If you are someone who travel a lot, you should sign up for an airline credit card that offers the frequent flyer miles program. Airline credit card like the Delta credit card, will reward you with a good sign up bonus if you fly regularly. Examples of bonuses that you can get are free baggage, and boarding privileges.
Accumulating the points or perks enables you to redeem bonuses provided that you meet the minimum spending limit within a specified time frame. The time frame for you to meet the minimum spending level is usually a period of 3 – 6 months. It is best that you start with an airline credit card with low spending minimum. You don’t want to sign up with a credit card that has a high spending minimum that you can’t meet. The point here is to spend just the minimum requirements to redeem the frequent flier miles. If you spend more, it is no longer free to get the points.
There is a potential to earn 1 – 5 points for every single dollar spent at the selected store. Most of time, you only earn 1 point for every dollar you spent by you may earn even more points if you buy air ticket from the airline company that issues the credit card. They may also let you earn more points when you spend money on selected brands name products. If you manage to accumulate enough points, you can take advantage of benefits for example airport lounge, and free Wi-Fi onboard the airplane.
The general travel credit card also allows you to redeem flyer miles with the points you earn from your purchases. Additionally, the accumulated points on the travel credit card can also be used for redeeming free rental cars and other types of travel services. Other benefits that you will get from a travel credit card are travel insurance, zero foreign transaction fee, and concierge services. Many travel credit cards allow you to earn cash back rewards that can help you to save money. The only thing is that you must know how to use the credit card to spend money in a way that can help you to efficiently reap the rewards it offers.
Hotel credit cards works similarly like airline credit cards, will let you earn certain amount of bonus points when you meet the minimum spending level within a period of 3 months. You will get to earn points when you spend money at the hotel or from shops located outside of the hotel. The points you accumulate on a travel credit card can be used for redeeming bonuses such as free upgrades to the room, and getting a ticket to the breakfast for free.
In conclusion, you should get a travel or airline credit card if you travel overseas regularly every year This allows you to take advantage of the rewards while you spend money on your travel expenses. The travel perks you get from the travel credit card will make your traveling safer and more comfortable.
When it comes to obtaining funds during an emergency personal loans hands down beat out credit cards. With credit cards you are paying for a higher interest rate in most cases largely due to the fact that credit cards are not meant for planned spending. Credit cards also often have hidden charges and fees. With a personal loan there is a fixed interest rate. Personal loans also feature fixed terms, you always have a set payment per month and always have a date when you are sure the debt will be completely paid off. Also with personal loans you are planning to borrow in advance so you can shop around for a loan that fits your unique financial situation. You can shop around for the best possible rates and you can pay closer attention to what fees may come with the loan.
Personal loans however do have their downsides, lenders like to use a few tricks to maximize the amount of money they can make off the loan they provide to you. I will discuss some of the common pitfalls and tricks lenders use when it comes to personal loans. These are not always buried in fine print either, in fact your lender may even tell you upfront by try and convince you that you either need it or that is is for your own protection. Here are four tricks that lenders often use, once you learn what these terms are you can better decide for yourself if you need them or not.
Lender often try and push loan insurance on you. This loan insurance will be in one or two forms or both. The first form of loan insurance is life insurance, meaning that if you die your family is not responsible for the debt. This is usually a very bad deal, if you are that concerned about life insurance go buy a real life insurance policy as it will be good for more than excusing just one debt. The second form of insurance they try and push on you is unemployment insurance. People can and do benefit from this insurance but you will need to weigh several factors such as the cost versus the likely hood that you may lose your job.
This is an all around bad deal, to put it simply do not go for this. What it does is it is basically a very complex way of calculating interest. Your interest rates are higher at the beginning of your loan and taper down as the length of the loan progresses. If you pay of your loan early you will be paying more interest. If you take the full term of the loan to pay if off than there is no difference in your overall paid interest. This form of calculating interest basically charges you more interest up front and results in higher payments at the beginning of the loan. if your lender calculates your interest using the “pre-compute” method I would advise walking away from that loan and finding a loan elsewhere.
You cant avoid paying this fee but you may be being charged a high origination fee. You need to compare the APR of all of your loan offers along with the interest rates of the loans. APR always includes the origination fee. Understanding what fee you will be paying is crucial when you are loan shopping. This fee is deducted from your loan amount as well so be sure to factor that in when deciding how much you intend to borrow. I should also point out that you do not receive a refund of this fee if you happen to pay off the loan early.
Personal loans are better than breaking out your credit cards when it comes to major spending or expenses. That being said you should be aware of these pitfalls and shop around for you loan carefully. Compare loan offers and their APR. Whatever you do, do not jump on the first offer to come your way. Do your research and pick out the best possible loan for yourself.
