May 18, 2018Most of us rely on financial instruments to keep our savings safe, but it can be hard to know if you're saving enough. Evaluating the average savings account balance across the country is a good start. Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, we've broken down the median and the average by age, income and gender, so you can see how you fare compared to Americans in recent history.
May 21, 2018If you owe someone money, there are multiple ways to pay them back. In the past, you might have written a check. But these days, you can transfer money electronically through various payment systems, including apps like PayPal and Venmo. You could also wire money to a checking account. If you're not sure how wire transfers work (and you're wondering, how long does a wire transfer take?), here's everything you need to know.
Jun 11, 2018Getting married means joining your life with someone else's and for many couples, it can take some time to work out all the kinks. One of the most important things that needs to be addressed once you tie the knot is how you plan to manage your household finances. If you're used to keeping your bills and income separate, it can be challenging to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. A joint bank account may (or may not) be a good option to manage finances.
Mar 12, 2018Money market accounts offer a unique way to save and spend your money. They act as a mix of a savings account and a checking account. This means you can earn interest on your money market account balance and easily access those funds with a debit card and/or checks. Of course as with your savings accounts, you’ll probably want to maximize your savings with the highest money market rates.
Feb 12, 2018The last time you visited your bank or used an ATM, you might have seen a sign that says your deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This insurance is a big part of why people feel safe depositing their money a bank. Even through the Great Recession, consumers had some piece of mind because they knew their money would still be there if the economy struggled. So what exactly is the FDIC and how does it insure your money?
Jun 21, 2018Finding the best bank in America to fit your specific needs is crucial for building a solid foundation in your financial life. But with dozens of different banks operating in the U.S., how can you know which one is best suited for you? The answer is to compare each bank on the metrics that matter most: account options, fees and interest rates. Below you'll find a comprehensive side-by-side analysis of TD Bank vs. Bank of America so you can make a smart, informed decision about where you should consider opening an account.
Jun 18, 2018A checking account provides a great tool for money management, keeping your money both safe and easily accessible. However, many banks and credit unions charge a fee to own a checking account. These fees generally range from $4 to $20 although they can reach higher depending on your bank and account type. This is in addition to other bank fees for transactions like wire transfers and overdrafts.
May 24, 2018When browsing a bank’s account options, you’ve probably come across certificates of deposit, or CDs. These are time sensitive accounts that grow your initial deposit for a given amount of time, depending on your preferences. In these CDs, your money grows according to a set interest rate at the time of account opening. This rate is set by the issuing bank and can fluctuate with the interest rate economy. A market-linked CD, however, works a little differently.
May 22, 2018When it comes to saving your money, you have a number of account options. You might first think of a simple savings account that allows your money to grow according to a set interest rate. You also have the options of choosing a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD). A money market account is like a mix of a savings account and a checking account. A CD on the other hand, doesn’t offer much flexibility in accessing your money with set term and withdrawal limits.
May 16, 2018Having a savings account is incredibly important to your financial health. It keeps your money safe and grows your savings according to set interest rates. Typically, you can have a savings account alongside your checking account for automatic transfers and overdraft protection. But there’s also another type of account that works like a hybrid of savings and checking accounts. This is the money market account, which earns at favorable interest rates and can include an ATM card. In this guide, we'll break down the difference between a money market account vs. a savings account.
May 10, 2018Whether you'll be making a number of international money transfers or it's a one-time transaction, it's important to know the best ways to send money internationally. Maybe you need to put down a deposit for a vacation rental, send money to family living abroad or make a foreign purchase. Whatever the case, you have several options for sending money internationally. From Western Union to your bank, the post office or online services, it's important to compare fees, transfer minimums and currency exchange rates before sending money.
May 09, 2018When choosing whether to open a bank account with Ally Bank or Capital One, it really comes down to whether you want access to physical branches when you bank. Ally Bank is an entirely online operation, limiting you to its website and mobile app. Capital One also offers those convenient features, but with the added benefit of brick-and-mortar branches throughout the country. Below, we take a closer look at each bank and what they can offer.
