A report card for Trump’s economy

President Donald Trump claims full credit for the strong economy and stock market.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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New Zealand February Overall Credit Card Spending Rises 0.1%

Overall credit card spending in New Zealand added a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent on month in February, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday – in line with expectations following the 2.0 percent gain in January.
RTT – Economic News

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Can’t Qualify for a Cash-Back Credit Card? Try This Instead

Those cash-back credit cards are wicked cool, aren’t they?

Buy a cartful of groceries; get cash back. Fill up your gas tank; get cash back.

As long as you pay off your balance each month, this is basically free money — especially if you’re just buying stuff you’d need to purchase anyway (like gas or food).

Unfortunately, it can be hard to qualify for these cards. The Credit Card Gods are awfully picky when it comes to handing them out. To get your hands on that sweet, sweet cash-back plastic, you might need a near-flawless credit history. Let’s face it: That’s something many of us don’t have.

We found another option, though.

It’s called the Aspiration Spend and Save Account. This online account comes with a debit card that gets you 0.5% cash back on purchases. It basically turns your debit card into a cash-back card.

An Account We Love as Much as an Everything Bagel

This is actually an all-in-one account that does a bunch of different things. You can pay your bills, build your savings, invest and earn interest — all in one place.

Here’s what Aspiration offers:

  • You get your cash back, obviously. (Bonus!)
  • The debit card comes with no ATM fees, so you can use any ATM you want.
  • It pays up to 2.00% APY on your savings.
  • The company also offers two investment funds for middle-class investors. These require only a $ 100 minimum investment.

Declutter Your Financial Life

Are you a little leery about using an online account? Aspiration makes it super easy.

Its mobile app lets you access the account from anywhere and deposit checks from your phone. It offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements anywhere in the world.

There’s no monthly fee and no minimum balance. All of Aspiration’s services work on a “pay what is fair” model. You choose your price and pay as a “tip” — up to $ 10 a month and as little as $ 0.

It’s also simple to set up. The whole sign-up process takes about five minutes, and you can open an account with just $ 10.

So go get that cash back!

Get cash back at the grocery store, at the gas station, at the gardening center — heck, wherever you’re spending your hard-earned money.

Tell the Credit Card Overlords to take a hike. You don’t need them or their approval anymore.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He doesn’t qualify for a cash-back credit card — not that he’s bitter about it or anything.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Idea Where to Start

We know how easy it is to rack up credit card debt. Over 41% of American households carry a credit card balance, and the average balance for those households is $ 9,333, according to a study from financial data website ValuePenguin.

But here’s the thing about credit cards: They only benefit you when you’re building credit and receiving perks — but not paying interest. If you’re carrying a balance beyond an interest-free period, your cards only benefit the card issuers.

With average interest rates on new credit cards north of 17%, paying off credit card debt is a smart move.

If you’re ready to get rid of credit card debt, be prepared for inconvenient choices and a lot of saying no. But you can do it. And every difficult step will be worth it.

How to Pay Off Debt From Multiple Credit Cards

A woman sitting at her table contemplating expenses

Before you start, you should stop using your credit cards altogether until you can use them without putting yourself in financial risk. Though the specifics will vary based on your situation, we only recommend using credit cards if:

  • You don’t have any consumer debt.
  • You have an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses saved.
  • You can pay off your balance in full every month.

However you do it, make paying off your credit cards — and learning to use them responsibly — a high priority.

Credit card usage has a huge impact on your credit score. If you spend too much of your overall limit or miss payments, you’ll hurt your score. If you keep your balances low and make on-time payments, your score will probably increase over time.

1. Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche: Determine Your Plan of Attack

First, determine how much credit card debt you have. You can do this using a tool like Credit Sesame.

Instead of looking at your debt in its entirety, we recommend approaching it bit by bit. By breaking your debt down into manageable chunks, you’ll experience quicker wins and stay motivated.

Two popular ways to break down debt repayments are the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Using the debt avalanche method, you’ll order your credit card debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income you have will go toward the highest-interest card.

Eventually, that card will be paid off. Then, you’ll attack the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on, until all your cards are paid off.

With the debt snowball method, you’ll order your debts from the lowest balance to highest, regardless of the interest rates on the cards. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income will go to the credit card with the smallest balance.

Starting with the smallest balance allows you to experience wins faster than you would with the avalanche, but you will spend more money on interest. While both have trade-offs, you can’t go wrong with either method.

Here’s an example of how each method would work if you’re paying off four credit cards of varying balances and interest rates.

  1. $ 654 with 0% interest
  2. $ 5,054 with 15% interest
  3. $ 2,541 with 23% interest
  4. $ 945 with 17% interest

If you followed the avalanche method, you would pay off card 3 first, followed by 4, 2 and 1. If you followed the snowball method, you would pay off card 1 first, followed by 4, 3 and 2.

Let’s say you have $ 600 per month to put toward debt. Using the snowball and avalanche comparison calculator from Dough Roller, you can see that it would take you 18 months to pay all of your cards off using either method.

