In recent years, many Americans’ personal information has become compromised by big data breaches. In 2019 alone, prominent companies like WhatsApp, Quest Diagnostics, Microsoft, ASUS and Capital One have fallen victim to cybercriminals. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s most recent Data Breach Report, between January 1, 2005 and August 31, 2019, there have been 10,818 breaches. That accounts for over 1.6 billion records compromised.
The federal government and various businesses in recent years have taken more aggressive measures to build up our defenses. One big concern is not just hacking on the individual level, but cyberattacks by foreign governments to gain leverage. The United States recently signed a new cybersecurity agreement at the U.N., which condemns cyberattacks on civilian targets. Despite this, criminal strategies continue to evolve and grow in sophistication, keeping consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.
Identity theft occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to your personally identifying information – such as your name, Social Security Number (SSN), or bank account information – and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity thieves are opportunistic. They tend to exploit simple vulnerabilities in individuals’ personal information security practices, and each critical piece of information or account they garner access to can help them steal more. Signs of fraud can also take weeks or months to reveal themselves.
Consumers and merchants often rely on the security of cashier’s checks for major transactions such as the purchase of a home, car or jewelry. But “security” in this case simply means that cashier’s checks won’t bounce because the issuing banks take full responsibility for covering payment. They aren’t, however, secure from fraud and scams.
Printing technology has grown so advanced over recent years that it’s relatively easy for scammers to forge cashier’s checks in their own basements. As a result, even bank employees may find it difficult to detect a fake, and it can take weeks before a counterfeit cashier’s check is discovered. What’s more, if you spend the funds prematurely, you’ll be liable for the unpaid check (and the resulting fees) once the bank discovers it’s fraudulent.
Energy is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the biggest household expenses for American consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. family spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities, with heating and cooling of spaces alone accounting for more than half the bill. In 2018, the average consumer spent another $2,109 on motor fuel and oil, up $141 from last year.
The Department of Energy estimates that adopting energy-efficient measures in the home could reduce a family’s utility costs by as much as 25 percent. It pays to conserve, especially during a time of increasingly warmer temperatures. As for transportation, the agency found that a more fuel-efficient vehicle could save the average driver about $638 per year.
Experts might not agree on the “best” or the “right” recipe for rapid economic growth, but some cities know the key ingredients for long-term prosperity better than others. Patterns emerge within those cities, allowing us to identify what factors contribute to a lasting cycle of growth. The South and West currently seem to be attractive places to move, as the U.S. Census Bureau reports eight of the 15 cities with the largest population gains in 2018 were located in the South and six were in the West.
Some cities thrive even through hard economic times while others struggle. To determine where the fastest local economic growth has occurred in the U.S., WalletHub compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on 17 key measures of both growth and decline over a period of seven years. Our data set ranges from population growth to unemployment rate decrease to growth in regional GDP per capita. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
There are two main types of personal loans: unsecured and secured. Secured personal loans require collateral, while unsecured personal loans do not. Personal loans can also have two types of interest rates, fixed (which can never change) and variable (which change over time). Both unsecured and secured personal loans can have fixed or variable APRs. So that makes four major combinations in all.
Based on the way that banks, credit unions and online lenders market their offers, it would be fair to assume that lots of different types of personal loans are available. But debt consolidation loans, medical loans, home improvement loans and wedding loans are all just examples of personal loans with a special name attached. In fact, some lenders have up to 10 or more versions of the same personal loan offer.
The Verdict: A name like Chase Freedom Unlimited® puts a lot of pressure on a credit card, hinting at boundless spending power and invaluable perks while building high expectations that are hard to live up to. But the only limitless aspect of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is your ability to earn 1.5% cash back on purchases. There’s no cap on how much you can earn, and those earnings won’t expire until account closing. You also earn $150 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months.
The rest of the offer is pretty strong, if not completely free or flexible. There’s a 15-month clock on the card’s 0% introductory rates, which apply to both new purchases and balance transfers. And if you transfer a balance, carry a balance from month to month after the 15-month mark or spend money abroad, you’re going to pay big.
The following represents historical data on credit card interest rates in the United States. These rates are presented as functions of credit card delinquency, national unemployment and credit card charge-offs. The margin reflects the differential above the Prime Rate.
Credit card interest rates are quite revealing, as they speak to changes in the economic environment, allow for historical comparison, and enable consumers to determine if they are getting a good deal on their credit card. Furthermore, they can be used to unearth seasonal trends in credit card offers and therefore time applications more fortuitously.
Having health insurance is vital to the well-being of your family and your wallet. It not only ensures that you have access to the care you need, but it also can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket medical expenses, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.
After the passage of the Affordable Care Act — dubbed “Obamacare” — the uninsured rate for all adult Americans dipped to a historic low. But the uninsured rate is back on the rise. According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the national uninsured rate for 2018 was 8.5%, compared to 7.9% in 2017.
The national uninsured rate rose in 2018 to 8.5% from 7.9% the previous year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This marked the first year there was an increase since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect. But how widely do the rates differ from city to city?
