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Self Lender Review: Is It Good?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Self Lender promises to help you build credit. But is it legit? Read this review to learn how it works.

If you don't have a credit history, creditors probably won't give you a chance. How can you build credit without someone giving you a break?

Enter Self Lender - a credit monitoring and credit building system that helps people with low or damaged credit increase their credit score.

Read on to see if Self Lender might be the right service for you.

What Is Self Lender?

Self Lender is a free credit monitoring system. But they also offer credit building loans. This is where they make their money.

Self Lender's credit monitoring service gives you on-demand access to your credit score. It gives you access to your credit history at all times. Self Lender also offers suggestions on how to improve your credit. They provide all of this free of cost.

However, the credit building loan is the real meat and potatoes of Self Lender. They provide loans regardless of your credit score. The main purpose of the loan is to build or improve a low credit score. In other words, they give you a chance no matter how many other lenders turned you down.

How Self Lender Works

The Self Lender loan isn't your typical loan. Think of it like a loan in reverse. You don't receive the proceeds from the loan upfront. Instead, it's placed in a Certificate of Deposit for you. The maturity date equals the term of the loan.

You then make payments over the course of the term of the loan (12 to 24 months). Your payments are both principal and interest. At the end of the term, the CD matures. You receive the principal, plus the small amount of interest it gained during that time.

As you make payments, Self Lender reports them to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you make your payments on time, this will help build up your credit score.

Some people think of it like a forced savings program. In order to receive the savings, you have to make timely loan payments. At the end of the term, you will receive the principal amount paid for the loan.

Who Benefits from Self Lender?

Self Lender is ideal for people who have little to no credit. If you've ever tried to apply for credit only to be turned down because you don't have any credit, you are a good candidate. How are you supposed to prove you are credit worthy if no one will extend credit?

This is where Self Lender helps the most. They don't pull your credit to determine eligibility.

It can also be a good option for those with damaged credit. With a poor credit history, many creditors will turn you down for new credit. Without new credit, it's nearly impossible to rectify your score. Self Lender can help by providing you with the credit building loan.

Before you jump on board though, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18-years old
  • You have a valid bank account
  • You can afford the monthly payments that vary between $25 - $194 per month
  • You could benefit from a forced-savings account

Opening an Account and What It Costs

Opening a Self Lender account takes about five minutes. They need the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Amount of income

Once you provide this information, Self Lender runs a check on ChexSystems. Similar to running your credit, this system checks your bank account history. This keeps an eye on how you treat your bank accounts. They look for overdrafts and bad checks. However, unless you let your overdrafts sit unpaid, you should be in good shape.

If your ChexSystems report comes back clean, Self Lender will ask you which loan amount you want from a predetermined list of options:

  • $525 ($25 paid over 24 months)
  • $545 ($48 paid over 12 months)
  • $1,000 ($89 monthly payment over 12 months)
  • $2,200 ($194 monthly payment over 12 months)

You then enter your payment information. You can use a checking account or debit card. However, using a debit card will cost you an additional 2.99% plus $0.30 as a convenience fee. Using your checking account is best.

Self Lender also charges a small administrative fee based on your loan amount. It varies between $9 and $15. The fee is non-refundable, but is a one-time fee.

How the Credit Builder Loan Helps

The moment you take out the Credit Builder Loan, you have a FDIC-insured Certificate of Deposit opened in your name. Like any other CD, you cannot touch the money until it reaches maturity. In this case, it's 12 or 24 months.

The bank deposits the full amount in the CD, allowing it to earn 0.10% interest over the next 12-24 months. While the interest is really peanuts, the real benefit lies in the payments you make towards the loan.

As long as you make each loan payment on time, Self Lender reports the timely payments to the credit bureaus. According to Self Lender, on average clients with the standard $1,100 loan and timely payments see their credit score increase as much as 45 points in just 6 months.

This only works, however, if all aspects of your credit are in line. For example, if you have a credit card with another company that you let default, your credit score will fall. This is independent of what the Credit Builder loan can do for you. It's up to you how you handle all aspects of your credit profile.

Tip: It's best if you do not pay the Credit Builder Loan early. The main benefit is the timely payments reported to the credit bureau. If you pay it off early, you negate the benefits of the loan. Plus, you cannot touch the CD until maturity or you risk paying a penalty.

Pros and Cons of Self Lender

As with any financial product, there are pros and cons of Self Lender.

Pros

  • All payments are reported to the credit bureau to help you build a credit profile.
  • You have a "forced" savings account.
  • You don't need a credit check to get approved.
  • The upfront administrative fee is affordable.
  • The interest rate is often less than that of a credit card.
  • An installment loan may diversify your credit mix, which further helps your credit score.

Cons

  • If you have a negative history with bank accounts, you may not qualify.
  • Late payments are reported to the credit bureaus and could damage your credit.
  • It costs you 5% per monthly payment if you miss the grace period of 15 days.
  • The interest earned on the CD is next to nothing.
  • You have to pay to take out the loan versus other free ways to build credit.

How It Compares to Other Options to Build Credit

Self Lender isn't the only way consumers with thin or damaged credit can build credit.

  • Secured credit card: This option isn't free upfront, but it can be if handled correctly. Your credit line equals your deposit. You can find secured credit cards that require as little as $200 deposited. If you pay the balance off each month, you don't pay any interest. You can also get your deposit back if you upgrade or close your account.

  • Co-signer on a loan: If you have a willing co-signer for a loan, you may be able to get approved for a standard credit card or installment loan.

  • Authorized user: Ask to become an authorized user on a parent, sibling, or other close relative's credit card. Make sure you ask the credit card company beforehand if they report payment history for authorized users, though.

Bottom Line

If you've exhausted all other "free" options to build credit, Self Lender can be helpful. If you don't have anyone who can co-sign a loan or make you an authorized user, you have two options: a secured credit card or Self Lender. If you don't have the money to open a secured credit card, Self Lender may offer the lower cost way to build your credit.

Make sure before you take this option that you can afford the monthly payments. Paying for a loan that you will only pay late will damage your credit score and cost you money. When taken responsibly, though, the service can help you improve your score in a short amount of time.

Self Lender Review: Is It Good? appeared first on CreditDonkey

How Online Checking Accounts Work

How Online Checking Accounts Work


HowStuffWorks

Of all the things you can do on the Internet, financial transactions are some of the easiest and most convenient. It all starts with an online checking account.

Free Online Checking Accounts - Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To

Free Online Checking Accounts - Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To


Free From Broke

Sick of paying crazy fees for your checking account? Take a look at these free online checking accounts and find the best checking account for you.

Requirements to Get Your Personal Loan Approved

by Marty Minchin @ MagnifyMoney

For the right consumers, personal loans can be a quick way to get much-needed cash for anything from a home repair to a college tuition. With the right qualifications, you can be approved for a personal loan in the morning and have the cash deposited into your account in as little as one day depending … Continue reading Requirements to Get Your Personal Loan Approved

The post Requirements to Get Your Personal Loan Approved appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Best Online Checking Accounts

Best Online Checking Accounts


CreditDonkey

The best online checking accounts are free, have minimum fees, and even offer interest. Find the best high interest online checking accounts to consider.

Discover Bank Review: CD Rates and Savings

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Lee M) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Discover offers high interest rates on its online savings and CD accounts. But there are some downsides. Here's what you need to know before you open an account.

Traditional savings accounts pay very little interest. If you want to earn a more impactful return on your savings, online banks often offer higher rates.

In this article, we will look at how you can use Discover's Online Savings Accounts and CDs to help grow your savings.

How It Works

Discover offers high yield savings accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Both earn a higher interest rate than a typical savings account. However, the two products work in fundamentally different ways.

  • Discovers Online Savings Accounts can earn up to a 1.40% annual percentage yield (APY). They work much like typical savings accounts, except that Discover does not have any physical branch locations.

  • Discover's CDs require you to deposit your savings for a set period of time. Withdrawing funds from a CD before the term has ended will incur a penalty. Also, CDs often have a higher minimum deposit than savings accounts. Due to these requirements, some CDs earn a higher APY than savings accounts.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the specifics.

Discover Bank Promotions: February 2018

Online Investor Savings

Discover is an online bank, so they don't have many of the overhead costs that brick-and-mortar banks do. This allows Discover to offer no minimum deposit and a high APY on its Online Savings Account. Here are some additional details:

  • 1.40% APY
  • No minimum deposit
  • No account opening fees
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Daily compounding interest
  • Free online and mobile banking
  • FDIC insured

As with any savings account, you'll be limited to 6 withdrawals per month. This is a federally-imposed limitation.

If you need to withdraw money from your Discover savings account, you have a few options: internal Discover transfers, external transfers to another bank, wire transfers, and mailed checks.

Is Discover Safe?: Discover is FDIC insured. This means that if Discover defaults, the federal government guarantees the balance in your savings account, up to $250,000.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

For CDs, you must deposit a fixed amount of money for a fixed amount of time.

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding on a CD: the term length, the minimum deposit, and the APY. Discover also offers some retirement account qualified CDs, which can be a good option to supplement your retirement savings. Contact your financial professional to see if these retirement options are right for you.

Here are your options:

  • Term CDs: Discover's basic CDs are available in 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 30 months, and 3-, 4-, 5, 7- or 10-year terms. They require a minimum deposit of $2,500, and their APY range from .35% to 2.45%.

  • IRA CDs: Discover offers a retirement account qualified CD option as well, if you qualify. Both Roth (post-tax) and Traditional (pre-tax) options are offered. Terms and APY of these products are similar to that of Discover’s term CDs.

