Archive for May, 2015

The Cheaper the Home, the Higher the Borrowing Cost

Posted on May 29, 2015 by Saldutti

Small loan amounts are offered at more expensive rates than those of higher amounts, according to an analysis of loan requests and quotes on Zillow Mortgages. Further, there are fewer lenders willing to lend to borrowers with small loan amounts, Zillow says. Borrowers with loans of $100,000 pay 10% more for every dollar borrowed than borrowers with loans of $400,000. Zillow attributes this to higher interest rates and fees.  “Lenders go after big loan amounts and back-burner small loan amounts because even though they take the same amount of time to complete, the larger the loan amount is, the more…

What Debt Collectors Can (and Can't) Do

Posted on May 28, 2015 by Saldutti

Let’s face it – debt collectors have a bad reputation. There are numerous unprofessional collectors who give the industry a bad name.  Many lie, yell, intimidate and threaten people over unpaid debts. If you are one of those people who owe money and are getting collector calls, there is some good news: Collectors aren’t intimidating when you know the truth about what they can (and can’t) do. Let’s use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to dispel some of the myths about collectors’ tactics. If a collector makes a threat, call their bluff by referring to the appropriate section of…

Banks Score High in Tech, Low in Security

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Saldutti

Customers are satisfied with banks’ mobile and tech offerings, and with the convenience and connectivity they provide, according to the Consumer Banking Expectations Index, released by banking tech firm FIS.  But U.S. banks are not meeting expectations for safety and security, which customers rank as their highest priorities.  Financial institutions also received low scores for fairness and transparency. The results suggest serious concerns around issues like identity theft and the security of personal data, and show how high or hidden fees can damage a bank’s reputation. More broadly, it indicates that customers have raised their standards for what they expect…

Apple Watch: A Payments Game Changer?

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Saldutti

Apple Watch is and will continue to be a big hit for their loyal consumers, both in terms of sales and acclaim. But for payments, it’s not what consumers are looking for now.  Apple Watch will bring Apple Pay to the wearables market, launching last month with partners including American Express and Wallaby Financial, though many of Apple Watch’s early supporters are also partnering with less-expensive wearable options.  But the age of Apple Watch as a driver of wearable and alternative payments is still far off. Although more than half of younger shoppers are already willing to use wearables to make in-store payments,…

Memorial Day 2015: By the Numbers

Posted on May 25, 2015 by Saldutti

With those bitter winter temps now a distant memory, it’s time to get ready for the unofficial start of the summer.  This Memorial Day, as we feast on burgers and brats and spend time with our families on the beaches or in our backyards, it’s important to remember the sacrifices of America’s soldiers.  To kick off the holiday, we treat you to this feast of tasty holiday digits.  Here are Memorial Day 2015 facts and figures … Travelers Hitting the Road: 37.2 Million – The number of drivers taking to the turnpike, interstate, or scenic backroad (50 miles or more) will…

Gas Prices Rise for Memorial Day, Still Lowest in Years

Posted on May 22, 2015 by Saldutti

Drivers are paying more to fill their gas tanks ahead of the Memorial Day this weekend.  The national average price at the pump is rising just in time for the 3-day weekend, when many people go on road trips. The cost of regular gasoline has risen 32 of the past 34 days, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). “Consumers are paying a nickel per gallon more than one week ago and 26 cents more per gallon than one month ago,” the association said. “With the exception of Pennsylvania, where the price has moved lower by fractions of a penny,…

A Prescription to Deal With Medical Debt

Posted on May 21, 2015 by Saldutti

If you’re facing big bills from a medical emergency, you probably have a million questions: Where do I start? What am I supposed to do? How do I pay this? What about my other debts?  You can take steps to make the debt-paying process – and possibly the debt itself – less overwhelming.  The trick is to stay calm and deal with one issue at a time.  Once you’ve collected your thoughts, you can focus on taking care of the debt.  Financial author and syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey outlines these following steps to help ease the burden of medical…

What Goes Into A Credit Score?

Posted on May 20, 2015 by Saldutti

Your credit score can make or break you: It can determine whether you’re approved for a loan, can rent an apartment, even whether you’ll be hired for a job. Despite the impact your credit score has, it’s rare to find someone who understands the factors that go into calculating the number, or how to go about raising it. Three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – all vary slightly when it comes to how they calculate your score, but the basic breakdown remains the same. Most credit checks involve a combined score from all three bureaus.  According to FICO, there…

Time to Declutter Your Finances

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Saldutti

Marie Kondo’s best-selling book about de-cluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has prompted people around the world to shed their stuff. The Japanese organizer’s precepts have “developed a cult-like following,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  Kondo’s approach, called the KonMari Method, also translates surprisingly well to dealing with your money. If organizing your finances feels overwhelming, the Daily Worth shows us how to apply Kondo’s ideas to gain financial control. Go Big – Many organization experts suggest decluttering a little at a time to avoid burnout, but Kondo advocates a get-it-done approach using marathon sessions, saying that short tidying bursts don’t…

Financial Advice for New Grads

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Saldutti

A lot of colleges don’t do a great job educating students about topics that often have real-life implications.  U.S News & World Report offers the following advice to the class of 2015. 1. Live within (or below) your means.  It’s tempting to want to spend all your income on gifts for yourself. After all, you’ve worked hard and deserve to be rewarded, right?  However, spending your entire paycheck can be a dangerous habit to fall into, especially if you’re buying things just to impress others. Resist the urge to keep up with the Joneses – you may never be happy if life becomes…