Tag: Interest Rates

GSCU Mortgage Rates Reviews: Today’s Best Analysis

Granite State Credit Union (GSCU) provides members with a variety of mortgage products across the state of New Hampshire.

GSCU AT A GLANCE

Year Founded 1945
Coverage Area New Hampshire 
HQ Address 1415 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire 03101
Phone Number 1-800-645-4728

 

GSCU COMPANY INFORMATION

  • Services the state of New Hampshire
  • Offers conventional loans, such as fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Provides FHA and VA loans to qualifying individuals
  • Allows first-time homebuyers to make down payments of zero to three percent
  • Member of the NHCUL and CUNA
  • Allows borrowers to use gifted funds for the down payment and closing costs on certain loan products

Granite State Credit Union provides a variety of mortgage products to individuals across the state of New Hampshire. It offers traditional loans, such as fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as government-assisted loans and options for individuals who cannot put 20 percent down on a new home.

GSCU Mortgage Facts

  • Services the state of New Hampshire
  • Offers conventional loans, such as fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Provides FHA and VA loans to qualifying individuals
  • Allows first-time homebuyers to make down payments of zero to three percent
  • Member of the NHCUL and CUNA
  • Allows borrowers to use gifted funds for the down payment and closing costs on certain loan products

Overall

gscu mortgage rates reviewGranite State Credit Union provides a variety of mortgage products to individuals across the state of New Hampshire. It offers traditional loans, such as fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as government-assisted loans and options for individuals who cannot put 20 percent down on a new home.

Current GSCU Mortgage Rates

GSCU Mortgage Products

Granite State Credit Union provides a variety of home mortgage products. Its offerings consist of traditional mortgages and government-assisted loans, as well as programs for first-time home-buyers and affordable home refinances.

Fixed-Rate Loans

Fixed-rate loans are the best choice for homebuyers who plan on staying in their home for an extended period. With fixed-rate loans, buyers can expect their principal and interest rates to remain the same throughout the loan’s lifetime. GSCU offers fixed-rate mortgages for lengths of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years.

Adjustable-Rate Loans

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) provides borrowers with an interest rate that may vary throughout the loan term. Typically, these mortgages have a lower initial rate than fixed-rate loans, giving potential customers more financial freedom when looking for a new home.

After the initial period, the rates and payments associated with these mortgages may rise or fall to adjust to market prices. Typically, these costs will fluctuate on an annual basis.

Many companies, including GSCU, provide a cap that prevents these costs from getting too high from one year to the next. GSCU recommends these types of mortgages for home-buyers who do not plan on staying in the house for the loan’s full term. GSCU offers 1/1, 3/1, 5/1, and 7/1 ARMs.

First-Time Homebuyer Loans

GSCU offers excellent deals on mortgages for first-time buyers. The credit union gives borrowers the flexibility to choose a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage and even provides no and low down payment options to first-time buyers. The No Down Payment mortgage allows borrowers to take out a 5/1 ARM and pay zero percent down on the home.

The Low Down Payment Adjustable loan offers a 3 percent down payment with a 3/3 ARM and the option to refinance into a fixed mortgage if so desired. The Low Down Payment Fixed loan offers a 3 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. For Low Down Payment Adjustable and Fixed mortgages, borrowers can use gifted funds for the down payments and closing costs on their homes.

FHA Loans

Unlike some other credit unions, GSCU offers FHA loans to home-buyers who do not qualify for other loan programs. Borrowers may have a high debt-to-income ratio, low credit score, or the inability to put 20 percent down on the home. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) created these types of home loans to grant buyers the opportunity to invest in property. GSCU allows 100 percent of the closing costs to be gifted.

VA Loans

GSCU allows veterans, military members, and their spouses to apply for VA loans. These types of mortgages are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Qualified individuals can make a low down payment on the home and keep up with affordable monthly payments.

HARP Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) introduced the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) as part of their Making Home Affordable™ initiative. HARP allows eligible homeowners to refinance their mortgages into a lower interest rate to keep their finances secure. HARP provides this opportunity for individuals who otherwise may not qualify for refinancing due to their declining home value.

GSCU Mortgage Customer Experience

Granite State Credit Union offers a variety of online resources that help current and prospective borrowers research home loan options. GSCU’s website contains several mortgage calculators, which assist home-buyers in determining how much they can take out on a home loan.

It also provides information about their different mortgage products, which helps borrowers figure out what type of home loan is right for them. GSCU has a Refer-a-Loan option, which incentivizes borrowers who refer a New Hampshire resident or business owner to procure a loan with the credit union.

In exchange for this referral, both parties can receive $25 for consumer loans or $50 for the mortgage and home equity loans.

GSCU Lender Reputation

Founded in 1945, Granite State Credit Union has provided affordable mortgage rates to New Hampshire residents for over 70 years. Its Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System ID number is 477276.

Since the credit union only services the states of New Hampshire, it does not have many online customer reviews. It is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and has no reviews on the site, but maintains an A+ rating.

GSCU Mortgage Qualifications

Although GSCU has flexible mortgage qualifications for individuals taking out FHA loans, its qualification requirements for individuals requesting other home loans are similar to mortgage industry standards.

First and foremost, the credit union prioritizes credit score when approving someone for a loan or for calculating their rates. FICO reports that the industry-standard credit score is 740. However, those with credit scores above 760 can expect the best mortgage rates.

Credit score Quality Ease of approval
760+ Excellent Easy
700-759 Good Somewhat easy
621-699 Fair Moderate
620 and below Poor Somewhat difficult
No credit score n/a Difficult

Buyers should typically expect to put 20 percent down on the home, unless they qualify for a government-assisted loan. In some cases, buyers can anticipate paying as little as zero to three percent on their mortgage down payment.

With certain types of loans, such as first-time home-buyer, FHA, and VA loans, GSCU allows borrowers to use gifted funds to make down payments and pay closing costs. However, those taking out a traditional fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage should anticipate paying these costs on their own.

History of GSCU

Granite State Credit Union (GSCU) was founded in 1945 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Founder John Edward Grace, who previously worked as a city bus driver, put down an initial deposit of $15.

With the work put forth by John and his wife, Betty, GSCU achieved notability and success before merging, in late 2003, with the Acorn Credit Union. GSCU is currently a member of the New Hampshire Credit Union League (NHCUL) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA). It offers a selection of home loan products, including fixed- and adjustable-rate, VA, FHA, HARP, and first-time home-buyer loans.

Bottom Line

If you live in New Hampshire, GSCU may be a great fit for you! With a variety of mortgage products, GSCU has something to offer for everyone. For more information, visit their website. 

The post GSCU Mortgage Rates Reviews: Today’s Best Analysis appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021

Do you want to know, “What can I do as a side job?” 

Today, I have a list of over 80 possible side hustle ideas for 2021. With these side jobs, you can make extra money in 2021.

So, what is a side job? I say side job meaning something that you do on the side of your regular job.side job ideas for 2021

Side jobs are sometimes called side hustles, and the idea is that you put some of your extra time towards making more money. 

You can find side jobs online, side jobs from home, side jobs outside your home, and pretty much wherever else. There are many different options when it comes to finding side jobs for extra money.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time making extra money through side hustle jobs.

In fact, I paid off my $38,000 student loan debt in just 7 months by side hustling. I did several of the things on the list that you are about to read through.

Learning how to find a side job changed my life in a crazy way — it helped me to stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay off my debt, and leave my day job to pursue my job as a full-time blogger.

And, this is why I talk about making extra money through a side job so much — because I believe that it can change your life for the better.

What I like so much about the ideas on this list is that there is something for everyone. There are really so many different options. While I have included over 80 different side job ideas, there are many, many more out there. You can find something to fit your lifestyle, interests, and the amount of time you have to dedicate towards earning more money.

Whether your goal is to pay off your debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck, start saving for retirement, plan an amazing vacation, or something else, finding a side hustle idea in 2021 can make that a reality.

Making extra money through a side job can help you:

  • Save up for a big purchase, such as for a down payment on a house
  • Pay off your student loan debt, credit card debt, or medical debt
  • Save for retirement and even retire early
  • Leave a job you don’t love to pursue something else
  • Diversify your income sources
  • Save for emergencies
  • And more!