Why We Like Discover

Here are a few things that we like about Discover's online savings accounts and CDs:

  • Low minimum deposits: If you have just started saving or want to set aside a small balance, Discover can be a great choice. Their Online Savings have no minimum balance requirements at all. Their deposits for term CDs and IRA CDs are some of the lowest in the industry.

  • High rates: Discover's Online Savings offers such a high APY that it outperforms some of their short-term CDs. This is great news for anyone looking to save, but especially for those who can't pay the high minimum deposits that some other banks require. And if you meet a higher minimum deposit, you can earn as much as 2.45% APY on a CD, depending on term length.

  • Minimal fees: Discover cuts out many fees that other banks profit from. For example, you will not be charged any account opening or maintenance fees.

  • Retirement options: Discover offers IRA CDs, which can be utilized in a retirement planning strategy.

Reasons You Might Skip Discover Savings

For all of Discover's advantages, there are some downsides that need to be considered:

  • No branch locations: In exchange for the high interest rate on your online savings account, you are required to do your Discover banking online or over the phone.

  • No ATM card: Discover Savings does not provide an ATM card for easy withdrawals. This could be a good thing so you’re not tempted to spend your money. But if you like that convenience, look into their Money Market account instead. Or there are some other online savings accounts that come with an ATM card.

  • No Relationship Rewards: Some retail banks in the U.S. are now offering relationship bonuses to incentivize their customers to keep all of their business in one place. If you move your savings balance to Discover from your retail bank, you may miss out on some of these relationship bonuses. Contact your bank for more details.

Common Questions

If you're still interested, you probably have some questions. We'll clear up some of the basics here:

  • Should I open a CD or savings account?
    This is a really broad question and everyone has different investment goals. The decision comes down to how much you're looking to set aside, how much risk you are willing to take, and how much you'll need to access your savings.

    If you can commit to not touching your savings for at least 1 year and can meet the minimum deposit, you may be able to earn a higher interest rate with a CD versus a savings account. If you need liquidity, a savings account gives you more flexibility to withdraw your savings when needed.

  • How can I deposit funds with Discover Bank?
    For savings accounts, there are a few ways to deposit funds: deposit checks with your mobile device, transfer from Discover checking, transfer from an external account, mail a check, or set up a direct deposit to your new account. For term CDs, you can transfer from Discover checking, transfer from an external account, transfer by phone, or mail a check. For IRA CDs, contact Discover for instructions on how to fund a Discover IRA account.

  • What is the penalty for early withdrawals from Term CDs?
    It depends on the term of your CD. Here's how it breaks down:

    • Terms less than 1 year: 3 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms from 1 year to <4 years: 6 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 4 years to <5 years: 9 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 5 years to <7 years: 18 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 7 years and greater: 24 months' interest on the amount withdrawn

Bottom Line

If you're ready to start building your savings, then you should consider if Discover's Online Savings Accounts or CDs are right for you.

Even if you only have $1 in savings, you can start earning interest in a high yield savings account. Or, if you have at least $2,500 set aside and aren't concerned about liquidity, you can earn an even greater return with a CD.

Discover's savings offerings might not be the right savings product for you, but if you're looking to earn interest above that of a standard savings account, opening a savings accounts or CD from Discover is an investment option worth considering.

Discover Bank Review: CD Rates and Savings appeared first on CreditDonkey

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Experian IdentityWorksSM Review: [FREE TRIAL] ID Theft Protection Plus Credit Reporting

by Philip Taylor @ PT Money

**This article contains sponsored advertising content. About IdentityWorksSM In 2016 alone, more than 15.4 million consumers in the United States were victims of identity theft with more than 16 billion dollars stolen. With online shopping and credit card usage skyrocketing, it is not surprising that identity theft hit an all time high in 2016. Recognizing […]

The post Experian IdentityWorksSM Review: [FREE TRIAL] ID Theft Protection Plus Credit Reporting appeared first on PT Money.

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018 - NerdWallet

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018 - NerdWallet


NerdWallet

Aspiration Summit Account Overall bank rating:   1% APY on balances of at least $2,500 What else we like about it RADIUS HYBRID Overall bank rating:   0.85% APY on balances…

Open a Bank Account online with SunTrust - Fast, Easy, Secure

Open a Bank Account online with SunTrust - Fast, Easy, Secure


SunTrust

Opening a SunTrust account is fast and Easy. Pick from our many products and services such as personal checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and more.

The 23 Best Free Business Checking Accounts

The 23 Best Free Business Checking Accounts


Fundera Ledger

We’re making it easy to weigh all possible factors and find the best free business checking account for you. Never settle with your small business!

Best Discount Broker

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim Pinnelli) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

The best online broker offers low fees, great customer service, and smart research tools. Find the best discount brokerage to consider.

Discount brokers charge as little as $4.95 for online trades. Compare that to the $100+ that many full-service brokers charge. It seems like a no-brainer choice to choose the discount broker. But, you must know how to pick the right one.

Because trading online is a self-directed practice, you need the right broker backing you up. Read our in-depth guide on our choices for the top discount brokers today.

What Is a Discount Broker?

First, let's look at the definition of a discount broker.

As the name suggests, discount brokers cost much less than a full-service broker. But, their services are much more limited. Basically, they execute your orders to buy or sell your investments. They do not provide advice. In other words, you won't speak to a person when you execute your trades. The upside? You won't have someone trying to upsell you or get you to invest in things you don't want to invest in.

However, this does not mean you don't get support. Many discount brokers do offer in-person customer service for those times when you are better off talking to someone. Plus, many of them offer online resources and tools. Some even have tutorials or mock trading platforms to help you get the hang of investing.

The bottom line is a discount broker costs you much less money per trade. You won't have the steep commissions that full-service brokers charge. What this means is more cash in your pocket and the opportunity to make more trades.

Why Use a Discount Broker

So why would you choose a discount broker over a full-service broker? The main reason is the cost. But here we will break down who would do better with a full-service broker and who could get by with a discount broker.

Who Needs a Full-Service Broker?

If you answer "yes" to the following questions, you may be better off with a full-service broker:

  • Do you have a large number of large investments?
  • Do you not have time to manage your portfolio effectively?
  • Do you not have the desire nor the know-how to handle your portfolio?
  • Can you afford high commission fees?

If you answered "yes" to each of these questions, a full-service broker might be the best option. Expect to pay between $150 and $200 for each trade, though.

Watch out for annual fees and/or maintenance fees in addition to per trade fees. Full-service brokers often include these charges in their agreement.

Who Needs a Discount Broker?

Typically, the "average" investor does just fine with a discount broker. Answer the following questions to see if you qualify:

  • Do you want to save money on each trade made?
  • Do you like to be in control of your investments?
  • Do you not want to be bothered with upselling or pressure to take other investments?
  • Do you make frequent trades?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, you may fare just fine with a discount broker.

What to Look for in a Discount Broker

Once you decide a discount broker is the way to go, you still have many decisions you must make. A quick search online will give you many options. Before you get overwhelmed, consider the most important factors:

  • Cost: This probably goes without saying. You want a broker that you can afford, but don't jump at the cheapest broker just yet. Consider all of the fees, not just the advertised ones. You might find a broker that advertises super low commissions, but doesn't readily advertise the other fees. Call them hidden fees or extra fees; the bottom line is that they cost you more than what's advertised. Ask about annual fees, maintenance fees, inactivity fees, and transfer fees.

  • Minimum deposit/balance: Some brokers require a minimum deposit to open the account. Others don't have a minimum. Yet others require a minimum average balance over the life of the account. Determine what you can afford to keep in the account if choosing accounts with a minimum requirement higher than $0.

  • Customer service: The level of customer service you want is a personal decision. Take a trial run on any broker's website that you are considering. Check out the support they have readily available on their website. But you should also email and call them with questions. See how long it takes to get an answer. This can help you decide which broker provides the level of support you need.

  • Tools: Online brokers offer a varying amount of tools. They include retirement calculators, market analysis, comparison charts, and research tools. Consider whether you need in-depth research tools or if you are a more basic investor. There are online brokers for both types of investors. Knowing what will help you be successful will help the decision.

Best Discount Broker

Here are the top discount brokers according to our research.

Best Discount Broker for Investors on a Budget

Ally Invest is one of the cheaper discount brokers, but they offer barebones services. It's best for beginning investors with an education in trading stocks and bonds. You won't receive a lot of guidance, but you also won't receive a lot of bells and whistles. This is why we recommend it for the new investor who understands the markets.

We love the fact that every trader gets access to the trading platform. On the dashboard, you'll have access to quotes in real-time and as much information as you want. You can filter your results to suit your needs. If you want full information on one security, you can get as many details as you want on it. Would you rather compare two or more securities on one page? You can do that too - you are in full control of what you see.

If you love research and advice, you'll get that and more with the community forums on Ally Invest. Do you want to rub noses with the industry experts or see what other traders are trading? You can do this and more with Ally Invest's forums. You can obtain feedback on your strategies, check out the 50 most active stocks at any given time, and chat with other investors.

Best Discount Broker for Research

TD Ameritrade may charge more than some of the cheaper alternatives, but they offer unparalleled research options. No matter how large your portfolio, you have access to the ThinkorSwim platform. What is normally a "premium platform" with other brokers is available to every investor with TD Ameritrade. The platform offers extensive research opportunities, instructional videos, real-time quotes, charts, and studies. You can even test out some of your strategies based on historical information to see how you would do.

Aside from the premium platforms, we love that there is no minimum deposit requirement to trade with TD Ameritrade. This means you can start trading as soon as you open an account. Other brokerages make you wait until your balance hits a specific threshold.

We also love the breadth of customer service available from TD Ameritrade. Investors have access to 24/7 customer service, both online and on the phone. You can email, chat online, or call customer service. You'll typically receive an immediate response for your questions or concerns.

