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|All 3 credit scores free; great value, especially for families; free 14-day trial||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||Free scores from all 3 bureaus||$1,000,000||Free 14-day trial; $10.42/mo for individuals; $20/mo for families (w/ annual prepay)|
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|Many free additional services for the same price as other competitors.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||TransUnion||$1,000,000||7-day free trial; $17.95/month|
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|You can pick and choose the service that fits best with your needs. Affordable and flexible plans. Roadside assistance and shopping discounts also included with some plans.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||Depends on subscription level||$1,000,000||7-day free trial; 3 monthly options with varying services|
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|Access all 3 credit scores free; ID theft services are more inclusive at other companies, but this company excels at credit monitoring and credit report updates.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||Free scores from all 3 bureaus||$50,000||$1 for 7-day trial; $29.95/month|
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|Affordable service with standard service options but less customer service support.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||TransUnion||$1,000,000||7-day free trial; $17.95/month|
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|Comparable to standard services of other providers but higher priced. Less flexibility with plan options.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||TransUnion||$1,000,000||7-day free trial; $29.94/month|
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|Very basic monitoring service. There are more comprehensive products on the market.||Experian||Experian Equivalent||None||Experian's National Equivalency Score provided for Free|
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|Very good service, but you must pay for additional bureaus. Other companies include 3 bureaus as standard for almost the same fee.||Experian - Free. All three bureaus for an additional fee||Experian||$50,000||7-day free trial; $14.95/month|
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|Comprehensive ID protection and credit monitoring service for an affordable price.||All 3 bureaus' reports (Experian, Equifax & TransUnion)||Free scores from all 3 bureaus||$1,000,000||7-day free trial; $19.95/month|
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|A functioning basic product, but for a comparable price or even a few bucks more, there are superior services on the market.||All three bureaus if on full membership||TransUnion||$25,000||7-day free trial; $11.95/month|
A lot of people get offers for a Providian credit card. Providian is one of the companies that offer cards to a very wide range of people. Some credit cards mostly have to be asked for, but this card and credit cards from some other companies are offered to consumers through mailings and Internet advertisements.
These allow a lot more people to get a Providian credit card, and help to make more revenue for the company while helping out more consumers who need credit. One of the ways that this takes places is through the different options that Providian owners can get.
There are cards for businesses, cards for individuals, and cards at different levels of creditworthiness. In other words, people who have credit problems can get a secured Providian credit card, while people with better credit can get a standard Providian credit card or a Platinum card. The variety of options helps to make Providian one of the better all-around choices for credit cards.
The Benefits Of A Providian Credit Card
A Providian card, like some other cards, has a lot of basic benefits. Sometimes, however, the benefits that are offered can change and promotional offers can be found. It is a good idea to check into these and see if there are things that you would be interested in. If you don’t feel the current promotional offer is a good one for you, you might wait a little while, because it will likely change. There are, though, some things that you can generally expect with your Providian credit card:
- No annual fee
- Low introductory rate
- 24/7 customer service
- No liability for fraudulent transactions
- Many different card options
There are also other benefits that come with some of the Providian offers out there. Most of that depends on which card is selected, or which card you qualify for. If you have good credit, there might be several different offers that you can choose from.
How Do I Know If A Providian Credit Card Is Right For Me?
If you are looking for a good quality credit card with basic amenities and good customer service, a Providian credit card might be the right one for you. Keep in mind that there are a lot of credit cards out there, and most of them are similar when it comes to specific areas.
There are, though, differences between them, and these can be significant, depending on what a person is looking for. Researching the Providian credit card is a great way to see what it has to offer, and you can apply online if you want, making the process of getting it even easier.
It has never been easier than it is in the Internet age to apply for credit, and a lot of people are taking advantage of that to get different cards with different benefits suited to their needs. You could make Providian one of your important financial tools.
Credit card rewards points are a great way to earn free travel, electronics and gift cards. But for most people, it takes too long to accumulate points.
