They say home is where the heart is, and the heart of America lies in Missouri. While that quality doesn’t automatically make this state the perfect place to put down roots, growing families gravitate toward Missouri for many reasons.
Combining Midwestern sensibility with Southern charm, Missouri balances urban and rural traits well with its richly diverse culture, economy and landscape. Two major U.S. cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, border the eastern and western sides of the state, while a popular tourist destination, the mountainous Ozark region, dominates its southern half. The plains to the north are perhaps what many outsiders imagine when Missouri comes to mind. But each of these areas serves an important role and contributes heavily to the state’s strong economy.
The 50 largest U.S.-based hedge funds on the Barron's Penta Top 100 Hedge Funds boast more than $6 trillion in assets. For comparison, that’s more than the GDP of the 35 smallest U.S. states combined. Furthermore, the roughly $11 billion that the 25 richest hedge-fund managers made in 2016 is enough to end family homelessness within a decade.
So it makes sense that people pay attention to what they’re buying, selling and holding. We want to replicate their success. Hedge funds’ quarterly public disclosures, mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, give us a window into their recent activity.
Americans are obsessed with deals. Why else do we camp outside our favorite stores after a big holiday feast or force ourselves awake at ungodly hours to browse the virtual shopping aisles? Truth is, many of us find pleasure in buying merchandise at the deepest discounts and knowing we beat our fellow sale-addicted shoppers to the punch.
But while Black Friday is traditionally associated with the best prices, we should pause from our spending and ask: How good of a deal am I really getting? According to WalletHub’s holiday shopping survey, 53 percent of consumers said they don’t think Black Friday offers the most unbeatable bargains of the year.
Store credit cards for bad credit are few and far between. In fact, there’s only one available right now: the Fingerhut Credit Account. All of the other store cards in WalletHub’s database of 1,000+ credit card offers require at least fair credit for approval. So you should check your latest credit score (for free on WalletHub) before applying for most store plastic in order to avoid making a “bad” situation worse.
The term “corporate credit card” can mean slightly different things to different people. Technically, a corporate credit card is a special type of business credit card account that’s issued to a corporation (generally one with $10+ million in annual revenue), rather than an individual representing a business. As a result, individuals are not liable for corporate credit card debt, unlike balances on traditional business credit cards. And approval decisions aren’t based on the CEO’s personal credit history. Issuers instead review a company’s financial track record and use some of its assets as collateral.
Black Friday shopping is one of America’s most treasured holiday traditions. But there’s always a bit of hassle involved: Shoppers have to fight their drowsiness and stand in endless lines at stores following a hearty Thanksgiving dinner — all in the name of savings.
That tradition is changing, however. Black Friday sales are starting earlier, weeks ahead of the actual shopping holiday at some stores. And many retailers are offering even steeper price cuts or other discount promotions, both in store and online, just to stay ahead of their competitors. That’s good news for shoppers, especially those who prefer to shop from home. So which stores offer the best discounts and for which items?
Credit cards bring a lot more to the table than convenience, rewards, financing capabilities and the opportunity to improve your credit score. They also provide a host of unheralded secondary benefits that have the potential to save cardholders a lot of money. This includes extended warranties, price protection, travel insurance and rental car insurance, just to name a handful of perks. But far too few consumers know enough about these features to truly take advantage of them.
Inconsistency has a lot to do with that. Benefit terms vary by credit card company, for one thing. And even cards from a single issuer offer very different packages of perks. When you further consider the loopholes and fine print that characterize many of these perks, it’s even more understandable why secondary credit card benefits aren’t as popular as they could be.
Besides bringing good cheer, the holidays also can invite seasonal stress, a primary source of which is our addiction to spending. The National Retail Federation predicts the average per-person tab this holiday season will reach $967, up nearly 3.4 percent since 2016.
Although a few extra bucks might seem negligible, the NRF’s estimate for this year’s average holiday spending actually represents an increase of more than 20 percent over the past two years. And the consistent growth is a rather big deal, considering our rapid accumulation of plastic debt. Americans are on track to end 2017 with more than $60 billion in additional credit-card balances, according to WalletHub’s projections. That figure puts us perilously close to the nearly $1 trillion grand total recorded at the height of the Great Recession.
We’ve all heard about retailers offering price-match guarantees. But what most people don’t realize is that roughly 52% of credit cards from major issuers do the same thing, perhaps even better. So-called credit card price protection enables you to get a refund for the difference between what you pay for an item and a lower price advertised in the following 60-90 days. In other words, credit card price protection can eliminate your fear of missing out on a better deal, allowing you to both buy with confidence and save money.
But credit cards with price protection are not created equal. Coverage amounts and exclusions vary widely, as do claims procedures. So to help you better understand what the most popular cards bring to the table, WalletHub’s editors compared the 10 largest credit card companies’ price protection policies from top to bottom.
Credit card purchase protection covers eligible items against damage and theft in the months after you buy them. So if you have the right card and follow the proper protocol, your misfortune could be reversed with a full refund or a repaired/replaced item.
When might credit card purchase protection come in handy? Well, there were 14.6 million cases of property crime in 2015, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And roughly 1.3 million fires resulted in an estimated $14.3 billion in direct property loss, according to National Fire Protection Association. So it’s worth having an extra layer of protection.
