The Verdict: If you’re a loyal United Airlines flyer with excellent credit who likes to splurge on in-flight refreshments, the new United TravelBank Credit Card from Chase could save you a lot of money. The card is most rewarding on United purchases, as you might expect. Airfare, seat upgrades and baggage fees yield the equivalent of 2% cash back, while in-flight drinks and snacks score you a whopping 25% back. But the TravelBank Card’s base earning rate isn’t too shabby, either: 1.5% back on all other purchases.
Plus, there are no annual or foreign-transaction fees to worry about. And spending $1,000+ within three months of account opening will earn you a $150 bonus.
Americans finally have found their own soft spot for the world’s most beloved professional sport. After what seemed an eternity of lackluster popularity among U.S. fans, soccer — better known as “football” to the international community — has gained the admiration and respect it is due here at home.
Much of the credit for the sport’s growing domestic acceptance goes to the U.S. Women’s National Team, who made us proud with its record-breaking victory in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Part of the glory is owed to COPA América Centenario, the world’s oldest soccer competition, held the following year on U.S. turf for the first time in its 100-year history.
Families move often and for various reasons. In fact, the average American can expect to move an estimated 11.4 times during his or her lifetime. Moving can be a sign of opportunity — perhaps a new job or long-term wealth accumulation — or of instability such as foreclosure or job loss. The key in either case is to choose an area conducive to economic prosperity and the overall pursuit of happiness.
With that in mind, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities based on 41 key metrics that take into account essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation. While obviously not perfect — given the intrinsic value of each city, personal preferences and the limitations of publicly available data — our findings will hopefully give prospective movers a sense of the areas that offer the greatest opportunity to achieve WalletFitness™ and, of course, live a long and happy life. You can check out the results, additional insight from experts and our detailed methodology below.
The Verdict: The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card is a great option for high-spending frequent travelers who spend a lot of time in airport lounges. On the bright side, it offers an initial bonus worth $750 as well as the points equivalent of 4.5% cash back on travel and dining. Sapphire Reserve also gives you a $300 annual travel credit and complimentary access to a network of 100+ airport lounges.
There are a few downsides, though. Chase Sapphire Reserve charges one of the highest annual fees on the market, at $450. Reserve’s annual travel credit and airport-lounge membership can offset most of that fixed cost. But you have to travel to make it work. Not only that, but you also have to book your travel through Chase to get maximum value for your rewards points. Furthermore, as is the case with most rewards cards, you need to pay your bill in full every month. Sapphire Reserve’s high APR will wind up eating away at your earnings if you don’t. You also need excellent credit to qualify, which is a deal breaker for roughly 60% of people, according to WalletHub data.
D&B ratings, short for Dun & Bradstreet ratings, are a type of credit score for small businesses. They measure how risky it is to do business with a certain company. Dun and Bradstreet is one of three major small business credit reporting agencies, the others being Equifax and Experian. Business credit scores are not as reliable or used as often as personal credit scores. But they’re worth looking into if you own a business, whether it’s to assess your own company’s status or to check up on a potential business partner.
The prepaid card market is booming. Consumers are expected to load $353.6 billion per year to them by 2020, according to Mercator Advisory Group. That would mark a 444% increase relative to 2012. And it’s clear why they’ve grown so popular.
Prepaid cards can be a great tool for many different types of people. They’re safer than cash, and they eliminate the threat of overdraft fees and bounced checks that comes with most checking accounts. They also offer guaranteed approval and provide the same functionality as a checking account-debit card combo, just without the physical checkbook. As a result, prepaid cards are well suited to satisfy four major consumer needs:
Consumer research and ratings firm J.D. Power has released its August auto sales forecast, and the trends aren’t looking spectacular for the industry: Sales will continue to fall, and vehicles will sit longer on dealers’ lots than at any time since July 2009, despite big discounts for buyers. And with dealers offering even bigger savings during Labor Day weekend, especially on older models, potential buyers will certainly be asking: Is now a good time to purchase a car?
At the moment, the market appears to be tilting in favor of the consumer. But it’s worth looking more deeply at the specs. Should buyers apply for financing from banks, credit unions or manufacturers? Which manufacturers offer the best financing and leasing terms? How do interest rates compare for new versus used vehicles?
An installment loan is a fixed amount of money that you borrow and then repay in equal increments, at regular intervals for a specified period of time. There are many different types of installment loans, as you can see in the table below. But this does not include credit cards, charge cards or home equity lines of credit. Those are examples of revolving credit because neither the amount borrowed nor the resulting monthly payments are predetermined.