What some people don’t realize about making extra money is that it doesn’t have to take all of your time. You can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you want. I started this blog on the side of my full-time job. It took a lot of work, but I was in control of when I worked. 

That’s one of the reasons I love blogging and many of these other side jobs. Many of them are very flexible and let you pick your schedule. Below you’ll find great options if you work full time, are a parent, are in school, etc.

Besides starting a successful side hustle, there are some great small ways to earn extra money. The point is, there are so many ways to make money on the side with a full-time job that there is no reason not to start now.

Related content on how to make extra money:

  • How To Start and Launch A Successful Money Making Blog FREE Course
  • 12 Work From Home Jobs That Can Earn You $1,000+ Each Month

Below are over 80 different side job ideas.

 

Find an online side job.

There are so many side jobs that can be found online these days. The internet has introduced more possibilities, many of which have extremely flexible schedules.

Working an online side job allows you to create your own business in your spare time or work remotely for a company. These are some of the flexible options for 2021.

For me, I love being able to work online as it allows me to have a flexible schedule, there is no commute, and I simply enjoy working from home more than working in an office.

Below are ways to work an online side job:

  • Create a money making blog – This is the first thing I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to make money with an online side job, and this is because it’s exactly what I did! I have a Free How To Start and Launch A Money-Making Blog Course that you can join, and it will help you start and launch a successful blog! 
  • Answer questions online – Course Hero is a website that helps high school and college students with course-specific questions. Please read How To Make $300+ Weekly Answering Questions With Course Hero to learn more.
  • Get paid to answer surveys – Answering surveys online won’t make you rich, but it is one of the easiest ways to earn extra money online. Even though it’s a small amount of money, you can put it towards your debt payoff or savings goals. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Branded Surveys, and Pinecone Research. These survey companies are free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. To receive the most survey opportunities, it’s best to sign up for as many survey sites as you can.
  • Join a focus group – You can get paid $50 to $100 per hour by joining a focus group with User Interviews.
  • Write an ebook – Writing your own eBook is a great way to earn extra money online, and there is probably something super helpful that you could write about (even if you think otherwise!). In fact, my friend Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies. She is now earning a great passive income of over $200 a day from her book ($6,500 in one month alone!). Learn more at How Alyssa is making $200 a DAY in book sales passively.
  • Run Facebook advertising for local businesses – Bobby Hoyt, a former band teacher who now runs the successful website Millennial Money Man, started running Facebook ads for local businesses to help him pay off $40,000 in student loan debt in only 18 months. In our interview you can learn about how Bobby got started, why businesses want to run Facebook ads, and how easy it is to start this flexible side job.  Also, Bobby has free training on this too. His free email course (you can sign up here) will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more. Read the full interview at How To Make $1,000 Extra In Your Spare Time With Facebook.
  • Edit content for others – Websites, books, courses, and more all need editors to help them improve the quality of their content. No matter how many times a person reads a piece of content, something will usually slip through. If you’re a grammar-nut, then this can be one of the best side jobs from home ideas.
  • Sell printables online – Creating printables on Etsy can be a great side hustle. Because you are creating PDF files, you can create and sell them an unlimited number of times. You can learn more at How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy.
  • Manage social media accounts for businesses – Being a social media manager can be a fun job for the right person. If you have social media skills and don’t mind spending more time on social media sites, then it might be something to look into. Learn more about How I Started a Pinterest Consulting Side Hustle and why it’s more than just sharing random content online.
  • Get paid to search onlineSwagbucks allows me to earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded with points called SB for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points called SB, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up through my link!
  • Proofread for a living – In just one year, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 as a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. If you are looking for a new job, or just a new way to earn extra money on the side, this may be something to look into. Learn more at Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader.
  • Help job seekers improve their resume – A few years ago, I interviewed a reader who ran a resume business. She showed me how others can earn money by helping people create the kind of resumes they need to land their next job. Because having a good resume is an important part of getting the job you want, this is an in-demand option. If you are constantly reviewing resumes for your friends because you’re so good at creating them, then you may want to turn your skills into a paying job!
  • Post on social media – If you have social media accounts, even just a personal Facebook account, it’s possible to earn extra money by posting small ads on your account. One popular company that I recommend is Izea.
  • Become a freelance writer – A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, and more. These writers don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing. Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.
  • Moderate forums – Some online forums will pay you to moderate their message boards. If there is a forum you visit often, you might want to see if they are hiring.
  • Become a transcriptionist – Do you know what a transcriptionist does? They take audio files and turn them into a text format. You can learn more about what this side job takes and how it’s possible to earn extra money on the side as a transcriptionist at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist.
  • Become a scopist – A scopist is someone who works from home and edits legal documents. Yes, this is a skill that you can learn. You can find a free course to learn more about how to become a scopist by clicking here.
  • Become a virtual assistant – Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing blog posts, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you get paid to do any task that needs to be done for someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them. You can read more about how Kayla is earning $10K per month working from home as a virtual assistant
  • Become a bookkeeper – Ben, founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, explains how becoming a bookkeeper may be a possibility for you. Ben helps people start and grow their own online bookkeeping business with his online bookkeeping course. And, guess what? You don’t have to be an accountant or have any previous experience! You can read more about how becoming a bookkeeper at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
  • Create an online store – Did you know that you can create your own online store to earn extra money? Jenn, a reader of mine, started her online business a little over four years ago and since then she has developed and grown three successful online ecommerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month. Learn more at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
  • Become a Google Rater This is when you help Google improve the quality of their search engine results. You can learn more about this at Help Google Better The Internet And Make $1,000+ A Month From Home.
  • Build a course and teach others what you know – Before you think that you have nothing to teach, I want to tell you that you most likely do! Online courses are extremely popular right now, and you don’t need to have a blog in order to be successful with an online course. I use Teachable for my online course platform, and I highly recommend it. Here’s How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch.
  • Podcast editing – Podcasting has grown a lot in the past few years, and it’s estimated that there are now over 850,000 podcasts. Podcasters need help editing their audio and adding music, so if you have audio editing skills, this could be a fun side job. Listing your service on Fiverr could be a great way to find clients who need your service. Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.
  • Teach English online to kids – Did you know that you may be able to make money from home by teaching English online to children? VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online. You don’t need a teaching degree, but you do need to have a four year degree in something. This is a great option for anyone who has a passion for teaching and looking for ways to earn extra money online. I recommend VIPKID and Education First.

 

What can I do as a side job?

Build a side business (or even a full-time business!).

If you’re looking for a side job, one possibility is to create a side business for yourself.

The ones you just read about above are online side jobs, but many of the ones in this section require in-person work. Not everyone wants to work online, and these side jobs will get you outside of the house and earning money. 

For me, my side business of creating a blog actually turned into a full-time business for myself. And, I am so happy that I made that choice!