May 08, 2018When it comes to accessing your various bank accounts, ATMs offer a big convenience. This is especially true when you bank with an institution that offers thousands of ATMs all over the world. According to data from the World Bank, there were around 47 ATMs per 100,000 adults in the world in 2016. Despite their geographic convenience, using an ATM can actually cost money, depending on your bank and the ATM you use.
Jun 06, 2018There are special banking opportunities for those who have served our country in the military, are currently serving or for the families of these individuals. Two such options are Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA Bank. Below, we look at who qualifies for each institution, their account offerings, fees, rates and more, to help you find the right bank for you.
May 03, 2018Despite the ease it provides, paying in cash isn't always the most secure form of payment. Instead, you may be asked to pay with a money order. You can get a money order almost anywhere, like banks, post offices and even Walmart. After that, it's as easy as filling out the order, keeping the receipt and handing it over to the person you're paying. Let's take a closer look at the process of filling out a money order.
Jun 11, 2018The main plus of having a bank account with a big bank is the widespread access you have to your money. Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America provide their customers with thousands of ATMs and branches throughout the country. Both banks also offer a range of bank accounts, from a simple savings account to IRA CDs. But which bank is better? Read on to find out more about each bank and their fees, rates and more.
Jun 06, 2018Opening a checking account, whether a personal or business checking account, is a relatively easy process as long as you're prepared with the right information. It becomes even easier when you know what to expect. To open a checking account, you can head over to your bank or credit union of choice. Even better, you can open an account online from the comfort of your own home. This option has become increasingly popular among financial institutions.
Apr 27, 2018At some point, you may end up receiving money in the form of a check. This could be your paycheck, your tax refund or a personal check from a friend. Unlike cash, you can't turn around and spend the check on a purchase immediately. However, no matter where the check comes from, cashing it is an easy process. This gives you more immediate access to cash than depositing the check. Read on to learn how and where to cash a check.
Mar 23, 2018Traveling abroad can be expensive. Besides renewing your passport, booking your flight and arranging accommodations, you have to pay for transportation, food and all those incredible experiences you left home for. Even if you have reliable credit cards or a debit card tied to your checking account, you’ll probably have to exchange currency at some point during your trip. Rule of thumb says you should always have at least $50 worth of local currency on hand. In that case, you'll need to know where to get that cash without losing too much to fees.
Apr 02, 2018Few things are more frustrating than trying to get in touch with your bank when something has gone wrong with your checking account or savings account. But when handling bank account-related problems, whether it's an issue like identity theft or something as simple as needing to change account information, some banks handle their customers' requests better than others. Below we look at the banks with the best customer service records when it comes to handling bank account disputes.
Jun 13, 2018Saving for retirement is important for people of all ages. Contributing to an employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k) is one great way to save. It won't always be enough though. Some employers don't even offer those plans. That's where an individual retirement account (IRA) comes in. An IRA let's you save for retirement without going through your employer. There are different kinds of IRAs and the best for you depends on your individual situation and goals. In this article we'll look specifically at an IRA CD to see if it's something you should consider as part of your retirement savings plan.
Mar 16, 2018Many of us have experienced that heart-sinking moment when you get to the ATM or cash register only to discover you don't have your debit card. Perhaps you dropped it in the parking lot or someone snagged it from your wallet. Either way, your missing debit card could pose some problems like missed rent payments and fraudulent charges. There's no need to panic, though. Follow these steps to ensure your finances stay safe.
May 21, 2018It can be hard to start a search for a new bank. Nowadays, there are so many banks to choose from, with online banks adding their names to the ranks of big banks. But if online banking isn’t for you, let’s take a look at two of the biggest names in the financial industry: Chase vs. Wells Fargo.
Jun 12, 2018Whether you’re new to banking or looking to switch banks, you’re probably familiar with Chase and Bank of America. These are two of the biggest names in the banking industry. Each has similar product offerings, from a simple checking account to rewards-earning credit cards. Plus, as big banks, each has thousands of branches and ATMs across the country for your convenience. So, should you choose Chase or Bank of America?