Do you feel trapped by your student loan rates? Does your student loan have a variable interest rate that just seems to keep going up? Or do you have multiple student loans or other loan programs? There is one option that sadly very few students ever consider, and that option is consolidating your student loan debt or refinancing it. One big reason to consider this option is for those with a variable interest rate you could get a fixed interest rate versus a variable interest rate or multiple interest rates in the case of those with more than one student loan outstanding.
How do you know if that’s the right option for you? Well you need to do the math and crunch the numbers and compare them with some offers for one. A consolidation calculator can help out greatly, there are many available online to choose from. If you can get a loan offer with rates or rather an APR lower than your current student loan or loans you could save greatly on your monthly payments and have more money per month left over to live on every month. Student loans can be crippling to our finances, and any tool available that helps reduce that burden is well worth looking into. There is no guarantee that you will find a consolidation loan with better rates but it is indeed worth looking into.
When you apply for a consolidation loan you are going to need all your facts and figures handy, your student loan numbers and the amounts that you owe on your loans, and what interest rates you are paying, as well as the duration of your current loans. No one loan consolidation company is better than another, with that being said they do have incentives to offer you a better rate, they are in the business of consolidating loans and no one ever consolidates to pay a higher rate. The only possible stumbling block that you could face is if you mismanaged your credit score, in which case you may need to spend the next 12 to 24 months fixing your credit score.
If you have a federally guaranteed loan you can still go for a consolation of your existing loans. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has implemented a new Direct Consolidation Loan application process. Go to www.StudentLoans.gov and sign in to begin the new consolidation process. Private student loans can still go through the normal consolation loan process route.
I should also point out that as far as the banks go they do have some requirements as well. For example most banks require a minimum of 640 credit score (FICO not Vantage), a 45% maximum monthly Debt-to-Income Ratio, as well as a minimum monthly gross income of $2,000. If you are still in school you need a certificate of enrollment.
If you have no idea on where to start looking for student loan consolidation lenders I will provide you my top 3 picks below
SoFi – Social Finance
This company refinances both private and federal student loans and they offer 5, 10, 15, 20 year repayment terms along with no origination fees. The reason they are my top pick is that if you become unemployed they stop requiring you pay during that time and they offer help finding you a job.
DRB – Darien Rowayton Bank
This company refinances both private and federal student loans but requires that you be an alumni of a bachelors or graduate degree program.
This company refinances both private and federal student loans. They offer a 0.25% Interest Rate Reduction with automatic payments via ACH and No origination fee or prepayment penalties.
2015 is likely to be a year that in the United States will likely see a push by consumer and civil rights groups to changed current legislation in payday lending. It is predicted that these groups aim to follow suit with the U.K’s current policy & legislation. The United Kingdoms Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which is an independent financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, but operates independently of the United Kingdom government proposes payday loans cap of 0.8% per day. The plan for the U.K at least is to cap payday loans so that no borrower will have to pay back more than twice what they borrowed. The U.S like the U.K is increasingly taking a second look at the payday loan industry at what many political leaders call predatory lending.
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said “Right now, I just came out of a hearing on payday lending,” , Warrens top target at the present is combating payday lenders who charge typically poor to middle class Americans upwards of 700% or higher interest rates, trapping borrowers in a non stop cycle of re-rolling loans over and over, trapping them further into debt. Senator Warren is however worried about the current state of congress, stating before the republican take over of the senate and congress that “If Republicans get in charge of the Senate,” says Warren, “a hearing like that has no chance of happening. They’ll get to roll over the issues of importance to the American people.”
One area of payday lending that Democrats agree on is stopping the Payday loan industries preying on the military. The Obama Administration is seeking to shut down loop holes in the 2007 Military Lending Act, which was passed to protect service members from abusive and predatory payday lending practices that were targeted at U.S service members. The payday loan industry was quick to react to the bill using creative methods to bypass every aspect of the law. Payday lenders have been bypassing the military’s 36 percent interest rate cap using clever loopholes to get around the current rate cap. The Department of Defense or DoD is seeking on capital hill to have these loopholes closed. According to the CFPB or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Lenders have been getting away with charging service members upwards of 500 percent interest, which is 464% more than the current law allows. The lenders simply tweaked their products with minor changes in the wording and paper work to bypass the law entirely.
Republicans are more likely to be resistant to any changes in payday lending practices. Thom Tillis who succeeded in his run for U.S. Senate in North Carolina supported the easing of restrictions on military lending and has hauled in an extremely generous amount of campaign contributions from the financial services industry. Jordan Shaw who is his campaign manager stated that “wanted to make sure that people still have these loans as an option.” Yet it is clear that on both the state and federal level in North Carolina the payday loan Industry owns the politicians of that state. In North Carolina in 2011 the payday loan industry succeeded in a push by financial services lobbyists to ease interest rate restrictions.