The debt avalanche method would save you $ 105.73 of interest in the end, but you’d pay off your first card six months faster by going with the snowball.

Choosing the right method comes down to deciding whether you’d rather get quick results or save money on interest. We encourage you to check out Dough Roller’s calculator yourself, so you can calculate what each method would cost you.

2. Don’t Let Credit Card Companies Trick You Into Overspending

Credit card companies make it so easy to get in the habit of overspending. The introductory APR offers, new credit card sign-up bonuses and cash back offers are designed to get us using cards more frequently and thinking less about what items cost.

So if you want to be credit card debt-free, you need to change your lifestyle to lower your spending and maybe even increase your income.

Stop Blowing Your Money on These 3 Things

The quickest way to save a lot of money isn’t to nickel-and-dime your spending. It’s to save as much as possible on big-ticket items.

The three largest expenses in the average American family’s budget are housing, transportation and food, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To save on housing, you can rent a cheaper apartment or house if it’s not too far away from work. You can rent out a room in your house to a roommate or on Airbnb. You could even try an alternative living situation like an RV.

The easiest way to save on transportation is to get rid of your car payment. Trade in your vehicle for a used car you can pay cash for. If that’s not a possibility, consider trading it in for a car with a smaller payment. It may also be in your best interest to move closer to work if rent in that area is comparable or cheaper.

Finally, to lower your food spending, you’ll have to cut back on eating out and making random purchases at grocery and convenience stores. Plan out your meals each week based on what’s on sale, and try to use what’s in your pantry and fridge before you buy new groceries.

Side-Hustle Your Way to Paying Off Debt Faster

A side hustle is a great way to make money fast to put toward debt. You can use an app like Uber or TaskRabbit to get small jobs or see the unique services you can offer with your talents.

Taking surveys or doing mystery shopping won’t bring in cash fast enough to make a dent in your credit cards, so look for opportunities that don’t require spending upfront and pay more than minimum wage.

This credit card debt calculator is a great tool for estimating how much extra income you need to pay off your debt and how much you can save by paying it off faster.

3. Try These 4 Strategies to Lower Your Interest Rates

Cutting up credit cards

Many people will start by trying to lower their interest rates, but that typically doesn’t help. It can often just trick you into thinking you’ve solved your problem. This step is better left until you have a plan and are already working it.

Once you’ve started paying off your debt, you may find that you don’t need to go through the hassle of getting a lower rate. But if your debt payoff is going to take a significant amount of time, here are some of the ways you can get lower rates and save a little money.

Balance-Transfer Credit Card

If you have good to excellent credit (typically a FICO score of 690 or above) and can feasibly pay off your debt within a year, a balance-transfer credit card is a great option. Balance-transfer cards can save you money on interest charges by letting you transfer the balance of a card with a high interest rate to a card with zero percent interest.

Most of these cards offer zero percent interest for 12 to 18 months with no annual fee. They generally have a 2-5% balance-transfer fee, but you can easily find balance-transfer cards with no fee. A higher credit score will help you qualify for a card with better terms.

Personal Loan

You can also consolidate your debt with a personal loan. Online banks will allow you to prequalify for a personal loan without doing a hard inquiry of your credit, so if you want to shop around, head there first. Then, try your local credit union; they’re known for having the most affordable rates on loans.

It’s also important to note that lenders may tack on origination fees and prepayment penalties, or even require collateral. Read the fine print before you commit to anything.

Debt Consolidation Loan

If you don’t qualify for a personal loan, you can try for a debt consolidation loan. You’ll take out a new loan to pay off multiple debts, and then pay back the new loan — essentially consolidating your debt into one loan.

Debt consolidation is the go-to method for people who’ve fallen on temporary hard times or who have done the work to improve their finances and want to take care of their debt quickly.

It’s important to know that your debt consolidation loan may not cover the entirety of your debt. In those cases, you’ll want to prioritize paying off the remaining debts based on the terms of your new loan.

Home Equity Loan

If you own a home with equity, you have the option of taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, or doing a cash-out refinance.

For homeowners, these options will most likely offer the lowest interest rates, but they’re also the riskiest, because your home is the collateral.

4. Get Help if You Need It

The world of debt collections and creditors can be confusing, intimidating and sometimes even illegal. There’s a common misconception, for example, that someone can take your house or you can go to jail for not making your payments. But credit card debt is unsecured civil debt, meaning no one can put you in jail or take your house for not paying it.

If you’re being harassed by creditors or have circumstances that make your debt repayment confusing, don’t give up before finding out what options you have for assistance.

You’ll also want to be careful when seeking help. While some companies are legitimately there to assist you, others take your money and do very little to help your situation. Always seek reviews online and referrals from friends and family, and go with your gut when talking to their representatives.

Debt Management Program

With a debt management program, a credit counseling company will handle your consolidation in hopes of getting you better interest rates and lower fees. You’ll be assigned a counselor, who will set up a repayment and education plan for you. This program is specifically for unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills.

A debt management program pays your creditor for you to ensure you stay current on your debt payments. Your credit score may even improve during the program. But if you miss a payment, you can be dropped, and you’ll lose all the benefits you gained.