A new credit card is guaranteed to be a game changer. It’s called the ePlate Credit Card from Dynamics Inc., which makes next-generation payment cards. ePlate lets you customize rewards packages, earn points faster and even qualify for multiply points instantly. Here’s why it will shake up the credit card industry:
1. Cardholders choose which rewards they want to work towards attaining. Choices include entertainment, travel, groceries, charity, artwork, signed memorabilia and even wild adventures. The best part is, you can earn points for two reward experiences at the same time!
2. ePlate partners with dozens of companies to offer these reward “experiences”. Most offer short-term and long-term rewards to keep you motivated. Since each company is trying to win your loyalty, they require fewer points to cash in rewards.
3. When you charge purchases to ePlate, you will also be entered into sweepstakes that can increase your rewards points up to 19 times the current value. It’s like a free lottery ticket for more points!
There are dozens of experiences tied to ePlate Credit Cards so you can treat yourself, give to others or simply pay for everyday items. You can also choose the CashPerks+ Experience to earn up to 1.25% on all purchases. As an incentive, once you redeem a $50 cash back reward, you can win a random cash back bonus up to 19 times the reward – that’s an additional $950! All it takes is a single purchase to earn rewards:
Instant Rewards with First Purchase:
- Free digital movie rental
- Free credits for online video games
- Free ebook from Bob Mayer, Warren Adler or Twin Sisters children’s books
- Free Upper Deck UD Infinite digital trading card
- Free digital page from a new comic book or Hercules library
You only need to spend $2,500 to earn on-track driving lessons with Skip Barber Racing Experience, a $700 value. You can enter to win a free trip to the Bahamas with a Triton Submarine Adventure or get a $4,000 discount off the price of a Henry Cookson African Safari .
Earn points to get digital and printed artwork, like Michael P. Heslop’s legendary golf oil paintings and whimsical prints from Sheep Incognito. Card members can even select limited edition handcrafted baskets from the Longaberger Rewards Collection.
- MovieTickets – Enter a movie caption game contest to win $10 movie ticket vouchers
- Music – Earn a free album from Katie Armiger or songs from Kidz Bop
- Perfume and cologne – Earn free scents and discounts
- Coffee – Monthly shipments of gourmet coffee or tea
- 1-800-Flowers – Spend $500 and earn $20 voucher for flowers, a 4% reward
Use your rewards to give back, by donating to the World Vision USA which supports 10 worthy causes, Toys for Tots, Amnesty International, or the Warrior Canine Connection which helps veterans with PTSD.
How it Works
Every cardholder picks two reward experiences to collect points. Whether that be a private jet flight or a charitable donation, you choose your experience online and start racking up points.
When you pull out the card for a purchase you get to decide at that moment which reward experience you want to divert the points. Simply press the green button or the blue button on the ePlate credit card to make your selection. The card even lights up to confirm your selection was accepted.
When you earn a digital rewards, like ebooks and music, they will be delivered within seconds. New rewards packages are added all the time, and you can change your rewards program anytime on your smartphone or computer.
Cardholders have two options. The ePlateEZ card has no annual fee and provides access to all the reward experiences offered by Dynamics Inc.
The ePlate® card comes with a $99 yearly upgrade fee which lets you earn rewards twice as fast. Every reward experience can be obtained with half as many points, so it’s up to the consumer if they believe the rewards will make up for the added fee.
The cards are issued by UMB Bank based in Kansas City, Missouri and backed by VISA, so they will be accepted at millions of businesses worldwide.
The company is innovative and responsive. Get this, if you post your rewards on Facebook and Twitter, you can earn additional Dynamic credits and chances to win more free stuff.
Why ePlate is Different
This credit card is responsive to the cardholder at the time of purchase, giving the customer more control over their rewards. That means you won’t waste rewards points by putting them towards a package you can already redeem.