May 04, 2018A safety deposit box, also known as a safe deposit box, is an individually locked box held within a larger vault, usually in a bank. The boxes come in a range of sizes and can be rented on an annual basis. People use them to store valuables, documents and other valuable items they want to be kept safe. Read on for more information on how much they cost, where you can rent one and why you might need one.
Mar 02, 2018More and more consumers are choosing to go digital when it comes to their banking institution and are selecting online-only banks. Two of the better names out there when it comes to online-only banking are Ally Bank and Simple, the latter of which offers its services through Compass Bank and The Bancorp Bank. If you're wondering which is the right bank for you, read on as we take a deeper dive into these financial offerings, including what bank accounts they offer, their fees and more.
May 21, 2018When it comes to withdrawing money from an ATM, you are limited to the amount you can withdraw in one day. You're also subject to the amount of money you spend with your debit card each day. All banks impose these limits, both for security and practical reasons. These limits prevent thieves from withdrawing and spending all your money. Plus, banks can only keep a limited amount of cash on hand to distribute. The daily ATM withdrawal and debit purchase limits depend on your bank and the type of account you have.
May 03, 2018When it comes to financial health, it isn't just about making more and more money. No matter how much money you're making, you need to be saving a significant chunk of your funds. This comes in handy in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses. It also isn't enough to stash away wads of cash under your mattress, which leaves your money vulnerable to fire or theft. A savings account allows you to not only keep your money safe and insured, but you also get to grow your money according to a financial institution's set interest rates.
Apr 10, 2018For most of us, payday doesn’t involve any actual cash. And keeping cash hidden at home isn’t exactly foolproof (think theft, fire, flood). That’s where checking accounts come in. Checking accounts are safe places to keep your money. Most are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, meaning you’ll be covered up to $250,000 should a bank get into trouble. Keep reading to find out what exactly a checking account is, how it differs from a savings account and where you should open one.
Jun 11, 2018Wire transfers have proven to be a valuable asset for people who need to send money quickly and securely. Whether you're sending money to a relative abroad or closing on a home, wire transfers offer a safe way to send large amounts of money both domestically and internationally. However, because of their value and security, wire transfers tend to come with their own costs.
Feb 14, 2018You've probably received a Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift card at some point. Or, you've bought one yourself. Prepaid cards can be found in the checkout line at the gas station or even in your mail as a reward for participating in a phone survey. They're everywhere. But do you know what exactly a prepaid debit card is and how they differ from credit cards?
May 22, 2018The interest you earn on a savings account is nice, but the accessibility of your funds in a checking account really can’t be beat. Have you ever thought about getting the best of both worlds? Luckily, there are options out there beyond the basics. A money market account offers a little bit of both checking and savings. Read our money market account guide below and allow us to explain how they work and how you can sign up.
Feb 28, 2018Perhaps you've found yourself in a situation (or two) where you needed to send or receive money as soon as possible. Whether it's legal trouble, a large medical bill or an urgent trip, it's not always easy to transfer money in the blink of an eye. However, in today's technology era, moving money across the globe quickly has proven to be a very possible task. This is often done through wire transfers.
May 18, 2018Chances are, you're pretty intimate with your checking account. This type of account is typically used for regular spending. You may even move money in and out of it multiple times a day. The best checking accounts are affordable to maintain, earn some interest and provide easy access to your cash when you need it.
Jan 26, 2018If you're not entirely sure what a credit union is or what it does, you're not alone. In fact, economic experts often refer to credit unions as the financial industry’s best-kept secrets. Credit unions offer many of the same financial products as banks. However, they don't work in quite the same way. Read on to find out more about how credit unions work and how you can join one.
Jan 23, 2018The job market can change quickly. The decline in manufacturing jobs was a focus during the 2016 presidential election and the BLS projects some jobs like data entry keyers will be in serious decline by 2026. To stay ahead of these trends, and to make sure your savings account never runs dry, it’s a good idea to know what jobs are most in demand. Below we rank those jobs looking at which have the best short- and long-term prospects.
May 24, 2018Lauren Greutman is dedicated to helping others save money. Saving is something that financial coach Greutman struggled with for years. Her inability to save led to $40,000 of debt. But through dedication and simple changes, Greutman and her husband pulled themselves out of debt to reach a point of financial security. Now she shares her knowledge and experiences so that others can avoid the same money mistakes that she made. So if you need help saving money, here's some helpful advice from a former spender.