Here are some side business ideas:

  • Pick up garbage – This might not be the most exciting way to make extra income, but did you know that you can get paid $30- $50 an hour to pick up trash in your local area? Please read Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash to hear more about this side hustle idea.
  • Sell on Amazon – If you want to learn one of the many real ways to make money from home, then you may want to start an Amazon FBA business! Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, explains how selling on Amazon may be a possibility for you. She is a friend of mine, and I am blown away by her success! In the first year that Jessica’s family ran their Amazon FBA business together, working less than 20 hours a week total, they made over six figures profit! If you are looking for a new job, or even just a side hustle, this may be something that you want to look into. Learn more at How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA.
  • Maintain and clean yards – You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on. Because every season offers the opportunity for some type of yard maintenance, this can turn into a year round job.
  • House sit for others – House sitting is becoming more and more popular these days, and there are many websites out there for house sitting. You may be paid to watch someone’s house, take in the mail, water plants, and so on. House sitting doesn’t just have to be in your own town either. It can be something you do while taking amazing vacations. You can read more about it at How We Became Professional House Sitters In Europe & Saved Over $5,000.
  • Rent out your RV – Many RVs sit unused in storage lots, driveways, and backyards, so why not try to make a little extra money while you’re not using your RV? Learn more at How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV.
  • Share your car – Did you know that you can share your car with travelers on a daily, weekly, or even on a long-term basis and make extra money? I’m talking about listing your car and making money on Turo, which is like Airbnb for cars. It takes as little as 10 minutes to list your car, and you can earn up to 90% of the trip price.
  • Walk dogs and/or pet sit for extra money – If you love animals, then this is one of the best ways to make money on the side! Walking dogs and pet sitting can be a lot of fun because who doesn’t love animals!? With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company to sign up for if you’re interested in becoming a dog walker and pet sitter. 
  • Groom pets – This is yet another animal related side business, and it could be a good one for you. With a mobile pet grooming business you will go directly to the pets rather than needing to find and set up a permanent business location. 
  • Become a local tour guide – Do you love showing off your city to friends and out-of-town guests? If so, you can earn extra money as a tour guide in your city. You can create any kind of tour you like — touring restaurants or bars, historical tours, bike tours, and more. Tours By Locals is a great site to connect with if you’re interested in learning more.
  • Become a landlord – Whether you rent out a room in your home or start buying up properties to invest in and then rent out, this could be one of the more lucrative ways to earn extra money on the side. Check out my blog post to learn more: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes.
  • Shovel snow – We no longer need to have our snow shoveled, but it was definitely something we didn’t enjoy doing while we were living in St. Louis. If you get snow where you live, then you may be able to knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if they would like their driveways and sidewalks shoveled. If you want to go a little further, you could even invest in a plow and market your services.
  • Become a TaskerTaskRabbit is an online platform where people list odd jobs that they need done, like assembling furniture, running errands, or cleaning. You can find one-off jobs in your area using TaskRabbit to earn extra money.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children – When I was just 14, I was making $10 an hour babysitting for a neighbor. I babysat 40 hours a week and it was a great way to make extra money! If you have any special skills or can provide extra work, such as cleaning up around the house, teaching the child how to speak another language, picking up the child after activities, and so on, you will most likely be able to charge more than $10 an hour.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker, and many rideshare drivers earn $15-$20/hour. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver.
  • Help people fix things around their home – If you are a handy person, this could be a great option for you. Word of mouth is big when it comes to finding clients, but you can also post your services on Craigslist, post flyers to bulletin boards around your town, and more.
  • Clean homes – Cleaning is something that many people dread. If you are good at cleaning and enjoy it, then you may be able to find clients who want you to come to their home to clean. This can pay around $20 an hour or more in some areas. Because cleaning for others is such a personal job, you will often find loyal customers who want you to come back over and over again.
  • Help people move – Moving is another task that many people dislike. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $25-$50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • Become a photographer – Do you love photography? Then this is a great way to earn extra money while doing something you love to do. Learn more at How To Make $25,000 – $45,000 A Year As A New Photographer.
  • Write and self-publish romance novels – This definitely isn’t something that most people will think about, but it is a growing and profitable industry. You can learn how Yuwanda Black, a freelance writer, started writing and self-publishing short romance novels in this interview. She earned over $3,000 in one month alone!

 

Find a part-time job.

Online side jobs are becoming more and more popular, but you can still make good money with more traditional part-time jobs.

I know many people who have part-time side jobs, and they love that they are low-commitment ways to make extra money. 

You can find a part-time side job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), and so on.

  • Deliver items through Postmate – Postmates is a service that lets people use their phones to order food, drinks, and groceries. Delivering those items is where you come in! Because the holidays are a busy time, many people are looking to make their life easier with delivery services like Postmates. And, you can deliver for Postmates with your car, scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle. How much can you make with Postmates? Postmates says that you can earn up to $25 an hour with their platform. Click here to check out Postmates and sign up.
  • Deliver RVs to dealerships – RVs are huge, and the majority of the time they can’t be transported by semi-trucks because of their size. Due to that, someone has to drive them from the manufacturer to the RV dealership. We met a couple who did this for a living, and they both loved what they did. They were able to travel a lot, earn a living, and got to see new RVs all the time. To make extra income doing this, you can contact transport companies in your area, RV manufacturers, RV dealerships, and more.
  • Find a part-time seasonal job – If you have a job that gives you the summers off (or whatever season), then finding a part-time seasonal job could be a good way to earn extra money during your time off. Employers like Starbucks, REI, and Costco even offer part-time jobs with benefits, which adds even more value to these side jobs. 
  • Bartend – With bartending experience, you may be able to find a bartending job at a bar, restaurant, catering company, and more. Since the hours for this are usually later at night and on the weekends, it could easily fit with your regular 9-5 job schedule.
  • Work at a restaurant – You could be a host, wait tables, bus tables, and so on. You may even get to eat delicious food and receive a discount when dining out at the restaurant you work for.
  • Substitute teach – I know quite a few people who substitute teach both part-time and full-time and love it. Sometimes the schedule can be tricky as you may be called at the last moment, but other times you may secure a long-term position. In some places, substitute teaching can pay around $100 per day.
  • Teach during summer school – If you are a teacher, then spending part of your summer teaching summer school is a great way to make extra money. My brother-in-law is a teacher and he earns around $3,000 for three 4-day weeks of work, and they aren’t even full days. He and his wife use that money to fund their summer vacations.  
  • Work at a hotel, motel, hostel, resort, etc. – There are many jobs in the hospitality industry. If you love meeting new people who are visiting your area, this can be a great way to earn extra money. When we were RVing, we met several RVers who make money at RV parks and campgrounds while they are full-time RVers.
  • Work at a retail storeI worked in retail for over five years and made lifelong friends in the process. The income is okay, but you usually receive a good discount when working in retail.
  • Deliver pizza – Pizza delivery drivers make $15/hour or more delivering pizza in their spare time. It might not be the most glamorous side job, but it’s a good way to make extra money.
  • Lifeguard – You could be a lifeguard at a community pool, a private pool, a water park, and so on. You don’t have to be a teenager to be a lifeguard either!
  • Work as a referee – Did you know that soccer refs for local community centers can make around $25/hour or more? You’ll have to know the rules to work as a referee, and you can learn more by contacting the community or sports center in your area.
  • Deliver newspapers – Delivering newspapers can be a good way to make some side money. You may have to wake up early, but maybe those are the hours you are looking for.
  • Run errands for others – Being someone’s assistant can be an interesting way to earn extra money. You may get paid to do someone else’s laundry, clean their home, pick up their food, answer phone calls, and more.

 

Sell items to make extra money.

There are so many different types of items that you can sell to make extra money.

You may be able to find things around your home that you can sell, or you may even search for items online or in-person to buy and resell for a profit.

