Credit and debit cards can both be used for shopping but operate differently. Credit cards impact your credit score but debit cards donâtâread on for more.
Credit and debit cards can both be used for shopping but operate differently. Credit cards impact your credit score but debit cards donâtâread on for more.
Credit cards exceptional financial instruments. They allow you to buy without any cash and earn rewards while at it. Another interesting feature is the option of adding another person as an authorized user to your card. However, credit card usage does have a huge impact on your creditworthiness. So, does removing your name from a […]
The post How Removing Your Name from a Shared Credit Card Affects Your Credit Score appeared first on Credit Absolute.
American Express is in the process of revamping all of the credit cards it offers. Usually American Express sends out a series of surveys trying to gauge the interest of different benefits. Today surveys were sent out for the EveryDay Preferred & Blue Business Plus asking for a ranking of the following benefits ($10 monthly for EDP and $25 monthly for BBP): PayPal, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Nike, Streaming.Â I suspect we will see both of these cards refreshed later this year.
Since weâre in the middle of a pandemic, weâre all trying to figure out the new normal. Whether youâre working from home, have a houseful of kids to keep busy or find yourself facing financial uncertainty, everyone has at least a little adjusting to do. While youâre taking stock of your life and what you need to adjust, itâs probably a good idea to take a look at your finances and credit card use, too.
Wondering how you should use your credit card? Weâve got some ideas for you on how you can use your credit card in the middle of a global emergency.
But before we get started, remember to take a hard look at your personal finances before following any financial information. Everyoneâs situation is differentâso what might work for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa.
If youâre working from home, the temptation to online shop can be all too real. But when youâre in the middle of a pandemic, you might need to put your money towards unexpected expenses.
David Lord, General Manager of Credit.com, has some advice on preventing frivolous spending. âTry browsing, putting things in your cart and leaving them for the day,â Lord suggests. âIf you take a look at your cart the next day, youâll most likely find that 90% of the time you wonât remember the things you placed in your cart in the first place.â
If the temptation to online shop is too strong, Lord suggests buying something thatâll keep you occupied for a while, like a puzzle, a paint set or a yoga mat. That way, youâll be too distracted to buy something else.
During a global emergency, it feels like everythingâs up in the air. Because of that, itâs important to stay as on top of things as you can and prepare for the worst-case scenario. Having good credit is important in the best of times, but it can be even more so in the worst.
Letâs say you find yourself with a bill that you canât pay on your hands. If you need to take out a loan, youâd probably want a loan with the best interest rates possible. In order to qualify for those types of loans, youâll need a good credit score.
If youâre in a position to do so, try to keep your credit score healthy. Hereâs some quick things you can do today:
But if you find yourself in a financial situation where you canât keep up with everything, you can prioritize. For example, going above 30% of your credit utilization ratio wonât impact your score as much as missing a payment. Thatâs because credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score, while your payment history makes up 35% of your score.
Do you have a greatÂ rewards credit card on your hands? Nowâs a great time to use them. While some credit cards might not be handy right now, like travel rewards cards, there are others that could be useful. If your card offers cashback on categories such as groceries, gas and everyday purchases, take advantage. You could use those rewards to help you cover essential purchases.Â
If you already have significant debt or if youâve recently taken on new debt, you might want to consider using a balance transfer credit card. A balance transfer credit card allows you to move your debt from one card to your balance transfer card, which typically has a lower promotional interest rate. These promotional interest rates can last from six to 18 months, and sometimes longer.
These are great options if youâre faced with new debt. If youâre struggling to pay the rent, groceries or medical bills, and your stimulus check canât cover it all, you can use your balance transfer credit card. Just make sure to be careful. You still have to pay off your debt, so make sure to do so before the promotional balance transfer offer ends. If you can, try to make regular payments on your card, so youâre not faced with an overwhelming amount of debt when the promotional offer ends.
Above all else, be mindful of your situation. What urgent bills do you have to pay? Do you have a loved one in the hospital? Have you or your significant other lost their job? Make goals based off of your situation, and use your credit card accordingly.
