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Long-time Brandon High agriculture teacher, fair entertainer, honorary mayor dies at 94

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“Uncle Nat” delighted fair-goers at the Florida State Fair in Tampa in the 1990s, playing his harmonica and telling stories about farm life. The retired high school agriculture teacher would coax city folks into milking cows and pepper them with questions like, “How much fat is in 2 percent milk?”

Then he’d award them a tangerine and a prize ribbon that said, “I had an Ag Adventure.” He was at the fairs every day from opening to ending for a decade, said his daughter, Valerie Storms.

“He loved teaching,” she said. “And he was able to teach all ages about agriculture.”

Nathaniel “Nat” Storms died of heart failure on June 27 in a Brandon assisted-living facility. He was 94.

An aircraft mechanic in World War II, he then spent 31 years teaching agriculture at Brandon High School and serving as chapter advisor for the Future Farmers of America. Teaching was in his blood, said his youngest son, Steve Storms. Nat Storms’ father had been the supervisor of agricultural education for Hillsborough County.

Robert Rogers, 84, took Storms’ class in high school and said Storms was his favorite teacher.

Storms took his classes on field trips across Florida for plant shows and the like, Rogers said. On one trip, he said, Storms ran out of money and had to call his dad to wire him cash so he could get the boys home.

Roberts found out years later, he said, when Storms dropped by his plant nursery in Seffner. When Rogers asked why Storms didn’t ask his students for money, he just laughed. That wasn’t an unusual reaction.

“He just had a way with his humor,” Rogers said. “It helped with the learning.”

Nathaniel Storms pictured in the Brandon High School yearbook in 1971. [Storms family.]

Storms’ humor was on full display when he was elected the first honorary mayor of Brandon in 1959.

Brandon is an unincorporated area, not a city, so at an annual mayoral contest, townspeople ran for “mayor” based on how much money they raised for a local charity. He won the first contest with $500 in donations, his son said. Storms attended the event with a small pig named “Porky” and made him squeal at participants. “A pork chop in every pan” was his slogan.

For 62 years, the Zephyrhills native lived in the home that he and his wife, Alice, built on North Valrico Road. They named it the “Storms Shelter” because of the shady trees that cocooned it, Valerie Storms said, and the way it sheltered their family. Alice Storms died in 2018.

Nathaniel Storms pictured in his Gator memorabilia. [Storms family]

Storms volunteered after he retired. He picked up day-old bread around town for the Brandon Emergency Care Help Organization, his daughter said, and also served as its president.

“Because he’d been in the community so long, he knew the people to go to if they needed money or other things,” she said.

Nat Storms is survived by his daughters, Natalie Lightsey and Valerie Storms; his sons, Philip Storms, David Storms and Steve Storms; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Valerie Storms is a chaplain at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. She’s also the only female ordained minister of the First Baptist Church in Brandon, she said, something her father was proud of.

She officiated at her father’s grave site and chose an acrostic of N-A-T-H-A-N-I-E-L to honor his memory.

“When I got to the H for honesty, I said ‘Now there’s a man in whom there is no guile,‘” she said. “If he said it, you could believe it.”

He also was a generous man, she said, even cosigning loans for houses and cars for former students. His word was enough get a break for those with bad credit.

“And if dad spoke up for them, for the most part, those people would follow through,” Valerie Storms said. “His word meant a lot.”

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Bad Credit Credit Cards – Finest pupil bank cards for March 2021 | Fintech Zoom

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One of the biggest learning experiences a young person has when it comes to their personal finances is figuring out how to manage their credit cards. This can be a fraught process. First, for someone with no credit, like a student, getting a credit card is easier said than done. Then, once a student has a card, the temptation to overspend can lead to a financial hole — and it can happen fast. Luckily, there are options out there that are good for beginners — almost like cards with training wheels. These are student credit cards.

There are lots of reasons someone might consider a student card. First, being a student comes with a lot of expenses, and even a flush checking account may be no match for the seemingly endless list of books, software and other school supplies needed during a given semester. After all, college and high school students have returned to campus (or their virtual classrooms) for the spring semester already, and while school definitely looks different right now due to the global coronavirus pandemic, that just means that students need supplies beyond the typical notebooks and pens — think top-of-the-line computers, a new desk, and other work-from-home essentials to complete schoolwork.

However, perhaps the most pressing reason to pursue a student credit card is to build credit. After all, it’s hard to get good credit if you don’t already have it. And, if you’re a high school or college student with no credit at all — well, that reflects on a credit report and makes everything twice as difficult when working with a credit bureau.