For example: Lets say you are at the mall, and your first purchase on the card to buy workout gear earned you enough points for a $50 gift card for Fresh Direct groceries. On your next purchase, at the shoe store, you can put your points towards a week with a personal trainer.
At the time of this writing, there were nearly 50 rewards packages to choose from. Check out these easy charts to track the most used and highest rated rewards programs, and find new programs.
Dynamics Inc. partners with many reward providers at once, providing short and long term goals for customers. Plus, the company prides itself on innovation. Jeff Mullen, CEO and Founder of Dynamics Incorporated and his team have won numerous awards since its formation in 2007.
- APR on purchases are from 13.99% to 17.99% and varies based on Prime Rate
- APR on balance transfers made within first 60 days is 0% for the first year
- But, there is a 3% fee for balance transfers with a $15 minimum
- APR for cash advances is 24.99% and begin on the transaction date
- And, there is a 3% fee for cash advances with a $15 minimum
- Due date is 21 days after the close of each billing cycle
- Late fees do not exceed $35
- Replacing a lost or stolen card will cost $35
Dynamics calls the credit card a flexible computer platform. The card and the reward buttons are said to last three years on a single battery charge and are waterproof. With so many options and customer control, it sounds like a pretty smart card to us.
Credit card reward points can earn you anything from free airline tickets and hotel stays, to gift cards and electronics. But have you ever heard of one that will help you pay your bills?
Wells Fargo does that with the Home Rebate Credit Card. The Visa backed credit card is designed to help people pay down their mortgage with reward points. So every time you use your card for groceries, gas or new clothes – you invest a little more in your home.
How it Works:
Instead of collecting points to get a free trip or cash back, card members collect rewards to pay down the principal on their home mortgage. Every purchase you make, whether it’s for clothes or school supplies, your cell phone bill or a night out – you will be slowly paying down what is likely your biggest debt.
What’s nice about the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Credit Card, is that rebates are automatically transferred as payments towards your mortgage principal. Every time you earn a $25 cash back reward, it automatically applies that reward towards paying down your principal. Sure, it will take a lot longer to see the impact than saving up points for a new iPod. But, your home is an investment and every little bit helps.
Wells Fargo has a special offer to give new card members 3% back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for the first six months. That can add up quickly! If you spend
$2,500 a month on your card, you will earn $75 a month in rebates. Over six months, that’s $450 that will come off your mortgage principal.
After the first six months, the Home Rebate card offers 1% cash back on all purchases. That will bring you a $25 rebate for every $2,500 you put on the card. While it may sound like something only high rollers do, consider this.
You can pay most of your bills with your credit card to earn more rewards. Think beyond gas and groceries. Think about your utility and cell phone payments, the guy who does your lawn each week, and your daycare. Even magazines and web subscriptions can also earn you rewards. You just have to look around, you’d be surprised by how many places take Visa cards.
Calculate Your Rebate:
Over time, reducing your mortgage principal means you will pay less in interest and may even be able to pay off your mortgage in less time. It’s easy to determine how much you would save based on your current spending habits thanks to this calculator.
Simply type in your estimated mortgage, interest rate and how much you would put on your credit card each month. Ignore the prompts about applying for a loan and just hit the “Calculate” button. It will show you how much you will save in principal and interest rates, as well as how much sooner you can pay off your mortgage.
Wells Fargo provides this example, showing you could pay off a 30 year mortgage in less than 29 years if you charged $2,500 a month to your Home Rebate Card.
+ 6.25% Interest Rate
+ 30 Years
- $298 Annual Rebate
= $24,425 Total mortgage reduction including rebate, principal and adjusted interest
A bonus to the Home Rebate card is that there is no annual fee. However, you will pay a minimum $5 fee for each balance transfer, a minimum $10 fee on cash advances, and up to $35 for late payments. That is pretty standard for rewards cards.
A huge factor people don’t always consider, is the interest rate on the card. With the Wells Fargo Visa Home Rebate Card, new cardholders get 0% Annual Percentage Rate on new purchases and balance transfers for a full year. That’s a big incentive to switch.