Go to Guide
If youâre looking for more information on coronavirus and your finances, check out our COVID-19 Financial Resource Guide. We update it frequently, to make the most up-to-date and useful information available to you.
The post Using Credit Cards During COVID-19 appeared first on Credit.com.
Signing the back of your credit card is an important security step for protecting your cardâs information if it should fall into the wrong hands. Merchants are supposed to check that the signature on the card matches the signature on the sales receipt as a security precaution. If a card has no signature on the back, they arenât required to process the ensuing payment.
Should You Sign the Back of Your Credit Card?
Signing the back of your credit card is always better than not, without exception. Itâs another step provided by your credit card company to try and keep your personal information as safe as possible. When used in conjunction with the card verification value (CVV) on your card, it creates a line of defense should a fraudster try to swipe your plastic.
While the signature itself doesnât protect you, the ability for a salesman to match it to your existing official signatures is where its value lies. This is done most commonly with your driverâs license, or if youâre abroad, your passport is a fine stand-in. In other words, taking a few seconds to sign that little black or white strip could be the difference between your identity being stolen and not.
Hereâs a look at how the major credit payment networks handle unsigned cards:
Mastercard urges merchants in its payment network not to accept charges from customers with unsigned credit cards. On the back of every Mastercard, it even says ânot valid unless signed.â
The company tries to instill in merchants that they should not process customer transactions unless the customerâs signature appears in the signature space on the back of the card.
If the card has no signature, merchants are to request the customer sign the card. A merchant also will need to see a confirming form of identification.
At Visa, merchants must verify that the signature on the back of any card matches the customerâs signature on the transaction receipt and any identification. They want to know you are who you say you are and recreating the same signature on demand when you sign for a credit card transaction is one way to do it.
Visa considers an unsigned credit card to be invalid. The words âNot Valid Without Signatureâ appear above, below or beside the signature panel on all Visa cards. Turn over the card and youâll see it. And like Mastercard, Visa urges merchants not to accept unsigned credit cards.
When a customer presents an unsigned Visa card to a merchant for payment, Visa requires a merchant to check the customerâs identification by requesting a government-issued form of ID.
Where permissible by state law, the Visa merchant may also write the customerâs ID serial number and expiration date on the sales receipt. (Beginning in California in 1971, the recording of personal information during credit card transactions has become illegal, with the passage of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act.)
Visa also instructs merchants to ask the customer to sign the card, within full view of the merchant. They then check that the customerâs newly written signature on the credit card matches the signature on the customerâs ID. If a customer refuses to sign a Visa card, the card is considered invalid and cannot be processed. Merchants will then be forced to ask the customer for another form of payment.
Discover keeps things very simple. The company urges its cardholders to sign the backs of their Discover cards as soon as they activate them. This is because the signature makes the card valid and a cashier may decline the transaction if the card is not signed.
American Express also urges retailers to compare a customerâs signature on the back of an American Express card with the transaction sales receipt. And if an American Express card is presented unsigned, the clerk is to request a photo ID of the customer with a signature. Following this, they must request the customer sign the back of the American Express card and the sales receipt while the clerk is holding on to the customerâs photo ID.
Writing âSee IDâ on a Credit Card
Writing âsee IDâ or âcheck IDâ on a credit card might seem like a great way to protect from fraud. But it actually may invalidate the card. This is because only your valid signature that a merchant can match with a signature on a sales receipt is acceptable. In some cases, the merchant may ask you for another card to make your purchase. To save yourself from a slower-than-needed transaction at the cash register, sign your credit card as intended.
Tips for Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud
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Fun fact about pandemic life: Zoom fatigue is real. And not just real, but “widely prevalent, intense, and completely new,” according to Psychiatric Times.
Although we might be avoiding Zoom these days when an email or even a phone call (is it 1986 again?) will suffice, there's one place where video conferencing still shines, and that's the good ol' brainstorm.
Old school brainstorming was creative and connective and interactive—all things difficult, but not impossible, to recreate virtually.
