee-free banking is extremely limited. Simple offers one of the least expensive and most convenient banking opportunities available.</p> <p><a href="http://9nl.at/hk80"><strong>Sign up for a Simple account today!</strong></a></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/a-new-bank-on-the-block-fee-free-banking-with-simple">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/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking online bank simple Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:02:57 +0000 Christina Majaski 1737977 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hundred_bill_cash_18532606.jpg" alt="Learning how to evaluate an exchange rate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: left;">Currency exchanges should be simple transactions, requiring only very basic elementary school math. Multiply a couple of numbers and you are done, ready to take your trip abroad free from worry.</p> <p>But there are so many choices of exchange services &mdash; online, in banks, and at the airports &mdash; all offering slightly different rates and service packages. Not only is it draining to figure out which to choose, but it also makes it hard to know whether or not the price you are being charged to switch your hard-earned cash is fair.</p> <p>Check out this quick summary guide to help you calculate and find a fair exchange rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards?ref=seealso">Travel and Money: Using Pre Paid Travel Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Why Is Currency Exchange So Confusing?</h2> <p>Some of the confusion around exchange rates is hard wired into the system. Rates vary day by day &mdash; and minute by minute &mdash; depending on trades going on around the world. The range of factors that can influence an exchange rate runs from macroeconomic and political trends, to the quirks of individual high value trades. Concerns about the stability of a currency can cause it to tank, while some good news can see it shooting up as investors want to buy in.</p> <p>Aside from the vagaries of the market, the other major factor influencing rates are the banks and exchange services, themselves. The rates on offer at your main street bank, when exchanging relatively small sums, are quite different from the rates that would be offered to a trader dealing on a daily basis in huge volumes.</p> <p>And because different banks and platforms apply different percentage markups to the exchange rates that are available on the open market, the end result is that there are pretty much as many rates as there are banks. So amid all the moving parts, how do you know if the rate you have been offered is actually fair?</p> <h2>Do the Math</h2> <p>This is the elementary level bit. Let's recap a bit of your childhood math.</p> <p>If you would like to change some money from dollars to euros, you will find the exchange rate, depending on the day and bank rate, listed something like this: 1 USD = 0.89EUR. This means that one dollar will buy you 0.89 euros. If your budget for your super luxury trip is $2,000, the calculation is as follows:</p> <p>2,000 X 0.89 = 1,780</p> <p>So your $2,000 will buy you &euro;1,780.</p> <p>Naturally, you can do the same math backward. If you know the amount in euros that you need for your trip, then you simply find the correct rate, which will look something like this: 1 EUR = 1.12USD. If you know you need &euro;3,000 for your trip, then the sum looks like this:</p> <p>3,000 X 1.12 = 3,360</p> <p>And your trip will cost you the grand total of $3,360.</p> <p>That's the easy part. But how do you know if the rates that are listed in your bank are actually good or not? Crack out the calculator again because there's more math coming.</p> <h2>Banks and the Mid-Market Rate</h2> <p>To know if the rate your bank has on offer is any good, you can compare it to the <em>midmarket rate</em> to work out the percentage markup they are adding for their own profit. Here's how:</p> <h3>Find the Mid-Market Rate</h3> <p>It is easy enough to find the live market rates for most currency pairings from <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-investing">Yahoo! Finance</a>. Simply find the currency pair that you want to exchange between, which will be expressed something like this: GBP/USD, or USD/EUR.</p> <h3>Check the Bank Rate</h3> <p>The market rate you will find in the step above is not the same as the rate you can get from walking into the bank. This is because the market deals with huge trades, and offers favorable rates for volume. The actual rate available to you will depend on the amount you want to exchange, and other factors, like whether you want the money immediately, or can wait.</p> <p>Pick a rate to compare. Let's say we are changing dollars to sterling, for a trip to London. The market rate we found is USD/GBP 0.68. However, the rate offered by an online exchange service is USD/GBP 0.65.</p> <h3>Do the Math</h3> <p>The markup applied by the online exchange service is the difference between the two rates &mdash; but you need to turn this into a percentage to compare it.</p> <p>The difference between the rates is: 0.68 - 0.65 = 0.03</p> <p>To turn this into a percentage, divide it by the market exchange rate and multiply by 100:</p> <p>0.03/0.68 = 0.04411765 (X 100) = 4.41%</p> <p>This is a real example, and shows the huge markup that some online exchange services charge &mdash; exactly why you need to watch out! In this case, the service applied a markup of 4.4% to allow you to change your cash &mdash; a hefty fee. But now that you know the math, you can quickly compare rates &mdash; and choose the service that offers the best value.</p> <h2>So What Do I Do?</h2> <p>Knowing that some currency exchange platforms are charging a big fee is one thing. More useful is knowing what to do about it, so you can knock it off the list of things you might be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-things-most-tourists-overpay-for-and-how-you-can-avoid-them">overcharged for on vacation</a>. There will be a markup on the market rate, but keeping this as low as possible will mean you get more bang for your buck.</p> <p>Research is your friend, especially if you have some time to observe the rates and get a feel for what the market is doing. Currency converters available online are the best way to keep an eye on the fluctuations in rate. If you have the luxury of time, then you can wait for the rate to improve before making your exchange.</p> <p>The biggest threat to your hard-earned cash is the fact that many banks and platforms hide fees and charges in small print. So for example, a bank might claim to charge no commission &mdash; but the chances are that they adjust their rate to mean you pay over the odds for the currency. Or you might find that the package of &quot;premium&quot; perks, like having your cash delivered securely to your home, or being able to sell your spare change back to the bank, turn out to be more expensive than they are worth. Be really clear on the services you need, and you won't be tricked into thinking a package is a great deal when it is not!</p> <p><em>How do you make sure that you get the best deal possible when exchanging your cash for vacation? Let us know in the comments.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Don%27t%20Get%20Taken-%20How%20to%20Evaluate%20an%20Exchange%20Rate_1.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/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">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/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Debit Card on the Road</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/my-disgusting-fake-game-show-asks-what-would-you-do-for-money">My disgusting fake game show asks &quot;What would you do for money?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Travel abroad calculating cash currencies exchange rates fair rates money Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Claire Millard 1730343 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_computer_floor_70059811.jpg" alt="Man using personal finance calculator everyone should use" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finance is ultimately all about the numbers, and you are better off armed with calculations than making decisions based on intuition, alone. Online calculators can be great tools to analyze your options and try out &quot;what-if&quot; scenarios to help plan your financial moves. Even if you are rusty at math, personal finance calculators make it easy to type in a few basic numbers and get quantitative answers to your personal finance questions.</p> <p>Lots of great calculators are available for free. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Calculator</h2> <p>Buying a house is one of the biggest expenses most people will undertake. A mortgage calculator can help you evaluate how much your monthly payments will be for a house of a given price. You can try out different financing options, too, such as 30-year mortgage versus a 15-year mortgage. The monthly payments are higher for a 15-year mortgage, but you'll pay a lot less interest. How much less? Try out a <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/mortgage-calculator.aspx">Mortgage Calculator</a>.</p> <h2>2. Home Affordability Calculator</h2> <p>How much home can you afford to buy? Clearly you can't spend your entire paycheck on your mortgage payment, but how much is reasonable? Use a home affordability calculator to help figure out how much house you can afford based on your income and existing debts. Consider this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/real_estate/home-afford/">Home Affordability Calculator</a>.