Because of their more costly commission, TD Ameritrade is good for the beginning-to-moderate investor who won't make frequent trades. The higher cost gives you access to research and tools that don't hold a candle to the other brokerages. But, if you trade frequently, the higher commissions can eat into your profits.

Best Discount Broker for Frequent Traders

If you are a frequent trader, you need lower commissions. If not, those costs can really eat into your profits. E-Trade offers frequent traders a nice discount, which is why we chose it for frequent traders. While $6.95 per trade is equal to TD Ameritrade, traders save $2.00 per trade when they have more than 30 trades in a quarter.

E-Trade offers a variety of customer support tools, making it great for beginning and intermediate investors. The basic E-Trade platform works well for most investors, as it offers real-time quotes, charting, analysis and more. All investors also have access to the OptionsHouse platform. This is a slightly more advanced platform, but is still easy enough for the new investor to navigate. Frequent investors (making more than 30 trades per quarter) also have access to a third platform called E-Trade Pro. This platform is similar to ThinkorSwim. Investors have access to trading ideas and are able to test their ideas out on real investments.

Keep in mind that if you want to try out E-Trade's numerous platforms, you'll need at least a $500 initial deposit. This sets E-Trade apart from many of the other discount brokers and is something to consider when choosing a discount broker. Frequent traders often have at least $500 to trade, and benefit from the lower pricing tier offered at E-Trade.

Best Discount Broker for Customer Service

Fidelity is known for their mutual funds, but they are a great discount broker too. If you value top-notch customer service, this is the brokerage firm for you. Fidelity has built up its reputation of providing prompt customer service. You can reach them by phone, email, or live chat online, all of which are available 24/7.

Fidelity is also very strong in the research department. They offer an array of third-party reports for each quote you pull. If you are an avid researcher, you'll love the speed at which you can have multiple reports at your fingertips. Sometimes time is money, of which Fidelity will save you plenty with this service.

Fidelity's platform gets good reviews regarding ease of use and services it provides. Beginning investors have access to plenty of research and screeners. This helps make it easy to get the information needed to make a trade. They also offer their platform as a mobile app, making it easy to make investment decisions on-the-go.

However, if you want more advanced trading options, you'll need to make at least 36 trades in a rolling 12-month period. The Active Trader Pro offers more filters; the ability to store trades for future use; and better customization.

Other Brokers to Consider

  • Merrill Edge: A great option for those with a lot of capital to invest and who relish great customer service.

  • Charles Schwab: Investors both new and experienced do well with this broker's user-friendly platforms for infrequent and active investors.

  • Interactive Brokers: Reserved for investors with advanced needs and active traders with at least $10,000 to invest.

  • Tradestation: Once a platform for pros, this broker is now useful for beginners and advanced traders that will keep their money put. They do have a $125 outgoing transfer charge, which is on the high side.

  • Capital One Investing: This platform is perfect for traders just starting out or those who want an automatic investment option. Capital One offers discounted commissions as low as $3.95 for automatic investments.

There Are Other Options Too

Discount brokers can save you a lot of money and put you in the driver's seat of your portfolio. But they aren't for everyone. Following are a couple of other choices you may want to consider:

  • Robo-Advisors: If you can handle a completely "hands-off" approach, robo-advisors can save you even more money. The automated system uses an algorithm to invest your money for you. After you input your risk thresholds and investment goals, the computer does the rest. The fees vary, but companies like Betterment charge one annual fee based on your account balance.

  • Peer Lending: If you want to stay away from stocks and bonds for now, consider peer-to-peer lending. You decide how much money you want to invest and what type of risk you want to take. The minimum investment is often as low as $25. You can break your investment up into as many loans as you want. This helps diversify your portfolio with companies like Lending Club or Prosper.

  • Full-Service Broker: If you have a lot of money to invest or need that in-person advice, a full-service stockbroker is an option. You'll find them at your larger brokerage houses, like Merrill Lynch, but keep in mind that their commissions are much higher than discount brokers. Expect to pay $100 - $200 per trade versus $4 - $7 per trade.

Common Questions

  • What is an account minimum deposit?
    Many discount brokers don't allow traders to start trading until their account reaches a specific threshold. For example, Charles Schwab requires a $1,000 minimum deposit to open a Schwab One account.

  • What are account maintenance fees?
    The account maintenance fee is separate from the per trade fee. It's important to read the fine print to see what brokers may charge. For example, some brokers charge a 0.5% annual maintenance fee. Others only charge the fee if your balance dips below their required threshold. Always read the fine print to make sure you know what the account will cost.

  • What is a margin account?
    If you meet the Federal minimum deposit requirements, you may be able to buy on margin. This means you put a percentage (usually 50%) down on the investment and borrow the other half. The broker charges you interest and holds your securities as collateral.

  • How do you withdraw funds from your brokerage account?
    You can request a withdrawal of your funds at any time. The request must be in writing. You usually have the option of a wire transfer, ACH electronic transfer, or a check mailed to you. If you do choose the wire transfer, most brokerages charge a wire fee of as much as $50 per transfer.

  • How do you open a discount brokerage account?
    If you are opening a cash account, you'll need to provide your personal identifying information (name, address, social security number, and driver's license number). You'll also need to provide your employment information, income, and net worth. You'll also need the funds to open up the account and start trading.

The Bottom Line

Using a discount broker is a great way to trade and keep your profits. Choose your broker wisely by paying attention to hidden fees and understanding account minimums. A discount broker is a great way for beginning and experienced investors alike to invest in their future.

Best Discount Broker appeared first on CreditDonkey

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018


ValuePenguin

Not all online checking accounts are created equal. Our analysis of the top options can help you decide on the best online checking account for your financial situation.

Cashback Checking | Online Checking Account | Discover

Cashback Checking | Online Checking Account | Discover


Discover Bank

Online checking accounts from Discover Bank, Member FDIC offer no monthly fees or balance requirements. Open a Discover Cashback Checking� account today.

Blooom: Finally, a Robo-Advisor to Help You Manage Your 401K

by Ashley Chorpenning @ PT Money

When you started your first job, were you offered a 401(k) account? And if you were, did you even know what that meant? PT's note: When I started my first big career job (nine months with KPMG out of Shreveport, LA) I never invested with the 401K! I didn't even get the match! It wasn't […]

The post Blooom: Finally, a Robo-Advisor to Help You Manage Your 401K appeared first on PT Money.

Tools to Help Organize Your Taxes

by Glen Craig @ Free From Broke

When you’re down to the wire at tax time, organization is your best friend. Your best option is to stay organized year round so that you aren’t scrambling at tax time. There’s not much worse than trying to find a tax document right before you file your taxes or head to the accountant. Whether you are […]

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Tools to Help Organize Your Taxes

Is Online Banking Safe? How to Boost Your Banking Security

by Margarette Burnette @ NerdWallet

When you bank online, you trust that your account is safe from hackers. Even so, online accounts can seem to consumers like easy targets: Instead of robbing a bank, a…

How to Apply for a Business Credit Card Online

by Brayden McCarthy @ Fundera Ledger

It’s easy to think that applying for a business credit card online is super simple. After all, with all of […]

The post How to Apply for a Business Credit Card Online appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

Best Online Banks In The U.S. | Bankrate.com

Best Online Banks In The U.S. | Bankrate.com


Bankrate

These five worthy winners offer great account rates and hold the line on fees.

Open a Checking Account Online

Open a Checking Account Online


First Hawaiian Bank

Open a checking account online fast, easy & secure with FHB DirectSM, First Hawaiian Bank's state-of-the-art online account opening service.

Why Zipcar Might Just Be the Best Subscription Service Ever

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Jake Mitchell) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

As a resident of Los Angeles, I am intimately familiar with all of the worst parts of owning a car: the cost of repairs and insurance, the late-night hunts for the cheapest gas at out-of-the-way filling stations, and the constant battle to find parking within a one-mile radius of your destination.

The expense and frustration often hardly seems worth it, especially in a world where you can tap an icon on your phone screen and have a car pick you up within two minutes.

But those rides are pricey, so I'm always on the lookout for cheaper, more convenient transportation options.

A Better Option

If you're lucky enough to live in a city that's walkable or has an extensive public transit system, you might not need to own a car to get to work or the grocery store. But what happens when you want to go further than usual?

Like me, you might go looking for better, more flexible transportation options. I'm here to point you in the direction of a great option that combines the flexibility and independence of renting a car with the ease of use of a ridesharing service: Zipcar.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Zipcar is a car service that allows you to drive cars and pay either by the hour or by the day, depending on the kind of trip you want to take.

You'll find Zipcars in major cities all over the globe, usually parked in reserved spaces in public parking lots. Under the right circumstances, a Zipcar membership can save you hundreds of dollars over car ownership or rideshare services, provided you know its limitations and how to work within them.

Here's how it works:

  • You start by applying for a membership online.
  • Once you're approved, which will depend on your driving history, they'll send you a “Zipcard.”

The Zipcard acts like your key to the cars you reserve: just walk up to your chosen vehicle in the lot, scan your card across the sensor near the windshield, and the car will unlock.

You'll find the keys waiting for you inside. You can take your car for as little as one hour or as long as seven days, and when you're done, all you have to do is leave it in a designated Zipcar parking space for the next user.

Zipcar Membership

Now, all of this convenience isn't free. But with flexible membership plans, you can save quite a bit of money if you know exactly how you plan to use this service.

Memberships come in two flavors: a one-year membership and a month-to-month one.

This membership fee helps Zipcar provide insurance and gas for every vehicle so you don't have to worry about either of those things every time you hop behind the wheel. For the rental itself, you can pay by the hour or by the day, and Zipcar won't charge for mileage up to 180 miles. After that, though, you will incur a mileage fee.