The program typically lasts three to five years, so it won’t help if you want to pay off your debt faster, but it is typically the best option for those who can’t.

Credit Card Debt Settlement

If you’re in more than just a temporary season of financial instability, and you can’t see yourself affording the amount of credit card debt you owe, debt settlement is an option, though we regard it as a last resort.

Debt settlement reduces the amount of debt you owe, but it will significantly lower your credit score and negatively impact your credit report.

The process isn’t as simple as debt consolidation, either. You have to convince every creditor that if they don’t settle with you, they probably won’t get anything at all. So, of course, during that time you won’t be making any payments — while interest and late fees accrue.

You can do this on your own, but most people seek the help of a debt settlement company.

Like a debt management program, a debt settlement firm will negotiate debts on your behalf, and the company will make lump-sum payments to creditors while you make monthly payments to the debt settlement company.

While you’re paying the debt settlement company, you’ll still be delinquent with any creditors the company hasn’t yet negotiated with, meaning you’ll still get calls from those creditors.

And there’s no guarantee the company will be successful. If it isn’t successful in negotiating, you’ll still be responsible for the full debt amount, plus any extra interest that accrued.

If the company is successful, you’ll have to pay the settlement amount in full. Then in April, you’ll owe taxes on the amount forgiven.

The settlement company will also charge you up to 25% in fees on top of the settlement.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is another last resort. The two major types for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the filer to completely discharge all their debts in four to six months by liquidating their assets. A trustee gathers and sells all of your nonexempt assets to pay off your debt. Those assets can include property that’s not your primary residence, a vehicle with equity, investments or valuable collections.

Those who earn a high income or have significant assets typically choose Chapter 13, which allows them to keep certain assets while still repaying some of the debts. It’s a long, arduous process that doesn’t guarantee to resolve your debt. It can be reversed if your income increases, and it wrecks your credit.

Both bankruptcy options have negative long-term ramifications on your credit.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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How criminals use Uber and Airbnb to launder money stolen from your credit card

Cybercriminals are mixing old school and new school methods of money laundering, including innovative methods for mixing ill-gotten cryptocurrencies with legitimate cash and recruiting Airbnb hosts and Uber drivers via the dark web.
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How to Get a $10 Gift Card to Target This Week If You Live in California

Have you ever heard of getting paid to save energy?

Earning cash when you switch off the lights, unplug the TV and pause the laundry cycle for a few hours each week?

It sounds too good to true, but it’s possible with OhmConnect, an energy-saving program for Californians.

Still not convinced? We talked with John Hastie, a San Diego resident who has earned up to $ 487 a month through the platform. Then there’s Tanya Williams, a stay-at-home mom who earned an extra $ 1,700 in 2017. She turned saving energy into a game with her kids.

So now you’re wondering: How does OhmConnect work? Can I just turn off my lights right now and make some money? Not exactly, but it’s almost that simple.

Here’s how you’ll get started:

  1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account though Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.
  2. Once or twice a week, you’ll receive a text message to participate in an #OhmHour, an hour of reduced energy consumption. Turn down unnecessary lights, hold off on doing the laundry or the dishes, and opt for a fan instead of the A/C. It’s the perfect time to go outside, play games on your phone, or go to the movies.
  3. OhmConnect then pays you for reducing your electricity consumption during #OhmHours.

So… why is OhmConnect willing to pay you?

OhmHours typically occur during times of peak energy usage (think: weekday evenings when everyone’s getting home from work). Rather than tapping into expensive (and dirty!) peaker plants (basically back-up plants for high-demand hours), utility companies offer an incentive to customers who cut back on energy consumption.

The money the utility company saves by avoiding these peaker plants is passed back to you, the customer, who so diligently saved during that high-demand time.

Your earnings are based on how much power you save. The more you save, the higher your OhmConnect status, which helps you earn even more.

To date, OhmConnect has paid its users $ 9 million.

Oh, and here’s a little bonus to get you started: Right now, OhmConnect is handing out $ 10 Target e-gift cards after you connect the service with one of the previously mentioned utility accounts.

(OhmConnect estimates the process typically takes less than two days.)

Once you’re approved, you can start earning points, for your energy savings, which translate to cash. In about two days, you’ll receive your Target e-gift card via email.

Not only are you helping save the world, you’re also earning some money along the way!

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Crypto exchange Binance now lets you buy Bitcoin with a credit card

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Despite the plummeting prices, buying your way into the world of cryptocurrencies is getting easier every day. 

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced on Thursday it now supports purchases via credit and debit cards. 

Visa and Mastercard are currently supported, and users can buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and XRP. To do so, go here, choose the coin, enter the amount of coins you want to buy, enter your credit card details and you’re ready to trade those with the 150 coins and tokens supported by Binance.  Read more…

More about Cryptocurrency, Binance, Tech, and Cryptocurrency Blockchain


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Here’s a Simple Trick to Snag 1% Cash Back on Anything (Without a Credit Card)

Remember that sweet surround sound system you bought a year ago? “Game of Thrones” never sounded so cool!