With the uninsured rate climbing yet the Affordable Care Act remaining in place, WalletHub measured the uninsured rates for 548 U.S. cities and broke them down even further by age, income level and race. In addition, we conducted the same analysis at the state level. Read on for the complete ranking, a ranking by city size and a full description of our methodology.
When searching for a new home, people with disabilities often have a longer and more complicated list of considerations compared with other individuals. In addition to common wish-list items, such as reliable public transportation and diverse entertainment options, people with disabilities also must think about things like the accessibility of facilities or even the cleanliness of the air.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four U.S. adults, or 61 million total, have a disability that impacts their major activities. And among Americans age 65 and older, that number rises to two in five. Keeping up with the costs of a disability can be very expensive. The average monthly Social Security disability benefit as of July 2018 was only $1,103.68. That makes a yearly income of $13,244.16, only a few hundred dollars above the federal poverty line for a single individual at $12,490.
“Green” living means a choice to engage in cleaner, more sustainable habits in order to preserve the planet as much as possible. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that “stricter environmental regulations are worth the cost.” And a majority of Americans think the government is currently doing too little to improve water and air quality (69% and 64%, respectively).
The Trump administration has recently changed standards for the coal industry, rolling back regulations on coal plant emissions, which has led to a lawsuit by 21 states. On the other hand, while many people expected solar power to struggle under new tariffs aimed at goods manufactured abroad, the industry has bounced back, with an expected job growth of 7% in 2019.
MAPFRE Review Summary: MAPFRE Insurance impresses with its variety of auto insurance policy options and discounts, but its budget-busting premiums are likely to drive potential customers away. MAPFRE ranks 37th out of 46 companies in WalletHub’s car insurance pricing study, and there’s little to justify the relatively high prices. For one thing, MAPFRE auto insurance is only available in 17 states, concentrated mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
MAPFRE provides discounts for new drivers and former customers who switch their auto policies to the company, among other discounts. But that may not be enough, given MAPFRE’s lack of competitive rates, poorly rated claims service, and low customer satisfaction.
Taking good care of your cash is essential to reaching top WalletFitness®. But with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates from historical lows and the stock market regularly reaching record highs, it’s fair to wonder where to put your money.
To help answer that question, WalletHub analyzed the rates, fees and features associated with more than 2,250 deposit accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs from banks and credit unions across the country. You can check out our findings below.
Americans today apply the term “foodie” to anyone who loves gourmet dining. But foodie culture isn’t limited to restaurants. More importantly, far fewer than the many who claim to be foodies truly deserve the label. “Authentic” foodies, according to experts, not only crave new and different flavors but also savor the exploratory experience of eating, learning and discovering food.
Naturally, the foodie lifestyle can be quite expensive, considering that restaurant prices rose 3.2% just between July 2018 and July 2019. And in 2015, Americans spent more money at food establishments than at grocery stores for the first time, and restaurant purchases continue to experience greater year-over-year growth than grocery sales in 2019. And while people may view dining at home to be more cost-effective, eating at home still can be pricey, depending on the local cost of living as well as the type and quality of ingredients used.
It’s home to some of the wettest places in the U.S., but Washington State boasts enough sunny qualities to make it livable for parents and their kids. This Pacific Northwest state simply has everything a family could dream of: a healthy job market paired with big paychecks, high educational attainment, a natural environment that promotes an active lifestyle and more.
To start off the list, Washingtonians earn the 9th highest per-capita personal income in the U.S. As a bonus, they don’t have to pay state individual income tax. Those who aspire to work for some of America’s biggest and most admired employers will also be pleased to know that Amazon, Costco, Microsoft and Starbucks are all headquartered here.
Vaccinations are some of the most valuable contributions to modern medicine. They have drastically reduced the prevalence of certain diseases, including polio, tetanus, measles and chicken pox. One disease, smallpox, has even been eradicated completely, with no natural cases since 1977.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccines prevented at least 10 million deaths worldwide just between the years of 2010 and 2015. A similar study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found vaccines prevented 732,000 deaths in the U.S. between 1994 and 2013, as well as eliminated $1.38 trillion in total societal costs that those diseases would have caused. Vaccines are also very safe, and according to the WHO, “so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically.”
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers terms befitting excellent credit despite good credit being all that’s needed for approval. In addition to its solid suite of rewards – buoyed by a base earning rate that’s 50% higher than average and supplemented by a more modest $150 initial bonus – Quicksilver won’t hit you with annual fees and tends to offer regular financing promotions. For example, new applicants currently get 0% introductory interest rates on both purchases and balance transfers for up to 15 months (15.74% - 25.74% (V) APR thereafter).
Students who pursue MBA degrees tend to do very well financially, with the average salary for a recent graduate at around $150,000. Even though tuition can be expensive, over $70,000 per year at some top schools, the return on investment for an MBA program is usually very high. For example, the Princeton Review estimates that Stanford University’s 10-year ROI for MBA graduates is 325%.
In addition, MBA programs can provide a host of other benefits for students. Students report increased confidence in their skills, the ability to put their knowledge to work in new industries, and better networking capabilities.