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How Much Stimulus Money Will You Get? How To Earn 5% Cash Back On Groceries

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How Much Stimulus Check Money Could You Get? 

We have a good idea how much money a second stimulus check could put in your pocket now that Senate Republicans have officially presented their HEALS Act. The new proposal matches the $1,200 payment set up in the first stimulus check. But that doesn’t mean the full $1,200 is yours. How much money you wind up with depends on a range of factors, including how many dependents you have. [CNet]

Earn 5% Cash Back On Groceries With This New Chase Freedom Unlimited Offer

New Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders can earn $200 in bonus cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months after you open the account. But in addition, if you get the card now, you can also earn a whopping 5% cash back on your grocery store purchases (not including Target
TGT
or Walmart
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) in the first year you have the credit card, up to a maximum of $12,000 in spending. [CNN]

A Third Of Small Business Owners Have Tapped Personal Funds To Stay Afloat

Roughly 35% of small-business owners said they’ve needed to tap their own funds—-via a personal credit card and/or savings, for example—-to help prop up their business in the months since the coronavirus whacked the U.S. economy, according to a survey from CreditCards.com. Other sources serving as a lifeline included business credit cards or a business savings account, and loans (including through the Paycheck Protection Program). Altogether, 70% in the survey said they have leaned on one or more of those sources to remain in business since the coronavirus pandemic began. [CNBC]

Americans Are Rapidly Shrinking Their Credit Card Debt During The Pandemic

The amount of consumer revolving credit, which is mostly credit cards, plunged by another $24 billion in May, according to the Federal Reserve. This costly form of debt is down more than $100 billion since hitting a record high in February and is now below $1 trillion for the first time in nearly three years. That’s a sharp contrast with the last two economic downturns. The dwindling pile of credit card debt is yet more evidence of how drastically consumer behavior is changing during the pandemic and this period of financial insecurity. [CNN]

Can You Trust Your Mobile Payment App?

About half of U.S. adults incorrectly believe that they could reverse a payment made through a peer-to-peer platform. If you change your mind, have a problem or make a mistake—-input the wrong email address or phone number, for instance—-you’re usually at the mercy of the recipient. Payment apps usually protect against unauthorized transactions, but not necessarily against other fraud — and that can be true even if you link to a debit or credit card that otherwise would offer such protections. [Associated Press]

Debit And Services Help Mastercard Stay Afloat During the Pandemic

Mastercard reported U.S. credit volume was down 21% year-over-year to $179 billion. Conversely, Mastercard’s U.S. debit and prepaid card purchase volume rose 13% to $226 billion even though the number of debit transactions slipped 2% to 4.91 billion. Mastercard said its online purchase volume and contactless transactions at the point of sale are way up. [Digital Transactions]

Consumer Finance Complaints Skyrocket During Pandemic

Year over year, there was an 84% increase in the number of consumer complaints to the CFPB related to credit reporting, credit repair services, or other personal consumer reports, a 77% increase in the number of complaints related to money transfer, virtual currency, or money service, a 29% increase in the number of complaints related to credit card or prepaid card, and a 41% decrease in the number of complaints related to student loan. [Patch]

Visa, Mastercard Debit Fees Are Hurting Retailers, Sen. Richard Durbin Says

Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin is asking the Federal Reserve to probe allegedly anticompetitive practices that are forcing merchants to pay excessive debit card fees levied during the coronavirus crisis by large networks like Visa and Mastercard. Durbin said practices by the large card networks and debit-card issuers are diminishing competition in the online payments marketplace and costing merchants potentially billions of dollars. [The Wall Street Journal]

30 Ways To Stay Protected Against Credit Card Fraud

In 2008, 9.9 million people were victims of identity theft. Ten years later, the number had increased to 14.4 million victims. Credit card fraud is one of the most common types of identity theft. One area that’s seen increasing numbers of reports is new account fraud. Losses for new account fraud reached $3.4 billion in 2018. Here are steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim of credit card fraud. [LowCards.com]

Point Wants To Provide Credit Card Rewards With Debit Cards

Creating a Point account is more like joining a membership program. When you sign up, you get a debit card with some level of insurance as it’s a Mastercard World Debit card. You can expect some trip cancellation insurance, rental car insurance, purchase insurance, etc. You earn points with each purchase. You get 5x points on subscriptions, such as Spotify and Netflix
NFLX
, 3x points on food, grocery deliveries and ride sharing, and 1x points on everything else. Points can be redeemed for dollars — each point is worth $0.01. Point isn’t free. You have to pay $6.99 per month or $60 per year to join Point. [Tech Crunch]

How Many Contactless Debit Cards Are in Circulation?

Mercator estimates that Visa, the brand on 72% of U.S. debit cards, has 93 million contactless debit cards in the United States. Contactless debit will increase as the big banks put more contactless cards in the market and as smaller financial institutions prioritize the investment. Visa reports 80 of the largest 100 merchants accept contactless cards, resulting in over 60% of in-person card transactions taking place at a contactless-enabled merchant. [Payments Journal]

JPMorgan Chase Partners With Fintech Start-Up Marqeta To Launch ‘Virtual’ Credit Cards

JPMorgan Chase
JPM
is ditching plastic for some of its credit cards. The company’s commercial cards team is partnering with Marqeta to launch digital-only credit cards. The new function will allow JPMorgan corporate cards to work in mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay immediately — without having to wait for a physical version in the mail. This type of immediate, “virtual” card has historically been used for gig-economy, or contract workers who may need to pay expenses but wouldn’t qualify for a corporate card. [CNBC]

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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