</p> <h2>3. Mortgage Refinance Calculator</h2> <p>If you have already bought a house, is it worth refinancing to get a lower interest rate? The answer depends on several factors, including how long you will keep the house and how much lower of an interest rate you can get. In some cases, you can save thousands of dollars by refinancing. Run some numbers on the mortgage refinance calculator and see if refinancing your house makes sense for you. See this one: <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/refinance-calculator.aspx">Mortgage Refinance Calculator</a></p> <h2>4. Home Rent vs. Buy Calculator</h2> <p>It can be more convenient and less expensive to rent a house instead of buying a home. However, a home can be an asset that appreciates in value over time. How long you will stay in your house is a big factor in evaluating the rent versus buy decision. Use this calculator to help decide whether to rent or whether to buy a house: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/25/upshot/100000002894612.mobile.html">Home Rent vs. Buy Calculator</a></p> <h2>5. Investment Growth Calculator</h2> <p>An investment calculator can bring the miracle of compound interest to life. Instead of waiting for decades to see how much your investment accounts will grow, use a calculator to find out now. Of course, no one knows how the stock market will perform in the future, but you can run likely scenarios and see how your investments would grow. This <a href="https://www.investor.gov/tools/calculators/compound-interest-calculator">Investment Growth Calculator</a> is a good place to start.</p> <h2>6. Traditional Retirement Calculator</h2> <p>The biggest question that people heading into retirement have is, &quot;How much money do I need to retire?&quot; Retirement calculators can help answer this question considering life expectancy and expenses. Here's one to play with: <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T047-S001-retirement-savings-calculator-how-much-money-do-i/">Traditional Retirement Calculator</a></p> <h2>7. Early Retirement Calculator</h2> <p>An unusual retirement calculator is FIRECalc. This calculator analyzes the risk that you will run out of money in retirement by using past actual economic data to evaluate how the stock market could perform, ranging from great to terrible. The inputs are the value of your portfolio, how much you plan to spend each year, and the length of retirement. The output is the probability that you would run out of money and a set of plots showing how your investment would grow during retirement years under a wide variety of economic conditions. This is a great tool to use to decide if you have enough money to safely retire early: <a href="http://www.firecalc.com/">Early Retirement Calculator</a></p> <h2>8. Credit Card Calculator</h2> <p>Everyone knows it is expensive to carry credit card debt, but how much is that debt really costing you? Find out with a credit card calculator. You can learn how long it will take to pay off your credit cards based on the balance, interest rate, and your payment amount. You can also find out how much you would save on interest with a balance transfer to a lower interest card by entering your consolidated balance and new interest rate into the calculator. Here is one to try: <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/managing-debt/minimum-payment-calculator.aspx">Credit Card Calculators</a></p> <h2>9. Auto Loan Calculator</h2> <p>Whether you are buying a new or a used vehicle, you can use an auto loan calculator to calculate your payments and see the total cost of the car loan. Try out different payment terms &mdash; for example, four years versus five years, and see how much that changes the monthly payment and total cost. Find out how much car you can afford before you go car shopping: <a href="http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanCalc.jsp?mode=full">Auto Loan Calculator</a></p> <h2>10. Auto Lease vs. Buy Calculator</h2> <p>You can lease the same vehicle for a significantly lower monthly payment than buying a vehicle, sometimes about half as much. However, you don't get to keep the vehicle after the lease ends. Are you better off buying a vehicle or leasing? Check out your options with a lease versus buy calculator: <a href="http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanLeaseCalc.jsp?mode=full">Auto Lease vs. Buy Calculator</a></p> <h2>11. Drive vs. Fly Calculator</h2> <p>It is often a difficult decision whether to drive or fly on a trip. Driving can be less expensive than flying, but the cost of additional meals, hotel stays, and time for a driving trip can make flying the less expensive option. Use a drive versus fly calculator to make sure you are factoring in all of the expenses when making your travel plans: <a href="http://www.travelmath.com/fly-or-drive/">Drive vs. Fly Calculator</a></p> <h2>12. Student Loan Payment Calculator</h2> <p>Is borrowing $80K in student loans to get a degree that will allow you to have a six-figure salary in a few short years a good idea? Use a student loan calculator to understand how much the payments on your student loan would be to help make an informed decision. Check this one from Sallie Mae: <a href="https://www.salliemae.com/plan-for-college/college-planning-toolbox/student-loan-payment-amount-estimator/">Student Loan Payment Calculator</a></p> <h2>13. College Value Calculator</h2> <p>How much is getting a college degree worth? Use a calculator to determine how much more money you could make during your career if you went ahead and got a college degree: <a href="http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/Calculators/what-is-the-value-of-higher-education.aspx">College Value Calculator</a></p> <h2>14. Pay Debt vs. Invest Calculator</h2> <p>Would you be better off paying off debts first before starting to invest, or should you start investing right away? The answer depends on the interest rates on your debt and the return you expect to make on your investments or savings account. Use a calculator to check the numbers and decide where to focus any extra dollars you have available: <a href="http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/calculators/should-i-pay-off-debt-or-invest-in-savings.aspx">Pay Debt vs. Invest Calculator</a></p> <h2>15. Cost of Living Calculator</h2> <p>If you are thinking about relocating to take a job or for retirement, check out the impact of moving on your cost of living. You can compare expense categories in your current city with other cities, and see an overall expense rating. This information is useful to determine how much more &mdash; or less &mdash; money you would need to spend to live somewhere else: <a href="http://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-living/">Cost of Living Calculator</a></p> <p><em>What personal finance calculator is most useful for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</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-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</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-fed-raised-rates-then-something-weird-happened">The Fed Raised Rates — Then Something Weird Happened</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-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">Why You Should Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking calculators cost of living debt interest rates investing loans mortgages retirement student loans Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1727205 at http://www.wisebread.com Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_000056328212.jpg" alt="Woman building savings faster with multiple accounts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans are not exactly world-class savers. According to an Associated Press survey, two-thirds of U.S. adults would have <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/965e48ed609245539ed315f83e01b6a2">difficulty coming up with $1,000</a> to cover an emergency.</p> <p>If that's you, a great first step would be opening a dedicated savings account especially earmarked for emergencies. That's because mingled money leaks. When cash isn't in a separate, dedicated savings account, it tends to get spent.</p> <p>And if you really want to take your savings to the next level, open <em>three </em>accounts. At first, that may sound crazy. But there are three distinct uses for savings, and you'll find it more effective to build savings if you use a dedicated account for each one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>1. Emergencies</h2> <p>In life, stuff happens. Unexpected stuff. Expensive stuff. For some of that, there's insurance, but for everything else, you need money in an emergency fund. Aim for building a fund that contains three to six months' worth of necessary living expenses.</p> <p>What counts as &quot;necessary?&quot; Well, imagine losing your job tomorrow. Your thoughts probably wouldn't run toward planning your next vacation. They would be focused on the essentials, such as your mortgage or rent payment, food, utilities, gasoline, and insurance. Add up how much all of your necessary expenses would cost for one month. Then multiply that figure by three and six. That's the range you're shooting for.</p> <p>The low end might be sufficient if you have relatively few movable breaking parts in your life. For example, you're single, rent an apartment, and have a fairly stable job &mdash; or at least in-demand job skills.</p> <p>If you're married, have kids, and own a home, you have much more at stake. In that situation, aim for six months' worth of essential living expenses.</p> <p>If you don't have a fully stocked emergency fund, aim for putting 10%&ndash;15% of your monthly gross income into savings each month via automatic transfer from your checking account. You'll be surprised at how quickly this adds up.</p> <h2>2. Big-Ticket Items</h2> <p>How old is your home's furnace, air conditioner, and roof? When are you likely to need to replace your car? What other expensive items will you need &mdash; or do you <em>want &mdash; </em>to buy in the next five to 10 years? It would be ideal if you could pay cash, and that calls for a big-ticket item fund. Here's how to build it.