Tip: Zipcar also has an app that you use to reserve your vehicle, which can be done up to a year in advance. That means it can require a bit of planning if you want to make sure a car will be available for you, but as long as you remember to make a reservation, the rest of the experience is a breeze.

HOW IT BEATS THE COMPETITION

Zipcar has its limitations, but the overall experience is a lot less frustrating and a lot more empowering than many of the alternatives. For example, renting a car through a traditional rental agency often involves a long wait to speak to an agent even after you've made your reservation, whereas Zipcar allows you to simply walk up to your car, scan your card, and hop in.

Ridesharing apps, meanwhile, might be convenient, but they don't offer the freedom of jumping into a car yourself and heading to any destination you choose. If you're taking multiple short trips, those ridesharing apps will get pricey fast, too, whereas Zipcar lets you get in and out almost wherever you choose without incurring additional costs.

If you live in a place that doesn't require you to drive your own car every day, but you still own one, you're paying for insurance and a parking spot that you might not even be using.

A Zipcar membership could end up being significantly less expensive than all of those costs if you only use your car once a week or so, and otherwise take public transit or walk. Low-usage car owners might want to consider cashing in their car and getting a membership instead.

THE FINE PRINT

Zipcar is not a one-size-fits-all transportation solution.

Given its reservation system, it does require some planning ahead.

If you overshoot your reservation and end up dropping your car off late, Zipcar may also charge you a fee for that. These fees can get hefty if you're extremely late, and can even eclipse the cost of one day's rental. You can also incur fees for passing through toll zones, returning the car with a low tank, or getting a traffic ticket. If you're not a fan of planning ahead or have trouble sticking to a schedule, Zipcar might not be the ideal solution for you.

The drawback to Zipcar is its number of locations in comparison to leading traditional car rental services.

While a city like San Francisco has Zipcar spots available in a large number of places, other cities and towns aren't so lucky. You may find that the nearest drop-off point is quite a hike from your actual destination. You also can't drop your car off in any old parking place; if you close your rental and leave the car anywhere but in a designated Zipcar parking spot, you'll incur a penalty on your bill. This means a little more planning to know where you'll have to park your Zipcar, and how you'll get from that location to your final destination.

THE BEST USES OF ZIPCAR

All that said, this is the perfect solution for a number of different transportation challenges.

  • Tourists and visitors to cities where Zipcar is active can use it to explore at their leisure without the hassle of dealing with rental car agencies.

  • Anyone who doesn't already own a car can easily grab one from their local Zipcar location and take a Saturday day trip out of town.

  • It's also an affordable option for those whose cars are in the shop or otherwise not always available; you'll always have a backup car ready and waiting for you.

It's not a replacement for public transit, but it is a fantastic, convenient, and very easy way to supplement your other modes of transportation. Knowing that you have the ability to grab a car should you need one adds a flexibility to life that can't be measured. It's not for everyone or every situation, but when used right, Zipcar can be one of the best, most convenient subscription services out there.

Why Zipcar Might Just Be the Best Subscription Service Ever appeared first on CreditDonkey

Which Southwest Credit Card is Right for You?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Anna G) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Fly Southwest? You may want to consider a Southwest credit card from Chase. But which one is right for you? We break it down.

Southwest offers a couple of the best airline cards for domestic travelers.

If you fly Southwest at least a couple of times a year, consider one of the two co-branded credit cards offered by Chase: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier.

Both cards offer a high sign-up bonus and good reward potential. The Plus has a lower annual fee but is not ideal for international travel. The Premier is the more upscale version with slightly better rewards.

Which makes more sense?

We'll do a full run-down comparing the two cards, so you can make your own choice.

Overview: Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier

Before we start comparing, let's go over how the two cards work in a nutshell. Both cards give you the same sign-up bonus and reward points. There are a couple of major differences:

  • The Southwest Plus card has a $69 annual fee. You get 3,000 bonus points each anniversary year. There is a foreign transaction fee.

  • The Southwest Premier card has a $99 annual fee. You get 6,000 bonus points each anniversary year and earn points toward elite tiers. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Now, with these major differences in mind, let's go over why you may prefer one over the other.

Note: Chase has a 5/24 rule, which means that if you've opened 5 credit card accounts in the past 24 months (from any bank), you will not be approved for a new card. The Southwest cards fall under this rule.

Why Either Card Is a Good Choice

Both cards are designed to earn Rapid Reward points, which can then be redeemed for Southwest award flights (more detail in the next section). With both Southwest cards, you get:

  • Sign-up bonus. You can earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

  • 2x on Southwest purchases. You get 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, including participating Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. You get 1x per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Points for balance transfers. You get 1 point for each $1 in balance transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening (up to $10,000 for the Plus, and $15,000 for the Premier). Most credit cards don't let you earn points for balance transfers.

  • Earn points toward Unlimited Companion Pass. If you earn 110,000 Rapid Reward points in one calendar year, you can name one companion to fly free with you on unlimited Southwest flights until the end of the following year. This is one of the best companion deals out there. With the sign-up bonus alone, you're more than a third of the way to the Companion Pass.

    Note: Only points earned with the Southwest credit cards qualify towards a Companion Pass. So, for example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer points to Southwest, they won't qualify.

  • Bags fly free. Your first and second checked bags are free.

  • No blackout dates, seat restrictions, or change fees. You can use your miles to book any seat on any flight. And if you need to change the date of a flight, there's no change fee (though you will still need to pay the fare difference).

  • Rewards never expire. Your miles never expire as long as your card account remains open.

Who the Southwest Plus Card Is Good For

If you're an occasional domestic flyer (you fly Southwest just a few times a year), then this card is probably good enough for you. Since both cards have the same sign-up bonus and reward earnings, the Plus will save you money with a smaller annual fee.

Remember, it also gives you 3,000 points every anniversary year. This doesn't fully cover the annual fee, but it makes it easier to swallow.

Why the Southwest Rapid Reward Premier Card Is Superior

If you fly Southwest more often, the Premier card may be better for you. Here are some other perks that come with the Southwest Premier:

  • Tier qualifying points (TQPs): For every $10,000 spent on the card (on eligible purchases), you earn 1,500 TQPs. You can earn up to 15,000 TQPS per year. TQPs can be used for Rapid Rewards elite status.

    • If you achieve A-List status (35,000 TPQ per year), you get: priority check in, security, and boarding; dedicated phone line; free same-day standby; and 25% earnings bonus on Southwest flights.

    • If you achieve A-List Preferred status (70,000 TPQ per year), you get the above plus: free in-flight Wi-Fi and 100% earnings bonus on Southwest flights.

  • 6,000-point anniversary bonus: You get a bonus 6,000 points every year on your account anniversary. 6,000 points could be worth a flight around $100, so this already justifies the higher $99 annual fee.

  • No foreign transaction fee: The Premier card has no foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad.

Do you own a business? There is also a business version of the Premier card – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

Both Do Have Downsides

Keep in mind some of these downsides for both cards:

  • No priority boarding. Unlike other co-branded airline cards that give you priority boarding just for owning the card, the Southwest cards don't include this perk. The only way to get this perk is to earn enough TPQs in a year to qualify for elite status.

  • High APR. Neither card has an introductory APR offer for purchases or balance transfers. The regular APR is quite high, so make sure you are able to pay off the balance each month.

  • You only get bonus points for Southwest flights, and hotel and car rental partners. Unless you fly Southwest a lot and use their hotel and car rental partners, it may be hard to rack up points. If your goal is to earn points faster, then consider whether the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a better fit. It gives you 2x points on travel and dining purchases. Then you can transfer the points 1:1 to Southwest (but they won't qualify for the Companion Pass).

  • You can only redeem on Southwest flights. This isn't much of a problem if you take a lot of Southwest flights. But if you want more flexibility or want to travel to places Southwest doesn't go, then think about whether it's better to get a general travel rewards card that lets you use any airline.

  • The Plus card has a foreign transaction fee. The Plus card charges a foreign transaction fee on purchases made out of the country (3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars on purchases). However, the Premier card has no foreign transaction fee, so it is better if you travel internationally.

How to Use Southwest Rapid Reward Points

Both cards earn Rapid Reward Points, which you can redeem towards any Southwest flight, with no blackout dates and no seat restrictions.

Using your points is very easy. Simply sign in to your Rapid Rewards account (create it for free) to book travel, and select the option “Points.”

You will then see the flight options listed in points. You can also toggle back and forth between dollars and points to compare the points value.

Southwest has three types of fares. Wanna Get Away is the cheapest fare. It's nonrefundable, but can be cancelled for credit good up to 1 year from purchase date. Business Select and Anytime fares are fully refundable.

So what are Rapid Reward points worth?
Southwest points have pretty good value, especially for the Wanna Get Away fights. We find that, generally, each Rapid Reward point is worth between 1.6 and 2.0 cents. This means that 10,000 points could be redeemed for a flight that costs around $160 - $200.

For example, in the sample flight above from Los Angeles to Seattle in March 2018, the highlighted flight costs 4,248 points. If you were to buy it with cash, it costs $86. That means the point value of the flight is 2.02 cents.

You don't pay any taxes or surcharges for domestic flights, except for the $5.60 Security Fee in each direction.

Do You Fly Other Airlines?

Not a frequent Southwest flyer? If there's another airline you prefer instead, consider these cards:

Bottom Line

So, which Southwest card is right for you? Since both cards give the same sign-up bonus and have the same reward structure, which is better?

If you fly Southwest just a few times a year domestically, the Plus card will do the job just fine. If you travel to any of Southwest's international offerings, you'll want the Premier card as it has no foreign transaction fee. It also has a larger anniversary bonus each year, which helps justify the $99 annual fee.