Dec 26, 2017David Bach has spent the past two decades teaching people how to get rich. He isn't trying to pull a fast one though. He says up front that he is not selling get-rich-quick schemes. In fact, his advice isn't much different from that of other financial experts. What makes Bach successful is how he thinks about saving and budgeting. By thinking about them from a different angle that most others, he has found a way to keep people engaged and interested in saving for their futures.
Jan 16, 2018One constant in the U.S. economy over the past 40 years has been the ascendency of women in the work place. In 1976 the number of men in the workforce was about 47% higher than the number of women (57.1 million to 38.9 million). By 2016 that number had dropped to almost 14% (84.7 million to 74.4 million). But the gains to women’s employment have not been evenly spread across the country. In some parts of the country you are more likely to see women employed, earning high salaries and spending less on housing than you are in others.
Dec 11, 2017AJ Smith didn't always focus on personal finance. She liked to work and earn money - that was about as far as she planned. But over the course of her career she came to see just how important personal finance is. It touches every part of our lives. She also saw that there wasn't enough good content out there to help people make the tough financial decisions that we all have to make in our lives. Now she works to create educational and engaging content for SmartAsset.
Nov 16, 2017People advise you to do what you love. But sometimes doing what you love doesn’t pay your mortgage bills. Of course, it's possible to combine your interests with a career with solid earning potential. With that in mind, SmartAsset took a look at the occupations with the largest and smallest income growth in the United States.
Jan 08, 2018The 52-Week Money Challenge first got a lot of coverage in 2013 when someone posted it on their Facebook page. Today it's a very popular way for people to build their savings and create good saving habits. It's common around New Year's to help people save during the upcoming year, but you could start it any time throughout the year. So what exactly is this challenge and how can it help you save?
Nov 07, 2017The unemployment rate in the U.S. hit 4.2% in September 2017, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the lowest it's been in a decade, since the start of the Great Recession. While a low unemployment rate is important, rising incomes matter more for American families. SmartAsset examined the most recent income data to find the U.S. cities with the fastest-growing incomes.
Apr 09, 2018You have some money that you want to put in the bank. What type of bank account should you put it in to make sure you get the most bang for your buck? It can get confusing with all the potential options. Should you stick with a savings account? Is it time to start a retirement account? Or should you put your money in a certificate of deposit? Read on as we sort through the different types of bank accounts to help you find the right one for your situation.
Oct 30, 2017The holiday season is a time for celebration. And with most celebrations, you usually find yourself opening your wallet again and again. This can put a strain on your budget and put a damper on feeling festive. With the presents, parties and decorations that go along with this time of year, you might find yourself short on cash if you haven't planned ahead. Luckily, there's a way to save. Enter: the Christmas club account. While not as well known as it once was, this holiday savings account helps you stash away money for seasonal celebrations.
Jan 09, 2018Money management is a tricky subject. For many, the topic's accompanied with a feeling of apprehension. Maybe you've put off saving for retirement for a bit too long. Or, perhaps you’re worried about not having an emergency savings cushion. Whatever your concerns may be, there’s no time like the present to get a handle on your finances. It’s best to get started – as soon as possible – on good financial habits. Luckily, we have 10 money management tips to get you started.
Oct 25, 2017Whether it's $14 avocado toasts, $5 lattes or $1,000 iPhone Xs, millennials have become the punchline of many jokes for their alleged profligacy. But is this reputation earned? SmartAsset gathered spending data to analyze millennial money habits. Read on as we discover how single male and female millennials spend their money.
May 03, 2018Starting early with college savings is a smart choice. With the price of higher education rising each year, the sooner you start, the better chance you’ll have of helping make a dent in those costs. The average private college charged $45,370 for tuition, fees, room and board in 2017, according to the College Board. That's a hefty amount for just one year. Multiply that by four for an undergrad degree, and you can see the impact college can have on finances.