After the first year, the card is like most others, carrying an interest rate of 11.15% – 25.99% variable APR based on the Prime Rate. Cash advances start at 23.99% and are based on your credit worthiness.
Who is Eligible:
The Visa Home Rebate Credit Card is offered as an incentive for new Wells Fargo loan applicants, as well as people who currently have Wells Fargo home mortgages. If your loan is through Citibank or another lender you are out of luck. Also, the credit card can not be used with many other Wells Fargo loans like commercial mortgages, HUD second mortgages and reverse mortgages.
Since the Home Rebate card is tied to Wells Fargo and Visa, it comes with extra features for free. Card members can use it with the Visa payWave, which lets you check out faster at the register by just waving your card in front of a special checkout reader. No swiping and no signing.
Card members can also get Wells Fargo Cell Phone Protection when they pay their monthly cell phone bill with their Home Rebate card. If your phone is stolen or damaged you can get up to $600 to replace the phone with just a $25 deductible.
Wells Fargo also provides Rapid Alerts to your phone if there is suspicious activity on your card and Zero Liability if someone uses your card without authorization. Since the Home Rebate card is backed by Visa, you will also get auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch and travel assistance.
Like any legal document, you have to read the fine print to see that if you default on your loan or go into bankruptcy you may be disqualified from the rebate program and forfeit your accumulated rebate. That’s also the case if the bank sells your loan, so make sure you read the Terms and Conditions carefully.
A Solid History:
You may have never heard about the Home Rebate card, but it’s not new. Wells Fargo actually introduced the card back in 2007. Back then, the housing market was starting to nosedive and the bank used it as a way for new mortgage applicants to pay down their loan just a little more each month.
Fast forward six years and the America is on the other side of the bubble. The housing market is starting to recover and more Americans are focused on paying down debt. If the card catches on, it would certainly boost the bottom line for Wells Fargo. The bank claims to issue about 30% of all home loans in the U.S., just imagine if every one of them were also making payments on a Wells Fargo credit card.
For people who love to shop at Macy’s, the store now offers their customers different ways to save with their four Macy’s credit cards. Each credit card has its own benefits and they are based on how much you spend at Macy’s each year.
Special Discount for New Macy’s Credit Card Applicants
As a special incentive to get a Macy’s credit card, the store gives an immediate 15 percent off for shopping privileges. Those who are approved get this discount on the day of approval and the day after. There are some restrictions as to what can be purchased and still qualify for the discount, and it cannot be combined with other special offers. Some items may only have a smaller discount.
The Macy’s Credit Card Is Based On Expenditures
The four Macy’s credit cards are based on how you spend each year in the store. The Red Star Rewards credit card is for those who spend from $0 up to $499 annually. The Gold card is for those who spend between $500 to $999 annually; the Platinum range from $1,000 to $2,499, and the Elite is for shoppers who spend more than $2,500 annually.
There are several benefits of having a Macy’s Credit Card. Card owners receive information about Monthly Savings Events, they can make easy returns of merchandise, and they can also manage their account online, which enables you to make a Macy’s credit card payment at any time.
The Visa Versions of the Macy’s Credit Card
For each of the four types of Macy’s credit cards, there is also a Visa version. You can get the Macy’s Visa Credit Card only by going into the store and applying there. Having the Gold, Platinum, or Elite Visa version of the card gives consumers opportunity to be enrolled in the Star Rewards Plus program. This program enables them to get special offers for travel, entertainment and dining, access to limited edition merchandise, special events, and more.
The Macy’s Credit Card Star Rewards Program
Rewards on the Macy’s Visa Credit Cards are given through the Star Rewards Plus Program. It rewards customers with either $10 (Gold) or $25 (Platinum or Elite) Rewards Certificates, depending on the level of card owned. Certificates can only be redeemed in the store. Points earned on the Visa cards range from one to 3.5 percent per dollar spent, depending on the card owned, and they also earn on point per dollar spent anywhere else.