Which Southwest Credit Card is Right for You? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, United MileagePlus Explorer Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

LifeLock Review: Is It Worth It?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Protecting yourself against identity theft seems like it's worth its weight in gold. Do you really get as much protection as you think with services like LifeLock? Find out below.

Last year more than 143 million people had their personal information exposed during the Equifax hack. This demonstrates just one of the thousands of security breaches that happen each year. LifeLock claims to protect your identity from these types of incidents beyond what a basic credit freeze offers.

LifeLock claims to monitor more than just your credit. They monitor the dark web, unauthorized address changes, online scams, and public records. The depth of the monitoring you get depends on the chosen plan. LifeLock also offers identity theft restoration services and 24-hour customer service.

With a LifeLock membership, you can monitor one driver's license number and Social Security number. But you can monitor up to 10 credit cards and/or bank accounts. You may also enter up to five home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Who Is LifeLock Best For?

  • If you are at high risk for identity theft: Consumers who aren't proactive in their attempts to protect identity theft may benefit from the service. While LifeLock can't prevent identity theft, it can alert members of a breach. Think of it like an alarm system. The crime has been committed, but now you can attempt to minimize the damages.

  • If you don't know how to recover from identity theft: Identity theft is overwhelming. Victims must take several steps to stop the perpetrator from doing more damage. There could also be damages that must be undone, such as unauthorized accounts opened in their name or fraudulent use of medical insurance/benefits. LifeLock's bread and butter is their restoration services, helping victims put their lives back together.

  • If you don't regularly check your credit and/or financial accounts: Checking your credit reports, monitoring bank statements, and watching your credit card accounts is time-consuming. If you aren't vigilant about watching these accounts, LifeLock may give you a little peace of mind knowing you may receive an alert if something is amiss.

Why We Like LifeLock

  • Learn of a breach early: There's no foolproof way to prevent identity theft or fraud. What LifeLock offers, though, is quick notification of certain adverse actions on your accounts. This gives you the chance to try to minimize the damages before they get out of hand.

  • Restoration services help repair the damage: After you experience identity theft or fraudulent account activity, LifeLock's agents offer their services in fixing the problem. They may not be able to fix everything, but having their expertise on your side may help.

  • Reimbursement for loss funds: Each of LifeLock's plans offer coverage, similar to an insurance policy for lost or stolen funds. However, their reimbursement is subject to many restrictions, especially if another insurance policy or financial institution will cover the loss.

  • User-friendly platform and app: Members can access the LifeLock member portal on their PC, laptop, or mobile device. In the platform, members have access to their account information as well as all alerts, whether critical or non-critical. Members can view the alerts at their leisure and determine what/if anything they must do.

  • Multiple alert options: LifeLock offers several alert options to make sure you are aware of a potential situation. They offer alerts via phone, email, and text. You can also customize the alerts you receive, changing thresholds for various accounts based on your needs.

  • 24/7 customer service 365 days a year: LifeLock representatives are available for questions and concerns 24/7 every day of the year. However, any restoration services are only available during business hours.

  • Lost Wallet Protection: Losing your purse or wallet may put you at risk for identity theft and/or credit card fraud. LifeLock offers assistance in handling the tasks necessary to stop anyone from using the lost information. They include this service in all 3 plans.

  • Scans a trillion data points regularly: LifeLock claims to scan a trillion data points daily. The exact data points they scan will determine how well it protects you. However, it's likely more than you would scan yourself, and even a small bit of protection may help.

  • Monitors accounts rather than freezes them: A credit freeze prevents thieves from accessing your credit information moving forward. If you were already hacked, though, the criminals have what they need. Monitoring may help alert you of any new activity even after you freeze your credit.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Only one credit bureau monitored with the first two plans: You have to pony up and pay for the most expensive plan to get monitoring of all three credit bureaus. Since not all companies report to all three bureaus, you may not have the protection you need.

  • Limited coverage guarantee: Despite their million dollar coverage guarantee, there are many limitations. If your identity is stolen or accounts hacked into, it must be due to some failure or defect on LifeLock's behalf for the guarantee to take effect. If LifeLock did what they promised and you still got hacked, the guarantee may not apply.

  • No family plan: If you want to protect more than one family member, such as a spouse or child, you have to pay for separate plans. This could get costly depending on how many family members you want to protect.

Plans

All plans include the following:

  • Dark web monitoring
  • LifeLock Privacy Monitor
  • Notification of unauthorized address changes
  • Lost Wallet Protection
  • Alerts for Social Security number breaches

In addition to the basic features, LifeLock has three tiers to choose from:

  • LifeLock Standard: As the cheapest plan available, this plan monitors one credit bureau and provides up to $25,000 reimbursement for stolen funds.

  • LifeLock Advantage: The mid-plan still only monitors one credit bureau, but they also provide the credit score from that bureau. It also offers bank account and credit card monitoring and notifications of data breaches. LifeLock will also provide crime reports for your area and report on any fictitious identity issues.

  • LifeLock Ultimate Plus: The largest plan offered provides all of the above benefits, plus monitoring of all three credit bureaus with credit scores. You may also request monthly credit scores from one credit bureau; however, it is the Vantage 3.0 score, not FICO. You can also opt to have certain investment accounts monitored and receive alerts of bank account takeovers. LifeLock also provides priority customer service for Ultimate Plus members.

Keep in mind: LifeLock does not do business with all banks, credit card companies, or financial institutions. Their scans may miss issues with specific companies if they are not within the LifeLock network.

Customer Service

LifeLock's customer service seems to be where they shine. With accessibility around-the-clock, either on the phone or online chat, customers can ask questions and address concerns any time of day or night. If you experienced identity theft of credit card fraud, you'll need to wait until business hours to secure any restoration services, though. Chances are this is due to the representative's need for access to the bank and credit card companies that operate during business hours.

LifeLock also offers a breadth of customer service options online. Their member portal is user friendly and provides all up-to-date information about your account statuses. Their website also offers a multitude of resources that may either answer your question or help you figure out what to do next.

Customer Service Phone Number: 1-800-416-0599

How to cancel: If you obtained your LifeLock service directly from LifeLock, call 1-800-LIFELOCK (543-3562). You can also cancel via your member portal. If you obtained the service through a third-party, you must contact the third-party to cancel.

How It Compares

  • Identity Guard: With Identity Guard, you get basic identity protection with the exception of driver's license number monitoring. They offer a breadth of services that monitor what happens on your accounts, but they lack the restoration services needed to pick up the pieces. Their customer service is more of an "advice line" than professionals fixing the problem.

  • ID Shield: With ID Shield, you get a $5 million guarantee if your identity is stolen, and you can monitor up to 2 adults and 8 children on one plan. However, they only monitor one credit bureau (TransUnion), no matter which plan you choose. In the event that your identity is stolen; however, you have access to private investigators who also help you restore your identity and/or accounts.

  • IdentityForce: With IdentityForce, you get more than financial protection. They monitor social media sites, blogs, and court records too. Their most basic plan includes most everything LifeLock's most expensive plan offers. However, they do not offer a family plan.

Bottom Line

So is LifeLock worth it?

If you are willing to pay for credit monitoring because you won't do it yourself, it may give you a little more protection against identity theft. Keep in mind that there's no way to completely prevent someone from stealing all or part of your identity. If you are not proactive in keeping your passwords secure and monitoring your accounts on a regular basis, it might be worth the peace of mind to know when something is amiss.

LifeLock Review: Is It Worth It? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Best Free Checking Account for 2018 - The Simple Dollar

Best Free Checking Account for 2018 - The Simple Dollar


The Simple Dollar

Free checking accounts used to be commonplace, but as banking has grown more sophisticated it's also gotten more expensive. The Internet, though, has made

4 QuickBooks Online Tips to Simplify Tax Season for Business Owners

by Stacy Kildal @ Fundera Ledger

QuickBooks Online contains lots of little ways to make tax season simpler for business owners. And in this crazy-busy time […]

The post 4 QuickBooks Online Tips to Simplify Tax Season for Business Owners appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

H&R Block Tax Software 2018 Review

by Michael Pruser @ PT Money

H&R Block is one of the biggest names in tax preparation, responsible for preparing a whopping 1 out of every 7 tax returns that are filed in the United States. Their huge command of the market is due to the fact that they have both 10,000 physical branches all around the U.S., as well as […]

The post H&R Block Tax Software 2018 Review appeared first on PT Money.

PenFed Credit Union CD Rates, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

by Lindsay VanSomeren @ MagnifyMoney

PenFed Credit Union—also known as Pentagon Federal Credit Union—got its start in 1935. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest credit unions in the country, with over 1.6 million members and $24 billion in assets. While it does offer in-person branches, anyone can also access their accounts online. Like most credit … Continue reading PenFed Credit Union CD Rates, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

The post PenFed Credit Union CD Rates, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

No Fees: Where to Find Free Checking Accounts

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Free checking isn’t dead, but finding an account is not as easy as it used to be. Find out where to go for a checking account with no fees.

An In-Depth Review of Ally Bank’s Rates

by Sarah Li Cain @ MagnifyMoney

Since it spun off from General Motors auto financing in , Ally Bank has proved to be one of the best online-only banks in the industry. Like most online-only banks, Ally charges minimal fees for deposit accounts and requires low or no minimum balances. Rates on Ally’s checking, savings, CD and money market accounts are … Continue reading An In-Depth Review of Ally Bank’s Rates

The post An In-Depth Review of Ally Bank’s Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

X checking from Bank X - Banking for Your Active Lifestyle

X checking from Bank X - Banking for Your Active Lifestyle


Bank X

X checking from Bank X offers simple checking and free online banking without fees. Bank real. Bank X.

