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Checking Account

Aug 07, 2018 Most 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.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 If 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. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Getting 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. Read More...

Mar 12, 2018 Money 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. Read More...

Feb 12, 2018 The 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? Read More...

Aug 16, 2018 Most drivers probably have a few candidates in mind when they picture the worst drivers in the country. Often it's drivers from a neighboring state invading their lane, but some states carry a nationwide bad-driving reputation. So while it is perhaps fun to joke about the bad road etiquette of certain motorists, bad accidents and negligent driving are no laughing matter. From serious injury to car repairs draining savings accounts, living somewhere with bad drivers can have a serious negative impact on your life. Read More...

Aug 16, 2018 The minimum wage has become a hot topic of debate in the U.S. The fight for $15 has become a popular rallying cry for advocates of a higher minimum wage. And many cities have answered the call, especially those with the highest costs of living. In fact, some cities like Seattle and Belmont, California have gone a step further by planning to extending their minimum wage past $15 per hour. In doing so, they hope to improve the fortune of minimum wage workers'  saving accounts. However, with costs of living rising in step with minimum wage increases, the places with the highest nominal minimum wage may not have the highest real minimum wage. Below we look at the cities with the highest and lowest real minimum wage. Read More...

Aug 13, 2018 How much is higher education worth? Judging by Census Bureau data quite a bit. The average associate's degree holder earns 18% more than the average high school diploma holder. In dollar terms, that’s a difference of $5,400 per year. And while $5,400 may not seem like a life-changing amount, over time $5,400 per year can mean extra money in your savings account which can then be invested, either on your own or with a  financial advisor. With the costs of four-year colleges rising, affordable community colleges are becoming increasingly attractive. But not every community college offers the same value. Read More...

Jul 20, 2018 If you're looking for the best bank account to meet your needs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are all going to be excellent options. But how are you supposed to pick a winner? We make it easier with exhaustive comparison of America's three largest banking institutions. Read on as you make the Bank of America vs. Chase vs. Wells Fargo decision. Read More...

Jul 18, 2018 Picking the right bank to work with is an integral part of managing your financial life. Two of the largest banks in the country, U.S. Bank and Bank of America, are both excellent options if you prioritize accessibility. Whether you choose to open a checking account with U.S. Bank or with Bank of America, you will find impressive variety and breadth in account options along with a list of other perks. With nearly 7,000 FDIC-insured commercial banks in America, narrowing the decision down to U.S. Bank vs. Bank of America already puts you ahead. But the two corporations have several key similarities and differences, and it's best to know how they measure up before making the leap to choose one.  Read More...

Jul 19, 2018 One piece of advice every good financial advisor gives to customers is to build an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows you to weather any unforeseen emergencies, whether you lose your job, require an extended hospital stay or total your car. If you have the right-sized emergency fund, you can get through those emergencies without having to take out costly loans which will hurt your savings account in the future. Read More...

Jul 13, 2018 Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, better known as U.S. Bank, are ranked third and seventh as biggest banks in America, so if you're looking for prestige and confidence in opening a reliable checking account, you can't go wrong either way. But, of course, if you're looking to understand the nuanced differences between the two big banks, we've got you covered. Here is a definitive guide to the U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo decision so you can choose which is better for your personal financial situation. Read More...

Jul 12, 2018 When you're deciding whether to open a savings account with Chase or Capital One, you should look at the rates and perks each offers and whether they'll meet your financial needs. Both Chase and Capital One are two large banks that offer you widespread access to your money. They additionally offer extensive ATM accessibility and convenient mobile apps, but the prices at which their primary products are provided aren't entirely the same. Below, we take a closer look at the accounts, rates and fees each of the banks offer and how they differ. Read More...

Jul 12, 2018 Millions of Americans attend state fairs across the country every year. From rides and concerts to games and fried food, there's something for everyone at a state fair. And with rising costs of living, state fairs are one of the few entertainment options which the majority of Americans can afford without breaking into their savings accounts. However state fairs vary widely by location. Some state fairs last for weeks and are attended by large chunks of the state's population. Others are only a few days and go by almost unnoticed by the state’s residents. Read More...

Jul 11, 2018 Both PNC and Chase Bank offer a long list of banking products that can be conveniently accessed across the nation. Whether it's checking and savings accounts, or branches, ATMs and mobile apps, both banks provide users access to relatively similar products. However, the details of those products are different at each institution. Below, we take a closer look at the accounts, rates and services provided by PNC vs. Chase Bank to help you choose the bank that’s best for you. Read More...

Jul 10, 2018 TD Bank and Chase are two large financial institutions that provide an extensive range of products both through online services and numerous branches. If you're looking to put your hard-earned paycheck into a savings account at TD Bank or Chase, it's important to first understand what the two banks offer and how they differ. Read on to learn more about how the accounts, fees and rates for each vary. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 When it comes to choosing a bank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo are two excellent picks. Both boast competitive benefits and accessibility. But before you choose to open a checking account or  savings account with either bank, it's best to compare TD Bank vs. Wells Fargo side by side on a number of factors. Read on below to see which bank would best fit your needs. Read More...