You even used your special credit card so you could earn some cash back on that baby. Well, that was the idea, anyway. Six months later, when you still had a balance on that card, you realized you paid a lot more in interest than what you earned in cash back.

The score? Credit card company: 1. You: 0

Believe it or not, you don’t have to use a credit card to enjoy the benefits of cash back. You can earn 1% cash back just for making your everyday debit card purchases — if you have an Empower banking account

You Can Get Cash Back — Without the Risk

You love cash back. Who doesn’t?

The problem is, your credit card offers you a small percentage of cash back, but it charges you an astronomical interest rate.

Why not just get cash back without the risk of paying crazy interest rates?

Here’s the trick: Don’t get a cash-back credit card — get a cash-back debit card with Empower.

When you open an Empower checking account, you can start earning cash 1% back on your everyday purchases with your debit card up to the first $ 1,000 spent each month. Refer your friends to this awesomeness, and you could boost that number up to 2%.

Your morning coffee stop? Cash back.

Lunch? Yep, cash back.

That weekly trip to stock up on groceries? You guessed it. Cash back.

Stop risking your money with credit cards just to get cash back. With Empower, you can get the rewards you love without risking big interest charges. Plus, there are no ATM fees, annual fees or overdraft fees.

Handle all of your finances right from your phone with Empower. Pay nothing and earn cash back just for using your debit card.

The score? Credit card company: 0. You: 1%.

Winner winner.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Man Uses Stolen Credit Card To Buy $3K Piece Of Pool Equipment

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Investigators are looking for a man who may be part of a “ring of thieves” targeting small businesses in the Houston area.

Click 2 Houston reports, surveillance cameras at a Pool Supply store captured images of the suspect entering the store and helping load a nearly $ 3,000 pool heater into a truck.

According to store owner Jeff Harper, there was nothing unusual about the transaction at first.

“We accepted the credit card, the customer paid for the heater and came and picked up the next day, it was gone,” Harper said.

The man reportedly called himself Christopher, and said he was calling from Austin, and needed the heater “for a job.” He said he would call around to check on pricing and call back.

When he did, Harper checked his phone number, address and email, to be sure he was legitimate.

But two weeks after the sale, American Express informed Harper the credit card used to buy the heater had been stolen from someone in Michigan.

According to police this incident is connected to a large ring of thieves and Harper is not the only victim.

“It takes a lot of effort for me and my dad to even buy that heater to be able to sell to someone,” Harper’s son, Dylan, said. “For someone to just come in and just take it and then there’s no recourse. We don’t have that money in our account.”

Click 2 reports, the bumper on the white van that hauled away the heater had been stolen from a junkyard to disguise the getaway vehicle.

To contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office with information about this case, call 713-221-6000.

[ione_media_gallery id=”112617″ overlay=”true”]

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512GB MicroSD Card On Amazon

SanDisk 128GB microSD cards are on sale right now on Amazon for $ 22 and change, or you can double that storage and get a 256GB card for $ 49 and change. Heck, you can go all the way up to 400GB for $ 84. If you want to go any bigger than that though, you’ll have to pay dearly. 512GB microSD cards still cost an arm and a leg, but you’ll be happy to learn that a sale from a top flash memory brand will get you a 512GB card at its lowest price ever. The PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC Card has a retail price of $ 350, which is obviously a pretty tall order. Snag one right now on Amazon though, and you’ll only pay $ 199.99.

PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC Card, Up to 90MB/S – (P-SDU512U190EL-GE): $ 199.99

Here’s more info from the product page:

  • Massive capacity to store over 80 hours of full HD video recording
  • Store up to 100, 000 pictures (18MP size)
  • Up to 90MB/s transfer speed to ensure you spend more time making new memories and less time saving them
  • Compatible with smartphones, tablets, dash cameras, 360O cameras, drones and more
  • Sd adapter Included for use on DSLR, MIL cameras and point-and-shoot.Interface UHS-1

PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC Card, Up to 90MB/S – (P-SDU512U190EL-GE): $ 199.99

BGR Top Deals:

  1. Amazon has an $ 86 Chrome computer the size of a flash drive
  2. LG’s stunning OLED TVs are on sale at their lowest prices ever for Super Bowl 53

Trending Right Now:

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  2. How the new ‘Spider-Man’ trailer just ruined ‘Avengers: Endgame’
  3. Forget the Galaxy S10, Oppo just unveiled exciting new smartphone camera and biometrics tech

Get a massive 512GB microSD card at its lowest price yet originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 16 Jan 2019 at 16:53:51 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Tribusky or Foles? Cris Carter and Nick Wright discuss which QB they trust more heading into Sunday’s Wild Card game

Cris Carter and Nick Wright look ahead to Sunday’s Chicago Bears vs Philadelphia Eagles playoff game. Nick and Cris reveal which QB they trust more heading into this weekend’s Wild Card game.

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12.27.18 Flight cancellations and what to do; Are credit card annual fees worth it?