When I picture brainstorms of years past, I see images of big tables full of candy and fidget toys and pens and Post-Its galore. Old school brainstorming was creative and connective and interactive—all things difficult, but not impossible, to recreate virtually.
Today we’ll talk about some virtual brainstorming strategies I’ve seen work really well. And then hopefully, you’ll give one a try.
brainstorms shouldn’t be a catch-all for any group conversation.
Back when our biggest workplace woe was a vending machine out of Diet Coke, many of us took brainstorming sessions for granted. But in a virtual world, it's harder to organize, facilitate, and get people engaged.
That's why brainstorms shouldn’t be a catch-all for any group conversation. (Often what you’re looking for is just a meeting.) Brainstorms are a very specific brand of discussion in which a collective of creative voices, ideas, and opinions are necessary inputs to achieve a valuable output.
Because of challenges like Zoom fatigue and burnout, I urge you to be stingy with your brainstorming sessions. They're a fabulous enabler of ideas and solutions, so do use them. But do so strategically and with clear intention.
Because of challenges like Zoom fatigue and burnout, I urge you to be stingy with your brainstorming sessions.
What are some great occasions to host a brainstorming session? Use them when you need to:
These and many other scenarios call for a variety of perspectives in which there are no right or wrong answers, but only ideas.
In contrast, many other occasions don’t call for a brainstorm. Like when you need…
These are not brainstorm moments—they're meetings with a much more defined outcome. See the difference?
Okay, so you've figured out that your situation calls for a brainstorming session. Now, it's time to make sure everybody who comes to the brainstorm is on the same page before you begin by creating a statement that lays out the specific problem and how you need to tackle it.
Your problem statement might be something like:
We’re losing market share on X product, and we need to define new features to attract Millennial customers.
And here's another example:
This client wasn’t happy with our last deliverable and we need to redefine how we’re engaging with them.
One of your goals is to keep the session short (because fatigue) while maximizing what you take away from it. A clear problem statement allows you to invite your brainstorming participants to get the creative juices flowing ahead of the actual session.
Now that you've stated the problem or opportunity, it's time to let participants know you’re looking forward to a collaborative discussion and invite them to jot down some early ideas and send them your way.
You can then do some analysis ahead of the session. Did you spot any common themes? Any particular ideas you’re interested in having the group build upon?
Share your findings at the beginning of the brainstorming session. This will give you a strong foundation from which to build.
Love it or hate it, video conferencing technology is definitely your friend in a virtual brainstorm. It allows you to create a purposeful connection amongst participants. But you have to understand how to engage them.
When I used to run in-person meetings with leadership teams, I was always intentional about switching up the activities every 30 minutes or so. I’d facilitate a breakout, and then we’d do a quick poll, and then I’d have people plot Post-It notes around the room, and more.
Keeping things changing and moving is a great way to keep adults engaged. According to the Harvard Business Review: "If you don’t sustain a continual expectation of meaningful involvement, [people] will retreat into that alluring observer role."
So take the time to learn the features of whatever platform you’re using, and make the session engaging. Some tactics you might try?
Of course, talking is part of any brainstorm. But using technology can keep participants from slipping into the shadows without contributing.
A brainstorm isn’t successful because of how smart its participants are, but because of how much freedom and space their voices are given.
A client once told me this story about a packaging company that was struggling with productivity. Their products had to be wrapped in newspaper before being shipped. But often, as employees were packaging product, they’d accidentally start reading the newspaper, losing precious packing minutes. These minutes added up to lost productivity.
One day the leadership team was brainstorming solutions to this distraction problem and one executive said, “Well, what if we just poked their eyes out?”
Of course, he wasn't serious—the question was absurd and meant to add a little humor. But it triggered a new line of thinking. Eventually, the company established a partnership with a non-profit organization that finds jobs for blind people.
Is this story true? I’m honestly not sure. But it’s a great illustration of the importance of free-flowing ideas.
A brainstorm isn’t successful because of how smart its participants are, but because of how much freedom and space their voices are given.
As the facilitator, what norms can you put in place to ensure that all ideas get voiced without judgment and everyone has a chance to speak?