TurboTax 2018 Review | Popular Online Tax Software

by Emily Guy Birken @ PT Money

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax preparation software programs out there and for very good reason. It offers a step-by-step process for preparing your taxes so you can rest assured that every I is dotted, every T is crossed, and every eligible deduction is taken. They take care of yearly tax updates, making […]

The post TurboTax 2018 Review | Popular Online Tax Software appeared first on PT Money.

7 Best Online Checking Accounts in 2018 | MagnifyMoney

7 Best Online Checking Accounts in 2018 | MagnifyMoney


MagnifyMoney

You don't have the bank the old way with fees and taking trips to a local branch. These 5 best online checking accounts can change the way you handle money.

Free Online Checking Accounts [Stop Paying Fees] | PT Money

Free Online Checking Accounts [Stop Paying Fees] | PT Money


PT Money

This is my master list of free online checking accounts. Get my top pick for the best free checking account. Checking should be free--no bank fees.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Review: GS Bank Takes on Online Savings, CDs, and Personal Loans

by Lindsay VanSomeren @ MagnifyMoney

Most Americans probably think of fancy white-collar stock traders on Wall Street when they think of Goldman Sachs, a global investment firm that’s been around since the late 19th century. In recent years, Goldman made a major pivot, launching a new arm of the company called GS Bank, which would provide internet-only savings accounts to … Continue reading Marcus by Goldman Sachs Review: GS Bank Takes on Online Savings, CDs, and Personal Loans

The post Marcus by Goldman Sachs Review: GS Bank Takes on Online Savings, CDs, and Personal Loans appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Basic Business Checking - BofI Federal Bank

Basic Business Checking - BofI Federal Bank


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The Basic Business Checking account from BofI Federal Bank is ideal for small, growing businesses looking for a simple, straightforward checking solution.

Review of Barclays Online Savings and CDs

by Lindsay VanSomeren @ MagnifyMoney

Barclays is one of the largest and oldest banks in the world. In fact, it’s even older than the United States itself, having been founded by two London bankers in 1690. It’s been chugging along ever since, and while it’s still headquartered in the UK, they’ve branched out to become a multinational corporation with operations … Continue reading Review of Barclays Online Savings and CDs

The post Review of Barclays Online Savings and CDs appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Account Update Dec., 1st

by GAFCU Admin @ Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union

We have lowered our minimum balance requirement from $175 to $100 for all accounts that previously had a $175 minimum balance requirement, such as our primary savings, business savings and some of our checking accounts. These new changes will help keep more funds in your pocket to help you take care of other important things … Continue reading Account Update Dec., 1st

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Everyday Banking: Checking & Savings | BECU

Everyday Banking: Checking & Savings | BECU


BECU

Great rates + no hidden fees = a better way to bank. Our personal checking and savings accounts offer benefits most traditional banks just can’t. Learn more here.

Citi ThankYou Points: Rewards Review

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Dylan Y) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Learn what is ThankYou Points and how much a point is worth. Read this review to find the best ways to earn points fast and how to redeem for best value (including the top Citi transfer partners).

Citi ThankYou Points

If you're considering signing up for a ThankYou Rewards card, you're probably wondering how much its rewards will be worth. Between Citi's roster of rewards cards and redemption options, finding the answer can be a little overwhelming.

So, to simplify your search, we're breaking down the value of Citi ThankYou Points and the cards that earn them. Read on for a full review of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.

How Much Are Citi ThankYou Points Worth?

In terms of redemption options, here's how much your points will be worth:

  • Book travel through Citi: 1.25 cents per point with the Premier and Prestige (or 1 cent per point with the Preferred)
  • Gift cards: 1 cent per point (or less)
  • Shopping: 1 cent per point (or less)
  • Shop through Amazon: .8 cents per point
  • Statement credit: .5 cents per point
  • Cash back: .5 cents per point
  • Transfer to an airline or hotel partner: 1:1 ratio or less

Note: The points and redemption values are based on November 2017 data. Redemption options and value can change at any time.

Beyond redeeming points, each ThankYou Rewards card earns points differently, so the value of your ThankYou points will depend, in part, on how you earn them.

Citi ThankYou Rewards Cards

Citi's ThankYou rewards cards vary in terms of annual fees, bonus spending categories, redemption options, and perks.

  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards: The Citi ThankYou Preferred is a no-frills, straightforward card for people who want to earn rewards without the hassle of activating rotating bonus categories. It doesn't come with the valuable redemption options of the Premier or Prestige, but it also doesn't come with an annual fee.

  • Citi ThankYou Premier: The Citi ThankYou Premier might be better suited to you if you travel, dine out, or go to live events often. It's a mid-range rewards card with a nice array of travel perks and protections.

  • Citi ThankYou Prestige: The ThankYou Prestige is a high-end option geared towards people who like to travel on points. It comes with a sizeable annual fee and a long list of valuable travel benefits, perks, and protections.

Best Way to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

  • Earn a sign-up bonus. If you're looking to apply for a new card, your best bet to rack points up quickly is to meet your new card's spending minimum and qualify for its sign-up bonus.

    If you're considering signing up for a new credit card, it might be worth waiting until a big promotion comes along. Without those extra points, the Citi cards are significantly less competitive compared to other travel credit cards.

Tip: You can also earn extra points by taking advantage of your card's bonus spending categories or by linking a Citibank checking account and completing qualifying activities.

Best Way to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

Most redemption options will give you a value of 1 cent per point, including redeeming points for online shopping, statement credit or cash back, and donations. A more valuable option: using your points for travel.

  • Redeem points to book travel
    When you use your points to book travel through Citi - including airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages - you'll get the standard 1 cent per point redemption value. But you'll get a better redemption rate with the Premier and Prestige: the Premier's points will redeem for 1.25 cents each, and the Prestige's points for 1.33 cents each.

    You can make your reservations through the ThankYou Service Center or thankyou.com, with no blackout dates, minimum stay requirements, or seat restrictions. As a bonus, you'll still earn points on award flights bookings.

  • Transfer your points.
    You won't always get the best deal on travel through the ThankYou Travel Center, but you can also use the Premier or Prestige to transfer your points to Citi's airline, hotel, and retail partners.

    With Citi, you can transfer your points to Hilton Honors at a 1:1.5 ratio, or to most airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. That might make Hilton sound like a better deal, but their high rates for award rooms means that transferring to an airline partner might actually give you better value.

Tip: You can combine your points with any other ThankYou rewards account - even ones that aren't in your name - but remember that shared points will expire 90 days after the transfer date.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

If you carry the ThankYou Preferred, you'll be able to transfer your points to jetBlue TrueBlue at a 1,000:500 ratio. Otherwise, you can use your Premier or Prestige card to transfer your points to any of Citi's airline and hotel partners, although you won't get a 1:1 ratio with all of them.

Citi's travel transfer partners include:

  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • Hilton Honors

Search around for a transfer partner that offers a valuable award flight for your trip, and you'll likely be able to get more value out of your points than you would by booking travel directly through Citi.

The Bottom Line

The value of your ThankYou points will depend largely on which card you use, how you use it, and how you redeem your points.

If you're looking for straightforward rewards with no hassle - and no annual fee - then the Citi ThankYou Preferred might be for you.

But, if you don't mind paying an annual fee in exchange for better rewards and perks, then the Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi ThankYou Prestige is probably a better fit. Either will come with a higher rewards rate, better perks, and more transfer partners.

Citi ThankYou Points: Rewards Review appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citi.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, Citi Prestige® Card, and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Credit Card Offers

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Anna G) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Capital One is offering lucrative promotions for new credit card applicants. Which deal is right for you? Read this in-depth guide.

Capital One credit cards don't seem to get as much attention as other cards. But there are some excellent promotional bonus offers. And Capital One has an option for almost everyone, no matter what your credit is.

Capital One Promotions

Read on for the list of current card promotions for new applicants. Apply for a new Capital One credit card from this list and make the qualifying purchases within the specified timeframe to get the bonus promotion.

Tip: Have an existing balance to transfer? Read this Capital One balance transfer guide before you apply.

Cash Rewards Cards

Travel Reward Cards

Fair/Limited Credit

Bad/Limited Credit

Student Credit Card

In-Depth Guide to Capital One Credit Cards

Which Capital One Deal Is Right for You?

To pick the right card for you, consider the following factors:

  • Your credit score: The good thing about Capital One is that they offer credit cards for a range of credit scores. Your credit score will largely determine what card you're able to quality for. Below, we tell you the credit qualification for each card.

  • Annual fee: How often will you use your new Capital One card? Cards with annual fees usually offer more rewards or benefits. But before you apply for the credit card, think: will you realistically earn enough in rewards to make up for the expense?

  • Cash back vs travel miles: Cash back will allow you to use the rewards however you like. But if you like to travel, Capital One's travel reward cards allow you to earn miles for travel purchases and offer great travel benefits.

Tip: One thing we really applaud Capital One for is that they NEVER charge a foreign transaction fee. Many other banks charge a 3% fee for purchases made outside of the US. Capital One does not do this, so you can travel abroad with any of their cards.

Capital One Credit Card Offers for New Applicants

New Application: Before you apply for a new Capital One card, here are some things you need to know.

  • You can see which cards you're pre-approved for on Capital One's website.
  • You can only have 2 personal Capital One cards at a time.
  • You will not be matched to a higher bonus if a better offer comes along after your application. Make sure you're applying when the bonus is the biggest.
  • Capital One business cards do show up on your personal credit report as well.
  • Capital One does a hard pull from all 3 credit bureaus when reviewing your application.

We'll make your decision simpler with side-by-side Capital One offers comparisons below.

Earn Cash Back: Capital One Quicksilver Cards

If you'd prefer cash back, Capital One has two options: Quicksilver and Quicksilver One.

Both cards offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The difference is that they cater to people with different credit ranges.