Clark tells you what to do in the case your flight is cancelled; Credit card annual fees are often said to be bad. But sometimes they can be worth it. Clark tells you how to judge whether a card with an annual fee is worth it for you or not.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video
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Delawareans Can Get a Free $20 Amazon Gift Card for Helping to Build a New Wind Farm

Did you know you can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where you live? Even living in Delaware, the money from your power bill could be helping to build a new wind farm in another state across the country.

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset up to 100% of your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically, the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

And, because you’re such a good person, the company will throw in a free $ 20 Amazon gift card.

The service is free in some areas and costs a small monthly fee in others.

Eric Hanson wanted a cleaner energy source, but didn’t have the option in his area — and didn’t want to install pricy solar panels.

So he went with Arcadia Power, which offers him a way to drive the demand for sustainably sourced electricity, even though it’s not available in his area yet.

“On a fundamental level, the power that I use in my house is coming from renewable sources,” Hanson says. “By providing financial support for renewable energy sites, I can disrupt the market. I’m willing to support green growth.”

Bonus: Arcadia lets you see an online dashboard to track your power usage  — and Delawareans can sign up for price alerts to find the cheapest energy rates available.

You can sign up to qualify for your free Amazon gift card in about two minutes.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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New Hampshirites Can Get a Free $20 Amazon Gift Card for Helping to Build a New Wind Farm

Did you know you can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where you live? Even living in New Hampshire, the money from your power bill could be helping to build a new wind farm in another state across the country.

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset up to 100% of your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically, the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

And, because you’re such a good person, the company will throw in a free $ 20 Amazon gift card.

The service is free in some areas and costs a small monthly fee in others.

Eric Hanson wanted a cleaner energy source, but didn’t have the option in his area — and didn’t want to install pricy solar panels.

So he went with Arcadia Power, which offers him a way to drive the demand for sustainably sourced electricity, even though it’s not available in his area yet.

“On a fundamental level, the power that I use in my house is coming from renewable sources,” Hanson says. “By providing financial support for renewable energy sites, I can disrupt the market. I’m willing to support green growth.”

Bonus: Arcadia lets you see an online dashboard to track your power usage  — and new Hampshirites can sign up for price alerts to find the cheapest energy rates available.

You can sign up to qualify for your free Amazon gift card in about two minutes.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Pay off Credit Card Debt Without Selling Jewelry or Getting a Second Job

If they made a movie about paying off your credit cards, it would be called “Mission: Impossible.”

Seriously, paying down your credit card debts is a Herculean task. It can feel like you’re trying to climb a mountain that’s made out of quicksand.

You reach a point where you’re paying so much interest, you can’t pay down the principal.  

It’s tempting to take drastic measures. Sell off all your jewelry. Take a second job and say goodbye to your free time. You don’t have to do that. Don’t despair.

We’ve Got Ideas You Haven’t Thought of

Before you drive to the pawn shop or check the job listings, we’ve got eight tips for how to pay off your credit cards.

1. Let This Company Cut Your Interest Rates

When you think about how much debt you have, you might feel a little anxious.

That’s where a company like Fiona can be helpful. It can help you find personalized lending options to refinance or consolidate your debt to potentially save thousands dollars in interest.

Fiona will show you all the lenders willing to help you pay off your credit cards and eliminate the headache of paying bills by allowing you to make one payment each month.

You can borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) and compare interest rates, which start at 4.99%. The idea is to secure a loan at a lower interest rate, potentially helping you save thousands. Repayment plans range from 24 to 84 months.

Take, for example, Katherine, who faced $ 12,000 in credit-card debt. Holding her back? The 15.24% interest rate. By refinancing with a 5%-interest, seven-year personal loan, she saved $ 12,000 in interest.

If she’d kept on the same road, she would have paid something like $ 14,000 in interest alone over 25 years. Yikes.

So even if you’re simply curious about what’s out there, know that checking rates on Fiona won’t hurt your credit score — and can probably save you in interest.

2. Get a Strategic View of Your Debt

One of the toughest parts about paying down debt is knowing where to begin.

To get yourself out of this hole, first you have to know what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information. You can get a free copy of it once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus — but they can be tough to decipher.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and what you should do about it.

It offers personalized tips for how to deal with your debts. Folks who’ve used it tell us it’s a lifesaver.

3. Find out If You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

Woman posing in front of a mural of a car.

You’re probably overpaying for car insurance and wasting money you could use to pay down debt.

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $ 720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

4. Find Some Hidden Cash

Before you start hashing out a plan to tackle your debt, it might make you feel better to find areas in your life where you can save. Then you can funnel that money directly toward those outstanding balances.

For consistent savings, download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees. On average, Truebill says it saves customers $ 700 a year.

You can also try digging up some extra cash with Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

One of our favorite ways to save on everything is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart. Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

5. Earn Rewards When You Repay Your Debt on Time

Woman on laptop.

When you were a kid, your mom probably gave you an allowance for washing the dishes and sweeping the floor. Now all you get for doing that is a kitchen that’s clean for, like, 15 minutes.