  • Flip items – Melissa’s family was able to make $42,875 in one year through buying and flipping items for sale, and they were only working about 10-20 hours per week. Learn more in How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
  • Sell/donate eggs and sperm – Yup, both of these can be sold for a price, and you can definitely earn extra money by doing so. Depending on your characteristics, women can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more for their eggs. Egg donors are typically under the age of 30 and healthy. African American women and Asian American women usually make the most money as there is a larger need for their eggs. This is not easy money, though. There are a number of doctor visits, and extracting the eggs requires a medical procedure. For sperm, the average donation pays anywhere from $50 to $100, and some men donate as often as 2-3 times each week.
  • Sell items on eBay – Whether it’s clothes, a car, electronics, and so on, eBay is a great place to sell all sorts of things online. eBay also has a worldwide reach, which can be great if the market in your area isn’t large enough for what you specialize in. I know many people who earn extra money selling on eBay, and it’s very easy to get started.
  • Sell items on Craigslist – Craigslist has gotten a bad rap in the past, but I have always had great success when I have bought or sold things through this platform. Craigslist can be a great way to sell your items, while often earning a higher value for them too. However, be safe, because you will have to meet with strangers to complete the transactions.
  • Sell things on Facebook Marketplace – Facebook is a great place to sell your items to earn extra money. You can find buyers in your area, but for larger items, like cars and furniture, buyers are often willing to travel. Plus, because you are probably already on Facebook, this is one of the easiest ways to sell your stuff, and it’s free.
  • Sell on Poshmark – Poshmark is one of the most popular places online for people to buy and sell gently used clothing, shoes, and more. You should always be honest in your listings, take great photos, and ship items out as soon as they sell.
  • Sell to second hand stores – There are many second hand stores out there that will take your clothing and shoes. Stores like Plato’s Closet, Hut No. 8, and Buffalo Exchange will pay you upfront for on-trend young adult clothing, and they take all of the legwork out of selling items, which is really helpful. There are also second hand stores for designer items, women’s clothing, children’s items, and more. Some pay upfront, whereas others may not pay you until after the item has sold.
  • Sell your gently used sports gear – Play It Again Sports is one of several second hand stores that buys and resells sports equipment and workout gear. These kinds of items also sell well on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell on Etsy – Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items, vintage finds, and craft supplies. If you are a crafty person, definitely check out this website if you are looking for ways to earn extra money.
  • Sell your gift cards – If you have gift cards that you aren’t going to use, why not sell them to earn extra money? There are many, many websites out there that will pay you cash for your gift cards. Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, and Raise are just a few. 
  • Sell items through a garage sale – A garage sale can be an easy way to make extra money because people come straight to your house. The only downside is that you usually don’t make as much for your items as you would if you were to sell them on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell your old books – Back when I was in college, I sold my textbooks as soon as the class was over. This helped me regain the amount that I originally paid for the book. You can sell your books online, and most university bookstores have a buyback option.
  • Flip cars, mopeds, or scooters – In addition to teaching summer school, one of the ways my brother-in-law makes extra money is from buying vintage moped and scooters, fixing them up, and selling them for a profit on online marketplaces, like Facebook or Craigslist. In one flip, he made more than $900 profit. This is a very specific skill, but worth looking into if you know what you’re doing. 

 

 

Make extra income at the day job you already have.

If you’re already employed and not interested in starting a side hustle, by starting an online business, or taking on a part-time job, you can still learn how to earn more at your current job.

  • Work overtime – One way to earn extra money at your job is to see if your company will allow you to work overtime. In many cases, overtime is welcomed, and you can earn a decent amount of money by doing so. Plus, what’s an extra hour or two when you’re already there?
  • Ask for a raise – Asking for a raise may be the best way to earn extra money at your current job, as the work is the same and you most likely won’t be adding additional hours to your work week. Many people never ask for a raise, which means you might be leaving money on the table. Over numerous years, this can add up to a significant amount of income! If you’ve just successfully completed a big project or taken on new responsibilities, then it might be time to ask for a raise.
  • Get a promotion – If a raise is not possible, then you may want to try for a promotion that comes with a pay bump. Sometimes companies can only pay you so much for the job you currently have, but perhaps a promotion with different and/or additional job duties, a possible move, etc. may result in an increase in pay.
  • Earn bonuses – Depending on the industry and the company you work at, you may be able to earn bonuses. Bonuses often come in large chunks which makes them ideal for paying off large amounts of credit card or student loan debt. Or, you could even invest your bonus to earn even more in the long run. 

 

Miscellaneous ways to make extra money in 2021.

Of course, I can’t include every single side job in this blog post, as there are way too many options to list in one place. But, here are some more that didn’t fit one of the categories above.

  • Cuddle with strangers – Did you know that you can get paid to cuddle with people that you don’t even know? Surprisingly, there are many cuddling companies out there, and this option seems to be growing more and more each year. Some people even make a few hundred dollars a day by cuddling with others. 
  • Scoop poop – Okay, like picking up trash, this isn’t going to be the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. 
  • Place advertisements on your car, home, or even on your body – Yes, there are companies out there that will pay you to place an advertisement on your car, home, or even your body (such as a tattoo on your forehead). If there’s space on your car or fence that you don’t mind placing an ad on, then look into this! Carvertise is one company I recommend checking out if you’re interested in advertising on your car — they pay around $100/month.
  • Help crew a sailboat delivery – Because you need sailing experience to do this, this won’t be for everyone. But, if you know your way around a boat, then you may be able to earn extra money delivering sailboats. Wes actually helped out on a couple of sailboat deliveries in the past few years, and he traveled to many amazing places along the way, such as visiting several European countries. 
  • Be an extra in a movie or TV show – If there’s a movie or TV show that is being filmed near you, you can apply to be an extra to make some money on the side. You won’t have to do much, and it could be a lot of fun, especially if you are able to meet someone famous!
  • Start investing with spare change Investing through platforms like Acorns makes investing even more approachable. You simply link your bank or credit cards and Acorns rounds every transaction up to the next dollar. Read more at How To Start Investing With Little Money.
  • Sell breast milk – Only recently did I realize that some women do this as a side job. If you are breastfeeding, then you may be able to sell your breast milk to make extra money. Breast milk often goes for $1 to $2.50 per ounce, and sometimes it sells for as much as $4 per ounce. There are many people who are looking to buy breast milk, not just mothers. 
  • Receive bonuses and rewards for using a credit card – There are many credit cards out there that will give you cash back just for using them. If you are good with credit cards (please skip this if you are not), this is something to look into as you can make money without having to do much. Read more at How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.
  • Take part in medical research studies – Medical studies allow you to help with the research and study of diseases, medicines, treatments, and more. To find paid medical research studies, I recommend checking out your local Craigslist, contacting universities in your area, and seeing if there are any medical testing companies around you. Most cities have these options, and you just have to look for them.
  • Enter contests and giveaways – There’s no guarantee that you will win anything when entering contests, but if you get lucky, this would be a really fun way to earn extra money. You may win cash, gift cards, vacations, electronics, and more. The key here is to enter as many as you can. And, many stores and restaurants post drawings and giveaways at the bottom of your receipt.
  • Mystery shop – Yes, you can actually get paid to shop at stores and eat at restaurants. A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to earn extra money. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more as a mystery shopper. I used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company. Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.
  • Use InboxDollars – InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend if you want to find ways to earn extra money on the side. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free!
  • Travel the world and be an au pair – In 2016, my sister was an au pair in Italy. It was an interesting experience, and she shares how you can become an au pair and travel the world in her blog post How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.
  • Open a high yield savings account. Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead — paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. Betterment Everyday is an online option, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you. Simply click here and sign up.

 

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

If earning $1,000 a month or more is your financial goal, there are lots of different approaches. 

You can run Facebook ads for small businesses, deliver food for Postmates, start a freelancing side job, and more. Or, you can combine several smaller side jobs.

If you are willing to put in the work, starting a blog is something that can help you earn $1,000 a month or more. It takes time to grow your blog, but with time and effort, you can well exceed $1,000/month in blogging income.

 

How can I make money on the side?

There are so many different ways to make money on the side in 2021, and I just gave over 80 different ideas. 

Look through the options above and make a list of the ones that interest you. Think about what skills you have, how much time you want to dedicate to your side job, and how to get started with each option.

There are honestly options for anyone, no matter how much time you have to spare. And remember, even just a $100 extra a month can begin to make a dent in your debt, can be invested for your future, or help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

 

Have questions about finding a side job?

If you have any questions about finding a side job, I recommend heading to 10 Of The Most Common Questions About Having A Side Job.

Some of the questions I answer in that blog post include:

  • How do you find a side hustle?
  • How much money can I make from a side job?
  • How do you get paid with a side job?
  • How can I find time for my side job idea?
  • How can I balance my day job, side job, and life?!
  • How can I grow my side income? How can I find clients?
  • What is a good side job?
  • Should I tell my boss about my side hustle?
  • Do I have to pay taxes on a side job?
  • How do I avoid side job scams?

Out of the side jobs listed above, which one interests you the most? Which side job would you like to learn more about?

The post 80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Different Types of Debt

Debt comes in all shapes and sizes. You can owe money to utility companies, banks, credit card providers, and the government. There’s student loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, and much more. But what are the official categories of debt and how do the payoff strategies for these debts differ?

Categories of Debt

Debt is generally categorized into two simple forms: Secured and Unsecured. The former is secured against an asset, such as a car or loan, and means the lender can seize the asset if you fail to meet your obligations. Unsecured is not secured against anything, reducing the creditor’s control and limiting their options if the repayment terms are not met.