  • Capital One Quicksilver (read review) is for those with excellent credit. It has a sign-up bonus of $150 if you spend $500 within three months of account opening. It also has a 9-month, 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers (after that, variable APR is 14.24% to 24.24%).

  • In comparison, Capital One QuicksilverOne is for those with fair/average credit. It has no sign-up bonus and no intro APR. There is an annual fee of $39. But it's rare to find a reward card for those with fair credit. You can also get a higher credit line after making 5 monthly payments on time.

    To make up for the $39 annual fee, you would have to spend at least $2,600 in a year ($217/month) on your card. With 1.5% cash back on every purchase, that would equal $39, breaking even.

Travel Rewards Promotions: Venture Cards

If you like to travel, consider one of Capital One's travel reward cards. You earn "miles" that you can use towards any travel purchase on your statement.

Capital One offers two travel reward cards: Venture and VentureOne. Both give you travel miles, but one has more rewards and an annual fee.

  • Capital One Venture (read review) offers 2x miles on all purchases. You get 50,000 bonus miles (equals $500) if you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. There is a $95 annual fee.

  • Capital One VentureOne has no annual fee, but offers less rewards. You get 1.25x miles on all purchases. You get 20,000 bonus miles (equals $200) if you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Another advantage is that it has an intro APR on purchases.

You generally need excellent credit for these travel reward cards.

Tip: Even though the Venture has a $95 annual fee, the much higher bonus and earning power will make it more valuable if you travel often. You will earn more rewards if you spend at least $12,667 a year ($1,056/month) on your card.

If you don't travel often, then consider whether a cash back card (like the Quicksilver) is better since it has no annual fee and gives you 1.5% back (instead of just 1.25x for the VentureOne).

Capital One for Students

Capital One offers the Journey Student Rewards credit card for college students. Having a card in college is great for building credit and covering necessities and emergencies.

It offers 1% cash back on all purchases. And if you pay on time, you can get a total of 1.25% back for the month. This teaches college students to be financially responsible early on.

It has no annual fee. You don't need to have prior credit history, but you may need a cosigner.

Capital One for Limited Credit

If your credit score is less than stellar, there are a couple of options for you too.

  • Capital One Platinum is for those with fair or limited credit. It's usually hard to get a credit card with no annual fee when you have lower credit. So it's great that Capital One provides this option. There are no rewards, though. You can get a higher credit limit if you make 5 monthly payments on time.

  • Capital One Secured may be your only option if you have bad or no credit at all. You need to put down a cash deposit, which becomes the "security." The good thing about Capital One's Secured card is that you may qualify for a higher credit line than your deposit. Depending on your credit history, you may only need to put down a $49 deposit to receive a $200 credit line.

    If you make 5 monthly payments on time, you can get a higher credit line with no additional deposit. There is no annual fee.

Capital One for Small Business

You don't have to be a large corporation to get a business credit card from Capital One. Are you a freelancer? Do you have a side gig?

You spend a lot of money running your business. Why not take advantage of that spend?

Capital One offers several small business cards for cash back and travel miles. Read on for the latest Capital One business credit card promotions.

Business Credit Cards with Cash Back

The Spark Cash has a lot larger bonus and you get more back for each dollar you spend. It's the better choice if your business spends more than $19,000 a year ($1,584/month). You will earn more net cash back even after the $95 annual fee.

If your business is new, you may like the no-annual-fee Spark Cash Select. It has a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months (after that, variable APR is 14.24% to 22.24%), which is great if you don't yet have steady cash flow.

Do you have average credit? Capital One also has the Spark Classic for business owners with lower credit scores. You get 1% cash back on all purchases and there is no annual fee.

Business Travel Rewards

If your business has travel needs, consider one of these travel reward cards instead. Remember, you don't exactly get "miles" to use with airlines. They're more like general travel points that you can apply toward any travel purchase on your statement (flights, hotels, car rentals, taxis, etc.).

Just like their cashback cousins, the Spark Miles is better if your business has higher expenses, while the Miles Select is better for new businesses.

Sign-up Bonus: Making Your Choice

Hopefully, certain bonuses stuck out for you as you looked down this list. Which card is the best fit for you depends on your spending patterns and what you hope to get out of your credit card. As with any credit decision, research is important to make sure you pick the card that's best for your specific financial situation.

Remember: as with all credit card and bank offers, terms and limitations apply.

Capital One Credit Card Offers appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Capital One. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Capital One.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business, Capital One® Platinum Credit Card, and Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Checking Account - Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union

Checking Account - Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union


Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union

Checking account options to fit your needs. Want a teen checking account, college checking account or a higher interest/dividend account? Contact us today!

Checking Accounts - Bank of Internet USA

Checking Accounts - Bank of Internet USA


Bank of Internet USA

From Essential Checking to Rewards Checking, Bank of Internet USA is sure to have a checking account that fits your needs.

Home Chef Review: Is It Worth It?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Almost half of Americans claim to hate to cook. For many, it's due to a lack of time to put together a half decent meal. Perhaps because of this phenomenon, meal delivery services have taken over the radar.

One name you probably hear quite often is Home Chef. Founded in 2013, Home Chef delivers more than 1.5 million meals to doorsteps each month. The perfectly portioned ingredients and colorful recipe cards have wanna-be chefs trying new things.

Is it the right service for you?

What Is Home Chef?

Busy families often resort to frozen food or takeout. While it's convenient, it could be unhealthy and costly. Enter Home Chef, the answer to the desire for a home cooked meal in under 30 minutes. This home meal delivery service promises fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with delicious recipes even the novice can prepare.

Home Chef delivers all of the ingredients necessary to create your chosen meals. However, they don't provide common staples, such as cooking oil, salt, and pepper. You can skip meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe hunting. Home Chef works with high-quality food suppliers and professional chefs to deliver the best ingredients and tastiest recipes.

How Home Chef Works

You can sign up for Home Chef in a few simple steps. You'll provide your email address, food preferences, shipping, and payment information. Based on your preferences, Home Chef then suggests meals for you. But you can choose from the more than 11 options each week based on your family's desires. This offers a great opportunity to try something new. Many families try meals they would otherwise never eat.

You can choose your menu on a weekly basis as long as it's by the deadline. But Home Chef also sets their menus 5 weeks in advance. If you like to plan, you can know what you'll be eating for the next month or so. Their site has a countdown to let you know how many days are left to order from a specific week's menu. Once the deadline hits, the menu is no longer available. However, you can still access their recipes for a few months.

You can also choose to add on smoothie ingredients and/or fresh fruit baskets. You choose the number of servings and the items are added to your order.

Once you choose your meals, Home Chef ships the fresh ingredients and recipe cards right to your doorstep. You get to choose the delivery date so you know when it will arrive.

Once you receive your order, you simply unbox the desired meal and follow the recipe steps. Take note: you'll find a list of "extra" items you need, such as olive oil, salt, and pepper, at the top of the card. You'll also see any special notes titled "Before You Cook." This alerts you of any steps you must take before you start cooking.

Each step in the cooking process is broken down into simple instructions and includes pictures. They even offer a "proper plating" picture so you can replicate the look of the meal as you would see it in a restaurant.

Who Benefits the Most from Home Chef?

Home Chef isn't for everyone, but many people do benefit. If you are too busy to cook anything but frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets or you are sick of takeout, it could be worth a try.

However, if you are the type who follows a strict budget or uses coupons religiously, you might find the price a little much to handle. Home Chef charges customers by the number of servings ordered. However, the smallest quantity you can order is 2 servings. Because they charge per serving, you don't get a price break with the more people you feed.

If you were to shop for the ingredients yourself, the price per serving may decrease with the more mouths you feed. You can either buy in bulk or purchase items on sale. At Home Chef, it could cost as much as $60 for one meal to feed a family of six.

But, for some, the price is worth it. Even though you might spend as much as you would on takeout, you get much higher quality food and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself.

If you have a little time to spend in the kitchen, but less time to meal plan and grocery shop, this service may work well. Keep in mind that while you receive fresh produce and meat, you still have to do a little preparing. Many recipes require you to slice vegetables, chop nuts, and season the meat. Typically, it's nothing too time consuming, but something you should keep in mind.

What Are Your Choices?

Home Chef offers a large variety of options even for those on a strict diet. When you sign up, you can specify any allergies or preferences you have.

After entering your email address, Home Chef asks you a variety of questions:

  • How many meals would you like sent to you each week? (Choose 2-6)
  • How many people will you cook for? (2, 4, or 6)
  • Do you prefer meat, seafood, vegetables? You can choose one, two, or all three options.
  • Do you need a low-calorie or low-carb meal plan?

You can then choose to omit any of the following:

  • Pork
  • Soy
  • Red meat
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Shellfish

Based on your preferences, Home Chef offers a variety of menu options. A few examples of past meals offered include:

  • BBQ-Rubbed Chicken and Cheddar Mac
  • Greek Panko-Crusted Cod with vegetables
  • Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Sauce and Potatoes
  • Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs

The Pros and Cons of Home Chef

Having fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with step-by-step instructions may seem like a dream come true and for some, it is. However, you should know the cons before deciding too.

Pros

  • The recipes are very easy to follow, even if you are not a self-proclaimed chef.
  • You can personalize the options to meet your dietary needs.
  • You can pick and choose the number of meals each week or even skip several weeks at a time.
  • Possibly waste less food, as only the necessary amount of fresh ingredients come in the box.
  • Recipes are categorized by difficulty.

Cons

  • You should be home when the food is delivered, as it's chilled only with standard ice packs.
  • The dietary restriction options don't include vegan or heart-healthy diet options.
  • Single-member households must pay for 2 servings of any meals they order.