Illness and natural disasters disrupt 1 in 6 Americans’ travel plans. But only 22% of those affected have travel insurance. And given that travel insurance packages typically inflate the cost of a trip by 4% to 8%, it’s no surprise that most people are content rolling the dice.
Fortunately, the solution might already be in your wallet. Credit card travel insurance can reimburse cardholders in the event of cancelled trips, missed connections, lost or delayed luggage, or even death. But coverage amounts and restrictions vary widely based on the type of card you have, the company that issues it and the card network it’s affiliated with. So you don’t want to exclusively rely on plastic before looking into the details of your policy.
When most people think of credit-card perks, their minds turn to rewards, low interest rates and convenience. But credit cards have a number of other basic benefits that help cardholders save money and avoid hassle. Rental car insurance is a great example.
Policies generally cover cardholders in the event of damage to or theft of a rental car. But you have to decline a rental company’s supplemental insurance policy for it to work. So you need to know that this perk exists, for starters, and what kind of coverage your credit card provides to take advantage of it.
Returns are a fact of retail life, especially after major celebrations and holidays. In fact, 35% of U.S. adults returned some of their holiday gifts last year, according to the National Retail Federation. But returning an item that you’ve purchased or received as a gift isn’t always so easy, as a variety of factors have the potential to turn this minor inconvenience into a waste of your precious time. For one thing, stores must rely on strict return policies to prevent fraud – returning a used or stolen item, for instance – which impacts roughly 3.5% of all returns.
So what is a consumer to do upon encountering difficulties when attempting a return? The answer might already be in your wallet, interestingly enough.
Most major credit cards will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty on certain eligible purchases, free of charge. So if an item breaks or is stolen after its original warranty runs out, you may be eligible for a refund. But most people don’t know about this particular credit card perk, as is the case with other key secondary benefits, such as travel insurance and purchase protection. And simply knowing that credit card extended warranties exist is just the first step.
To actually benefit from a credit card’s extended warranty, you have to find a card with a good policy, use it to buy the item whose warranty you want extended, and file a claim. Buying and filing are easy. But finding the best extended warranty credit card can be difficult. Every credit card’s extended warranty policy has many coverage exclusions. And you have to read a lot of fine print to get the complete picture.
Budgeting is a complicated, often frustrating process. But it’s also an area to which a great deal of attention, including in-depth academic research, has been paid. Thus, there are myriad helpful insights to be gleaned from the experiences and study of others, and below we have amassed a collection of the best tips and strategies we could find.
Finding love can be tough — if you look for it in all the wrong places. Some cities might encourage dating by offering plentiful nightlife options and daytime attractions. But until you meet your soul mate, you can expect to spend a little more than usual. It certainly pays to live in a place where dating activities, such as dining out or watching a movie, are relatively cheaper.
More entertainment choices and low cost of living don’t matter much, however, if the number of potential mates to meet are limited in your area. More than 45 percent of the U.S. adult population is unmarried, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. But the share may be higher or lower in every city, and the ratio of women to men also will differ in each.
A CVV2 code is a three-or-four digit number printed on credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards that you have to provide for security purposes when making a purchase online or over the phone. This prevents people from making so-called “card-not-present transactions” if they aren’t actually in possession of the card being charged. That’s why folks often refer to CVV2 numbers as credit card security codes. They help prevent unauthorized use of your account.
But that doesn’t explain the acronym, which many consumers wonder about. It’s not too far off, though. CVV2 stands for “Card Verification Value 2,” which makes sense given the role it plays in the payments landscape. This code helps payment processors confirm that the actual card issuer is the one making a purchase, as opposed to a fraudster who purchased stolen account information online, for example.
Credit card checks, also known as “convenience” or “access” checks, are one way to perform a cash advance. In other words, they allow you to tap into your credit line to make purchases for which plastic is not an option. But it’s best to avoid convenience checks because rather than making your life easier, they’ll just make it more expensive.
Credit card checks certainly aren’t free. In most cases, you’ll be charged a cash advance fee when such a check is cashed. And interest will immediately begin to accrue on the amount of the check at a very high rate. You’re not receiving a blank check, either. Your account’s cash advance limit will apply. And that’s usually much lower than you overall spending limit.
The shopping cart trick is merely a way to get pre-approved for store credit cards. Basically, you can trick a retailer’s website into thinking you’re going to buy something by adding items to your shopping cart and beginning to check out. But you’re doing so only to trigger a pop-up offer to see if you’re pre-approved for that retailer’s store credit card. You’ll know you’re on the right track if you see phrases like “See if you pre-qualify,” or “won’t affect your credit score.” If not, the pop-up will probably take you to the card’s actual application page.
A credit card security code is the three or four digit number that is printed – not embossed – on all credit cards. The length and location of a credit card’s security code depends on what network the card is on. If you have a Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit card, it will be three digits on the back of your card, just to the right of your signature. But an American Express credit card’s security code is a four-digit number listed on the front of the card, slightly above and to the right of the card number. In the event your card displays longer numbers, simply use the last three or four digits.
Regardless of what kind of card you have, credit card security codes serve the same purpose. When you provide your security code to a merchant, along with your credit card number and expiration date, the information is immediately sent to the credit card issuing bank for authentication. Once that is approved, your transaction will go through. If not, the transaction is instantly cancelled. Thus, it’s a no brainer why it’s called a “security code.”