Now that you’re a grown-up, you no longer get rewarded for just doing the things that are expected of you — like, for instance, paying bills on time.

Not until now, anyway. MoneyLion, a free app for managing your personal finances, will reward you for things like paying your bills and monitoring your credit — even just setting up an account in the app.

Much like that childhood allowance, it’s basically bribing you to be good.

You’ll earn points in the app’s rewards program, and you can redeem them for gift cards to more than 15,000 retailers, including places like Walmart, Applebee’s and Amazon.

If you want to take it a step further and work on paying down debts, for example, MoneyLion can help with a loan to consolidate your debt and potentially reduce your interest rates. And it’ll reward you for that, too!

6. Start Saving Without Trying

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $ 5 just for signing up! Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

7. Make Extra Money While You Watch TV

For those times you choose the frugal route and stay in for the night, why not cash in on your free time? Survey sites aren’t the fastest way to earn money, but they’re a great way to build a little savings while you veg out.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Swagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $ 5 bonus when earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
  • InboxDollars lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows. The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.
  • MyPoints: This platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $ 5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.

8. Negotiate Your Bills

Remember what your grandma used to say when you wanted a cookie? “Ask nicely!”

It turns out that’s amazing life advice when it comes to tackling your debt, as well.

Sometimes you can lower your bills, especially crippling medical bills, just by asking to have them reduced. Let your provider know a good reason why you can’t pay what it’s asking. You might get a little relief.

Also keep an eye on late fees and other sneaky charges that are added on to your bill. Those are easy for your debtors to remove if they choose.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Mike Brassfield is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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7 Mistakes We All Make When We Have Credit Card Debt

Let’s just come right out and say it: We all make mistakes.

Accidentally dyed your whites a startling shade of pink in the washing machine? Check. Set off the fire alarm when you attempted your first home-cooked meal? Of course. Said “thank you” to a waiter when they told you to enjoy your meal? Find us one person who hasn’t done that.

And when it comes to money, particularly credit card debt, we’ve all had our fair share of missteps.

In fact, it seems like we’re all making the same mistakes over and over, a la “Groundhog Day.” But the time has come to break that cycle.

7 Mistakes We All Make When We Have Credit Card Debt

If you find yourself dealing with credit card debt and worry you’re not handling it in the best way possible, don’t worry. We’re all in the same boat.

1. Overpaying for Interest (and Never Questioning It)

A woman looks in her empty wallet.

When you think about how much debt you have, you might feel a little anxious.

That’s where a company like Fiona can be helpful. It can help you find personalized lending options to refinance or consolidate your debt to potentially save thousands dollars in interest.

Fiona will show you all the lenders willing to help you pay off your credit card and eliminate the headache of paying bills by allowing you to make one payment each month.

You can borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) and compare interest rates, which start at 4.99%. The idea is to secure a loan at a lower interest rate, potentially helping you save thousands. Repayment plans range from 24 to 84 months.

Take, for example, Katherine, who faced $ 12,000 in credit-card debt. Holding her back? The 15.24% interest rate. By refinancing with a 5%-interest, seven-year personal loan, she saved $ 12,000 in interest.

If she’d kept on the same road, she would have paid something like $ 14,000 in interest alone over 25 years. Yikes.

So even if you’re simply curious about what’s out there, checking rates on Fiona won’t hurt your credit score — and can probably save you in interest.

2. Sticking to a Budget That Doesn’t Work For You

So, you decided you were going to tackle that credit card debt. The best place to start is making a budget, right?

You did some research, picked out a budget method and have followed it to a T — or tried to at least, because we all know budgeting hiccups are inevitable. So why, even though you did the so-called adult thing and made a budget, are you still feeling overwhelmed by looming credit card debt?

It’s pretty simple, actually: There isn’t one magical, cure-all budget. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so it’s important you find a method that actually fits your lifestyle. You want to control your budget, not the other way around.

Don’t just think about numbers such as income and debt when creating a budget. Consider outside factors that could make your planned budget destined for failure.

How much time and energy are you willing to devote? Are you a schedule-follower by nature, or more go-with-the-flow? Are there any obstacles conflicting with your budget, such as an irregular pay schedule?

Finding a budget that works for you will make you feel more in control of your finances, including that pesky credit card debt.

3. Overpaying for Other Monthly Bills

A notebook with a paged labeled budget sits on a bed with some pens.

You’ve made a budget, you’ve checked it twice — so why are you still wondering where the heck your money is going?

It’s time to dive deep and figure out which bills are taking more than their fair share. Instead of manually sorting through every single credit charge, let someone else do it for you… or something, really.

First, download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees. And yes, that includes the Barnes and Noble membership you’ve had since 2009 — even though you haven’t set foot in a brick-and-mortar bookstore in roughly five years. Tsk tsk.

Another bill that makes your eyes involuntarily widen every single month? You guessed it: Insurance.

Insurance bills can be hard to swallow, but the mere thought of shopping around for new rates is arguably worse. Fortunately, Gabi will do the leg work for you.

And the best part? You don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work..