Revolving credit is money that you can borrow as needed, up to a predefined limit. Payments are only required when you use the funds made available to you. And if you do not pay your full balance by the monthly due date, you will have to pay interest on the amount you owe.
An Identity Protection PIN, or IP PIN, is a six-digit code that basically serves as a special password for people whose Social Security number, or other personal identifier, has been compromised. The IRS issues new IP PINs each year throughout December and early January. And anyone who has an IP PIN must include it on all tax filings.
The Credit Alert Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS) is a program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It tracks people’s problems making payments on financial assistance from the federal government. This includes, for example, FHA mortgages, SBA loans and federal student loans.
When people talk about getting their “three credit reports,” they’re referring to those from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Although the so-called “big three” credit bureaus are among dozens of consumer reporting agencies, they dominate the market. They compile information on your credit accounts, how promptly you pay, what you owe, legal decisions, and much more.
A fair credit score is usually defined as any score in the range of 620-659. Roughly 13.5% of people have fair credit, according to WalletHub data. The average person with fair credit is 47 years old and has an annual income of $54,000 per year.
The best credit score that you can get is 850. But it’s neither easy to reach to this pinnacle of the credit score range, nor always possible. Less than 1% of people have the best credit score possible. And even if you manage your finances perfectly, you still may not achieve it. Fortunately, it’s not something you need to strive for, either.
Whether you’re joining the real-estate business or just looking for a place to put down roots, it’s important to take the temperature of the housing markets you’re considering before investing in a property. Home prices and rental rates vary widely across the U.S. based on supply and demand.
But if you aim for long-term growth, equity and profit, you’ll need to look beyond tangible factors, such as square footage and style. Those factors certainly drive up property values. From an investor’s standpoint, however, they hold far less significance than historical market trends and the economic health of residents.
Checking accounts charge up to 50 different fees. And they aren’t always disclosed that clearly. As a result, the cost of everyday checking can vary by hundreds of dollars per year depending on the account you choose and how you use it.
To help consumers make money-saving decisions, WalletHub compared the cost of each checking account offered by 35 of the largest banks and credit unions. We did so using five consumer profiles designed to represent a wide range of banking styles. Below, you can find a breakdown of each profile’s characteristics as well as the best checking accounts for each group.
Checking accounts are a staple of personal finance. More than 100 million are in use today, according to the FDIC. And their popularity is no surprise given their versatility. Checking accounts let you make everyday purchases, directly deposit paychecks, withdraw cash as needed and pay bills online – all in one.
But some checking accounts are more straightforward than others, especially in terms of fees. In fact, disclosure practices resemble the Wild West. And that helps the country’s biggest banks rake in billions of dollars in checking account fees each year.
Hoosiers might be known for their obsession with sports, but these Midwesterners have also upped their game in the arena of family-friendliness. In the past several years, Indiana has drawn bigger crowds into its borders, especially from abroad and neighboring Illinois, thanks in part to its stellar economic record.
Indiana currently boasts the 16th biggest state economy by GDP. That’s about the size of Norway’s, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Combined with the sixth lowest unemployment rate, the state offers one of the stronger markets in the nation for job seekers. Plus, earnings go a long way here, where cost of living is lower than in 41 other states.
Women’s rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment. Yet many women still struggle to crack the proverbial glass ceiling because of their unequal treatment in society. Unfortunately, the gender gap in 21st century America has only expanded. In 2016, the U.S. failed to place in the top 10 — or even the top 40 — of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 144 countries based on gender equality. In fact, the U.S. plummeted to 45th position from its previous rank of No. 28.
The workplace provides perhaps the most potent evidence of the issue. Despite their advances toward social equality, women continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions. According to the Center for American Progress, women make up the majority of the population and 49 percent of the college-educated labor force. Yet they constitute “only 25 percent of executive- and senior-level officials and managers, hold only 20 percent of board seats, and are only 6 percent of CEOs.” The gaps are even worse for women of color.
University education is out of reach for many Americans, especially those from low-income households. But thanks to community colleges, higher education is more accessible than ever. Compared with public four-year institutions, where tuition and fees cost three times as much on average, community colleges offer an unbeatable value in terms of not just affordability but also quality.
Multiple states and numerous cities across the U.S. have even initiated “College Promise” programs that grant their residents free rides to community college. New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee are blazing the trail of this college-for-all circuit, while several other states, such as California, Illinois and Oklahoma, have introduced legislation to follow the same path. Such initiatives are proving to be more critical than ever, with public-college costs rising faster than private-college tuition rates and the need for post-secondary training in most jobs seeing steady growth through 2020.