A secured debt provides the lender with some assurances and collateral, which means they are often prepared to provide better interest rates and terms. This is one of the reasons you’re charged astronomical rates for credit cards and short-term loans but are generally offered very favorable rates for home loans and car loans.

If the debtor fails to make payments on an unsecured debt, such as a credit card, then the debtor may file a judgment with the courts or sell it to a collection agency. In the first instance, it’s a lot of hassle without any guarantee. In the second, they’re selling the debts for cents on the dollar and losing a lot of money. In either case, it’s not ideal, and to offset this they charge much higher interest rates and these rates climb for debtors with a poorer track record.

There is also something known as revolving debt, which can be both unsecured and secured. Revolving debt is anything that offers a continuous cycle of credit and repayment, such as a credit card or a home equity line of credit. 

Mortgages and federal student loans may also be grouped into separate debts. In the case of mortgages, these are substantial secured loans that use the purchase as collateral. As for federal student loans, they are provided by the government to fund education. They are unsecured and there are many forgiveness programs and options to clear them before the repayment date.

What is a Collection Account?

As discussed above, if payments are missed for several months then the account may be sold to a debt collection agency. This agency will then assume control of the debt, contacting the debtor to try and settle for as much as they can. At this point, the debt can often be settled for a fraction of the amount, as the collection agency likely bought it very cheaply and will make a profit even if it is sold for 30% of its original balance.

Debt collectors are persistent as that’s their job. They will do everything in their power to collect, whether that means contacting you at work or contacting your family. There are cases when they are not allowed to do this, but in the first instance, they can, especially if they’re using these methods to track you down and they don’t discuss your debts with anyone else.

No one wants the debt collectors after them, but generally, you have more power than they do and unless they sue you, there’s very little they can do. If this happens to you, we recommend discussing the debts with them and trying to come to an arrangement. Assuming, that is, the debt has not passed the statute of limitations. If it has, then negotiating with them could invalidate that and make you legally responsible for the debt all over again.

Take a look at our guide to the statute of limitations in your state to learn more.

As scary as it can be to have an account in collections, it’s also common. A few years ago, a study found that there are over 70 million accounts in collections, with an average balance of just over $5,000.

Can Bankruptcy Discharge all Debts?

Bankruptcy can help you if you have more debts than you can repay. But it’s not as all-encompassing as many debtors believe.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts, but it won’t touch child support, alimony or tax debt. It also won’t help you with secured debts as the lender will simply repossess or foreclose, taking back their money by cashing in the collateral. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works a little differently and is geared towards repayment as opposed to discharge. You get to keep more of your assets and in exchange you agree to a payment plan that repays your creditors over 3 to 5 years.

However, as with Chapter 7, you can’t clear tax debts and you will still need to pay child support and alimony. Most debts, including private student loans, credit card debt, and unsecured loan debt will be discharged with bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can seriously reduce your credit score in the short term and can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, so it’s not something to be taken lightly. Your case will also be dismissed if you can’t show that you have exhausted all other options.

Differences in Reducing Each Type of Debt

The United States has some of the highest consumer debt in the world. It has become a common part of modern life, but at the same time, we have better options for credit and debt relief, which helps to balance things out a little. Some of the debt relief options at your disposal have been discussed below in relation to each particular type of long-term debt.

The Best Methods for Reducing Loans

If you’re struggling with high-interest loans, debt consolidation can help. A debt consolidation company will provide you with a loan large enough to cover all your debts and in return, they will give you a single long-term debt. This will often have a smaller interest rate and a lower monthly payment, but the term will be much longer, which means you’ll pay much more interest overall.

Debt management works in a similar way, only you work directly with a credit union or credit counseling agency and they do all the work for you, before accepting your money and then distributing it to your creditors.

Both forms of debt relief can also help with other unsecured debts. They bring down your debt-to-income ratio, leave you with more disposable income, and allow you to restructure your finances and get your life back on track.

The Best Methods for Reducing Credit Cards

Debt settlement is the ultimate debt relief option and can help you clear all unsecured debt, with many companies specializing in credit card debt. 

Debt settlement works best when you have lots of derogatory marks and collections, as this is when creditors are more likely to settle. They can negotiate with your creditors for you and clear your debts by an average of 40% to 60%. You just need to pay the full settlement amount and the debt will clear, with the debt settlement company not taking their cut until the entire process has been finalized.

A balance transfer can also help with credit card debt. A balance transfer credit card gives you a 0% APR on all transfers for between 6 and 18 months. Simply move all of your credit card balances into a new balance transfer card and then every cent of your monthly payment will go towards the principal.

The Best Methods for Reducing Secured Debts

Secured debt is a different beast, as your lender can seize the asset if they want to. This makes them much less susceptible to settlement offers and refinancing. However, they will still be keen to avoid the costly foreclosure/repossession process, so contact them as soon as you’re struggling and see if they can offer you anything by way of a grace period or reduced payment.

Most lenders have some form of hardship program and are willing to be flexible if it increases their chances of being repaid in full.

Different Types of Debt is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Should You Refinance Your Student Loans?

Due to financial consequences of COVID-19 — and the broader impact on our economy — now is an excellent time to consider refinancing most loans you have. This can include mortgage debt you have that may be converted to a new loan with a lower interest rate, as well as auto loans, personal loans, and more.

Refinancing student loans can also make sense if you’re willing to transition student loans you currently have into a new loan with a private lender. Make sure to take time to compare rates to see how you could save money on interest, potentially pay down student loans faster, or even both if you took the steps to refinance.

Get Started and Compare Rates Now

Still, it’s important to keep a close eye on policies and changes from the federal government that have already taken place, as well as changes that might come to fruition in the next weeks or months. Currently, all federal student loans are locked in at a 0% APR and payments are suspended during that time. This change started on March 13, 2020 and lasts for 60 days, so borrowers with federal loans can skip payments and avoid interest charges until the middle of May 2020.

It’s hard to say what will happen after that, but it’s smart to start figuring out your next steps and determining if student loan refinancing makes sense for your situation. Note that, in addition to lower interest rates than you can get with federal student loans, many private student lenders offer signup bonuses as well. With the help of a lower rate and an initial bonus, you could end up far “ahead” by refinancing in a financial sense.

Still, there are definitely some negatives to consider when it comes to refinancing your student loans, and we’ll go over those disadvantages below.

Should You Refinance Now?

Do you have student loan debt at a higher APR than you want to pay?

  • If no: You shouldn’t refinance.
  • If yes: Go to next question.

Do you have good credit or a cosigner? 

  • If no: You shouldn’t refinance.
  • If yes:  Go to next question.

Do you have federal student loans?

  • If no: You can consider refinancing
  • If yes: Go to next question

Are you willing to give up federal protections like deferment, forbearance, and income-driven repayment plans?

  • If no: You shouldn’t refinance
  • If yes: Consider refinancing your loans.

Reasons to Refinance

There are many reasons student borrowers ultimately refinance their student loans, although they can vary from person to person. Here are the main situations where it can make sense to refinance along with the benefits you can expect to receive:

  • Secure a lower monthly payment on your student loans.
    You may want to consider refinancing your student loans if your ultimate goal is reducing your monthly payment so it fits in better with your budget and your goals. A lower interest rate could help you lower your payment each month, but so could extending your repayment timeline.
  • Save money on interest over the long haul.
    If you plan to refinance your loans into a similar repayment timeline with a lower APR, you will definitely save money on interest over the life of your loan.
  • Change up your repayment timeline.
    Most private lenders let you refinance your student loans into a new loan product that lasts 5 to 20 years. If you want to expedite your loan repayment or extend your repayment timeline, private lenders offer that option.
  • Pay down debt faster.
    Also, keep in mind that reducing your interest rate or repayment timeline can help you get out of student loan debt considerably faster. If you’re someone who wants to get out of debt as soon as you can, this is one of the best reasons to refinance with a private lender.