</p> <p>Once your emergency fund is built, redirect most of the money you had been depositing in emergency savings toward investing for your retirement or your kids' college, instead, and then redirect any remaining funds toward a big-ticket item savings account.</p> <p>For example, if you were putting 10% into savings, redirect 8% toward investing and 2% toward this second savings account. If you had been saving 15%, redirect 10% toward investing and 5% toward big-ticket items.</p> <h2>3. Periodic Bills and Expenses</h2> <p>Some bills and expenses need to be paid every month, such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and groceries. Others need to be paid at <em>some</em> point each year, but not every month. Examples include a semi-annual auto insurance premium, an annual homeowner's or life insurance premium, vacations, and end-of-year holiday gifts.</p> <p>For all such periodic bills and expenses, make sure one-twelfth of the total annual amount is in your monthly budget. Transfer that amount to a dedicated savings account each month. When those expenses need to be paid, the money will be available.</p> <h2>Practical Applications</h2> <p>In our household, we use an online bank for our savings accounts. It pays a decent interest rate, but what I really like about it is it allows account holders to maintain multiple accounts and to even give them unique names.</p> <p>When I login, I can see the balance in each of <em>nine</em> savings accounts: our emergency fund, two big-ticket item funds (one for the replacement of our furnace and air conditioner, which are 17 years old, and a second one for a trip to Paris my wife and I want to take in three years), and six periodic expense accounts (our regular vacations account, four different insurance policy accounts, and our Christmas gifts account).</p> <p>They all add up to one very big benefit: peace of mind.</p> <p>Remember, mingled money leaks. To build savings for emergencies, big-ticket purchases, and periodic bills and expenses, use multiple savings accounts.</p> <p><em>Do you have more than one savings account? How do you manage them?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</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-things-to-consider-before-you-open-an-online-savings-account">4 Things to Consider Before You Open an Online Savings Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/online-savings-account-face-off-ally-bank-vs-capital-one-360">Online Savings Account Face-Off: Ally Bank vs Capital One 360</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking big ticket items bills emergency funds expenses savings accounts vacations Fri, 03 Jun 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Matt Bell 1721737 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Things You Need to Know About the Federal Reserve http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000073573727.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The mention of the Federal Reserve brings to many Americans the image of a super powerful organization in charge of keeping the economy operating smoothly. And to a certain extent that isn't too far from reality: The Fed develops and implements economic and monetary policies that affect not only U.S. citizens, but also individuals around the world.</p> <p>Let's take a closer at what is the Fed, what it does, and how those actions impact people everyday.</p> <h2>What Is the Fed?</h2> <p>Created by the U.S. Congress on December 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve System became the first formal organization to study and implement monetary policy. In other words, it is the central bank of the United States.</p> <p>Currently there are <a href="https://www.federalreserveeducation.org/about-the-fed/structure-and-functions/districts/">12 regional Federal Reserve Banks</a> located throughout the nation in major cities, including Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco. Each one of these locations serves a district formed by entire or portions of several U.S. states and territories. For example, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank serves the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which consists of Arkansas and portions of six other states: Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.</p> <h2>Who Makes Up the Fed?</h2> <p>While the most well-known figure of the Fed is the chairman of the Board, currently <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/yellen.htm">Janet L. Yellen</a>, the Fed is headed by a Board of Governors. Each one of the seven members of the Board of Governors is appointed by the president and serves for a 14-year term. The board is led by a chairman and a vice chairman, both also appointed by the President but approved by the Senate for four-year terms.</p> <p>Some interesting facts about the Fed's chairmen:</p> <ul> <li>While Alan Greenspan is often thought to be the longest-serving chairman, that title goes to William M. Martin with 18 years and 9 months, from 1951 to 1970. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The current vice chairman, <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/fischer.htm">Stanley Fischer</a>, is the author of many classic economic textbooks, which you may have used (or are currently using) in college.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On February 3, 2014, Janet Yellen became the first female chair of the board of governors. She was also the first female vice chairman during her 2010&ndash;2014 appointment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The only former Fed chairman on social media is Ben Bernanke, who you can follow at <a href="http://twitter.com/benbernanke">@benbernanke</a> on Twitter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>While a chairman is appointed for four years, some resign before their full term. For example, Roy Young resigned in the middle of his last four-year term.</li> </ul> <p>The Fed chairman has less unilateral power than the title might suggest. The chair counts as just one vote among the total seven votes of the board. Additionally, the chairman doesn't automatically become the chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which is the Fed's monetary policymaking body formed by the seven members of the board and five Reserve Bank presidents on a rotating basis. The FOMC controls the federal funds rate, the primary lever of U.S. monetary policy. The Fed chair also only counts as one vote in the FOMC.</p> <h2>What Does the Fed Do and How Does It Affect You?</h2> <p>All of the responsibilities of the Fed fall under four general areas and they all have an effect on your financial activities.</p> <h3>1. Influence money and credit conditions in the U.S. economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices.</h3> <p>By setting the target federal funds rate, the Fed establishes a benchmark for many short-term interest rates and, consequently, influences credit conditions throughout the economy. Through open market operations (the purchase and sale of U.S. government securities), setting the discount rate (usually lower than the federal funds rate and used for short-term loans from a Federal Reserve Bank to a regular bank), and minimum reserve requirements that banks must adhere to, the Fed aims to maintain its announced target federal funds rate.</p> <p>The Fed's monetary policy affects the supply of reserves in the U.S. banking system, indirectly affecting longer term interest rates, such as mortgages, and ultimately aiming to achieve full employment and low inflation.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You</strong>: For good reason, economists keep a close eye on the target federal funds rate. It affects all forms of credit. For example, the interest rate on 30-year mortgage loans are highly correlated to the yield of a the U.S. Treasury 10-year bond, which depends on the Fed's target rate. Another example is that banks set the interest rates on their loans and deposit accounts based on the federal funds and discount rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016?ref=seealso">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</a>)</p> <h3>2. Supervise and regulate banks and other important financial institutions to ensure the safety of the nation's banking and financial system.</h3> <p>The Fed shares banking supervisory authority with other agencies, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in the U.S. Treasury Department. All nationally chartered banks have to be members of the Federal Reserve System and are subject to on-site examinations and off-site monitoring by their assigned Federal Reserve Bank. An example of an examination is the stress test, which requires financial institutions to have enough deposits on hand to withstand potentially large losses.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You:</strong> The Fed establishes minimum requirements for banks to have cash on hand so that you can actually withdraw your money. If there were no minimum requirements, an unscrupulous bank could hold all deposits hostage by lending them all out. At the same time, it prevents banks from closing shop for the day for not having enough cash after a very large withdrawal.</p> <h3>3. Maintain the stability of the financial system by containing systemic risk.</h3> <p>No matter how much you diversify your portfolio, you can never get rid of systemic risk &mdash; the risk of collapse on the entire financial system. The Fed seeks to minimize that systemic risk as much as possible.</p> <p>The Fed can act as a &quot;lender of last resort&quot; to provide liquidity to the banking system during emergency situations. For example, on the day after 9/11 the Reserve Banks provided loans directly to depository institutions to restore confidence in the U.S. financial system and allow those institutions to meet their short-term obligations.</p> <p>Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Fed has authority to subject systemically important nonbank financial institutions, such as bank holding companies with over $50 billion in assets, to heightened supervisory standards.