May 18, 2018You might associate joint bank accounts with married couples or couples who live together. While those are common situations when a joint bank account can work, there are a number of other relationships that could benefit from a joint bank account. Joint bank accounts allow two or more people to own the account, assuming equal responsibility. It’s important to know all sides to a joint bank account, though, before signing up.
Jun 06, 2018Everyone has an opinion on how you should budget. From experts touting the latest app for online money management to bloggers giving personal perspectives on cash-only lifestyles, you won't find a shortage of advice. You've likely heard of the 50/30/20 budget. First mentioned in Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi's 2005 book "All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan," it's now become mainstream — for good reason. The rule's easy to remember and contains sound financial advice.
Jun 19, 2018Ever wondered what the key to financial success is? While it's hard to pin down one single key, having a budget plays a part. Having a budget is crucial to taking control of your finances. It helps you take stock of where your money is going. Knowing that, you can then improve your habits to increase your savings and boost your net worth. Of course in order to follow a budget, you need to know how to make a budget.
Apr 16, 2018You’re probably already familiar with big banks. Banks tend to be huge institutions that stretch nationwide, if not worldwide. Chances are you already have a bank account, too. But what’s up with big banks’ smaller cousins, credit unions? We often hear about credit unions, but the information about them tends to be hazy. So let’s delve more into the credit union and what makes these two financial institutions different.
May 21, 2018Money orders provide a secure way of sending and receiving funds. They especially come in handy for sellers when you don't know or trust the buyer. Anyone can request or choose to pay through a money order. In any case, while it's a piece of paper, it would be wise to still treat it like a check or cash. To access the promised funds, you can cash or deposit it. But where can you make those transactions?
Sep 26, 2017Money orders offer a relatively inexpensive, secure payment option. You can make a money order payable to a specific person or organization. Plus, the funds are guaranteed by a third party. But who exactly is that third party? Luckily there are a number of convenient places where you can get a money order, not just a bank or credit union. Let's take a look at your options and how to get a money order.
Mar 26, 2018If you need to make a payment, but don't want to use cash or a personal check, you're not alone. Sometimes sending cash or checks just doesn't feel secure enough. So what are your options? Nowadays, electronic payments are becoming more widely accepted. But sometimes a seller may ask for a money order instead. What is a money order exactly?
Feb 28, 2018If you’ve never opened a bank account before, you’re probably wondering how the process goes. For one, what do you need to open a bank account exactly? Whether you’re a bank account newbie or it’s just been awhile since you opened a new account, we’ve got you covered. It’s better to be prepared with the right information than show up empty-handed and unprepared.
Sep 07, 2017It wasn't long ago that paying bills or getting a paycheck meant waiting for a check to move through the mail system. Nowadays, many of these payments happen online through an electronic network called the Automated Clearing House or ACH. Trillions of dollars move through the ACH each year. Plus, people are increasingly using this network in place of credit card and debit card payments. But exactly what are ACH payments?
May 21, 2018Whether you want to make or receive a secure payment, it's hard to know the best way to do so. You could go the cash route, but that's risky to send in the mail. Plus, do you really want to be carrying around a huge wad of cash? Instead, you could go with a personal check. But if you're on the receiving end, how do you know the check won't bounce? So what's the solution? Let us tell you all about certified checks.
May 22, 2018Say you’re ready to make a down payment on a house. The seller asks you to bring the payment in the form of a cashier’s check. A cashier’s check is a check with guaranteed funds, with money drawn from a bank’s own account. But how exactly does a cashier’s check work? What makes it different from a personal check or a money order? How do you get a cashier's check? Let’s break it down.
May 18, 2018Many of us have a lot on our plates. Besides our demanding jobs, there may be dishes to wash, children to feed and errands to run. If we have to do something outside of our normal routine, we often wonder how long it'll take. For instance, if you need a new checking or savings account you may wonder, how long does it take to open a bank account? We'll answer that question and explain what to do if a bank denies your request.
Jan 09, 2018An emergency fund can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a tight spot. But the amount of savings you have may vary depending on where you park your rainy day fund. While a traditional savings account is more secure than stuffing cash under a mattress, it won't generate as much interest as a certificate of deposit (CD). Here's everything you need to know about using a CD ladder to build an emergency fund.