The service will compare major insurers’ rates for your same level of coverage, and even help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Once you trim some of your monthly bills, you’ll have a bit more breathing room for paying off that credit card debt!

4. Overpaying for, Well, Everything Else

A woman sits on her couch and uses her laptop.

Dealing with credit card debt doesn’t mean you can just stop spending money. And a major part of life is shopping, whether it’s at the grocery store for necessities or at the mall for a treat yo’self day.

Luckily, there are services that can help you feel a little less guilty every time your swipe that card. How, you ask? By ensuring you’re getting the best deal possible, one way or another.

First up we’ve got Paribus, a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

For once, it’s a good thing to not clear out your inbox.

Another way to avoid overpaying while shopping online? Ebates, a cash-back shopping site that rewards you simply for buying something online! You can earn 1% to 25% on purchases from more than 2,500 online retailers.

There’s no charge, and Ebates even offers you a $ 10 Walmart gift card as a sign-up bonus.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

5. Letting Bills Fall Behind

It’s no secret that falling behind on payments is basically the opposite of what you want to do when dealing with credit card debt or any kind of debt, for that matter. What we all need in this situation is a little incentive to stay on track.

That’s where MoneyLion comes in This app offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.

You connect it to your bank accounts, credit cards and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

The app’s reward program will give you points for being financially responsible. Make a loan payment on time? Boom, 200 points right there. You can redeem them for gift cards to more than 15,000 retailers, including places like Walmart, Applebee’s and Amazon.

Let MoneyLion help you stay on top of those credit card bills, and handle them like a boss.

6. Thinking You Can’t Afford to Save

A man looks at the cash in his wallet.

Sure, you want to pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be devoting some money to your savings.

What if you get hit with an unexpected expense, such as a busted water heater or a trip to the emergency room? Without ample savings to help you out, you’ll only add to your debt anxiety.

We know saving money can be tough, but what if you could do it without even thinking about it?

No, we’re not talking about sorcery, we’re talking about Digit, an innovative app that will automate your savings.

All you have to do is link your bank account, then Digit uses an algorithm to calculate how much money you can safely set aside each day. It will put that money into a FDIC-insured savings account.

The out of sight, out of mind strategy takes the stress and legwork out of saving. One Penny Hoarder, a self-proclaimed “bad saver,” managed to tuck away $ 4,300 using the app.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

7. Letting Your Debt Take All the Fun out of Life

Listen, we understand that credit card debt is always at the back of your mind, popping up uninvited, trying to stress you out. We’ve all been there.

But here is a money mantra we stick with and want you to give a try, too: My debt does not control me.

You can be responsible, make budgets and stick to them; pay your bills on time; and save on expenses when possible. And all the while, you can live your life without sacrificing all of the fun stuff. Your financial health is important, but so is your physical and mental health!

Constantly be on the lookout for sneaky ways to save while still enjoying your social life, like hosting happy hour at your house instead of going out. And if you’ve got the time, consider finding a side gig that not only lets you earn some extra income, but is just flat out fun.

Might we suggest dog-walking with Rover? I mean, come on: Getting paid to hang out with dogs? Sounds like a slam dunk.

In short, your credit card debt is obviously important, but don’t let it stop you from living your best — but still financially responsible — life!

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s made her fair share of money mistakes on her debt journey. Do you have five, maybe six hours to spare to hear about them?

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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New breed of card skimmers at gas stations pose high-tech threats

A virulent new breed of skimmers at gas station pumps are using cutting-edge technology to steal your money.

That’s prompted money expert Clark Howard to renew his warning about selecting your method of payment when you fill up very carefully.

RELATED: The #1 way to protect yourself from skimmers if you pay debit at the gas station

Report: Internal Bluetooth-powered skimmers are epidemic

Skimmer scams at gas pumps have always been a perennial problem. These devices — designed to capture the info from inserted cards so that bogus plastic can be created in your name and maxed out — are now going very high-tech, according to one new report.

The Orlando Sentinel says the new breed of skimmers are inside the pumps themselves, rather than being an external appendage that a criminal puts on a pump hoping no one notices.

One of the key features of the newest kinds of skimmers is that they use Bluetooth technology and cell signals to transmit your card data via text messages.

That means the criminals operating these things can be miles away; across the country even!

“They never even have to come back to the gas station [to get the data],” one academic who studies skimmers told the newspaper.

Florida in particular is having trouble with the new high-tech approach to crime. Nearly 700 skimmers have been found on gas pumps in the Sunshine State during just the first 10 months of 2018 — more than in all of 2017.

Some chain gas stations have come up with new ways to try to thwart the criminals. But it’s unclear how well those solutions work against the new technologies being used by crooks.

And unfortunately, this problem isn’t local to the Sunshine State. It could happen anywhere.

Clark Howard: Beware of using a debit card to pay at the pump

The new development has caused Clark to reiterate his warning about paying with debit at the gas pump.

“The devices are so small and so sophisticated and they get a signal of your card while you’re still at the pump,” the money expert says.

“It goes to the heart of why you should never use pay at the pump with a debit card. You have no risk if it’s a credit card, but you have great risk with a debit card.”