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You:</strong> You're willing to put your money in banks and invest in the stock market because you trust that the financial system is here to stay. The Fed plays a key role in maintaining that trust by by enabling banks to make payments even in the event of emergencies and regulating activities of key financial institutions.</p> <h3>4. Provide certain financial services to the U.S. government and other major official institutions and operate the nation's payment systems.</h3> <p>The Fed distributes all bills printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, and all coins produced by the U.S. Mints in Philadelphia and Denver to its 12 Federal Reserve Banks. In turn, these 12 banks distribute all bills and coins to depository institutions throughout the U.S. to meet public demand.</p> <p>The Fed's Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) processes about three fourths of the <a href="http://www.frbsf.org/education/teacher-resources/what-is-the-fed/payment-services">nation's electronic transactions</a>, which include direct payroll deposits, Social Security benefit payments, and tax refunds. Additionally, the Federal Reserve Banks handle a wide variety of financial transactions for U.S. agencies, including processing of food stamps and handling of postal money orders.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You</strong>: The Fed makes sure that your payroll deposit and tax refund arrives in a timely manner to your checking account. The Federal Reserve Banks virtually touch almost any payment that you send out or any deposit that you receive through a bank.</p> <p><em>What do you think is the most important role of the Fed? </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-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fed-raised-rates-then-something-weird-happened">The Fed Raised Rates — Then Something Weird Happened</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/3-reasons-the-fed-is-keeping-rates-low-and-what-it-means-for-you">3 Reasons the Fed Is Keeping Rates Low (And What It Means for You)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-bailbondsman-approach-part-deux-fiscal-stimulus-no-gonna-workie">The Bailbondsman Approach Part Deux: Fiscal Stimulus No Gonna Workie</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/this-is-how-much-the-feds-interest-rate-hike-might-cost-you">This Is How Much the Fed&#039;s Interest Rate Hike Might Cost 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/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking alan greenspan americans Ben Bernanke credit federal reserve janet yellen stanley fischer the fed u.s. economy Wed, 25 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1717155 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Live Bank-Free http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-live-bank-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-live-bank-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wallet_cash_000090076819.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to live bank-free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bounced checks. Confusing marketing. Unexplained fees. These issues and more contributed to a 5% increase in the number of <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201604_cfpb_consumer-response-annual-report-2015.pdf">complaints filed against banks</a> last year by checking and savings account holders. Alas, many consider the woes of banking a necessary evil. But others are reacting by taking their money matters into their own hands. Case in point: One in 12 Americans doesn't have a bank account, a trend that experts say is <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/12/pf/fdic-bank-accounts/">on the rise</a>. How do they do it?</p> <h2>1. Use a Prepaid Debit Card to Make Everyday Purchases</h2> <p>It's detached from any bank account, you can conveniently add or withdraw money from it at the ATM, and you can use it to make purchases, online and in person, wherever traditional debit cards are accepted. Perhaps now you see why <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=banking">prepaid debit cards</a> have become so popular, particularly among Americans without banking accounts. Use your prepaid card like you would any debit card. It's ideal for everyday purchases. And in some cases, employers can deposit your wages to a prepaid card account.</p> <p>Bonus: Since you can only spend up to the amount of money that's on the card, there's no risk of getting hit with an overdraft fee. You simply can't spend more than you've got loaded onto the card.</p> <h2>2. Pay Your Bills With Non-Bank Money Orders</h2> <p>When the prepaid debit card fails you, money orders offer the next best &mdash; and secure &mdash; means of bill payment. A money order lets you send money just like a personal check and typically costs less than a dollar per transaction. And, like a check, this prepaid payment method can be tracked and canceled if stolen. You can also receive funds via money order. And since it's prepaid, there's no need to have a checking account to use one.</p> <h2>3. Avoid Money Wiring Services</h2> <p>Simply put, it's expensive. The average fee for an incoming domestic wire at the 10 largest credit unions is almost $5, compared to $15 at banks &mdash; while outgoing domestic wire transfers cost more than $17, compared to about $26 at banks.</p> <h2>4. Sign Up for PayPal to Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Payments</h2> <p>Popular among those who have ditched the bank, PayPal allows its users to make quick and easy payments to businesses, colleagues, and friends through its online account system. PayPal also lets registered users opt for &quot;bill me later,&quot; an option that delays payment &mdash; much like a credit card.</p> <h2>5. Get a Fire-Proof Safe</h2> <p>While you can load all of your funds onto prepaid debit cards, chances are that you're going to have some extra cash you'll want to stow away. Without a bank to keep watch over your hard-earned cash, you'll be smart to invest in a fire-proof safe. Install your safe in a secure location within your home. That means somewhere out of plain sight. Share the lock combination only with those who absolutely need to know it. And don't advertise how much money you keep inside of it.</p> <p><em>Are you bank-free? How do you manage it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-live-bank-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</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/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Are Your Bank Accounts?</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/why-i-still-write-paper-checks">Why I Still Write Paper Checks</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/12-annoying-bank-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them">12 Annoying Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking atms bank accounts bank-free money orders paypal prepaid debit cards safes wire transfers Thu, 19 May 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1712217 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons You Should Still Go to the Bank http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-still-go-to-the-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-you-should-still-go-to-the-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_professional_000051525584.jpg" alt="Woman finding reasons to still go to the bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did your bank close your local branch? It wouldn't be surprising. According to a report from SNL Financial, banks closed 1,614 U.S. branches in 2015. JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. led the way, closing 195 branches, while PNC closed 94 and Bank of America Corp. 88 last year.</p> <p>The reasons are obvious: Most customers rarely need to enter a bank branch. Employees' paychecks are often direct-deposited to their banks. Customers today make deposits through their smartphones. And they pay their bills online.</p> <p>But that doesn't mean there aren't times when actually visiting a bank in person makes sense. When should you tuck away your smartphone and step into your local branch?</p> <h2>1. You're Applying for a Mortgage</h2> <p>Sure, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application" target="_blank">apply for a mortgage</a> online with many financial institutions. And you don't have to even take out a mortgage with your local branch. But if you like your bank, you might want to at least talk to a loan officer at your local branch about a mortgage.</p> <p>A mortgage is a big financial commitment. Sometimes you want to talk to a financial professional in person for advice and recommendations. Again, you don't have to turn to your local bank for this advice; you can work with any mortgage lender licensed to do business in your state. But your bank might offer competitive rates and lower closing costs. You won't know until you contact them.</p> <h2>2. You're Ready to Buy a Car</h2> <p>It's good financial sense to have financing in place before you shop for a new car. You might still take the financing offered by your auto dealer, but coming into the dealership pre-approved for an auto loan provides you with a back-up if you don't like your dealer's terms. It might also save you money; dealers might lower your interest rate to persuade you to take out a loan with them instead of with a different financial institution.</p> <p>Your bank certainly offers auto loans. If the rate it is offering is a good one, it might make sense to visit your local branch to talk through your auto-financing options.</p> <h2>3. You Need a Money Order</h2> <p>It's true that you can get a money order from several outlets, including credit unions, the U.S. Post Office, and many retailers. But you can also get them from your local bank branch. And if your branch is conveniently located, charges reasonable fees and is likely to be less crowded, why not get a money order from there?