May 21, 2018Planning to go abroad soon? You'll need to have access to foreign currency. While you could make all your purchases with a credit or debit card, you run the risk of wasting too much money on foreign fees. One way to avoid that is to exchange currency and carry around cash. But sometimes getting access to foreign funds can be expensive. If you're on a mission to save money, here are the cheapest ways to purchase foreign currency.
Sep 25, 2017According to the 2013 FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 7.7% of households in the U.S. were unbanked, meaning that they had no bank account access. A further 20% were underbanked, meaning they have a bank account but still relied on Alternative Financial Services (AFS) like payday loans in the 12 months before being surveyed.
Nov 01, 2016We've all heard of the Federal Reserve System but many of us don't know much about it. The media mentions the Fed every now and then, especially after it's had one of its meetings. But what exactly does the Federal Reserve do and how does it affect us? Let's take a look at a few of its key responsibilities and how its decisions affect the nation's cash flow.
Apr 02, 2018Bank-to-bank transfers allow consumers to move money electronically. Specifically, they allow someone to transfer money from an account with one bank to an account with another institution. If you've never used this service before, it might seem a little confusing. If you need some help understanding how it works, here's what you should know about bank-to-bank transfers.
Aug 12, 2016When you start a new job, there's typically a laundry list of things that you have to do during your onboarding process. In addition to meeting your new co-workers and filling out various documents (like the W-4 form and the I-9 form), you'll likely need to set up direct deposit. If you're trying to figure out how to do that, here's what you need to know to get started.
May 18, 2018Individuals with a high net worth tend to take a different approach to managing their money. Research shows that the rich and the ultra-rich set themselves apart from the Average Joe, particularly when it comes to saving, investing and banking. Here's a look at some of their banking habits. Even if you're not rolling in dough, you might be able to apply some of their strategies when dealing with your own personal finances.
Mar 11, 2016You can do just about anything with a smartphone these days and if big banks have anything to say about it, that will soon include getting cash at the ATM. While some smaller banks have already rolled out cardless ATMs, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo are among the biggest financial institutions to jump on this trend. The updated machines are expected to roll out sometime in 2016 but in the meantime, here's what you need to know to prepare for the change.
May 01, 2018When you invest your money, you expect to reap some sort of reward. The saying goes that the greater the risk, the greater the reward. That's sometimes true. For example, buying stocks, while risky, can potentially leave you with a higher returns than you'd get from buying bonds. If you're trying to compare certificates of deposit or savings accounts, the annual percentage yield (APY) will tell you which one will give you the greater return on your investment. Not sure how the APY works? Read on to find out.
Mar 09, 2016After a while, hitching rides with friends or waiting for public transit can get old. You may decide you want a car of your own. Cars, of course, can be expensive and looking at different makes and models might leave you feeling frustrated and stressed. Before you give up hope, we'll cover the ways that first-time buyers can save money for a car.
Feb 09, 2018If you want to break up with your bank, it's a good idea to pump your breaks before moving over to a credit union. While it's true that credit unions rival banks by charging fewer fees and accommodating their customers' needs, they have their flaws too. Before you officially make the switch, it's a good idea to consider what you could lose by deciding to bank with a credit union.
Jun 11, 2018Millennials probably can't imagine banking without their computers or cell phones. Members of older generations, however, might recall a time when they had to visit a branch to access their accounts. To some people, the passbook savings account is a thing of the past. To others, there's still room for it, even in our high-tech society. If you're not quite sure where you stand on the matter, read on to learn more about these savings accounts and why they're still around.
Feb 18, 2016Just because two people haven't officially tied the knot doesn't mean they don't have shared expenses and financial goals they want to achieve. So how should unmarried couples handle saving money? Some of the best tips apply to married and unmarried couples alike, but others are specific to the unmarried set. Here's saving 101 for unmarried couples.
Nov 06, 2017Repurchase agreements, or repos, are tools that give investors access to fast cash without requiring them to put too much on the line. They're short-term contracts that can end overnight or last for months at a time. For anyone who's ever wondered what repos are and why they matter, we'll break down their purpose and their role in the money market and our country's monetary system.