Here are a few you might consider:
What other norms will keep you on track?
Save a few minutes at the end of your scheduled session to check in on the process. How did it feel for everyone? What worked well and what might you skip next time? Do they have other tactics to recommend?
The best answer to “How do I host a great virtual brainstorm?” is the answer that your own participants give you.
When scheduled for the right occasion and with the right people, brainstorms are a fabulous tool. Don’t be intimidated by them. Just be open to learning as you go.
If you get paid every two weeks, you’ve probably noticed extra money coming your way certain months. Maybe you even thought your company’s payroll made a mistake! But it’s no mistake. You get two magical months like this a year: when you suddenly have a third paycheck andâthe best part isâyour monthly bills stay the same. Yes, it’s appropriate to jump for joyâprovided you have a plan for that extra income.
Why does this happen in the first place? If you’re paid biweekly, you get 26 paychecks throughout the 52-week year. That means two months out of the year, you end up getting three paychecks instead of your regular two.
Those two extra paychecks can go a long way. But without a plan in mind, they can also disappear. Fast. The first budgeting trick to saving two paychecks is to find out when they will hit your account. Grab a calendar and write down your paydays for every month in a given year and highlight the two extras. Maybe even put calendar reminders in your phone so you can track when the additional funds will hit your account. The extra paychecks will fall on different days every year, so tracking them in advance is key.
Samuel Deane, a founding partner of New York City-based wealth management firm Deane Financial, says there isn’t one correct way to budget with an extra paycheck, but that it should depend on your personal situation and financial goals. You could decide to give yourself some extra room in your budget throughout the year, for example, or use the extra money for something specific.
How can I budget for an extra paycheck? Consider these 5 budgeting hacks if you’re paid biweekly:
Once you’re done jumping for joy at the realization of the third paycheck, consider how your budget with an extra paycheck could help you pay down debt. “The first thing I usually tell my clients is to get rid of high-rate debt, which is usually credit card debt,” Deane says.
Before paying off debt with your new budget with an extra paycheck, make a list of all of your debts organized by balance and annual percentage rate (APR). Paying off the debt with the highest APR could save you the most money because you’re paying the most to carry a balance. Paying down a few low-APR, low-balance debts can also help you gain momentum and bring other financial benefits. For instance, if you owe close to your credit limit on a credit card, the high credit utilizationâor card balance to credit limit ratioâcould negatively impact your credit score.
If your budget with an extra paycheck includes debt repayment, you’ll start to owe less and have less interest accruing each month, freeing up even more cash from subsequent paychecks.
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“The first thing I usually tell my clients is to get rid of high-rate debt, which is usually credit card debt.”
Paying down debt isn’t the only way to budget with an extra paycheck. “Taking a look at whether you have a sufficient emergency fund is pretty important,” says Dan Stous, director of financial planning at Flagstone Financial Management.
An emergency fund of three to six months of your regular expenses can help you weather financial setbacks, such as a lost job or medical emergency, without having to take on new debt. Keeping these funds separate from your regular checking and savings accounts can help you keep them earmarked for the unexpected (and reduce the temptation to dip into them for non-emergency expenses). Places to keep your emergency fund include a high-yield savings account, certificate of deposit or money market account.
Sunny skies are the right time to save for a rainy day.
Start an emergency fund with no minimum balance.
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If creating an emergency fund or adding to an existing one is on your to-do list, a budgeting trick to save two paychecks is to automatically transfer your extra paychecks into your emergency fund account.
If you want to save for a goal like a new car or home, or contribute to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, contributing two full paychecks out of 26 can be a good start. “If a client is debt-free and doing well, they might be able to focus on other goals,” Deane says. If you’ve got a financial goal in mind, a budgeting hack if you’re paid biweekly is to transfer your two extra paychecks from your checking account to a savings or retirement account right away.
If you have a 401(k) through an employer and already contribute enough to get your maximum annual match, Deane says you may want to consider a Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is for retirement, but it also allows first-time homebuyers who have held their account for at least five years to withdraw up to $10,000 to buy a home, Deane says. Your budget with an extra paycheck could then go to either major goal.