How It Compares

Home meal delivery services are quickly on the rise. While Home Chef has been around for almost 5 years, others are popping up all over the internet. They all offer the same idea - fresh ingredients to make restaurant-quality meals in your own kitchen. A few of the options outside of Home Chef include:

Blue Apron
Blue Apron offers a subscription service. You get a box each week unless you cancel your subscription. You choose from the "2-Person Plan" or the "Family" plan. The 2-Person Plan allows you to choose 2 or 3 recipes per week. The Family Plan allows you to choose 2, 3, or 4 recipes per week. They do offer vegetarian plans, but only for the 2-Person Plan. They specialize in unique recipes with new cooking techniques to keep even the most experienced cook learning new things. However, Blue Apron meals tend to take longer to prepare - some even take up to 90 minutes.

Plated
Plated works much the same as Home Chef. You choose your meals from week to week. You can skip weeks, stop delivery altogether, or order as often as you want. They have more than 20 recipes to choose from at a time. They also offer dessert recipe options. You receive most of the necessary ingredients outside of the standard staples you probably have at home. Plated allows you to mix and match the number of servings you get for each meal. This allows some flexibility for entertaining or nights when not everyone will be home for dinner. The food from Plated is often very unique or gourmet, and the recipes can be complicated or time consuming.

Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh provides farm-fresh foods with the option to choose a meat/seafood or vegetarian plan. They also provide a weekly subscription, but you must choose between a plan for 2 or 4 people and 3 or 4 recipes per week. Based on your preferences, Hello Fresh provides you with 15 new recipes to choose from each week. By default, they choose your meals for you, but you have the flexibility to change them if desired. Hello Fresh is a good choice for those who prefer "standard" recipes rather than the more "gourmet" options from other subscription services.

Bottom Line

Home Chef is among the many meal delivery service companies vying for your grocery dollar. They are among the easier meals to prepare, yet they don't lack in sophistication. They are among the services that offer the most options for those on a restricted diet. If you're looking for an alternative to convenience food, this is a great option. You'll create a warm, home-cooked meal for your family with fresh ingredients that will not go to waste.

Home Chef Review: Is It Worth It? appeared first on CreditDonkey

First National Bank

First National Bank


First National Bank

At FNB, get online banking and account opening, mobile banking with CardGuard, and friendly service. Find a location near you today.

Watch Out for This New Tax Scam

by KaToya Fleming @ MagnifyMoney

Tax season can be the most profitable time of year for savvy thieves. And just a week into filing season, the IRS has uncovered a new trick cybercriminals are using to scam you out of your money. The IRS warns tax preparers and consumers about a new scam in which criminals are using consumers’ account … Continue reading Watch Out for This New Tax Scam

The post Watch Out for This New Tax Scam appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Checking Account Information, Features &amp; Tips

Checking Account Information, Features &amp; Tips


Better Money Habits

Learn how to utilize your checking account features with checking account information and tips from Better Money.

The Best Online Savings Accounts in February 2018

by LaTisha Styles @ MagnifyMoney

Updated February 9, 2018 After years of low interest rates, there is a pricing war happening for online savings accounts. Long gone are the days of 0.01% APY. If you are willing to open an online savings account (which is FDIC insured), you can now easily get a 1.50% APY or higher. Interest rates are … Continue reading The Best Online Savings Accounts in February 2018

The post The Best Online Savings Accounts in February 2018 appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Metromile Insurance Review: Is It Legit?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Low-mileage drivers have a pay-as-you-go insurance option with Metromile. Available in 7 states, your premium is based on miles driven plus a base rate.

Metromile puts traditional car insurance to the test for low-mileage drivers. The company recognizes that low-mileage drivers overpay for car insurance. Their solution is a usage-based insurance. They quote drivers a base rate that they determine based on their driving record, type of car driven, and age of the car. This is similar to how other car insurance companies calculate your rate.

The base rate is the only fixed rate. You then pay a premium based on the miles driven. Metromile tracks the miles with their Pulse device, which you place in your car. Each month, Metromile reads the device and bills you for the miles driven.

Who Is Metromile Best For?

  • Occasional drivers: Driving fewer than 10,000 miles per year can provide substantial savings on this pay-as-you-go insurance. If you drive more than 10,000 miles, though, the per mile rate can add up.

  • Tech savvy drivers: Keeping track of your miles driven, gas mileage, or time spent driving is easy with this program. If you keep the GPS activated on the device, you can track your car (ever lost a parked car?) and even get alerts when something is wrong with your vehicle.

  • Drivers who can handle varying insurance bills: Your insurance bill will likely fluctuate from month to month. This means you have to be adaptable. If varying bills drive you crazy or if you are bad at budgeting, it could be hard to keep up with the constantly changing bills.

Why We Like Metromile

  • Rates not based on driving habits: Your rates are not based on how fast you drive or how hard you brake. You know your base rate and your per mile rate upfront. You can even keep track of your miles driven on the app, so you always know where you stand. You can minimize the unpleasant surprises monthly bills sometimes contain.

  • No penalty for occasionally driving more than 250 miles in a day: Driving more than 250 miles in a day won't result in any penalties or large bills. This benefits you if you hit that many miles sporadically, but if it's a regular habit, though, this might not be the right insurance for you.

  • Tech-savvy applications: Savings isn't the only thing Metromile offers. With the Pulse device, drivers can see their speed on trips, how much gas for the trip cost, and even where they parked their car.

  • Get alerts regarding your car's check engine light: The Metromile app helps you decode your check engine light. It also helps you find a mechanic to fix the problem.

  • Full coverage available: You can get as much coverage as you want or as little as your state requires. Metromile offers bodily injury, property damage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, personal injury protection, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

  • Roadside assistance available: If you are stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or broken down car, Metromile offers roadside assistance, such as towing, flat tire help, and lockout assistance. Each policy differs - you must inquire about the services that may pertain to you.

  • Pet protection available: Driving with pets can put them at risk for injury if you are in accident. You can add pet protection onto your insurance, giving you up to $1,000 coverage if your pet suffers injuries in the accident.

  • Privacy control: If privacy is a concern for you, it's possible to turn the GPS locator off the Pulse device. It won't provide you with any of the perks above, such as finding your parked car, but it will still give you the mileage tracker that helps you save on your car insurance.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Claims take a while to process: If there's one common theme about Metromile complaints, it's the speed at which they handle claims. You submit your claim online. Then you are at the mercy of the adjustor or customer service agent to call you when they get to your claim. This could mean waiting days or even weeks for a call back.

  • You drive more than 10,000 miles per year: You don't get to take advantage of the low mileage discount if you drive more than 10,000 miles per year. It might even cost you more to use Metromile if you are not well under the 10,000-mile average.

  • You are on a fixed income budget: Unless you drive the same number of miles every single month, which is unlikely, you'll have varying insurance bills. If you prefer fixed bills that you can predict each month, the pay-for-what-you-drive plan may not be a good fit.

Customer Service

Being just a few years old, Metromile is still trying to figure out the perfect way to handle customer service.

They do offer 24/7 claims service. But this basically means you can file your claim 24/7. You may not hear back from an agent for a while. When they do help you, though, Metromile provides you with a dedicated claims professional who will help you through the claim process. They also help you find repair shops near you to speed up the process.

Recently, Metromile introduced automated claims processing. Not only can you file your claim online, but you can also upload the data from your Pulse device to help process the claim. Metromile states that some claims can even be handled automatically, getting you payment right away. We tend to think this is reserved for very minor claims, but it's a nice feature nonetheless.

Customer Service Phone Number: 1-888-242-5204

Dashboard

Drivers can access information about their driving habits, including miles driven, the cost of routes taken, and gas mileage online. All you need is your ID and password to gain access to this information. Basically, the dashboard provides you with ways to save money. It does not, however, give you any feedback on your driving habits. If money is your main concern, the dashboard serves its purpose. If you want to lower your insurance rates based on your driving habits, you'll need to look elsewhere.

App

The Metromile app does many of the same things as the dashboard. The difference is you have access to the information on-the-go. The app takes things a step further though. It will tell you:

  • Your car's health status
  • Decode any check engine light warnings
  • Send alerts when street sweepers are cleaning the street you are parked on (certain cities only)

How It Compares

Low-cost insurance is something many drivers want. Perhaps Metromile's largest competitor in that arena is Geico. Known for its rock-bottom prices for standard insurance, Geico is a fierce competitor. It's not a pay-as-you-go policy, though. You pay the same premium every month based on your individual factors. But those rates are among the lowest in the industry.

Unlike Metromile, Geico offers discounts for various things aside from the multi-vehicle discount, such as:

  • Safety features on your vehicle
  • Good driving habits
  • Defensive driving classes
  • Customer loyalty

Geico is also available in all 50 states, whereas Metromile is still only available in 7 states. Metromile does have a "waiting list" on their website that you can sign up for. You will then be alerted when the insurance is available in your area.

Geico has been around for 80 years and Metromile is still in its infancy, barely hitting 5 years on the market.

If saving money is your main concern, Geico takes the cake for high-mileage drivers and Metromile has a slight edge for low-mileage drivers, assuming you aren't eligible for many other discounts.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, if you don't drive often, Metromile may save you money every month. City dwellers who drive only a few miles at a time see the greatest results. Metromile makes it very convenient to use their insurance and service with one simple device to plug into your car.

We suggest determining how many miles you drive on average per year and compare your cost with standard insurance policies. If you are close to the 10,000-mile threshold, you may want to consider other options. If you are on the other spectrum, though, paying only for what you use could come in handy.

Metromile Insurance Review: Is It Legit? appeared first on CreditDonkey

The Summit Account | Aspiration

The Summit Account | Aspiration


Aspiration

With Summit you can earn more with a high interest rate, gain peace of mind with no monthly service fees and get free access to any ATM in the world.

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