“If you punch in your [PIN at the pump], banks say that you’re considered guilty until innocent because they say you’ve been careless with your [PIN].”

So if you must pay with a debit card for gasoline, Clark says there’s only one way to do it: Pay inside the gas station with the attendant at the cash register!

More stories you may like on Clark.com:

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Credit Card Debt? These 4 Sites Could Help You Pay It Down Faster

So, you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and the burden of paying off all that — and interest — is gobbling up your income.

Instead of financially treading water making minimum payments and paying maximum interest, make the smart move, and take out a debt consolidation loan. It’s a personal loan, usually at a lower interest rate that you can use to pay off your high-interest credit cards.

In the long term, you can save a ton of money, but first you have to shop around for a loan.

Sound difficult? It doesn’t have to be. Instead of spending hours scouring the internet, you can go window-shopping at an online marketplace that’ll help pinpoint the best loan for you.

We recommend you try more than one site and see what kind of results you get. Heck, try them all if you want. It won’t take long, and you have nothing to lose: Seeing your options won’t cost you anything, and it won’t hurt your credit score.

4 Marketplaces for a Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loan

To start, you’ll need to know your credit score, but that’s super easy. Just sign up for Credit Sesame, a free credit-monitoring service that helps you keep track of your credit. It’ll immediately show you your credit score, and it’ll offer you personalized tips to better manage your credit.

Here are four different options for places to find a loan online. At the end of this article, you’ll find a chart comparing them at a glance.

Credible

Credible is a one-stop shopping place where you can compare rates side-by-side from multiple lenders who are competing against each other for your business.

It allows you to compare quotes from seven different lenders: Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, Lending Club, Payoff, Prosper and Upstart.

Through Credible, you can borrow $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 with a loan term of two to five years, at interest rates ranging from 4.99% to 35.99%. The interest rates you’re offered will depend on your individual credit profile.

Credible is best for borrowers who have good credit scores and just want to consolidate their debt. It requires you to have a credit score of at least 680.

Even Financial

Compared to Credible, Even Financial allows you to borrow more money and borrow it for a longer period of time — if that’s what you want to do.

You can borrow up to $ 100,000 and spend up to seven years paying it back. That’s more money and time than you can get from any of these other three lending marketplaces.

Even’s lending partners include Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, Lending Club, LendingPoint, LightStream, Payoff, Prosper, SoFi and Upgrade.

You’ll need a credit score of at least 580. Interest rates range from 4.99% to 35.99%.

Lendvious

Lendvious is the newest of these four online loan websites.

Depending on your credit score and how much you want to borrow, you’ll immediately get offers from up to 10 lenders. You can borrow up to $ 50,000 with no collateral required.

Different lenders are looking for minimum credit scores ranging from 560 to 650. The company’s lending partners include Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, LendingPoint, Lending Club, Marcus, OneMain Financial, Prosper and Upgrade.

Interest rates range from 4.99% to 35.99%.

If your credit isn’t great, Lendvious might be your best option.

Upstart

Unlike those others, Upstart is a lending platform that manages the process from pre-approval through servicing your loan.

Founded by ex-Googlers, Upstart is a lending platform that’s striving to change the personal loan game. Rather than solely focusing on your credit score to determine your borrowing power, it looks at other factors, too, including your education and employment history.

Upstart tends to be especially helpful for recent grads, who have a short credit history and a mound of debt.

Many lenders judge consumers based only on their credit history. But Upstart believes this leaves out an entire segment of the population — even though they’re totally qualified.

When it comes to the length of the loan, Upstart offers three options: three, five or seven years. The company says its average three-year loan has a 16% interest rate*, with 36 monthly payments of $ 35 per $ 1,000 borrowed.

Comparing Your Options One More Time

Seeing your quotes from each of these platforms takes 5 minutes, tops, so you can easily try out more than one. Each conducts a soft inquiry on your credit, meaning it won’t affect your credit score at all.

Once you actually apply for a loan, the lender will perform a hard inquiry on your credit, which will ding your credit temporarily.

Here’s the chart we promised you:

  Credible Even Financial Lendvious Upstart
Interest rate 4.99% to 35.99% 4.99% to 35.99% 4.99% to 35.99% 8.92% to 29.99%
Term Two to five years Two to seven years One to five years Three or five years
Loan amount $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 $ 1,000 to $ 100,000 $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 $ 1,000 to $ 50, 000
Minimum credit score 680 580 560 620

*The average three-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart Platform will have an APR of 20% and 36 monthly payments of $ 35 per $ 1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on three-year rates offered in the last one month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

All loans are made by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, equal housing lender.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He knows a lot about credit card debt from personal experience.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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Looking back at past Yankees wild card games heading into do-or-die matchup with A’s

The Yankees and A’s, two teams well acclimated to the highly-debated wild card system, will battle it out Wednesday night for a chance to take on Boston in the ALDS.

Let’s take a look at the Bronx Bombers’ history in the do-or-die wild card game, infamously introduced for the 2012 season.

Yankees…

Sports – New York Daily News

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