Nov 10, 2017So you want to visit the Big Apple but you're worried about blowing your budget? With a little planning and savvy you can save money while you're in New York City and still have an unforgettable trip. How much does it take to have an amazing experience in the city that never sleeps? It really depends on your taste, but there are some tried-and-true tips we can share.
May 03, 2018Saving money for retirement or a major purchase can be difficult, especially if you're still paying off student loans, credit card bills and other kinds of debt. If one of your goals for the year is to become a super saver, it might help to start small. Aiming to save $10,000 or $15,000 in a year might seem daunting, but breaking that goal up into chunks can make it easier to attain. And even a small amount of money can really grow over time - a savings calculator can help you see just how much. Once you are ready, we have some tips for how you can start saving money every month.
May 21, 2018If you're on the hunt for a new checking account or you want to start investing, you might need to set aside time in your schedule to do some research. That's because there are many kinds of banks and financial institutions. By understanding the different types of banks and their functions, you'll have a better sense of why they're important and how they play a role in the economy. If you want a trusted expert to navigate this complicated terrain, head on over to SmartAsset's SmartAdvisor tool to get paired with a financial professional who can guide you based on your particular needs.
Mar 14, 2018It’s time to pay your electric bill. You send in the payment but then you get a notification that you overdrew your account. Now you have to pay an overdraft fee. This is a common fee and if you don’t pay it right away, it can get expensive. (That's the last thing you want if you've just gone through the work to find a high-interest savings account.) Read on to learn more about overdraft fees and how you can avoid them.
Jan 10, 2018Your credit score matters, especially if you're planning to buy a house or you want access to the lowest loan interest rates. There are three credit bureaus that keep track of consumer credit data. What many people might not know is that there are also companies that collect information about savings and checking accounts. One such reporting agency is called ChexSystems. In case you've never heard of it before, here's everything you need to know about it and why it exists.
Feb 28, 2018Switching banks might make sense if you're paying too many fees or your savings account interest rate isn't high enough. Comparing checking accounts and opening a new one isn't that difficult, but closing an old account can turn into a headache if you're not careful. Here's what you need to do to make the transition from your old bank to your new one as smooth as possible.
Jun 06, 2018Writing checks isn't as common as it used to be. Many of us rely on our credit cards, direct debit and good old cash to make the payments in our lives. For some people, a monthly rent check is the only check they ever write. When you're just starting to use checks or you don't use them very often, it's easy to get confused. Here's our guide to how to find your routing and account numbers on a check.
Apr 11, 2018Free checking accounts are few and far between these days and banks are all too happy to tack on extra charges whenever possible. One of the most annoying fees is the one you pay for letting your balance fall below a certain daily or monthly limit. If you want to hang onto that cash instead of handing it over to the bank, here are some easy ways to avoid the fee.
Nov 07, 2017Many Americans use debit cards to pay for food, clothing and everything else under the sun. Research suggests that millennials in particular prefer debit cards over credit cards and more than a third of them don't have any credit cards at all. Even if you already know how debit cards work, there could be some benefits and drawbacks to using them that you aren't aware of. We've got you covered.
Jan 09, 2018A certificate of deposit (CD) is an example of a low-risk, low-return place to stash your money. CDs are offered by banks and credit unions. Like bonds, they have maturity dates. You buy a CD with a maturity date that is between 28 days and 10 years from the purchase time. If you withdraw the money before that date, you could end up paying some kind of penalty.
Apr 10, 2018Anyone who runs a small business probably knows that managing company finances is not always easy. Keeping track of the money that's flowing in and out can be challenging and time consuming, particularly if you're self-employed or you're missing an accountant on your team. If this is a dilemma that you've had to wrestle with, it might be time to sign up for a business checking account.
Jan 09, 2018There's nothing more awkward than having your debit card declined when you're out to dinner or shopping. But if you've got overdraft protection, you can swipe your card without fear. When your account has this feature, the bank can automatically transfer money from your savings account in exchange for a small fee. You have to sign up for protection, so if you're planning on opening a new checking account, here's what you need to consider before opting in.