</p> <h2>4. You Need a Notary</h2> <p>Finding a notary is hardly a challenging task these days: Your local public library might even have one on staff. The odds are high, too, that your local bank branch offers a notary service. Most won't even charge to have a notary sign your documents. Again, if your bank is located a short drive from your home and is likely to offer quick service, visiting your branch for the services of a notary public could save you time.</p> <h2>5. You Need a Specific Type of Change</h2> <p>Maybe you're holding a yard sale and you need tons of singles. A good place to get change in specific denominations? Your local bank. Banks are happy to turn your large bills into smaller ones. And your teller won't flinch no matter how specific you get with how many $1s, $5s and $10s you need.</p> <h2>6. You're Ready to Empty That Coffee Can of Pennies</h2> <p>Got a jug stuffed with pennies, dimes, and nickels at home? Your bank will be happy to convert that change to dollars. Yes, you can go to your nearest Coinstar machine to do the same thing. But Coinstar charges a fee. Your local bank branch, if you are a customer, might not.</p> <p><em>Do you still pay regular visits to your bank?</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/6-reasons-you-should-still-go-to-the-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <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/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</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/why-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">Why You Should Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage</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/making-change-count">Making Change Count</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking car loans change coins going to the bank money order mortgages notary Fri, 06 May 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1703946 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Free Debt Management Tools http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-free-debt-management-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_smartphone_000040508552.jpg" alt="Woman using free debt management tools" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American looks at his or her phone <a href="http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/">46 times every day</a>.</p> <p>That number is even higher among U.S. Millennials: individuals in the 18&ndash;24 age bracket and the 25&ndash;34 age bracket check their mobile devices 74 and 50 times per day, respectively. With all this time spent on their smartphones, Americans can leverage their devices to improve their personal finances at no extra cost. Additionally, there are some key tools that allow you to corroborate the data that you gather from those apps.</p> <p>Here are six free smartphone apps or tools to track debt management.</p> <h2>1. ReadyForZero</h2> <p>Since 2011, ReadyForZero has helped individuals to track their debts and pay down those debts. Available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readyforzero-pay-off-debt/id524834938?mt=8&amp;uo=4">Apple</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.readyforzero">Android</a> devices, this app enables you to link all of your debts, including student loans, credit cards, and mortgages, to create a personalized payoff plan and track your progress. Once you have connected all of your accounts, you'll be able to keep tabs on how much you have paid off and how much you still have remaining.</p> <p>The nicest feature about ReadyForZero is the immediate gratification of tracking your daily and monthly progress, including the interest that you save over time. ReadyForZero partners with TransUnion to provide you with free access to your&nbsp;<a href="http://thescore.vantagescore.com/article/98">VantageScore&reg; 3.0</a> credit score.</p> <h2>2. Mint: Money Manager, Budget, and Personal Finance</h2> <p>On top of helping you track your debts, the Mint app enables you to gather all of your financial information into one place. Besides your debt accounts, you can connect your bank and investment accounts to get a full snapshot of your financial standing at all times.</p> <p>The main draw of Mint is its budget feature, which allows you to create monthly budgets and track how much you have left for each category, such as gas, groceries, and education. If you provide your social security number, the app allows you to track your credit score with Equifax. The app is available for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Intuit-Mint-com-Personal-Finance/dp/B004T2P7MQ">Amazon</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-personal-finance/id300238550?mt=8">Apple</a> (designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch), and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&amp;hl=en">Android</a> devices.</p> <h2>3. Prosper Daily</h2> <p>Formerly known as BillGuard, the Prosper Daily app is an alternative to Mint. Besides tracking your spending and credit, Prosper Daily focuses on protecting your credit cards against fraud and unfair charges. For example, the app can use location-based technology to alert you when your credit or debit card is used at a store or AMT when you're not there. If you provide your social security number, the app allows you to track your credit score with TransUnion. Prosper Daily is available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/id602710567?mt=8">Apple</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.billguard.android&amp;hl=en">Android</a> devices.</p> <h2>4. AnnualCreditReport.com</h2> <p>No matter what app you use to track your debt and credit score, you should corroborate that data against your official credit report once a year. Through <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>, you can request your free credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). This report allows you to verify that you only have accounts and loans that you recognize on file.</p> <p>Since your credit report may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, credit scores, and apartment requests, you should be on the lookout for potential inconsistencies, such as accounts that you didn't open, addresses of employers that you didn't work for, or information that should no longer be on your credit report, such as an over 10-year old bankruptcy.</p> <p>If you find an error, you can dispute it by reporting it to the credit reporting bureaus online, by mail, or by phone.</p> <p>Keep copies of your initial dispute letter and supporting documents, and communications with the credit reporting bureaus.</p> <h2>5. Compound Interest Calculator</h2> <p>When you're trying to pay down debt faster, you want to maximize how much interest you're gaining so that you can make additional payments towards your debts whenever possible. This <a href="http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/finance/calculators/compoundinterestcalculator.php">compound interest calculator</a> allows you to work out the compound interest on your savings and investments, including a breakdown of monthly interest gains and the option to list regular monthly deposits or withdrawals.</p> <h2>6. Check Deposit App From Your Bank</h2> <p>Many Americans opt to have their bi-weekly or monthly salary checks directly deposited to their checking or saving accounts. However, every now and then you may receive an additional paper check, such as a dividend payout from an investment account, a lucky windfall from your aunty for your birthday, or a check from a class action.</p> <p>In those instances, you could skip the trip to the bank by using the mobile deposit app from your bank to deposit checks in your account. For example, my credit union allows me to make deposits directly into my checking, saving, or money market accounts using a &quot;check snap&quot; mobile deposit account. Such an app is useful to save time making deposits and helps boost monthly payments to your financial obligations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <p>Make sure to check applicable rules, such as signing the back of your check and writing a disclaimer that check is for mobile deposit only, technical requirements, and processing times.</p> <p><em>What are other free apps or software to track debt management?</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/6-free-debt-management-tools">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-9"> <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-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</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-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</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-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go">5 Apps for Business Owners on the Go</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Technology apps calculators debt tracking mobile deposit money management smartphones websites Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1696223 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_atm_transaction_000076345273.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to never pay an atm fee" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That little fee tacked onto your withdrawal when you use an automatic teller machine outside your bank network is not only annoying &mdash; it's a terrible financial move. Just a few dollars might seem insignificant at the time, but what you may not think about is that ATM fees can make up an obscenely high percentage of the money you're withdrawing. For instance, if you are taking out $50 and you pay a $2.50 fee to the bank whose machine you are using, plus a $2 fee to your own bank, you just paid an additional 9% to access your own money. You wouldn't take out a mortgage at that rate, so don't pay that rate for your own cash!