Why You Might Not Want to Refinance Right Now

While the reasons to refinance above are good ones, there are plenty of reasons you may want to pause on your refinancing plans. Here are the most common:

  • You want to wait and see if the federal government will offer 0% APR or forbearance beyond May 2020 due to COVID-19.
    The federal government has only extended forbearance through the middle of May right now, but they might lengthen the timeline of this benefit if you wait it out. Since this perk only applies to federal student loans, you would likely want to keep those loans at 0% APR for as long as the federal government allows.
  • You may want to take advantage of income-driven repayment plans.
    Income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Income-Based Repayment let you pay a percentage of your discretionary income each month then have your loans forgiven after 20 to 25 years. These plans only apply to federal student loans, so you shouldn’t refinance with a private lender if you are hoping to sign up.
  • You’re worried you won’t be able to keep up with your student loan payments due to your job or economic conditions.
    Federal student loans come with deferment and forbearance that can buy you time if you’re struggling to make the payments on your student loans. With that in mind, you may not want to give up these protections if you’re unsure about your future and how your finances might be.
  • Your credit score is low and you don’t have a cosigner.
    Finally, you should probably stick with federal student loans if your credit score is poor and you don’t have a cosigner. Federal student loans come with fairly low rates and most don’t require a credit check, so they’re a great deal if your credit is imperfect.

Important Things to Note

Before you move forward with student loan refinancing, there are some details you should know and understand. Here are our top tips and some important factors to keep in mind.

Compare Rates and Loan Terms

Because student loan refinancing is such a competitive industry, shopping around for loans based on their rates and terms can help you find out which lenders are offering the most lucrative refinancing options for someone with your credit profile and income.

We suggest using Credible to shop for student loan refinancing since this loan platform lets you compare offers from multiple lenders in one place. You can even get prequalified for student loan refinancing and “check your rate” without a hard inquiry on your credit score.

Check for Signup Bonuses

Some student loan refinancing companies let you score a bonus of $100 to $750 just for clicking through a specific link to start the process. This money is free money if you’re able to take advantage, and you can still qualify for low rates and fair loan terms that can help you get ahead.

We definitely suggest checking with lenders that offer bonuses provided you can also score the most competitive rates and terms.

Consider Your Personal Eligibility

Also keep your personal eligibility in mind, including factors beyond your credit score. Most applicants who are turned down for student loan refinancing are turned away based on their debt-to-income ratio and not their credit score. Generally speaking, this means they owe too much money on all their debts when you compare their liabilities to their income.

Credible also notes that adding a creditworthy cosigner can improve your chances of prequalifying for a loan. They also state that “many lenders offer cosigner release once borrowers have made a minimum number of on-time payments and can demonstrate they are ready to assume full responsibility for repayment of the loan on their own.”

It’s Not “All or Nothing”

Also, remember that you don’t have to refinance all of your student loans. You can just refinance the loans at the highest interest rates, or any particular loans you believe could benefit from a different repayment term.

4 Steps to Refinance Your Student Loans

Once you’re ready to pull the trigger, there are four simple steps involved in refinancing your student loans.

Step 1: Gather all your loan information.

Before you start the refinancing process, it helps to have all your loan information, including your student loan pay stubs, in one place. This can help you determine the total amount you want to refinance as well as the interest rates and payments you currently have on your loans.

Step 2: Compare lenders and the rates they offer.

From there, take the time to compare lenders in terms of the rates they can offer. You can use this tool to get the process started.

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Step 3: Choose the best loan offer you can qualify for.

Once you’ve filled out basic information, you can choose among multiple loan offers. Make sure to check for signup bonus offers as well as interest rates, loan repayment terms, and interest rates you can qualify for.

Step 4: Complete your loan application.

Once you decide on a lender that offers the best rates and terms, you can move forward with your full student loan refinancing application. Your student loan company will ask for more personal information and details on your existing student loans, which they will combine into your new loan with a new repayment term and monthly payment.

The Bottom Line

Whether it makes sense to refinance your student loans is a huge question that only you can answer after careful thought and consideration. Make sure you weigh all the pros and cons, including what you may be giving up if you’re refinancing federal loans with a private lender.

Refinancing your student loans can make sense if you have a plan to pay them off, but this strategy works best if you create a debt repayment plan you can stick with for the long-term.

The post Should You Refinance Your Student Loans? appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

Visa v. Mastercard: How These Financial Tools Are Similar & What Makes Them Different

visa and mastercard difference

You apply for a credit card and the bank sends you one when you’re approved. Whether it’s a Visa, a MasterCard or another type of payment card doesn’t factor into the process. Or does it?

Find out whether you should choose Visa or MasterCard when applying for credit cards and what other information you should know about these companies before selecting a credit card.

The Difference Between Visa and MasterCard

The only real difference that stands between Visa and MasterCard is that your card works on the payment network that the company operates. A Visa card won’t work on MasterCard’s network, and vice versa.

Ultimately, any other differences in cards come from the specific card you have. Not all MasterCard cards are the same, and not all Visa cards are the same.

How Are Visa and MasterCard cards similar?

Visa and MasterCard are both card networks. That means they manage the payment networks on which their cards work, but they don’t actually approve or issue cards to consumers. When you receive a Visa or MasterCard credit card, you get it from a bank such as Chase, WellsFargo or other organizations.

This is in contrast to how cards such as Discover and American Express work. These companies operate payment networks, but they also sometimes issue cards directly.

One benefit of the way Visa and MasterCard work is that they are able to foster much wider acceptance than other credit card companies. Visa’s network is 28 million merchants strong. MasterCard’s network features 30 million merchants. It’s rare that one of the types of cards is not accepted when another is. You’re much more likely to find a merchant that accepts Visa and MasterCard while not accepting Discover or American Express.

Other Similarities Between Visa and MasterCard

Because the specifics of your card depend on what kind of Visa or MasterCard you have, both types of cards offer a variety of options. Here are some of the considerations and options you’ll find whether you choose MasterCard or Visa.

1. Credit scores are required for cards.

The credit card companies don’t decide whether you’re approved for a card or not. It’s the bank sponsoring the card that makes the final call because they’re the one taking the financial risk to extend you credit. Some cards require good to excellent credit scores for approval, while others are approved for individuals with lower credit ratings.

Some banks may even offer credit repair cards for individuals with even lower credit ratings. These tend to have very low credit limits and may come with higher interest rates. Often, cards with the best benefits are approved only for those with good credit ratings.

Find out more about credit scores and what is typically considered a strong score before you apply for any type of credit card.

2. Rewards cards are an option.

Both MasterCard and Visa work with banks that provide rewards credit cards. These can include:

  • Travel rewards, such as points toward discounts on hotel stays, airfare, dining or even Uber rides
  • Store-specific rewards, such as points at retailers like Best Buy or Home Depot
  • Food and beverage rewards, such as free beverages at Starbucks or discounts at favorite restaurant chains
  • Cash back earned on each dollar you spend

The type of rewards you earn with your card depend on the card program, which is offered by the banks, and you can find Visa and MasterCard options for all of the above.

You can find some of the best options for rewards and other credit cards via the Credit.com search tools. That’s true whether you’re looking for MasterCard cards or Visa cards.

3. Fees can range for each card.

Fees are typically set by the banks and not by Visa or MasterCard. What you pay in over-limit, balance transfer, late fees or foreign transaction fees depends on the bank, the credit card offer and the agreement you sign. Don’t rely on the name on the card, and instead, make sure you fully review the offer before you agree to it so you know what fees you’re on the hook for.

4. Apple and Google Pay are options.

Most MasterCard and Visa credit cards work with smart wallet options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. This is good news for credit card holders who are worried about the security risks that come with swiping a card. Instead, you can link your card to the app on your smartphone and pay via your phone at any payment station that accepts these methods.

5. Credit card holder discount programs.

If you use a business credit card, you may be entitled to save money on various purchases. Visa offers its Visa SavingsEdge program which features discounts of up to 15% or more on qualifying merchants that are automatically refunded to cardholders’ statements. Participating merchants include gas stations, hotels and car rental agencies.