Even loftier, “you could put aside money to start a business,” Deane says. If you plan on starting a business someday you could put away the paychecks annually and let those savings build as start-up capital.
If you already have an emergency fund, are currently debt-free and are making good progress on your savings goals, try this budgeting hack if you’re paid biweekly and get a third paycheck: Pay certain monthly bills ahead of time.
“If you have the ability to prepay some of your bills, it can ease anxiety in the coming months,” Deane says.
Before using this budgeting hack if you’re paid biweekly, check with your providers to confirm that you will not be met with a prepayment penalty, and get up to speed on any prepayment limitations. Some providers may even offer a discount or incentive if you pay something like a car insurance bill all at once. You could also explore whether or not prepaying your bills makes sense for utilities, your cellphone or rent.
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If you’re looking for budgeting hacks if you’re paid biweekly, consider that managing money isn’t only about dollars and cents. Emotions often play an important part in personal finance, and they’re often the root cause of people’s decisions. Accepting this fact could be an important part of successfully managing your money.
“From an emotional and behavioral standpoint, people should reward themselves for being responsible,” Stous says. “Basically, treat yourself.”
Perhaps you need a vacation from the daily grind, want to enrich or educate yourself or your family or simply want to get a date night at your favorite restaurant on the calendar. A budgeting trick to save two paychecks could be supplemented with some spending on yourself.
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“If you have an extra paycheck and a debt reduction goal, then maybe you apply the whole thing toward that goal. On the other hand, maybe you have a goal to retire in 10 years and you’re off track. Then, it’d be wise to put that money, or at least a portion of it, toward that goal.”
When you’re deciding how to budget with an extra paycheck, you might find yourself going back and forth between options.
“If you have an extra paycheck and a debt-reduction goal, then maybe you apply the whole thing toward that goal,” Stous says. “On the other hand, maybe you have a goal to retire in 10 years and you’re off track. Then, it’d be wise to put that money, or at least a portion of it, toward that goal.”
Even though budgeting solutions are not the same for everyone, being disciplined and proactive about the savings opportunity of a third paycheck can help you form a strong foundation for your financial future.
The post The Magical Third Paycheck: 5 Budgeting Hacks If You’re Paid Biweekly appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
Thinking about working in New York? There are some features of work life in the Big Apple that set it apart from the work culture in other cities. Is it true that if you can make it there you can make it anywhere? Weâre not making any promises, but we can give you some tips about what working in New York is really like.
Check out our 401(k) calculator.
1. Salaries are high â but so is the cost of living.
For many fields, particularly those that require highly skilled workers, salaries in New York are higher than those in other cities. But before you get too excited about the fact that salaries in New York tend to be higher, keep in mind that the cost of living in New York is higher, too.
Luckily, there are plenty of financial experts around to help you figure out how to keep your finances in check. These are the top 10 New York financial advisor firms.
2. New Yorkers put in long hours.
New Yorkers tend to work longer hours than folks in other cities. In part, thatâs because the workday itself is longer, but itâs also because New Yorkers tend to have long commutes. If you want to have plenty of free time to pursue side hustles or hobbies, working in New York might not be the best fit for you.
3. Commuting by public transit is the norm.
According to recent Census Bureau figures, 55.6% of New Yorkers take public transportation to work, 0.8% bike to work, 10.3% walk and 3.9% work at home. Hate crowds? Commuting by public transit could take some getting used to.
4. Office happy hour options are plentiful.
Working in New York means having a multitude of options for weekday lunches and office happy hours at your fingertips. Socializing with your coworkers after the end of a workday is easy with so many places to go and easy public transportation options to take you home at the end of the evening.
5. Being a working parent is expensive in New York.
New York has some of the highest childcare costs of any city in the nation. Being a working parent in New York is expensive â and itâs not easy, given the long hours New Yorkers put in. New York has a lower rate of working mothers than many other major U.S. cities, in part because the high price of childcare makes it hard for many New Yorkers to earn more than they would have to pay for childcare.