</p> <p>My husband used to be a serial out-of-network ATM user. I formulated this list of tips to help him avoid the insidious habit.</p> <h2>1. Fill Up at 50%</h2> <p>Just like driving mountain roads with the empty tank light blazing, walking around town with an empty wallet is tempting fate. Set an optimal amount of cash to carry at all times &mdash; say, $50 &mdash; and when your wallet dips below $25, plan a stop at your bank's ATM to refill.</p> <p>If you tend to spend cash just because it's in your wallet, be craftier about your emergency reserve. Keep it in your car glove compartment, zipped into an inside pocket of your jacket, or in some other out-of-sight place. And if you don't like stopping at the bank when your backup runs out, keep a <em>backup </em>backup, like a drawer at home with $100 for replenishing.</p> <h2>2. Carry a Checkbook</h2> <p>Sure, it's super dorky to have to ask an establishment if they'll take a check. But it's better than paying high rates to access your own money. Stash a checkbook in your bag or the glove compartment.</p> <h2>3. Get Cash Back Instead</h2> <p>This is my favorite move in a cash emergency: I stop in a drugstore or grocery store, make a purchase, pay with my debit card, and ask for cash back, which is usually provided with no fee. I try to pick up something I needed anyway &mdash; say, envelopes. But even if I just buy myself a small treat, like a candy bar, as long as it's under $2, I still come out ahead.</p> <h2>4. Check Your Bank's Online Location Finder</h2> <p>Just because you're in an unfamiliar area doesn't mean you have to go to the first ATM you see. If you use a large bank, and you need cash while traveling, a few clicks can let you know where the nearest in-network cash machine is.</p> <h2>5. Find Out if Your Bank Has Partners</h2> <p>One reason I have kept my checking account with Citi through several moves is that they have a deal with 7-Eleven, so that I can use the machines inside the stores without paying a fee.</p> <h2>6. Change Banks or Get an Additional Checking Account</h2> <p>If your current bank lacks ATMs near your work or home, maybe it's time for a switch. You could pick a bank that has ATMs convenient to you, or choose one of the institutions that reimburses you for other banks' fees so that you can use any ATM for free. A lot of online-only banks do this. But read the fine print: Many require you to maintain a minimum balance or meet other criteria in order to get the fees reimbursed.</p> <h2>7. Do Your Homework Before Traveling Abroad</h2> <p>If you thought a few dollars in out-of-network fees were bad, wait until you get back from a European vacation and read your bank statement. You will probably find an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-re-overpaying-for-on-your-vacation">international transaction fee</a> and possibly also a currency exchange fee tacked on &mdash; in addition to the normal fees from your bank and the bank that owns the ATM. Ouch.</p> <p>Before leaving on a trip, you can open a checking account with one of the rare banks that reimburses these foreign fees.</p> <h2>8. Don't Be Shy About Your Predicament</h2> <p>My husband is a lot better about avoiding ATM fees now, but when he pays one, it's often because he was meeting a friend at a cash-only establishment and was too embarrassed to make the friend wait while he solved his cash problem. I say, let friends know that you don't want to pay an ATM fee. Borrow the $10 you need from your friend and pay him back tomorrow, or PayPal or Venmo him the money on the spot, or just ask to switch to the restaurant next door that accepts credit cards. After all, if you raise your friend's ATM fee awareness, you'll be doing him a favor in the long run.</p> <p><em>What do you do to avoid ATM fees?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee">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-10"> <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/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/new-tools-for-the-unbanked">New Tools for the Unbanked</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-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant">5 Reasons Paper Checks Are Still Relevant</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/is-bank-of-america-s-5-monthly-debit-card-fee-just-the-beginning">Is Bank of America’s $5 Monthly Debit Card Fee Just the Beginning?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking ATM cash checkbooks fees withdrawals Wed, 13 Apr 2016 09:00:18 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1687114 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Paper Checks Are Still Relevant http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_check_000013458678.jpg" alt="Woman learning why paper checks are still relevant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People are beginning to think of paper checks as nearing their death. But, could they possibly still have good uses?</p> <p>According to a GoBankingRates survey, 37.8% of respondents revealed that they don't write checks and only 16.1% said they write checks at least once a month. Paper checks are especially unpopular among younger generations. Nearly all Millennials polled responded that they &quot;never&quot; write checks &mdash; roughly 95.7%.</p> <p>However, here are five reasons why you want to hang on to a book of paper checks. They just might still be relevant.</p> <h2>1. Bridge Cash Payments</h2> <p>Some smaller retailers simply will not or have not adapted to modern payment methods, like PayPal and for cash payments. Of course, you can always keep your debit card handy, assuming the cash is in your account at the moment of purchase. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way with money, and you might need a day or two between transfer times. Paper checks are a great way to bridge cash payments during transfer times, although this is risky, and not a practice to make into a habit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mobile-payment-tools-you-should-start-using-today?ref=seealso">6 Mobile Payment Tools You Should Start Using Today</a>)</p> <h2>2. Making Housing Payments</h2> <p>Although many large commercial properties have adapted to innovative technology that allows tenants to make payments online, many smaller landlords have not. Furthermore, many don't have plans for accepting online payments and will only accept deposits and rent in the form of paper checks and/or money orders and cashier's checks.</p> <h2>3. Avoiding Fees</h2> <p>Money orders and cashier's checks are costly &mdash; averaging anywhere from a couple of bucks to $10 for a cashier's check. That's a waste of money, especially if you're in the at-least-once-a-month camp. Not to mention the waste of time it takes to run out to the bank and/or store to pick them up. Intelligent money starts with streamlining bill payments and savings processes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week?ref=seealso">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stopping Payments</h2> <p>When you need to make a stop payment on a check, it's as simple as contacting your bank and making the request. Some banks charge as much as a $25 to $35 fee for stop payments. However, there may be instances where you need to cancel a payment and it's just not an option with money orders and cashier's checks, where the payment must be made once it&rsquo;s properly presented at the issuing bank.</p> <h2>5. Keeping Better Records</h2> <p>Paper checks are linked directly to your bank account and records of them are kept on file. This isn't the case with money orders and cashier's checks, where you have to hang on to carbon copy receipts as proof of payments (those carbon copies get worn out and become illegible after a while). With today's sophisticated banking technology, you can easily download copies of checks written from your account as PDF files.</p> <p><em>Do you still use paper checks? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant">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-11"> <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/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel 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/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">5 Best Prepaid Debit 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/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking checkbooks checks no fees paper trail payment methods records Wed, 30 Mar 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1678009 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tablet_000065136353.jpg" alt="30-something learning which investment accounts she should have" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're in your 30s now. If you're finally looking to get settled in your financial life, you may want to consider ways to build wealth over the long term. But that checking account alone isn't gonna cut it. It's time to examine the options out there for someone in their 30s who finally has a little bit of money to invest.</p> <p>Here are seven essential investment accounts all 30-somethings should have.</p> <h2>1. 401K, If Available to You</h2> <p>If you're employed full-time, your company may offer a retirement plan that gives you access to a number of mutual funds and other investments, plus the great tax advantages that come with it. Under a 401K, 403B, or similar plan, contributions are deducted from your pre-tax income, and most employers will match a certain percentage of what you put in. Now that fewer employers are offering pensions, the 401K has become the primary vehicle for saving for retirement. Pumping cash into this account while you're still relatively young gives your investments plenty of time to rise in value and give you a sizable nest egg. Even better, your investment is tax-deferred until you begin making withdrawals.