MasterCard offers its similar Easy Savings program with discounts for qualifying purchases from gas stations, hotels and car repair chains. In both cases, cardholders must enroll their cards to realize these savings.

Can You Choose Your Own Payment Network?

In cases where banks work with both MasterCard and Visa, you may be able to contact your credit card company to ask for a specific network. This is true even if you were already issued a card on one of the networks already.

Because the bank determines APR, terms and rewards programs, there is often no reason to get into this level of detail when requesting a card. However, Visa and MasterCard both do back some benefits associated with their cards, including rental car insurance, buyer protections, extended warranties and travel insurance. If one of these benefits is extremely important to you, it may be worth it to change to the card network that offers the best option.

Regardless of whether you choose a Visa or a MasterCard card, apply for a credit card right here on Credit.com. Need to know your credit score before applying? Find out by signing up for a free Credit.com account.

The post Visa v. Mastercard: How These Financial Tools Are Similar & What Makes Them Different appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

If left unchecked, extensive amounts of credit card debt can cripple your finances. The good news is there are many ways to handle debt, though each requires a dedicated effort on your part. But if you can manage to consolidate credit card debt, you will reduce your burden relatively quickly. In the process, you’ll avoid the exorbitant interest rates that accompany most credit cards. Below we take a look at some of the most effective techniques you can use to make this goal a reality.

Find Out Your Credit Score

Before you can work on improving your credit and minimizing your debt, you have to know where you currently stand.

Many credit card issuers allow cardholders to see their FICO® credit score free of charge once a month, so check out if any of your cards include that free credit score. The three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – also give out free annual credit reports. If that’s not enough, websites like Credit Karma™ and Credit Sesame provide a free look at your credit score and reports as well.

It is vital to review your credit report with a fine-tooth comb to ensure the accuracy of the information. If you find errors be sure to let the credit bureau in question know so the issue can be eradicated as soon as possible.

Zero Interest Balance Transfer Cards

Although it might seem counterintuitive to apply for another credit card to lessen your debt, a zero interest balance transfer card could really help. These cards typically include an introductory 0% balance transfer Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for six months or more. This ultimately allows you to move debt from one account to another without incurring more interest. However, once the introductory offer concludes, any leftover balances will revert to your base APR.

These offers aren’t totally free, though. Most cards also charge a balance transfer fee that’s usually between 3% and 5% of the transfer. Even with this initial payment, you will almost always still save money over leaving your debt where it stands currently.

If you want to consolidate credit card debt, here are three different balance transfer credit cards you could apply for, with varying introductory interest rates and transfer fees:

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Card Intro Balance Transfer APR Balance Transfer Fee Chase Slate 0% APR for first 15 months; then 16.49% to 25.24% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness No fee for first 60 days; then $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater Citi Double Cash Card 0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening; then 15.49% to 25.49% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater BankAmericard® credit card 0% APR for first 15 billing cycles; then 14.49% to 24.49% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness No fee for first 60 days; then $10 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater Take Out a Personal Loan

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

The thought of taking out another loan probably doesn’t sound too appetizing to consolidate credit card debt. But a personal debt consolidation loan is one of the speediest ways to rid yourself of credit card debt. More specifically, you can use it to pay off most or all of your debt in one lump sum. That way, your payments are all merged into a single account with your lender.

The APR and length of the offered loan and the minimum credit score needed for approval are the main factors that should go into your final decision on a lender. By concentrating on these three components of the loan, you can map out what your monthly payments will be. As a result, you can more easily implement them into your financial life.

Applying for a personal consolidation loan can have a detrimental effect on your credit. Unfortunately, most institutions will run a hard credit check on you prior to approval. However, many online lenders don’t do this, which might ease your mind depending on the severity of your debt situation.

These loans are available through a wide variety of financial institutions, including banks, online lenders and credit unions. Here are a few examples of some of the most common debt consolidation lenders:

Common Debt Consolidation Lenders Banks Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank Online Lenders Lending Club, Prosper, Best Egg Credit Unions Navy Federal Credit Union, Unify Financial Credit Union, Affinity Federal Credit Union Auto or Home Equity Loan

If you own assets like a home or car, you can take out a lump-sum loan based on the equity you hold in them to consolidate credit card debt. This is a great way to reuse money you paid toward an existing loan to take care of your debt. When paying back your auto or home equity loan, you’ll usually pay in fixed amounts at a relatively low interest rate. Even if this rate isn’t great, it’s likely much better than any offer you’d receive from a card issuer.

Equity loans are technically a second mortgage or loan, meaning your house or car will become the loan’s collateral. That means you could lose your house or car if you cannot keep up with your equity loan payments.

Create a Budget

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

To build a budget, you first need to figure out your approximate monthly net income. Don’t forget to take into account taxes when you’re doing this.

You can then start subtracting your variable and fixed expenses that are expected for the upcoming month. This is where you will likely be able to identify where you’re overspending, whether it’s on food, entertainment or travel. Once you’ve completed this, you can begin cutting back where you need to. Then, use your surplus cash to pay off your debt one month at a time.

It shouldn’t matter if you’re dealing with substantial credit card debt or not. A monthly spending budget should always be a part of how you manage your finances. While this is likely the slowest way to eliminate debt, it’s also the most financially sound. At its core, it attempts to fix the problem without taking funding from an outside source. This should leave very little financial strife in the aftermath of paying off your debt.

Professional Debt Counseling

Perhaps since you’ve found yourself in serious debt, you feel like you want professional help getting out of it. Well the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) is available for just that reason. The NFCC® has member offices all around the U.S. that are certified in helping you consolidate credit card debt.

These counselors won’t only address your current financial issues and debt. They’ll also work to create a plan that will help you avoid this situation again in the future.

Agencies that are accredited by the NFCC® will have it clearly displayed on their website or at their offices. If you’re not sure where to look, the foundation created an agency locator that’ll help you find a counselor nearby.

Borrow From Your Retirement

Taking money early from your employer-sponsored retirement account obviously isn’t ideal. That’s means borrowing from your retirement is a last-ditch alternative. But if your credit card debt has become such a handicap that it’s affecting all other facets of your life, it is a viable option to consolidate credit card debt.

Because you are technically loaning money to yourself, this will not show up on your credit report. Major tax and penalty charges await anyone who has trouble making payments on these loans though. To make matters worse, if you quit your job or are fired, you’re typically only given 60 days to finish paying it off to avoid incurring a penalty.

Tips To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

  • If you take the time to come up with a budget, don’t let it go to waste. While you might find it tough to stick to, especially if you’re trying to cut back, it is the best way to manage your money correctly. Even if a budget becomes habit, stay vigilant with where your money is being spent.
  • Although a financial advisor will cost money, he or she might be able to help you keep your finances in check while ultimately helping you plan for the future as well. However, if this isn’t an option for you financially, stay on track with your NFCC® debt counselor’s plan.
  • There are so many ways to gain access to your credit score that there’s virtually no excuse for not knowing it. It doesn’t matter if you do it through one of the top three credit bureaus, FICO® or one of your card issuers. Just remember to pay attention to those ever-important three digits as often as possible.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Liderina, ©iStock.com/ferrantraite, Â©iStock.com/cnythzl

The post Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Need Cash? 3 Ways To Tap Your Home Equity—and Which One’s Right for You

home equityaluxum / Getty Images

You need to come up with some cash, fast. Maybe you have a leaky roof that desperately needs fixing or you need help paying for your kid’s first semester of college. But where do you turn?

If you’re a homeowner, you have options that involve tapping into your home equity—the difference between what your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.

There are three main ways to tap into home equity, but sorting through those options can be confusing. To help, we’ve boiled down what you need to know about some of the most common home financing options—cash-out refinance, home equity loan, and home equity line of credit—and how to determine which one is right for you.

1. Cash-out refinance

How it works: A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new loan that’s larger than what you currently owe—and puts the difference in your pocket. With a cash-out refinance, you’re able to receive some of your home’s equity as a lump sum of cash during the process.

“This only works if you have equity in your home, either through appreciation or paying down your mortgage,” says David Chapman, a real estate agent and professor in Oklahoma.

