How Direct Deposit Works & How To Set It Up

Direct deposit is an automatic electronic transfer that allows regularly scheduled payments, such as salary, pension, government benefit, tax refund and investment payments, to be made straight to your bank account. It is made possible by Automated Clearing House (ACH), an electronic network that lets banks bundle multiple transactions together and process them in batches.

Direct deposit offers a convenient, secure and reliable alternative to the traditional paper check, but should not to be confused with direct payment using ACH credit or debit, which is commonly used for shopping or paying bills online.

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Checkbook Register: Printable & Downloadable Templates

Checkbook Register

A check register is like a journal in which you record your checking account activity. It is also called a “check ledger” or “transaction register.” You can use it to track recent withdrawals and deposits you’ve made as well as recurring automatic transactions (e.g., online bill payments and direct deposits). By doing so, you’ll know how much money you actually have in your bank account at any time, and you can easily spot errors (or fraudulent activity) that you otherwise might overlook.

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The Health of the Housing Market in 25 Big Cities

WH Most Least Housing Healthy MSA BadgeNo one can forget the collapse of the housing market that precipitated the most catastrophic financial crisis in recent history. Ironically, the same industry is nursing local economies back to good health. Although mortgages continue to saddle American consumers, who collectively owed $8.17 trillion in housing debt by the end of the second quarter of 2015, signs of economic improvement abound, thanks to real estate’s resurrection.

As of the first quarter of 2015, for instance, about 255,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports, the lowest quarterly total since 2006. Foreclosure rates have also dipped to their lowest since that same year. In addition, lower down payments and higher approval rates for people with average credit scores indicate a growing housing market.

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2015’s States with the Best and Worst School Systems

2014-Back-to-School-States-with-the-Best-and-Worst-School-Systems-BadgesUnless one is destined for the ranks of wildly successful college dropouts like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, education remains the traditional route to professional and financial success for many Americans. Consider the median incomes for workers aged 25 and older in 2014. Those with a bachelor’s degree earned 65 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data reveal that income potential grows — and chances of unemployment shrink — as one’s educational attainment improves.

And with school resuming session, many parents will be seeking the best school districts to secure their children’s academic success. When comparing their options, however, parents should recognize that the amount of available public funding is by no means a determinant of a school system’s quality, as our findings demonstrate, though money is certainly helpful.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Soccer Fans

Best-Worst-Cities-for-Soccer-Fans-BadgeIf you weren’t a fan of soccer before 2015, America’s record-breaking victory in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup just might make one out of you. In early July, all eyes were on the U.S. Women’s National Team as it became the first to win three FIFA Women’s World Cups and the only one ever to score five goals, the most in a WWC Final.

Soccer — or better yet “football” to the global community — reigns supreme among the world’s most beloved professional sports. Not so much in the U.S., where it stands only eighth out of the 10 most followed sports by American adult fans. But the sport has been rising in domestic popularity, boosted by the U.S. Women’s National Team’s recent global triumph, MLS’ newest clubs New York City F.C. and Orlando City S.C. and other clubs forming in lower divisions.

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Close Your Account & Switch Banks: The Breakup Guide

How To Close A Bank Account

Closing a bank account can be like breaking up with a partner. It can take more time and hassle than you expect at first. Even when you think you’ve parted ways, the jilted bank may not agree and may reopen your account without notifying you — leaving you vulnerable to mounting fees.

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Best Way To Save For College: Compare Options, Get Tips

Saving For College

College is expensive. According to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for in-state students at public universities and $22,958 for out-of-state students. With a historical annual increase of about 5%, projected costs 18 years from now range from $94,800 (public in-state tuition) to $323,900 (private tuition). That’s not counting books, supplies, housing, meals, transportation and other personal expenses.

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Joint Bank Accounts: How They Work & How To Open One

Joint Bank Account

A joint account is a type of bank account that allows more than one person to own and manage it. There is no restriction regarding who can be an owner, which can include spouses, friends and business partners, among others. Everyone named on the account has equal access to funds, regardless of who deposited the money.

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Military Car Insurance: Get Discounts & More

Military Car Insurance

If you are active duty or a reserve in the U.S. military, it’s not just Uncle Sam who wants you – insurance companies do, too. Many insurers offer discounts and special services to military personnel, such as prorating premiums while your car is stored for deployment or discounting premiums when you are residing on base. Similar discounts exist for veterans and for drivers who belong to certain military associations.

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Check Routing Number: What It Is & How To Find It

Routing Number

At one point, you may have been asked by a biller or your employer to provide your bank’s routing number — usually in combination with your bank account number. And if you’re part of a shrinking group of consumers who still issue paper checks, then you’ve probably encountered this mysterious code on your checkbook or deposit slip.

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Check Processing: What Happens When You Write A Check?

Check Processing

Exchanging paper checks may seem like an old-fashioned way to transfer funds, and in some ways it is. But as soon as you deposit a check at your bank, chances are the funds will be transferred electronically. That’s why checks can now be deposited and cleared within a day.

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Strictest And Most Lenient States on Speeding and Reckless Driving

STRICTEST STATES ON SPEEDING Speed kills. We have all been told that since driver’s education class, and yet America drivers routinely exceed the speed limit. Before you underestimate the danger of exceeding the speed limit, consider that in 2013, speeding was a factor in 29 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding is costly, too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the annual economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion.

Another important issue is the impact of speeding on fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph will cost you 7 percent more for gasoline.

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2015’s Best and Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers

WH-Best-Home-Buyer-Badges-150x150Buying a home for the first time is an exciting and important milestone in the lives of most consumers. That was, at least, until the housing bubble collapsed nearly a decade ago. Today, home buyers are more skeptical than ever in the wake of the financial crisis, especially given the drastic variations in economic recovery across the U.S.

In 2014, the National Association of Realtors® reported that among buyers of primary residences, 33 percent were first-timers, whereas the historical average has been 40 percent for this group. And according to a recent Gallup poll, 41 percent of non-homeowners in 2015 don’t plan to buy a home in the foreseeable future, compared with 31 percent two years ago.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities to Be a Driver

Best-Worst-Cities-to-be-a-Driver-BadgeUnless you rely on public transit or live within walking distance of work, school and everywhere in between, commuting by car is necessary. For many of us, that unfortunately means being on the road about 200 hours each year — in addition to more than 40 hours stuck in traffic. In working-class terms, a total of 240 hours is the equivalent of a six-week vacation.

Add up the costs of wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestion on U.S. roads, and we arrive at a collective total of about $124 billion annually, or about $1,700 per household. However, that figure doesn’t include the extra $515 tab for maintenance and repairs, costs induced by the poor quality of America’s roads, which currently rank at No. 16 in the world and receive a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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Usage-Based Insurance: Drive Less, Drive Safely & Save

Usage Based Insurance

You only drive your car on weekends, and you’re a cautious, defensive driver. Yet you’re paying just as much for car insurance as other people who commute daily, some of whom boil over with road rage. Now you have a way to prove to your insurer how few miles you drive and how gently you drive them.

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Free Windshield Repair/Replacement From Your Insurance

Windshield Replacement Insurance

Be careful driving down the road with a chipped or cracked windshield. Cracks can quickly grow, especially on bumpy roads and with large temperature changes, and it may be illegal if it obstructs your visibility. So act quickly before something annoying becomes something expensive and life threatening.

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Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.