While some people choose to build credit with a secured credit card — that is, a card where you’ve backed your credit limit with a cash deposit, student credit cards work a bit differently. These cards typically only offer a small credit line, sometimes just a couple hundred bucks. That way, the student can use the card to build credit without the risk of racking up too much credit card debt (which leads to bad credit), while the card issuer hopes that the card holder will transition into full-time employment and will use their card for everyday purchases for years to come.

There are a handful of good student credit cards out there. This list will help you figure out which one is the best student credit card for you.

Best student credit cards

Best overall Best for students without a credit history Best for students who plan to carry a balance Best for students with a co-signer
Discover It Student Chrome Deserve Edu Credit Card Chase Freedom Student Bank of America Travel Rewards
Annual percentage rate (standard / penalty) 17.99% variable, with 0% for the first 6 months / None 18.74% variable / None 14.99% variable / None 14.99% to 22.99% variable
Late payment fee Up to $40 Up to $25 Up to $39 Up to $40
Cash-back reward rate 2% on gas and dining (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter), 1% on all other purchases 1% on all purchases 1% on all purchases; 4% cash back on Lyft until 2022 1.5% on all purchases
Eligibility requirements No credit history required, proof of income required No credit score required; no Social Security number required for international students Co-signers not allowed, proof of income required Co-signers allowed
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0

A typical credit card application requires a high credit score (around 650 or so) and at least a few years of credit report history. To get a student credit card, however, you don’t necessarily need either, though some proof of financial experience and responsibility helps when it comes to securing a credit card offer. The card issuer looks at sources of income — even from part-time work or deposits from parents — as well as information about checking and savings accounts to get a sense of an applicant’s saving and spending. Luckily, once a student is able to get a card, simply making everyday purchases is an easy way to build credit (so long as the student is able to pay off their purchases).

In addition to more relaxed eligibility requirements, the best student credit card will offer some of the following features:

  • Special rules for credit newcomers such as minimal late fees and no-penalty APRs
  • Lower credit limits — usually between $500 and $2,000
  • Cashback rewards program on spending
  • A “reasonable” APR — usually between 15 and 20%

We evaluated 19 credit cards marketed specifically to students. We selected four cards that stood out across a range of criteria, including APR, forgiveness for credit mistakes, cash rewards and lenient eligibility requirements. We urge students to consider important factors like interest rate, whether the card has an annual fee and if the card offers a cash advance before they make a decision. Check out our picks below as well as some answers to frequently asked questions about student credit cards at the end of this article. We’ll update this list periodically.

The best student credit card overall

  • Standard APR: 17.99% variable (0% for the first 6 months)
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 2% on gas and dining, up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter; 1% on all other purchases 
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Standout feature: No late fee for first late payment
  • Eligibility requirements: No credit history required, proof of income 

The Discover It Student Chrome offers a winning combination of cash back and other rewards as well as lenient terms for first-time credit card holders. You won’t get dinged by the credit card company for a late payment — at least the first one — or have to deal with an exorbitant penalty APR. And, of course, getting 1 to 2% back in rewards each month is a welcome bonus. Note that Discover offers another similar student credit card, the Discover It Student Cash Back credit card, but the rotating bonus categories make things overcomplicated, especially for first-time cardholders. 

Features and rewards

Most student credit cards offer 1% cash back. The Discover It Student Chrome card bests that with 2% cash back on gas and dining, plus a generous cash-back match at the end of the first year. The match effectively doubles your first year’s bonus rewards, so if you receive $75 in cash-back rewards during the first 12 months, Discover will chip in an additional $75. We also like that the Chrome student credit card incentivizes good grades: You can earn a $20 statement credit for each school year you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

Rates and fees 

Discover’s rates and fees are generally lower than competitors’. The APR charged on purchases ranges between 12.99 and 21.99%, and there’s an introductory six-month period with 0% APR. Students with the Discover It Student Chrome also don’t have to worry about a penalty APR, which some issuers will institute if a card holder misses a payment. There’s no late fee for the first late payment, but for the second instance the credit card company charges up to $40, which is comparable to what other cards charge. 

At the moment, most study abroad programs have been put on hold. That noted, the Chrome student credit card has no foreign transaction fees — though Discover isn’t as widely accepted outside of the US as Mastercard and Visa.

Best for students without a credit history

  • Standard APR: 18.74% variable
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $25
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 1% on all purchases 
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Standout feature: Low late payment fee
  • Eligibility requirements: No credit score required; no Social Security number required for international students 

Deserve Edu Mastercard positions itself as an alternative to the traditional banks and credit card issuers, and specializes in credit cards for students and first-timers. And the Deserve Edu student credit card checks many of the boxes: It offers 1% back on all spending, features a relatively low late-payment fee and comes with a flat 18.74% APR. While it offers a lower student rewards rate than others, its relaxed eligibility requirements are well suited for students with a brief or nonexistent credit history or other potentially disqualifying limitation — like not having a Social Security number, if you’re an international student. 