You can qualify for the Star Rewards Plus Program if you already have either a Gold, Platinum, or Elite Macy’s Visa credit card, and if you have spent more than $500 in the store in a year. You will also need to pass their credit approval.
Get Access to the Macy’s Online Service
Once you have a Macy’s credit card account, you can go online and view your information at any time, including information about charges, payments made, and upcoming Rewards. It will also give you access to the Macy’s credit card customer service, as well as the Macy’s credit card phone number. Paper statements can also be obtained through their Website.
The best way to save on any credit card is to pay it off in full when the bill is received. This will help you avoid extra charges (if paid on time) and interest. The Macy’s credit card charges a standard 24.5 percent interest rate on all its credit cards.
Your net worth is not only a financial status marker, but is also an important symbol of your family’s economic stability and freedom. Between 2007 and 2010, the crux of the recent financial crisis, the average net worth of the American family dropped 40% according to the Federal Reserve. As we climb out of this crisis, it is now more important than ever to recover lost gains and take any steps to immediately increase net worth as we try to rebound over the long term. There are two main ways one can increase net worth: by increasing our assets, such as cash, or decreasing our debts, such as credit card bills. The following tips touch on both of these points to show how to increase net worth right away.
1. Prioritizing Debt Payments & Investing
This will apply to almost everyone. Most households have multiple loans – mortgages, car loans, credit cards or other bills to pay, but with a limited amount of cash to pay them. You need to decide how you will spread that cash to cover these payments and incur the least amount of interest that will be paid. If you have extra cash, you also need to decide whether you will invest this money or use it to pay down outstanding debt. Carefully look at the historical returns for your investments. If you are averaging only 4% return on your investments, but you are paying 5% APR on a car, it would make more sense to pay off your car first because the money you save on interest will be higher than your return from those investments. It’s always best to pay off higher interest loans, such as credit cards, over lower interest ones. This will serve to immediately keep money in your wallet.
2. Refinance Property
You cannot read this fact enough, refinance rates are lower than they have ever been. If you bought your home more than a few years ago and are planning on staying in your home for the next 3-5 years, you need to talk to your mortgage loan officer about getting a better rate. As of 10/25/2012, the average mortgage rate according to Bankrate.com is 3.47%, you can’t beat that. You will have to pay closing fees though, which is why you must decide how long you plan to keep your current home. Your mortgage payment will be lower, immediately adding money back into your wallet.
3. Revisit Taxes
If you find that you are paying too much tax throughout the year and receive a large refund, look into adjusting your withholding. This will provide you with more money every month instead of at the end of the year. You can then make this money work for you more quickly by paying down debts or investing it.
Also, throughout the year you can think about deductions that will reduce your tax liability in April. Some ones you may have missed are: charitable contributions, job search costs, student loan interest, moving cost for your first job, medicare premiums if you’re self employed, child care credit, higher education expenses, state & local taxes, energy saving home improvements, tax and investment expenses.
4. Optimize Insurance Plans
You should routinely be reevaluating your insurance plans, including car, home and health insurance. Recheck rates every year or two for the latest car and home insurance rates. Using an insurance broker may save you time and help you get the best rate.
If you are young and healthy, consider changing your health insurance plan from a low deductible to a high deductible plan. Make sure the high deductible insurance plan covers any major medical expenses that may arise. Chances are you will not only save money in the long run, but you will immediately add money back into your wallet. Take advantage of FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts) if your employer is offering them. Or you can have an HSA (Health Savings Account) if you’re enrolled in a qualified high deductible health plan. In both plans, unused funds carry over through the years, and both have the benefit of offering tax savings on the money contributed to the account.
5. Make a budget
This may be an obvious one, but if you don’t have one by now, create a budget! Mint.com is one place to do just that and it’s free. It’s brought to you by the same company as TurboTax and is really a time saver when it comes to budgeting. You can combine all of your credit cards, bank accounts, and loans in one place to see how much you are really spending each month. It’s important to remember that if you already have a job and have cash flow, the absolute best way to increase your net worth is to reduce your spending!
