Gift cards have become a modern staple of the holiday gift-giving ritual. They are easy, convenient and allow for a little more personalization than cash. But how often have you received a gift card only for it to be forgotten in the back of your wallet until it expires? Here are a few tips to maximize the value of those wallet-stuffers.
A good season for retailers
It has been a good holiday season for the retail industry. Sales for the week before Christmas were up by 4.5 percent from last year. And millions of gift cards were counted among those purchases. The [...]
Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile carriers in the nation, will now charge customers for paying their bills online. Verizon is among other companies that charges customers for the convenience of paying their bill.
Paying to pay your bill
As of Jan. 15, according to CNN, Verizon is going to start charging Verizon customers a $2 fee to pay their bills online or by phone. The “convenience charge” is being assessed so Verizon can “continue to support these single bill pay options.” However, the charge extends only to Verizon customers who make “single bill payments in alternate channels” or in other [...]
Home appliances, from small to large, represent a huge investment for most people. The financial difference between repairing or replacing particular appliances can make the difference between a great investment or a terrible one.
No credit check payday loans can help you repair or replace today.
The warranty jackpot
If your appliance has broken but is still under warranty, you’ve hit the repair jackpot. Any time you buy a new appliance, you should fill out and mail in the warranty card, then keep it on file or even taped to the side of the appliance, if you can do so safely. You should [...]
The end of the year is only a few days away. Now is the time to think about ways to improve your fiscal outlook for the coming year. In these times of financial hardship, it is especially imperative to watch every dollar and get the most out of your money. These simple rules will help in developing healthier financial habits for a more prosperous 2012.
We can’t get to where we want to be without setting a course. Sit down and write out exactly what you want to achieve financially for the year. Try to be as specific as possible. [...]
We all like to believe that we are capable, intelligent individuals that know the best for our situation. Statistics, however, have shown that when it comes to investing, letting the market be our guide is the smartest decision.
Historical investor performance
Dalbar, which is a financial services market research firm, compared data for the two decades that spanned between 1991 and 2010. The stock fund and stock market investment information was compared to average investor performance. The S&P 500 market investment group got an average 9.14 percent return each year over the 20 years. The average stock fund investor, on the other [...]
According to a recent release from SNL Financial, Bank of America is no longer the nation’s leading lender. An independent survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index showed BofA also scored lowest for customer satisfaction among major lenders. In fact, it seems that the smaller the bank, the higher customers rate its service.
Pay day loan lenders provide one-on-one customer service.
JPMorgan Chase takes top spot
JPMorgan Chase is now the nation’s largest bank, in terms of assets, with $2.27 trillion. BofA came in second, with $2.22 trillion. Citigroup followed with $1.94 trillion. Wells Fargo earned the least, with $1.30 trillion.
BofA gets lowest [...]
Giving without expectation of acknowledgment or receiving anything in return is perhaps the sweetest form of charity. Philanthropy can be gratifying, even when it’s a charitable donation on the national level. According to the World Giving Index, the U.S. is the most charitable nation in the world.
US tops the World Giving Index
Despite the ravages of economic recession, the U.S. ranks atop the World Giving Index. The survey is based upon 150,000 interviews with citizens of 153 nations. Each country is ranked on a scale of charity that takes into account cash donations, volunteer work and overall willingness of individuals to [...]
Big banks are becoming notoriously difficult for small business owners or entrepreneurs to get financing through. Credit unions are building a strong portfolio of business loans, but a new act in Congress aims to make lending more available.
Business loans from credit unions
In an effort to expand offerings and meet customer needs, many credit unions are partnering with the Small Business Administration to offer SBA-backed loans. In 2010, about 30 percent of credit unions offered small business loans to their members. This is an increase of more than 4 percent in a year, the same time period in which bank lending [...]
No one wants to lose their credit card, or have their credit card stolen. It’s stressful for the consumer, particularly in situations where the loss of the card is used to compromise identity, and for card issuers, who lose millions of dollars each year because of credit card fraud. Yet in the final analysis, what is the value of a stolen credit card? Less than you think.
A payday loan may also cost less than you think.
Criminal capitalism at work
What is the value of a credit card on the black market, once it passes into the nether-regions of thievery? According to [...]
The mortgage rates for 30-year loans dipped in the U.S. to record low levels last week. Home sales remain incongruously low. Still, there are some signs of improvement in the housing market.
Lowest on record
Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.91 percent. That is down from the 3.94 percent recorded the previous week. It is the lowest such figure on records that go back to the 1950s.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage kept pace with last week’s 3.21 percent. That also is a record [...]
Holiday shopping may have given some retailers a boost at the end of the year, but for some it wasn’t enough. Sears and Kmart have announced more than 100 stores will be closing nationwide.
Shopping sprees not big enough
According to the Daily Mail, the retail industry projects a sizable haul for itself in the period between Nov. 1 and New Year’s Eve. The National Retail Federation is projecting that shoppers will have bought $469.1 billion in merchandise by the time people are starting to sing Auld Lang Syne. The day after Christmas, “Mega Monday,” could potentially be worth more to retailers [...]
Millions of people will flood into stores after Christmas to return gifts they bought or received. It is best to get them in as quickly as possible; retailers are changing return policies this year.
Haste will avoid waste this year
Every year, millions of people take billions of dollars of merchandise back to stores because they bought or received the wrong gift, or received or gave something that just didn’t quite fit. Annual gift returns in America are a bigger industry than the entire economy of some countries.
According to CNN, the National Retail Federation anticipates that there will be $46.28 billion in [...]
For small business owners or anyone who works at home, space is always at a premium. A confluence of factors, however, means that it is possible to get an incredibly good deal on office and commercial space.
Get the best rates on a payday loan cash advance.
What determines commercial space pricing
The pricing of commercial real estate is a complex calculation. Like apartment buildings that are partially rented space, unrented space is simply unusable dead weight on a balance sheet. The rent building owners charge is based on the cost of the building, the utilities, and the value of the space. Fully [...]
Open-enrollment season is nearly over for most employer-sponsored health plans. It is the one chance for a year employees have to change their health insurance policies. If you get health insurance as a workplace benefit, it may be worth taking a close look at your needs and your policy. And there’s no time to delay.
Coverage could change
It is natural to assume that if you do nothing you will end up with the same coverage you had this year. That may not be so, and it doesn’t hurt to check. Employers sometimes change providers or types of coverage to save costs. [...]
Tipping is a tricky subject, especially in today’s fragile economy. The holidays are a time when we especially like to show our generosity and send a little cheer to those service people who work so tirelessly to meet our needs throughout the year. But with prices what they are and the economy what it is, we have to weigh practicality with generosity.
Fewer people tipping this year
Carole Townsend, author of “Southern Fried White Trash,” told writer Eve Tahmincioglu that she has noticed more and more people bypassing traditional cash gratuities this holiday season.
“I’m hearing that people are going out of their [...]
As of Wednesday morning, Bank of America has agreed to pay $335 million to settle a lawsuit over discriminatory lending practices. The lending practices, which were found to charge minority borrowers more, were used by Countrywide Financial before the troubled lender was purchased by Bank of America.
Discriminatory lending practices revealed
Federal investigators have documented the discriminatory lending practices found at Countrywide Financial. The investigation found that Countrywide charged higher fees and lending rates to minority borrowers. Minority borrowers with similar credit ratings to Caucasian borrowers were steered to more expensive sub-prime mortgages.
Payday loans no credit check offer equal opportunities to all [...]