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24
Jul

The Benefits Of Online Banking

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While many people have embraced online banking as an innovative way to conduct their banking transactions, many others are reluctant because they do not see how banking online will benefit them. There are many benefits to online banking that nearly everyone can take advantage of. Here are some of the ways that online banking can benefit you.

Banking Anytime, Anywhere

One of the biggest benefits to online banking is the ability to do your banking tasks at anytime, anywhere you happen to be. You do not have to wait for a banking location to open or locate an automatic teller machine (ATM). Just log into your account using an internet connected computer or your mobile phone and you will have immediate access to your bank accounts.

Lower Account Fees

Financial institutions that are primarily located online have less overhead than banks with a lot of physical locations. They do not have to pay for the costs of running buildings or paying employees to staff them. Many of these institutions pass on that savings to their customers in the form of lower account fees and higher interest rates on savings accounts. Compare the fees and rates for the accounts of several banks to see which ones have the best options for your current financial needs.

Ability To Set Automatic Payments

Banking online also gives you the option of automating your regular payments using the bank’s auto-pay services. By entering the payments that need to be paid and their amounts into the online system, you can schedule the payments to be made automatically from your account each month to the appropriate businesses. Once the payments have been entered into the system and authorized, they will continue until you physically change or cancel them in the system.

Ability To Set Account Alerts

Another important feature of online banking is the ability to set account alerts for certain actions that affect your account balance. You can set alerts for when deposits are made into your accounts, when fees are charged, when account balances are low, and when charges that exceed a certain amount are paid from the account. These alerts can be sent to your email address or your mobile phone by text message so you are alerted as soon as the action occurs.

Less Paper Used

Banking online allows you to significantly reduce the amount of paper you consume related to your financial activities. You can review your account statements and copies of checks written online. You can also eliminate the need to write checks by setting up online payments through the bank’s website.

21
Jul

The True Cost Of Withdrawing Money From A CD Early

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Photograph Courtesy Of Intel Free Press

Banks offer higher interest rates for certificate of deposit accounts (CDs) than they do for traditional savings accounts because the customer is agreeing to park their money at the bank for a set period of time. During this time period, the bank can lend out the money in the form of loans that earn fees for the bank, allowing them to provide a portion of the amount earned to account holders in the form of interest. When the money is withdrawn from the account early, the bank has less money available to lend out and loses the ability to earn money on the funds. This is why you are charged a penalty fee when you withdraw money from a CD early.

It is important to leave the money in the CD for the entire term if you do not want to suffer significant losses. The primary reason that many people invest in CDs is to have a safe, interest bearing option for storing their money so they do not have to worry potentially losing part of their money. Paying a considerable penalty for withdrawing money from a CD early goes against the entire reason for investing in a CD at all.

What Is The Penalty?

Banks are allowed to set their own fees when it comes to early withdrawals from CDs held at their institutions, so the fees charged can vary widely from bank to bank. The penalty at one bank could be as little as 6 months’ worth of interest, or about $18.48 for a $10,000 withdrawal at today’s national average yield of 0.37 percent. The penalty at another could be as much as 4 percent of the amount withdrawn, for a total of $400. Make sure that you read all of the terms associated with the CD before depositing your money so you know how an early withdrawal penalty will be assessed and how much it will be.

When you withdraw money from a CD early, you will not just lose the interest that you would have earned. You could also face significant fines that could reduce the amount of your principal. Many banking institutions have rules in place that will allow them to confiscate a portion of the principal deposited if the account holder withdraws money from the account early. A portion of the principal is generally confiscated as part of the penalty fee when there is not enough accrued interest in the account to cover the charge. Credit unions typically operate in a similar fashion.

It is important to consider the cost angle when deciding whether to pull money out of a CD before it has matured. Use a calculator to calculate the financial impact that the early withdrawal penalty will have on your funds. Many experts expect these fees to rise even further in the future when interest rates begin to increase.