Sep 23, 2015Banks are both borrowers and lenders. That means they pay interest (on customers' deposits) and collect interest (on mortgages and other loans). The difference between the interest a bank collects and the interest it pays is a big part of how a bank makes money. This is known as net interest income, but it's not the only income source for banks.
Feb 28, 2018Checking accounts may look the same on the surface but appearances can be deceiving. When you're on the hunt for a new account, you don't want to make the mistake of just focusing on the fees. Taking a second to check out the details can point you toward the account that offers the most bang for your buck. Here are four benefits that may catch your eye.
Sep 21, 2015Finding a completely free checking account can be like searching for a needle in a haystack these days. It seems as though banks are tacking on fees left and right. In fact, one recent study reports that Americans pay about $151 a year in fees for a basic checking account and the cost keeps climbing. If you're engaging in any of these bad banking habits, you could be making things worse.
Oct 11, 2017If you don't want to face the inconvenience and potential embarrassment of trying to make a payment that exceeds your account balance, overdraft protection might seem like a perfect solution. The catch is that you'll probably have to pay for overdraft protection, and if you regularly overdraw those fees can really add up.
Sep 17, 2015Everybody likes free money and one of the easiest ways to get your hands on some is by opening up a new checking account. Banks sometimes offer cash bonuses to new customers, but these deals aren't always as sweet as they may seem. In fact, there are a few reasons why saying "no" to one of these freebies may actually be the smartest move.
Mar 14, 2018In the past, all banking was done in person. You couldn't deposit a check or transfer a payment without visiting a brick-and-mortar bank or an ATM. Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives, including our banking activity. Not only is it possible to monitor your savings and checking accounts online, but it's also possible to control your accounts through your smartphone.
Jun 19, 2018The differences between checking and savings accounts are important. A checking account is a transactional account. Customers move money in and out of checking accounts, sometimes multiple times a day. A savings account is designed to sit and earn interest. These days, though, you won't earn too much more from a savings account than you would from a checking account.
Sep 14, 2015Identity theft is a very real threat in the banking world and it seems like every time you turn around another security breach is in the news. While there's not much that the average person can do to prevent this kind of cyber crime from happening, there are plenty of ways to keep your information safe. If you're making these mistakes, you could be leaving your account vulnerable to hackers.
Dec 20, 2016Yes, opening an offshore bank account is legal, as long as you follow procedures and declare your accounts to the IRS. The bigger question is whether you should bother opening an offshore account. Of course, if you're living abroad you'll need a foreign bank account for practical reasons, but if you're based stateside, there are pros and cons to going offshore.
Feb 28, 2018When you're just getting started in the real world, your checking account may be the last thing on your mind. After all, you've got to get a job, find a place to live, set up a payment plan for your student loans and figure out this whole budgeting thing first, right? While all of those things are important, pushing your bank account to the back-burner could come back to bite you. If you're a new grad, here are four mistakes you don't want to make when it comes to your checking and savings accounts.
Apr 02, 2018Some online-only checking accounts come with perks to offset their lack of brick-and-mortar branches. Depending on your customer service needs, you might be able to make the switch from a traditional bank to an online bank. The more fees you're currently paying on your checking account, the more you stand to gain from making the switch to online-only banking.
May 03, 2018If you want to save money for a down payment on a home, your retirement fund or just a rainy day you may be wondering how to trim your expenses. Ultimately, the best way to save money is the one that you can stick with and apply consistently. To get you started, here are our tried and true money-saving tips.
Dec 04, 2017Signing up for overdraft protection means your debit card won't be declined if you're short on cash. But it comes with a cost. In fact, research suggests that customers who have overdraft protection pay more than $250 a year. Opting out is one way to sidestep fees, but if you're worried that you won't be able to make a purchase in an emergency, there are other ways to avoid paying them.
Apr 09, 2018Saving up money for a rainy day can be difficult, especially if it doesn't seem like you're earning very much interest from your bank account. Fortunately, there are several different savings vehicles to choose from. So if you've got a pile of money sitting in a plain old vanilla savings account, there are some alternatives that could yield a better return.