Jun 29, 2018 Citibank and Chase Bank are two of the biggest names in the banking industry today. Both financial institutions provide easy access with online and mobile banking, plus thousands of branches and ATMs domestically and abroad. These banks also offer a variety of products from a simple savings account to an IRA CD. If you’re unsure about how these banks differ or which you should choose, we’ve highlighted some of the key features that distinguish the two. Read More...

Jun 27, 2018 JPMorgan Chase is the largest and most powerful bank in America, holding nearly $3 trillion in assets. Its unlikely competitor, U.S. Bancorp, takes seventh place. But bigger doesn't always mean better when it comes to where you're looking to open an account. Both U.S. Bank and Chase Bank offer a long list of perks and benefits, but it's important to find out which one best suits your needs. Here, we uncover the pros and cons of banking at giant Chase versus with consumer-oriented U.S. Bank. Read More...

Jul 23, 2018 Online banks offer some of the best interest rates in the industry. They also tend to raise a few eyebrows. In most cases, they’re just like any other bank only without physical branch locations. Entirely online, Ally Bank fits this description, with competitive rates and around-the-clock support. Still, many wonder: Is Ally Bank safe? Read on to learn how Ally Bank works, what makes it a safe place to store your cash and how to decide if you should make the switch. Read More...

Jul 23, 2018 Credit card debt can destroy anyone’s finances if it is mishandled. According to data from TransUnion, the average credit card debt holder had $5,644 worth of credit card debt. While that number may not seem like a ton of debt, paying it off can be difficult due to high interest rates. Long-term credit card debt can not only hurt your credit score, it can also stop you from building your savings account. Read More...

Jun 21, 2018 Finding 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. Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 A 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. Read More...

May 24, 2018 When 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. Read More...

May 22, 2018 When 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. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Having 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. Read More...

May 10, 2018 Whether 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. Read More...

May 09, 2018 When 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. Read More...

May 08, 2018 When 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. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 There 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. Read More...

May 03, 2018 Despite 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. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 The 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. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Opening 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. Read More...

Apr 27, 2018 At 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. Read More...

Mar 23, 2018 Traveling 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. Read More...

Apr 02, 2018 Few 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. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Saving 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. Read More...

Mar 16, 2018 Many 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 It 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Whether 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? Read More...

May 04, 2018 A 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. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 More 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. Read More...

May 21, 2018 When 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. Read More...

May 03, 2018 When 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.  Read More...

Apr 10, 2018 For 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. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Wire 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. Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 You'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? Read More...

Jun 26, 2018 The 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. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Perhaps 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Chances 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. Read More...

Jan 26, 2018 If 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. Read More...

Jan 23, 2018 The 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. Read More...

May 24, 2018 Lauren 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. Read More...

Dec 26, 2017 David 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. Read More...

Jan 16, 2018 One 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.  Read More...

Dec 11, 2017 AJ 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. Read More...

Nov 16, 2017 People 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.  Read More...

Jan 08, 2018 The 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? Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 The 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. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 You 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. Read More...

Oct 30, 2017 The 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. Read More...

Aug 01, 2018 Start with giving yourself a pat on the back. Whether you saved $50,000 by diligently setting aside a portion of your paycheck, or you came into money through an inheritance, you now have a tidy sum to grow. Investing is one of the smartest choices to make when you have money to spare. Of course, with that comes the dilemma of how to invest $50,000. Read More...

Jan 09, 2018 Money 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. Read More...

Oct 25, 2017 Whether 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. Read More...

Jun 26, 2018 Starting 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 You 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. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Everyone 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. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Ever 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. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 You’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. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Money 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? Read More...

Sep 26, 2017 Money 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. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 If 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? Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 If 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. Read More...

Sep 07, 2017 It 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? Read More...

May 21, 2018 Whether 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Say 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. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Many 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. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 An 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. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Planning 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. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 According 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.  Read More...

Nov 01, 2016 We'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. Read More...

Apr 02, 2018 Bank-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. Read More...

Aug 12, 2016 When 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Individuals 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. Read More...

Mar 11, 2016 You 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. Read More...

May 01, 2018 When 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. Read More...

Mar 09, 2016 After 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. Read More...

Feb 09, 2018 If 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. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Millennials 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. Read More...

Feb 18, 2016 Just 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.  Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 Repurchase 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. Read More...

Nov 10, 2017 So 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.  Read More...

May 03, 2018 Saving 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. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 If 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… Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 It’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. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Your 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. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Switching 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. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Writing 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. Read More...

Apr 11, 2018 Free 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. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Many 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. Read More...

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