While on the Federal level the industry has been facing more regulation due to efforts by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sadly the payday loan industry has been buying state level politicians votes thanks to vigorous financial services lobbyists. The payday loan industry has been targeting the laws affecting their lending practices on the state level and have been succeeding at this level, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina have eased financial regulation laws in favor of the payday loan lenders.
Not much Federal legislation may pass in 2015 regarding payday lending, but the FTC is closely working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure that consumers are protected in the financial marketplace from abusive practices by payday loan lenders. Many private consumers rights groups are joining the fight and this could force the hand of politicians much like it did in the U.K in 2014. Americans for Financial Reform and the more than 100 consumer, civil rights, labor and community organizations are urging the federal government and state governments to do sweeping reforms to the industry. In particular the groups aim to curb or abolish pre-authorized payment methods that are used to collect on payday loans such as post dated checks , the electronic equivalent known as direct ACH debiting of checking accounts and any other automated repayment methods which trap Americans and ensure that no matter what the loan writer gets paid even when the loans cannot be repaid. One of the main issues on these private rights groups and on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to force the payday loan lenders to better underwrite these loans with an ability to repay rule as well as placing caps on the APR these lenders may charge. Any such legislation however must be carefully worded to avoid any loopholes as the payday loan industry is infamous for exploiting and creating loopholes to defeat the spirit of any law meant to curb their unfair lending practices.
This article was updated March 16, 2017 to fix the broken links
The holiday for many are a time of great joy, happiness and gathering together with loved ones and family. While most of us absolutely love the holidays, the holiday season, especially Christmas can bring a lot of stress. Weather it is dealing with hosting the family get together, holiday shopping, planning that perfect meal, or dealing with estranged loved ones the holidays can be packed with stress. We will discuss a few ways to relieve the holiday stress this season.
For those who have financial burdens this Christmas that might be effecting your holiday budget never fear there are ways to ensure you provide some really awesome gifts that will not break your budget. When it comes to gifts you can always think small. Buying several small gifts can allow you to better suit a loved ones personality and interests as well as prolong the gift opening process. A gift bag or basket can be used to wrap up several small gifts such as snacks or nic nacks and other gifts that do not cost a fortune. Home made gifts can be a great alternative as well to store bought gifts, all it takes is a little imagination and maybe a trip to your local craft store.
For those whose finances are not that bad off but still get stressed over dealing with Christmas shopping, weather it be due to worrying about spending to much money or dealing with the huge crowds that we often face when deal hunting never fear there are ways to work around all of these problems which can greatly relieve the stress. The first thing you need to do is write out a list of who is receiving gifts this year and also plan a gift budget which will work with your unique financial situation. Once your list is finished as well as your budget you can then start to shop. You do not need to brave the crowds and hectic shopping this year. One option is if you have a rewards credit card that offers gift certificates to cash out some rewards points for gift certificates or other rewards. You can also score the exact same sales as the hectic stores or even score lower prices by shopping online from the comfort of your own home or even in your pajamas if that’s what you want. Better yet you can often score free shipping even in these hard financial times.
As far as the mental stress goes this holiday season there is something you can do to reduce the overall stress you experience. Exercising according to studies and will boost not only your overall health but also elevate certain chemicals in the brain which help to alleviate any stress. A rather good work out will cause your body to produce plenty of endorphins, which are your body’s feel good neurotransmitters in your brain. You can also take vitamins believe it or not to help reduce your stress or eat more foods rich in folic acids, B1 and B6. Biotin will help your B complex vitamins do their job better in your body, and pantothenic acid can be taken as your body depletes this when overly stressed. Lastly Vitamin C aids in the production of anti-stress hormones.
You should also quit worrying about what if’s and the future, but instead live in the present. Having a plan, avoiding trying to overspend or borrow money, that could lead to a further financial hole are excellent ideas to help reduce your anxiety and added pressure of the financial challenges many face during the holidays. Spending time dwelling on and focusing on negative things or things you cannot change will just add to your stress. Stress is invented by our own minds and is most often caused by worrying about the future or the past. Just take a deep breath and remember the holidays are not about gifts or food but about gathering with those we love.
Many people stress out about having to many social functions to attend to during the holiday season. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to go to certain functions or events, there is no rule stating you have to attend every single event you are invited to. Remember to take care of your own needs as well this holiday season, spreading yourself out to thin is not going to do you or your stress level any good. Be prepared to send polite declines on your RSVPs if that’s what you need to do, trust me people will understand. If asked why you are not attending said event simply say you have other prior engagements to attend to and that you regret you cannot attend.