American consumers are increasingly changing their banks in response to an influx in fees and penalties from big-name institutions. Smaller banks are appealing to many people because they don’t have as many fees, and generally smaller banks offer better customer service. Still, some individuals are apprehensive about switching because their current banks seemingly have them cornered. Without a proper plan, you may be stuck banking with an institution you don’t like. Follow these six steps to make the process of switching banks smoother:
1. Start Shopping
Although you may be comfortable sticking with a big-name bank, you are less likely to incur fees from smaller banks. Such banks might not be as big or have as many locations, but their customer service is sometimes better, and many are still covered by the FDIC. Do your shopping in advance to check out all of the terms and conditions for opening a new account. Common places to look include local banks, credit unions and online banks.
2. Withdraw Cash
Your first instinct might be to close your current account and take all of your money out. While this is the ultimate goal, you first need to make sure you find a new account and get your financial affairs in order. Otherwise, you might miss out on deposits or payments and have to deal with fees on top of bills. Withdraw cash from your current account so that you can pay for the essentials while you are shopping for a new bank.
3. Stop Automatic Payments
Stop automatic bill pay and direct deposit before closing your current account. This will avoid future confusion for parties who regularly give you money or take bills out of your account. Set up an alternative method for paying bills, if necessary, such as money orders, until you have fully switched banks.
4. Open New Account
Once you have stopped automatic payments and direct deposits, it is time to open your new account. Read all of the terms and conditions, and make sure that you are getting the features you were promised by the banker, whether it is a higher interest rate or free checking. Deposit at least the minimum starting balance required.
5. Start Up Automatic Bill Pay
As soon as you open an account at a new bank, you should set up all automatic bill payments that you had with your other account. Failure to do so will likely result in missed payments and late fees, since you are more likely to forget to pay them now that you are doing it manually. Also, contact your employer to set up direct deposit if you prefer it over depositing checks, so that you can receive the money from your paychecks quicker.
6. Close Old Account
Closing an old bank account requires an in-person visit to the bank. If you are really serious about closing it, you should not be dissuaded by a banker at the branch. Ask ahead of time about any fees involved—chances are if you have been charged numerous fees in the past, this bank will charge a closing fee, too. Keep in mind that instances like these are the reason why you’re leaving, so don’t let it hold you back from moving onto a better institution.
Debbie Dragon is a financial writer for MyBankTracker.com, a site that helps consumers compare savings accounts, CD rates, and home equity loans to make informed banking decisions and save money.
Let’s face it, buying a new car can be a confusing process. All anyone really ever wants is to get a good car at a reasonable price. Sadly, this does not always happen. The key to getting the right car for you is determining exactly what you need as well as what you are willing to pay for it. When you can put a scenario together that provides you with a car that will fit into your lifestyle and budget, you’re set.
The value of the car is of course determined by many key factors such as price, potential resale value as well as many different options. However, each person’s view on value can be different so it is important to identify the qualities that you value in a car before you decide to make a purchase. For example, some people may be willing to pay a higher price for a car that has more trunk/cargo space. On the other hand, that may not be as important to some people as things like heated seats and built in navigation. At the end of the day one thing is for sure, getting the things that you value at the right price will determine whether you make the deal or not.
The total price paid over the lifetime of the car is of course a large (arguably the largest) factor, but many people put this out of their mind and only look at the monthly payment. There are some cars, however, that have the reputation of providing high value because of their blend of price and features. Resale value is many times what comes and saves the day, and allows one to purchase a new car with a clear conscience. Purchasing one of the cars listed below will certainly help you get the most out of your dollar, even if you do lose more to depreciation than if you bought used.