17
Jul

Things To Think About Before Switching To A Credit Union

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Photograph Courtesy Of Ildar Sagdejev

Many people are frustrated with the way that the largest banks seem to be nickel and diming their accounts with added fees, additional charges, and low interest rates for savings. A number of these frustrated customers are considering switching to a credit union because they have heard that the credit unions have lower fees and better rates for loans and other credit products. Others are reluctant to make the switch because they believe that banking at a credit union will be more difficult or less convenient. While switching to a credit union is not for everyone, some will find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Here are some things to think about before making a decision on switching to a credit union.

Eligibility Requirements To Join

Because credit unions are designed to serve a particular community or group, there are some eligibility requirements that must be met to join a specific credit union. In some cases, the eligibility requirements are as simple as living in a particular area or working in a particular industry. In other cases, all of the members of a specific credit union are also alumni of a certain university, members of a religious institution, or are part of a particular profession.

Before making a decision on switching to a credit union, research the different credit unions in your area and determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for any of them. The free website CreditUnionLookup.com lets consumers who are interested in joining a credit union search for credit unions based on location, the name of the institution or a particular affiliation like a profession or employer.

Branches And Automatic Teller Machines

Credit unions have fewer locations than banks, leaving you fewer places to do in-person transactions. However, many credit unions also belong to shared banking networks that allow the customers of each credit union to use the ATMs of all of the other member credit unions without incurring out-of-network fees. In some cases, members can also perform other banking services through the other credit unions in the network. You may also be able to access your credit union account online, giving you many options for doing your regular financial tasks.

Account Rewards

Many banking customers stay with their bank because of the rewards that they are a earning for keeping their account with that particular institution, such as cash back rewards, airline miles, and travel discounts. Many people do not know that some credit unions offer these types of account perks as well. The transactions that are made on your debit card or credit card from a credit union will earn points or cash back just the same if you sign up for the appropriate programs. Credit unions that do not offer these perks generally have even lower fees and higher interest rates for savings accounts, giving their members a benefit for doing business with them.

14
Jul

What Is The Best Way To Access Equity In My Home?

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 What Is The Best Way To Access Equity In My Home?

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If you are a homeowner that wants to access the equity in your home, there are several choices available to you.

The three main choices available are to take out a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit, or a cash-out refinance. Each of these choices for accessing the equity in your home has distinct advantages and disadvantages that must be considered when making your choice.

You must also take into consideration how much equity is available in the home, how much money you need to borrow for your current situation, the interest rate of your current mortgage, and when you are planning to repay the money borrowed.

Here is some information that may help you make your decision.

Home Equity Loan

Also known as second mortgages, home equity loans allow you to borrow a set amount of the equity in your home to be repaid within a certain amount of time at an interest rate that could be fixed or variable. Home equity loans are a lot less common today than they were before the housing crash, but a number of banks still offer them to homeowners that are interested in them. If you choose this method, make sure to compare the interest rates of several different lenders as you may be able to get a better deal than the first offer you find.

Home Equity Line Of Credit

Another common method of accessing the equity in a home is taking out a home equity line of credit. This line of credit is secured by your home and allows you to take out funds, up to a maximum amount, over a set period, typically called the draw period and lasting for 10 years. During the draw period, a minimum amount based on an adjustable interest rate must be paid each month towards the loan. After the draw period has ended, any amount outstanding must be repaid over another set term, usually 15 years. The interest rate for this repayment period could be fixed or variable, depending on the terms of your particular home equity line of credit.

Cash-Out Refinance

With a cash out refinance, the homeowner refinances their primary mortgage for up to 80% of the home’s value and keeps the difference in cash that can be used for any purpose the homeowner desires. You are still paying a single loan, but the interest rate or length of time for repayment may have changed. Many of the homeowners that choose a cash-out refinance often want to refinance for other reasons, such as getting a better interest rate or lowering their payments, and obtaining cash at the same time is convenient. When choosing this option, it is important to compare the interest rate, fees, and closing costs of the new loan to make sure you are not paying more than you should to refinance.

What ways have you accessed equity in your home?