6. New York work culture takes some of its cues from Silicon Valley.
Some New York workplaces are taking their cues from the start-ups of Silicon Valley, implementing casual attire, flexible workdays and other features. In an effort to compete with companies in other cities, some New York companies are expanding the perks they offer their workers, so if youâre lucky enough to get a job in one of those companies, youâll find that working in New York has its compensations.
7. Lots of New Yorkers have more than one job.
Whether theyâre care workers who work double shifts or actors who tend bar on the side, many New Yorkers have more than one job. For some, having a second (or third) job is a matter of necessity, while for others itâs a way of advancing their career or expressing their artistic side. Plus, getting a second job (or a roommate) makes it easier to live the New York dream without going into debt.
8. There are professional support opportunities here.
Because itâs a huge, densely populated city, New York has professional support opportunities for those up and down the career ladder. You can get help finding a job or finishing your GED. You can also attend high-powered networking events and conferences. The important thing is to know what resources are out there and how to take advantage of them.
9. You can outsource a lot of tasks â if you have the money.
If itâs in your budget, you can outsource a lot of tasks that you donât want to have to tackle during your non-working hours. That includes mailing packages, getting food, dropping off dry cleaning, completing home repairs and more. Of course, these services arenât within reach of all New Yorkers, and many people like to do these basic âlife adminâ tasks themselves. But if youâre planning on diving into the workaholic lifestyle in New York and you think youâll have some money to spare, there are lots of companies looking to make outsourcing chores easier for you.
10. It helps to know someone.
It helps to know someone when youâre looking for work in New York, if only to stand out from the pile of applications that so many New York jobs attract. Thatâs why itâs a good idea to build and maintain your network and put it to work for you when youâre looking for a new (or just better) job.
Working in New York isnât for everyone, but many find it to be an exciting challenge unlike what they would face elsewhere. For others, working in New York is more of a means to an end â living in New York. Wherever you stand, working in New York is made easier when you have a strong network and plenty of determination.
Tips for Maximizing Your Money
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If you are one of many Americans struggling with credit card debt, there are plenty of great strategies designed to get you out of it. From balance transfer credit cards to consolidation loans, there is no shortage of solutions to reduce your balances.
See related: How to pay off credit card debt: 3 best strategies
One unique service is trying to appeal to those with multiple credit card payments every month. Tally offers to consolidate your card payments and help you pay down your debt faster – all for less interest than you currently pay.
Read on to learn more about the service and if it is best for you.
Tally is a mobile app available on both the Apple App store and Google Play store. It is designed to manage credit card debt and help its users pay down their balance faster.
Tally users link their credit cards, and the service automatically makes payments, using an algorithm to determine what size payments to make to each card – using factors like highest APR. In order to consolidate your debt, Tally will extend you a single line of credit to cover the payments it makes. That way, you just make one monthly payment to Tally and it takes care of the rest for you.
Right now, Tally is only available in certain states. Eligible locations include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
Tally offers a few different solutions for its users, based on how you want to pay down your debt. The most common service is known as Tally Pays – and puts your repayment in the hands of the app.
Tally Pays is the heart of Tally debt management solutions. With this service, Tally will extend you a line of credit, based on a soft pull of your credit report. You’ll be offered a variable APR between 7.9% and 25.9% (accurate as of January 2021).
Once you’ve secured a line of credit, you can link your credit card accounts and let Tally start making payments for you. The app will automatically make payments based on its algorithm to try to save you as much on interest as possible and pay down your debt quickly.
Tally only makes payments to credit cards on your behalf if it can save you money on interest. That means if you have any cards with a lower interest rate than your Tally line of credit, the service won’t make payments on those cards. (Note: Tally always makes the minimum payment on your card. Read more on late fee protection later.)
A good credit history means good rates on loans and other credit facilities. Once damaged though, rebuilding your credit can be difficult. However, you can get started by using a secured credit card that is easier to acquire than most other lines of credit. In this post, we shall look at how to increase your […]
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