Features and rewards

The Deserve Edu student credit card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, which can be redeemed for statement credits in increments of $25. Card holders also get one year free of Amazon Prime Student — worth around $40 — and up to $600 of credit toward cell phone protection coverage when you pay your monthly bill with it. 

Rates and fees

The 18.74% variable APR is relatively low for a student credit card, and it’s not tied to your credit score, so you know exactly what the APR is at the outset. Rather, the APR is “variable” because it’s tied to the “prime rate” — a benchmark interest rate used by lenders that changes over time. With most other cards, you won’t know the exact APR certain until you’ve been approved, and if you have a limited or nonexistent credit history it could be on the higher end of the range of what the issuer advertises. If you miss a payment, there’s no penalty APR, though you may be charged a late payment fee of $25. (Still, that’s about $15 less than the fee charged by most other student cards.) Deserve doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Best for students who plan to carry a balance

  • Standard APR: 14.99% variable
  • Penalty APR: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Late payment fee: Up to $39
  • Cash-back rewards: 1% on all purchases; 4% cash back on Lyft until 2022
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Standout features: Free, unlimited access to credit score; Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time
  • Eligibility requirements: No co-signers, proof of income

The student version of one of our favorite cash-back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Student credit card has a lot to offer. The 14.99% variable APR is one of the lowest available for student credit cards, and you get a $50 credit when you sign up, a $20 bonus every year and a credit limit increase after five on-time payments.

Features and rewards

Chase offers cardholders free and unlimited access to their credit score, which can be an important tool for those building credit from scratch. The credit limit increase is another nice feature as credit use is a primary factor in a credit score. Most credit experts recommend using less than 30% of your total credit available, so the higher the limit, the easier it is to keep your credit use low.

Its 1% cash back on all purchases is consistent with the category average and the 4% back on Lyft rides is nice (though less practical for many in the coronavirus era). The $50 sign-on bonus can be triggered by making a single purchase in the first three months so you need not worry about hitting a high spending threshold. And the $20 annual reward can be redeemed for five years — as long as your account remains in good standing.

Rates and fees

Every cardholder gets the 14.99% variable APR — so you know what you’re signed up for at the outset. It’s best not to maintain a balance month to month, but if it happens once or twice, the interest will be lower than with other cards.

A few words of caution: This card’s late payment fee can run as high as $39 for a first late payment; most other student cards have a lower penalty or no penalty for first-time offenders; and if you’re planning on studying abroad, this card will subject you to a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Best for students who have a co-signer

  • Standard APR: 14.99% to 22.99% variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Cash-back rewards: 1.5% on all purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0%
  • Eligibility requirements: Allows co-signers

Bank of America is one of the few card issuers that allows co-signers, who can be a parent, guardian — or anyone with a good credit score who’s willing to share the legal liability. On the other hand, any late or missed payments or high outstanding balances will also negatively affect the co-signer’s score. 

Features and rewards

This student credit card is essentially the same as Bank of America’s Travel Rewards card, which means it offers higher risks and rewards than most other student cards. You get a higher cash rewards rate — 1.5% back on all purchases — but fewer of the relaxed requirements for credit novices. And points can be redeemed only as statement credits against travel purchases; so, unless 1.5% of your spending is on taxis, Uber or Lyft, flights, baggage fees, hotels, rental cars, buses, trains, amusement parks or campgrounds, this card’s rewards aren’t particularly valuable.

Bank of America will grant you 25,000 points, equivalent to $250, when you sign up if you spend $1,000 during the first three months. That’s a higher threshold than you’ll find with other student cards, but also a higher reward. Bottom line: If you can time your credit card application with a large purchase, it’s worth it.

Rates and fees 

Bank of America offers an introductory 0% APR for the first year and no foreign transaction fees. That being said, this student credit card doesn’t mess around when it comes to penalties: The standard APR runs between 14.99% and 22.99% depending on your credit score, but if you’re late with a payment, you could be hit with the 29.99% penalty APR. That’s exorbitant — and it comes in addition to a $40 late payment fee. Students at risk of paying late should avoid this card at all costs.

What’s the best student credit card right now?

The Discover It Student Chrome is our pick for the best student credit card right now due to its lenient terms for first-time cardholders, including no penalty for the first late payment, and a combination of cash back and other rewards. The Deserve Edu Credit Card is best for students without a credit history, while the Chase Freedom Student is a sound choice for students who plan to carry a balance. If the student has a co-signer, we recommend the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

How does a student credit card work?