Lastly this holiday season take some time out for yourself. Pamper yourself or indulge yourself a little when the stress starts to build. Treat yourself to a special treat or a trip to the spa or a massage. Spend some down time with your friends or family, maybe even get them involved in a fun manner in the holiday preparations as a group activity together to spread the work around and make the experience a pleasant one, such as decorating the house.
In today’s fast paced world there is apps for everything. Financial apps are no exception, and today’s credit savvy customers are using financial apps to make life easier. Here is a list of 7 free and cheap financial apps that can help you to pay bills, save money, compare prices, check your credit score and turn your smartphone or mobile device into a credit card machine.
Mint.com which is available for use on your iPhone, Andriod and iPad helps people budget but so much more than just simple budgeting. Do you forget to make bill payments? worry not with Mint you can get reminders to pay bills, notices about fees, and even warnings if you happen to go over your weekly or monthly budget. Mint can also alert you to unusual charges or large purchases in your name or under your credit, which can help you to protect your personal finances and credit scores. Mint will also analyze your spending habits and accounts to help identify better credit cards or better bank accounts to help you save more money, it can even help save you money on home loans and personal loans. If you need help with investing Mint has these features also by analyzing thousands of checking, savings, credit card, brokerage, CD and IRA rollover offers to find the best suited ones for your lifestyle, spending habits and budget. Are you getting Fee’d to death with your investments? Mint exposes fees that are often hidden on statements or buried in the fine print of investment advisers, brokerages and 401k providers, which helps you to avoid them. Mint itself is free, however they do offer a few optional paid services, but these services will quickly pay for themselves due to the savings and value they pass along.
GasBuddy.com which is available for use Free on your Android, iPhone, BlackBerry helps you to find the cheapest gas anywhere in the United states, from your neighborhood to planning on refueling stops on that cross country road trip you’ve been planing for months. Users of the app are the ones who update the gas prices, and users who update a gas price are eligible for a drawing every week for a $250.00 gas card for the gas station of your choice. Users exchange Exchange 1000 points for each entry, and the prizes are legit. The gas Calculator app will help you save money at the pump.
Keyringapp.com which is available for use Free on your iPhone, iPad, Android, helps you reduce all the store shopper cards, loyalty cards, gym cards, library cards, gift cards, any type of card with a bar code on it. With keyringapp you simply scan the card then when you need to have the card scanned simply log into the app from your smart phone and pull up the card on your phone, no more lugging around 20 different cards weighing you down and destroying your wallet or purse. The app also provides consumers with access to exclusive deals from their favorite retailers and CPG brands.
Squareup.com is changing the world, for the first time the ability to accept credit card payments is available to everyone. This app is available free for your iPhone, iPad, Android. Simply put it turns your mobile device into a credit card reader, there is a small quarter sized plug-in hardware required, but this is free and you just plug it into the standard headset jack of your smartphone or iPad, and you are now ready to accept credit card payments. The app and hardware itself are free, though there is a fee of 2.75% for swiped transactions. If you run a business it is also an app for appointment scheduling to fast deposits and online invoicing.
Loan Shark app, this app works on your iPhone or iPad, if you like myself apply for loans this handy app will calculate the true cost of any loan and provide you all the details. It has many features such as side by side loan comparisons, amortization schedules, a easy to read graph for comparing loan interest and principle. This app even will show you the effect of adding in extra monthly or yearly payments. The app is easy to use and free, but it does have ad-on services that do cost money if you should choose to upgrade to access additional features.
Slice App. This app works with your iOS and Android. If you like myself buy a lot of things online this app will help make your life a lot easier. This app will pull the tracking numbers from your email accounts and send you notifications and tracking info for the delivery of all of your purchases, no more going into endless emails then logging into sites like Fedex and UPS to track your shipments. Slice also alerts you to hazardous product recalls and price drops on the things you like to purchase. It will even tell you when you are eligible for a refund when something you’ve purchased is subject to a price adjustment.
Expensify is an app for travelers and business people, for your iOS or Android. What this app does is to help you keep track of your expenses, and even setting flight alerts so you never miss a flight and this app will automatically convert currency for you while traveling abroad. You can track your mileage with this app, scan your receipts and keep track of both debit and credit card purchases with this app.
Last on our list is the Bloomberg app, which works on your iOS or Android. This handy app will keep track of your investments, you can pull your stock info up at a press of a button, receive fresh updated finance and business news from more than 35 financial categories. This app can even pull your ETFs and mutual funds information so you are never out of the loop when it comes to updated information on your investments and holdings. With this app the entire worlds latest market data of global Equity Indexes, Bonds, Futures, Commodities and Currencies is available at your finger tips.