The Mini Cooper is thought of as one of the best cars in terms of overall value. With a MINI’s price tag in the mid-to-upper twenties you are sure to get everything you need and more out of this vehicle (including a scolding from your spouse). People speak highly of this vehicle for many reasons: first, the reputation for reliability. Considering it’s a German-made and quintessentially “British” car, some old-school aficionados may consider both a miracle, but it’s true—t he Mini Cooper has been on the roadways for quite a few years now and almost all of them are in as good a shape under the hood and inside the cabin as they were when they were first released. In addition, the Mini has a few standard options that make it stand out from the pack in this price range. Not to mention the interior—if you’ve never sat in a Mini, you’re in for a treat.
Second, the Volkswagen Golf is another car that is well thought of in terms of value. The Golf is priced around the mid $20,000s. It has been long considered one of the best resale value German cars, and sells for a very reasonable price used. The most liked attributes? The utility of the hatchback, the reliability of German engineering and the fun-to-drive nature of the chassis. These are important factors, and can give you peace of mind that you will be able to sell your Golf down the line.
The classic example? The Honda Civic. It has long been long thought of as a vehicle with very high value both new and used. Civics have been in production for decades for a few reasons. Central amongst those reasons is because they last. The Honda Civic is synonymous with reliability. If you buy a Civic you know that you will not be stuck taking it in for repairs week after week all the while watching the bills stack up. The Civic is priced right around $20,000 and for this price it is a no brainer. Take into consideration the fact that the Civic gets great gas mileage. With the cost of fuel on the rise there is no doubt that driving a Civic will actually help to save you money (though many other foreign and domestic offerings now get good gas mileage as well). On the highway the Civic is known to get around 35 miles per gallon. In the city the figure is around 26 MPG. Regardless of where you do most of your driving, you can’t beat the value. See all Honda Civic trims and options, along with prices.
Last but not least, pickup trucks. Most notably, Japanese trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra. These hold their value extremely well, and in general trucks always do. Their utility can’t be beat, and with workhorses like Toyota’s trucks, they never break and rarely need repairs, so there are no worries and can sell well at either 50,000 miles or 150,000.
“Source: Automobile Magazine. Edward Pacheco shares his knowledge about the latest new cars and automotive leasing options, and is thrilled to be featured on Personal Finance Analyst.”
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BMO Investor Online offers premier stock trading for the country of Canada, focusing on the American market. However, they have their work cut out for them, giving other stronger figures in the industry.
Their depth into the markets isn’t quite up to par with other similar services offer. Their website is designed with customer service in mind, and its use of new technology gives an interactive stock trading experience that’s easy on the consumer.
With their use of Flash and other Web 2.0 technologies, their site guides the investor through the process while giving them up-to-the-minute updates regarding the markets, insights into successful investments, and so on.
The entire organization focuses heavily on individual retirement accounts and the wide variety thereof. They include both Locked-In retirement plans and self-directed PSPs. They also offer tax-free savings accounts, which aren’t quite as popular as the individual retirement accounts but are still prominent.
Unlike other similar services, BMO Investor Online doesn’t necessarily aim to educate the consumer, although there’s still a variety of helpful information accessible from their site. They’re also not striving to help develop the customer’s portfolio like some other services are.
When it comes to first-time investors, BMO might not be the best option for you. They do offer an extensive array of personal accounts but they don’t place much focus on stocks and bonds (with some personal bonds being an exception). They give updates on markets, but they don’t guide you through the process. They don’t tailor their site to your personal growth as an investor.
They do, however, feature products that are beneficial to an individual in the long run. When it comes to Canadian savings and retirement accounts, BMO Investor is a front-runner.
Several perks do come with the site, however. They have a foreign currency calculator to help you figure out the conversation between Canadian and American currency (or for those in other countries as well). They also provide easy electronic access to funds, where you can transfer from other accounts into your BMO Investor Online account, making it easy and quick to get a portfolio or savings account up and running.
The site does offer some self-educational opportunities, however, but their resources don’t go in depth. They’re limited to some basic advice, a glossary of terms, and similar low-brow approaches.