Student credit cards offer those with limited or no credit a way to start building credit and create a credit history. They generally come with lower credit limits than typical credit cards and don’t charge annual fees. And they often have novice-friendly features, including late payment forgiveness, incremental credit limit increases over time and credit education resources. Reward rates may be lower than for standard cash-back and travel credit cards, however, making student credit cards a lower-risk, lower-reward financial tool.

Are secured credit cards a good option for first-time credit card holders?

Student credit cards offer those with limited or no credit a way to start building credit and create a credit history. They generally come with lower credit limits than typical credit cards and don’t charge annual fees. And they often have novice-friendly features, including late payment forgiveness, incremental credit limit increases over time and credit education resources. Reward rates may be lower than for standard cash-back and travel credit cards, however, making student credit cards a lower-risk, lower-reward financial tool.

If you subscribe to only one CNET newsletter, this is it. Get editors’ top picks of the day’s most interesting reviews, news stories and videos.

What do you need to qualify for a student credit card?

Most credit cards require an applicant to have a credit score of at least 650 and a substantial credit history. Student cards don’t. Still, you may need to demonstrate some financial responsibility — including a source of income, even from part-time work or deposits from your parents. The card issuer may also want to see information about your checking and savings accounts to get a sense of your spending habits and confirm that you’ll have sufficient funds to pay the minimum monthly payment. 

How do cash-back rewards work?

For all the cards listed above, “cash back” refers to a statement credit that’s applied to your account to lower your balance. For the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, for example, you can only redeem rewards against travel purchases. But for most other cards, cash rewards can be applied toward a balance regardless of expense type.

Cards we researched

  • CapitalOne Journey Student Rewards
  • Discover It Student Chrome 
  • Discover It Student Cash Back 
  • Deserve EDU Student
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students
  • CapitalOne Secured Mastercard
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students 
  • Citi Rewards + Student
  • OpenSky Secured Visa
  • BankAmericard for Students 
  • StateFarm Student Visa 
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College 
  • Petal Visa 
  • Chase Freedom Student
  • CapitalOne Platinum
  • Discover It Secured
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Citi Double Cash Card
  • CapitalOne Quicksilver Cash

Disclaimer: The information included in this article, including program features, program fees and credits available through credit cards to apply to such programs, may change from time to time and are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please check the credit card provider’s website and review its terms and conditions for the most current offers and information. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

The comments on this article are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Bad Credit Credit Cards – Feds charge four more in alleged $31 million embezzlement scheme preceding 2017 failure of Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport | Fintech Zoom

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Bad Credit Credit Cards – Feds charge four more in alleged $31 million embezzlement scheme preceding 2017 failure of Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport

James Crotty, 41, of Tinley Park; Boguslaw Kasprowicz, 63, of Burbank, California; and Miroslaw Krejza, 62, of Chicago, were also charged in Thursday’s 67-page superseding indictment. All four new defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court March 4.

Bad Credit Credit Cards – Feds charge four more in alleged $31 million embezzlement scheme preceding 2017 failure of Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport

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Complaints of credit report errors have increased during the pandemic. Here’s how to protect yourself.

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Complaints about errors in credit reports have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began — and these errors can pose a host of problems for the consumer.

Roseann Palmeiri wanted to borrow money for some home improvement projects. But she was shocked to learn that her credit score had dropped by 200 points.

“I said, ‘How am I going to apply for a loan and get the good interest rates now? I might not even get the loan,’” she says.

Palmeiri says that she disputed a fraudulent charge on her credit card and that it somehow had been reported as a bad debt.

“To drop by almost 200 points? That’s ridiculous. And first of all, you really had no business reporting that until it was resolved,” she says.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says that there were 195,974 complaints about bad information on credit reports last year – almost as many as all other complaints combined.

Palmeiri’s credit card company fixed the mistake. But it is not always that simple.

“There’s more of a chance of bad information being put on your credit report than there is a chance of them fixing it. It’s a mess,” says Ed Mierzwinski, with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

Mierzwinski says that a mistake on a credit report can have serious consequences.

“If you’ve got a bad credit report and you can’t get it fixed, you’ll either pay more for credit or be behind credit or you could even be denied a job,” he says.

PIRG hopes that under the Biden administration, the CFPB will take a harder line on credit agencies that post bad information. But in the end, it is up to everyone else to make sure their credit report is accurate.

Experts say that people should check their credit reports regularly. They can get a free report once a year from each of the major reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. Anyone who sees an error should contact each agency, point out the error and provide evidence.

If the problem isn’t resolved, one may consider taking legal action against both the credit agency and the company that reported the bad information.

“Sometimes you should see an attorney before you write your letter because it may be a complicated matter that you need help trying to figure out how to articulate the information. That’s fine. But legal action can’t be taken until the credit reporting agency and the furnisher has an opportunity to correct the information,” says consumer attorney Craig Kimmel, with the firm Kimmel & Silverman.

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