</p> <h2>2. Traditional IRA</h2> <p>You don't necessarily need a traditional Individual Retirement Account if you have a 401K with an employer match. But if you have 401K from an old employer, it might make sense to roll it into an IRA, because you have a much broader choice of investments to choose from &mdash; many with lower fees. With an IRA, you can invest in practically anything, including individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and even commodities. Traditional IRAs are also great for people who are self-employed or otherwise don't have access to a 401K. Like a 401K, your contributions are deducted from your taxable income. You can open an IRA at most discount brokers such as Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE.</p> <h2>3. Roth IRA</h2> <p>This account is a little bit like a 401K in reverse. The tax advantage is on the back end, when you can withdraw money upon retirement without paying tax on the earnings. That's because contributions to a Roth IRA come from earnings after tax, unlike 401Ks, which draw on pre-tax income. Under a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and you can withdraw contributions (but not your gains) before retirement age without paying a penalty.</p> <h2>4. Taxable Brokerage Account</h2> <p>While your main focus should be investing in tax-advantaged accounts that are designed for retirement, it's good to have some investments available in this type of account due to the flexibility. You don't need to wait until retirement age to access funds in this account, for one thing. That means you can use it to boost your income now, through the sale of stock or the gain of dividends. If you hold on to investments in a taxable account for a long time (generally over a year), you'll pay only the long-term capital gains tax (mostly likely 15%) when you sell.</p> <h2>5. 529 College Savings Plan (If You Have Kids)</h2> <p>College is pricey, so nearly every state enables people to save for college by investing money for education in a tax-advantaged way. A 529 plan is similar to a Roth IRA, in that investments will grow tax-free until they're withdrawn, as long as they are spent on higher education. In many states, you also get a tax break from the contributions. It's possible to open a 529 for your child as soon as they have a social security number. Even if you don't have kids yet, you can designate a beneficiary now &mdash; such as a niece or nephew &mdash; and change it to your own child later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>6. High-Interest Savings Account</h2> <p>Everyone knows you need a basic bank account, but if you want to boost your savings, it's helpful to have a savings account with a higher-than-average interest rate. These days, interest rates are extremely low, but you can still find returns of above 1% in money market accounts and online banks such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts?ref=seealso">Best Online Checking Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>7. Peer-to-Peer Lending Account</h2> <p>In addition to making it easier to invest in stocks, the Internet age has also made it possible for individuals to invest in other people's debt. There are thousands of people who have hopped onto sites such as <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.227343&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Lending Club</a> and <a href="http://prosper.evyy.net/c/27771/27132/994">Prosper</a> and report consistently solid returns. These sites generally work in the same way as banks, except that those in need of money are borrowing from individuals, who are seeking to make money on the interest. In most cases, people can invest based on the risk level of each borrower; those who aren't as creditworthy promise a potentially higher return &mdash; but more risk &mdash; to the investor. Popular personal finance blogger Mr. Money Moustache has reported more than an 11% annualized return since 2012, and many others report similar gains. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper?ref=seealso">How to Make Money with Prosper</a>)</p> <p><em>How many of these accounts do you have?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">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-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">Best Online Sites for Building Wealth</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/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer 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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Investment 30s 401k IRAs lending mutual funds retirement Roth savings accounts stocks Thu, 03 Mar 2016 10:30:34 +0000 Tim Lemke 1665768 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000077673573_Large.jpg" alt="millennial using a money app" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more we become surgically attached to our phones, the more we need apps to help us along. According to a recent study, <a href="http://www.millennialdisruptionindex.com/">68% of Millennials</a> say that in five years, the way they access their money will be completely different, and 70% say that the way they pay for things will be totally different. So it's no wonder there are so many money apps out there, making it easy to do banking, investing, and budgeting on the go.</p> <p>Most of us money savvy Gen Y-ers have heard of Mint before, which is a great app that helps you budget and track your spending. But there are a number of other apps out there that can help us invest, save, and yes, even spend, easily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Acorns</h2> <p>If you want to invest in stocks, but don't know where to start, try out <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a>. This app invests your spare change. In other words, if you spend $1.75 on a soda, the extra $0.25 goes into Acorns. Once you've reached $5 in spare change, a team of financial advisers (including Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz) start investing for you. You can choose how aggressive you want your portfolio to be depending on how comfortable you feel. The app does cost $1 per month if your balance is under $5,000 and .25% per year if you're over $5,000. If you're age 24 or under, it's free. Make sure to do some research before you start investing (especially for a stock market newbie), but this app is well worth your time and investment.</p> <h2>2. Stash</h2> <p><a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/">Stash</a> is similar to Acorns, but with Stash, you get to choose how you want to invest. It also lets you know how risky your investment might be. You're not all alone in the process either &mdash; Stash provides support and guidance as you go. If you're new to the stock market, this is a good place to start, but make sure you do your homework on any company you invest in. The first three months of using the app are free, and then after that it has the same fees as Acorns.</p> <h2>3. Digit</h2> <p><a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> is a tidy little app that saves money for you. After the app checks out your payment history and spending habits, it starts to calculate ways for you start saving money. Every two to three days, Digit takes out between $5 and $50 and puts it into a savings account. The app helps you save without you even realizing it. And if you need your money, you simply text the app and it sends it to you. There are no fees and no minimums for this app, and they have a <a href="https://digit.co/about/faq#no-overdraft-guarantee">no-overdraft guarantee</a>. You can also pause savings at any point if you need to keep your money in your checking account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso">Can a Robot Called Digit Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Venmo and Square Cash</h2> <p><a href="https://venmo.com/">Venmo</a> is the fun way to send money with no fees. Set up much like a social media app, you can send money to friends for all kinds of things, and post emojis and jokes in public. While it sounds weird, it's the hippest way for Millennials to send money back and forth.</p> <p>The less &quot;fun&quot; version is <a href="https://cash.me/">Square Cash</a>, which I use on a regular basis to pay utilities to my roommate. Both apps are free, but do have a small fee for credit cards. Just make sure you never send any money to someone you don't know well. Both apps are good if you have a friend who owes you money for something. You don't have to awkwardly and consistently remind them in person &mdash; you can just request the money through the app.</p> <h2>5. Wally</h2> <p>Like Mint, <a href="http://wally.me/">Wally</a> helps you budget your money. The app shows your budgets in easy to understand charts and gives you an accurate look at your spending. The downside is that you have to upload each purchase, but it makes you more accountable. This is especially helpful on work-related travel. The app doesn't link to your credit card or bank account unless you want it to, so you don't have to worry about sharing your personal information. Wally is especially helpful for me so I can write off coffees and lunches and I don't have to keep the receipts! Try out Wally and see if it makes your life easier.</p> <p><em>Which money apps are you using? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">6 Free Debt Management Tools</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/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apple-watch-apps-thatll-save-you-money">8 Apple Watch Apps That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Technology apps banking investing millennials money apps smartphone Wed, 17 Feb 2016 10:30:24 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1658140 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs It's Time to Find a New Bank http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_frowning_smartphone_000047173988.jpg" alt="Woman learning signs it&#039;s time to find a new bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one likes switching to a new bank. After all, it takes effort to close one account and create another. But if your bank is nickel-and-diming you with fees, or if it's closing so many locations that banking is becoming inconvenient, it might be time to make the switch.