Whereas it’s easy to set up an account and get going, their customer service isn’t anything to write home about. It doesn’t lack but it’s also not super prominent (it’s not even available from their website) and it doesn’t have the availability that some sources do—there’s no internet chat or 24-hour hotline to call.
BMO doesn’t get a spotless review from all investors, either. First of all, their near $30 fee for the first 1,000 interactions runs a bit high, with several cheaper options available. They have a high flat-trading fee of $10 and you don’t get a break until after many trades.
Furthermore, people complain that their savings account division isn’t easily accessible. They say they’re misled and that it’s technically two separate sources, which the main page on BMO Investor Online doesn’t clear up. Some reviews even go so far as to claim their customer service is lacking, with specific regard to their savings accounts and trying to connect one to their investment portfolio.
Finally, a frequent complaint is centered around BMO Investor Online’s lack of available stock options. As mentioned, they don’t have quite the depth in the market that other sources do, meaning you’re left in the dark about certain prominent stocks or don’t even have the option to purchase them in the first place.
Overall, there’s not a lot that BMO Investor Online has to offer over similar services, even in the Canadian market.
Banking account fees have been the subject of much warning, debate, and ridicule over the years. As the banking industry has continued to grow in the US, you have a variety of regional, local, or even sometimes national banks that are trying to outdo each other.
The way they make their money: bank account fees.
Fees can come in all styles. To a certain extent it’s a politics game that banks play, masking their fees with fine print, misleading sales pitches, and dishonest sales people.
Although there’s virtually any number of fees that your bank can assess you for any given reason, there are a few straightforward, common ones. For example, if you take out a checking account with a major bank, they’re likely going to charge you a monthly fee. Most of the time these fees are small, falling in the $9-20 range, but in today’s industry you don’t even need to settle for something like that.
Regional and local banks or credit unions tend to forego such fees. They want local business, so they even sometimes allow you to sign up with no fees.
That’s where more secretive fees come into play.
It’s sort of a no-brainer that banks charge over-withdrawal fees. If you accidentally spend up more than what’s in your account, you’re looking at a fine from anywhere from $20-$50 depending on the bank. Similarly, there might even be a bounced-check fee that’s a higher penalty.
If you use your card at an ATM for another bank, you’re going to get a double-fee. And that’s something most people overlook. The ATM’s going to charge you a fee flat-out for using a machine that’s not on your network. But then a few days later when the charge goes through on your account, your bank is also going to charge you a fee for using a foreign ATM. Usually, these are only between $2-4 but it also means that you end up spending $5-10 just to take money out of your own account.
None of these fees are secretive and most people who have a checking account are aware of this.
However, if you also have a savings account, you might want to look at the fine print. Most savings accounts are set up in such a way that they need to have a minimum balance. If you go below this balance, you get a fee that’s usually some kind of flat-rate. Similarly, if you have a savings account, you’re only allowed to withdraw from it a certain amount of times per month. If you go above this amount, you’re going to face some kind of fee and you might even have your savings account aborted all together and converted into your checking account.
Because there’s controversy surrounding overdrafts on some checking accounts (specifically those which are linked to a savings account through the same bank) there’s new legislation that goes into effect this year preventing banks from charging certain fees or block you from linking your checking and savings account.
Similarly, this new legislation bars some forms of maintenance fees, upkeep fees, and annual fees. Whereas an annual fee is common with a credit card, and there are some monthly fees imposed on checking accounts, additional annual fees are mostly done away with.
Some banks might charge to use their online service. In other words, you’ll have to pay to access your account online. However, this has become increasingly less common over the years and isn’t something you’re bound to find, necessarily.
The bottom line is that if you have an account with any major bank you’re likely going to experience at least a monthly fee on a checking account and you’re lined up to deal with fees serving as penalties for not following their guidelines. It’s worth it to make sure you fully understand this from the beginning before you get involved with a certain bank.
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