Banking

Cyber Insurance and Personal Data

Imagine if complete strangers could look inside your head and see your every thought and know everything about you. Imagine if they could use that information any way they wanted to. What sort of damage could they do to your life? Strangers can’t get into your head to root around for information to exploit, but …

How to Use Technology to Start Saving More

The numbers on who is saving money in America — or more commonly, who isn’t — may shock you. According to a survey by Bankrate, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The survey unfortunately reports that 50% of Americans have less than a 3-month cushion in their savings account and 27% have no savings account …

Best Money Market Account for 2015

Money market accounts (MMAs) can be a great low-risk investment for building that emergency fund or storing extra cash. They offer better interest rates than personal savings accounts but are more liquid than certificates of deposit (CDs). Unfortunately, even the best money market accounts haven’t been immune to sinking interest rates. According to Bankrate, the …

Categories: Banking, Money, Saving Money

How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates in 2014

Even after the subprime mortgage crisis, homeownership remains a dream for many Americans. If you’re among them, you’re probably wondering how you can get the best mortgage rate to keep your payments as low as possible. Securing the best mortgage isn’t simply about finding a lender who offers you the best rate. You also need …

How to Find the Best CD Rates in 2014

If you’re frustrated with the low interest rates of savings accounts but wary of high-risk investment strategies, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) might be your ideal middle ground. Your money will be safe and you’ll receive a better return than a savings account would offer, though the best CD rates largely depend on how long you’re …

The Financially Underserved and Second Chance Banking

On June 4, Spent: Looking for Change premiered on Youtube. It’s a powerful documentary on the financially underserved in the United States – people without credit and without bank accounts – and the ends they have to go to in order to survive. Here, watch the full thing yourself. There are many reasons why people …

Categories: Banking

How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2014

The Internet has equipped banks with the ability to offer a free checking account online to almost anyone who qualifies. Fortunately, the government mandates that a checking account can’t be marketed as “free” if the consumer could potentially be charged a maintenance or activity fee. So what does “free” actually entail? The term “free” is …

Categories: Banking, Saving Money

How to Find the Best Savings Account in 2015

Looking for places to grow your money without much risk is difficult these days, but finding the best savings account might be a good place to start. Although your money will be safe there, the average American is hardly capitalizing getting rich on rates today. According to CNN Money, the average savings account last year had …

Categories: Banking, Saving Money

The Future of Banking and Credit Cards

If you’re a fan of plastic payments, it may be difficult to imagine a world without credit cards. It’s no wonder they are such an ingrained part of society. Credit cards have been around for nearly a century! Credit cards were first introduced in the 1920s by merchants offering customers an alternative payment method at …

Categories: Banking, Credit Cards

Credit Unions vs. Banks: Understanding What Works for You

From a street view, a credit union looks just like a bank: rows of teller windows, convenient drive-through lanes and attractive lobbies. But hidden within those walls are some key differences that clearly separate credit unions from banks. Yet credit unions still remain a mystery to many American consumers. That seems to be changing. Ever …

Categories: Banking

Does a “Savings Club” Account Work?

Carol writes in: My local bank offers an interesting account each year. It starts on the first Saturday in January and the deal is that if you deposit the same amount each week for 49 weeks, they will make the 50th deposit for you and give you the money at the end of the year …

Categories: Banking, Investing

Banks Are Not Your Friends

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson Thanks to William Grootonk for the image. Yesterday, I was stunned to read a news report about how Freddie Mac denied people the ability to refinance, then made investments that earn them more money if people are unable …

Categories: Banking

Some Thoughts on Bank of America’s Debit Card Fee Plan

I woke up to several emails this morning about Bank of America’s new plan to charge a $5 monthly fee to debit card users if they use those cards for purchases: Bank of America will begin charging a $5 monthly fee at the beginning of next year for customers who make debit card purchases. Whether …

Categories: Banking

Online Banking and Contingency Plans

A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Patsy asked about “Online Banking… Paperless …

Can You Actually Make Money Chasing Rates?

One common tactic I see on personal finance blogs is what I like to call “rate chasing.” This tactic usually involves carefully watching the yield rates on savings accounts over at Bankrate.com (or a similar service), always signing up for one of the top accounts, and transferring their savings to that highest-yield bank. For me, …

Categories: Banking

Personal Finance 101: An Online Banking Primer

Understanding Online Banking and Finding the Right One for You Katie writes in: I was wondering if you could do an article on how to set up an online savings account? I remember you mentioned using them and getting a high return on interest, and I think I’d like to switch my savings account over …

Where Does All of Our Money Go?

Kimberly writes in: A few months ago (yep, one of those New Years Resolutions!) I pledged to get a better grip on my finances. I found some personal finance blogs to read and decided to start off by simply tracking where our money went. But it’s impossible!! Every time I sit down with our bank …

Trimming the Average Budget: Savings

Cash Contributions (optional retirement and cash savings) – $1,821/year The average American family contributes $150 a month to their retirement plans and/or to their personal savings – and that’s a commendable thing. In fact, this is one part of a budget that should grow bigger while other parts grow smaller. So, rather than focusing on …

Categories: Banking

Personal Finance 101: Getting Started with Banking

Banking Basics: Savings, Online, and Otherwise We all did it at the beginning of our financial lives. We grew up. We moved out. We opened accounts at a bank on our own, quite often a different bank than the one used by our parents. And we had to figure it out. How should we pick …