</p> <p>&quot;To me, it's all about convenience when it comes to switching banks,&quot; said Wade Barnes, senior vice president and director of retail banking with Baltimore-based 1st Mariner Bank. &quot;Maybe just 10 years ago, we'd be talking about how many brick-and-mortar locations a bank has near you. Now, it's more about online banking and having connectivity to your bank 24 hours a day. But you want your banking relationship to be an easy, convenient one. If it's not, then you might consider making a move.&quot;</p> <p>Here are five signs that it's time to find a new bank.</p> <h2>1. Maintenance Fees</h2> <p>Some banks will charge your checking account a monthly fee if you don't make a certain number of payments or withdrawals per month. That fee might only be $10. But if you don't use your checking account often, you could pay $100 or more each year in fees.</p> <p>The better choice? Find a bank that doesn't charge such a fee. You want your free checking account to be <em>really</em> free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Banks Still Offering Free Checking</a>)</p> <h2>2. ATM Fees</h2> <p>Using an out-of-network ATM can add up, with the fees charged by these cash machines coming in at $2, $3, or more. You can avoid these fees by only withdrawing cash from ATMs affiliated with your bank. But if you do take out money from an out-of-network ATM, your bank should refund you this fee.</p> <p>Many banks reimburse customers for all the out-of-network ATM withdrawals they make, basically making all ATMs free. If your bank doesn't offer this service, it's time to make a move.</p> <h2>3. Paper Statement Fees</h2> <p>Most banks will provide your banking statements online. It's a great way to reduce paper. But maybe you're old-fashioned, and you want your bank to send you a paper statement each month. That's fine. Just make sure that your bank doesn't charge you for this service.</p> <p>Many banks, in an effort to persuade consumers to receive their statements online, are charging customers $1 or $2 every time they send them a paper statement. If you insist on a paper statement, there's no reason to pay this fee. Find a bank that doesn't charge you for this service.</p> <h2>4. Inconvenience</h2> <p>Maybe your bank was just bought up by another financial institution. That's usually fine, unless the new bank institutes changes that make being a customer there less convenient for you.</p> <p>Maybe your newly acquired bank is closing all the brick-and-mortar branches near you. That can be a hassle, even if you do most of your banking online. Maybe the bank is reconfiguring its ATMs, making it so you can only withdraw cash from them but can't make deposits into them. Or maybe your bank decides to reduce some of the services it offers online.</p> <p>Banking shouldn't be a hassle. If your bank is becoming one, you need to start looking for a replacement.</p> <h2>5. Bad Customer Service</h2> <p>What if you have questions about your mortgage loan, but your bank's home loan experts are never available to speak with you by phone? What if you call your bank and the phone just rings forever, with no one picking up? Maybe your bank doesn't hire enough tellers, and every time you need to see one, you have to wait in line 20 minutes?</p> <p>These are all examples of the bad customer service some banks provide. If you're not satisfied with the service your bank is providing you, you're ready to move on to a new financial institution.</p> <p><em>Have you switched banks recently? Tell us why in the comments section below.</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/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-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-14"> <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-your-savings-account-may-be-costing-you">8 Ways Your Savings Account May Be Costing You</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/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</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/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy</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/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking atms customer service fees mobile banking savings accounts statements Wed, 02 Dec 2015 14:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1617391 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Reasons the Fed Is Keeping Rates Low (And What It Means for You) http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-the-fed-is-keeping-rates-low-and-what-it-means-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-reasons-the-fed-is-keeping-rates-low-and-what-it-means-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_wad_000075381955.jpg" alt="Learning why the Fed is still keeping rates low " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Federal Reserve has been keeping the benchmark short-term interest rate at record lows since the financial crisis in 2008. The near-zero rates are about to bust, economists say, but not until the economy shows certain signs of recovery that are so far yet-to-be-seen. Read on for our roundup of reasons why the first interest rate hike in nine years is yet to come &mdash; and what it means for you.</p> <h2>1. We Still Need the Stimulus</h2> <p>The Fed was so confident in the nation's job gains and overall economic growth at the start of 2015, that Fed Chair Janet Yellen's <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/10/fed-chair-janet-yellen-interest-rate-hike-to-come-later-this-year.html">eagerness to raise interest rates</a> was almost palpable. But the state of the U.S. economy has since gone stagnant. While the Fed still envisions sizable growth in the near future &mdash; the kind that could spawn higher rates &mdash; the results just aren't coming in yet. The economy still needs the amount of stimulus the central bank is providing.</p> <p>For folks on Main Street, that stimulus is important. Cheaper borrowing means consumers can spend more easily, even when times are tough. For businesses, it means conditions are ripe to expand and hire new workers. But when rates finally do begin to rise, borrowing will become more expensive, which in some cases could limit job growth.</p> <p>&quot;Based on my outlook, I expect that it will be appropriate at some point later this year to take the first step to raise the federal funds rate and thus begin normalizing monetary policy,&quot; Yellen said in July. &quot;I want to emphasize that the course of the economy and inflation remains highly uncertain, and unanticipated developments could delay or accelerate this first step.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Full Employment Remains Elusive</h2> <p>We're inching closer to full employment, but we're not quite there yet. What the Fed is waiting for, generally speaking, is for the unemployment rate to drop below 5%. Right now it's hovering about a tenth of a percentage point above that. When it drops, the labor market will strengthen, which will lead to price increases and wage growth. Those factors, and others, will eventually push inflation higher, creating <a href="http://www.wsj.com/video/feds-dudley-discusses-jobless-rate-and-full-employment/58AC9E47-16E1-4BFD-BAEA-D3B0EB02E012.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fvideo%2Fnews+(WSJ.com+Video+-+News)">prime conditions for a rate increase</a>.</p> <p>Full employment is achieved when all eligible workers who want to find a job are able to do so.</p> <p>&quot;Key measures of hourly labor compensation rose at an annual rate of only around 2% through most of the recovery,&quot; Yellen said. &quot;More recently, however, some tentative hints of a pickup in the pace of wage gains may indicate that the objective of full employment is coming closer into view.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Domestic Spending Is Dropping</h2> <p>Domestic spending is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, especially now as the nation moves toward recovery. But right now <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/27/news/economy/spending-obama/">domestic spending is dropping</a>, and that weighs heavily on economic growth. Low domestic spending can be good because it helps cut the deficit. But it also means that everyday Americans can easily feel the pinch. Transportation subsidies, funding for Head Start, and money for national parks are examples of some of the first things to drop. All told, spending on domestic programs has been on the decline since 2010, and is on track to reach the lowest level in more than 50 years by 2023.</p> <p>The deficit hit a high point in 2009 at nearly 10% of the overall size of the economy. It has been in decline every year since. When the deficit does start to rise again, however, it will be due in part to the expected rise in interest rates.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to take advantage of historic low interest rates?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-the-fed-is-keeping-rates-low-and-what-it-means-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <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/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fed-raised-rates-then-something-weird-happened">The Fed Raised Rates — Then Something Weird Happened</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/7-ways-to-pick-the-bank-thats-right-for-you">7 Ways to Pick the Bank That&#039;s Right for You</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cool-things-bonds-tell-you-about-the-economy">7 Cool Things Bonds Tell You About the Economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Economy employment federal reserve interest rates loans low rates stimulus Tue, 20 Oct 2015 17:17:01 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1591946 at http://www.wisebread.com