Pros: If you need cold, hard cash in your hands, a cash-out refinance can help you get it. You can use this money for whatever you want—upgrades to your house, even a vacation. Another positive? If interest rates are lower than when you first got your loan, you’ll get to lock in lower interest rates than you’re paying now.

“Now is the time to look at a cash-out refinance due to the low interest rate environment,” says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group.

Cons: You’ll have to pay closing costs when you refinance, though some lenders will let you roll them into your mortgage. The costs can range from 2% to 5% of your loan amount. And, depending on the circumstances, if interest rates have gone up, you could end up with a higher interest rate than your existing mortgage.

Also, you’ll be starting over with a new loan and, unless you refinance into a different type of mortgage altogether, you’ll ultimately be extending the time it takes to pay off your home loan. Even if you get a better interest rate with your new loan, your monthly payment might be higher.

When to get a cash-out refi: A cash-out refinance makes the most sense if you’re able to get a lower interest rate on your new loan. (Experts typically say that at least a 1% drop makes refinancing worth it.)

This option also works well for home renovations, since (ideally) you’ll be increasing your home’s value even more with the updates. In essence, you’re using your home’s existing equity to help pay for even more equity growth.

While you could use your cash-out refinance to pay for anything, financial experts typically advise that you spend the money wisely, on something that you see as a good investment, rather than on something frivolous.

2. Home equity loan

How it works: Unlike a cash-out refi, which replaces your original loan, a home equity loan is a second additional mortgage that lets you tap into your home’s equity. You’ll get a lump sum to spend as you see fit, then you’ll repay the loan in monthly installments, just as you do with your first mortgage. The home equity loan is secured by your house, which means that if you stop making payments, your lender could foreclose on the home.

Pros: With a home equity loan, you get a huge chunk of cash all at once. A home equity loan lets you keep your existing mortgage, so you don’t have to start over from year one. Your interest rate is typically fixed, not adjustable, so you know exactly what your monthly payment will be over the life of the loan. And, another plus is your interest may be tax-deductible.

Cons: Compared with a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan will likely have a higher interest rate. Home equity loans also come with fees and closing costs (though your lender may opt to waive them). Another downside? You’re now on the hook for two mortgages.

When to get a home equity loan: A home equity loan makes more sense than a cash-out refi if you’re happy with your current home loan, but you still want to tap into your home equity, says Andrina Valdes, chief operating officer of Cornerstone Home Lending. It can also be handy for home renovations that add value, though of course you’re free to use it however you want.

“A home equity loan could be used in cases where you may already have a low mortgage interest rate and wouldn’t necessarily benefit from a refinance,” says Valdes.

3. Home equity line of credit

How it works: A home equity line of credit, aka HELOC, is similar to a home equity loan—it’s a second mortgage that lets you pull out your home equity as cash. With a HELOC, however, instead of a lump sum amount, it works more like a credit card. You can borrow as much as you need whenever you need it (up to a limit), and you make payments only on what you actually use, not the total credit available.

Since it’s a second mortgage, your HELOC will be treated totally separately from your existing mortgage, just like a home equity loan.

“With a HELOC, the homeowner will need to make two payments each month—their mortgage payment and the HELOC payment,” says Glenn Brunker, mortgage executive at Ally Home.

Pros: You borrow only what you need, so you may be less tempted to spend this money than a lump-sum home equity loan. You pay interest only once you start borrowing, but you can keep the line of credit open for many years, which means your HELOC can act as a safeguard for emergencies.

HELOCs typically have lower interest rates than home equity loans, and they typically have little or no closing costs. (Again, your lender might offer to waive these fees.) HELOCs are often easier to get because they’re subject to fewer lending rules and regulations than home equity loans.

Cons: HELOCs usually have adjustable interest rates, which means you can’t necessarily predict how much your monthly payment will be. Most HELOCs typically require the borrower to pay interest only during what’s known as the draw period, with principal payments kicking in later during the repayment period. If you don’t plan properly or you lose your job, you might be caught off guard by these higher payments down the road. As is the case with other second mortgages, your bank can foreclose on your house if you stop making payments.

“Once a HELOC transitions into the repayment period, the borrower is required to make both principal and interest payments,” says David Dye, CEO of GoldView Realty in Torrance, CA. “Many borrowers forget about this transition and are often startled by the sudden increase in minimum payments.”

When to get a HELOC: A HELOC makes the most sense if you want the flexibility and peace of mind of knowing you can easily access money in the future, says Mindy Jensen, a real estate agent in Colorado.

“A HELOC is great to have just in case,” says Jensen. “You have access to it, but are not committed to taking it or paying for money you don’t have an immediate need for.”

And compared with an actual credit card, a HELOC has a much lower interest rate, so it’s likely a cheaper financing option for you.

The post Need Cash? 3 Ways To Tap Your Home Equity—and Which One’s Right for You appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

How to Financially Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life

As the dust slowly begins to settle and we observe businesses putting their action plans in place to recover, we all sit and wonder what this may look like for us. How will I recover from this? How am I going to cover these unexpected expenses? How will I increase my earning potential? Whether you’re navigating the muddy waters of being unemployed, furloughed, return to office plans or continue working remotely – we have many things to consider as time continues to quickly progress. How should we handle debt? Are there any more relief programs or funding? How can we pick up the pieces and properly recuperate what may have been lost? Use the tips below to jumpstart your journey of reclaiming your finances.

Identify your financial focuses

Over the course of this year, many financial goals that were initially set needed to be tweaked or came to a screeching halt altogether. While it would be nice if we could rectify the many financial aspirations we have for ourselves and our families all at once, it’s simply not realistic. To alleviate the impounding pressure many have had to experience for a good chunk of time this year, it’s best to identify two to three key areas of focus. Not only does narrowing your focus help direct where your efforts should lie, it removes unnecessary stress so that a plan of attack can be created and executed upon. For example, if you would like to begin rebuilding your emergency fund, savings or simply get caught up on bills and other overhead expenses – make sure the actionable steps you take align with the overarching goal. This helps create tunnel vision to execute on the goal while quieting the noise of things that can be tackled at a later time. You owe it to yourself and your finances to see these goals through to the finish line.

Revisit your budget and make adjustments as necessary

Many think of budgeting like that pesky chore you put off every single week. It’s that ‘thing’ you know needs to be done, but you always find something else to do instead. However, once it’s done – you’re always glad that you did it. Even if you have to have an adult temper tantrum, pull out the pen and paper (once again) to compare your income with expenses. Has your income increased or decreased? Are there expenses that are no longer on the list? Are there certain wants or luxuries that can be temporarily put on hold until things settle down? Take all of these factors into consideration when recalibrating your budget. Since there’s an increased amount of time indoors, are there any spending habits you’ve noticed that have been on the rise? If these questions are not easily answered, commit to reviewing the last few months of your bank statements. Do you notice more to-go food orders? An increased amount of emotional or impulsive purchases? Be honest with yourself and your habits so that you can address and make changes to healthily rebuild your finances.

Adjust debt payoff plan

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to contact your creditors – consider this as a reminder! It’s imperative you maintain an open line of communication with all lenders. These conversations can potentially lead to various options being available to assist you in your debt payoff process. Remember to keep in mind that you are not the only person experiencing financial hardship, so let pride become a thing of the past and be candid. Are there relief options during the pandemic? Are interest rates being lowered because of the current climate? If I were to miss a payment, what are the consequences? Are negative remarks being reported to the credit bureaus? Be very clear in your delivery. There are thousands and thousands of people attempting to pick up the pieces on their money journey. Take some time to check all creditor accounts for the most recent balances. From there, create (or readjust) your plan based on your personal circumstances. If it’s easier to tackle the smallest debt, shift your attention to those accounts. If catching up and restoring good standing with utilities and other overhead expenses need to be addressed first, do that. There is no right or wrong way to approach your plan; just don’t adopt the spirit of avoidance.

Monitor your credit score regularly

There’s been a huge surge in personal data being compromised due to the pandemic. To protect yourself and your credit score, be sure to obtain a copy of your credit report from at least one of the bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and review regularly. Normally, you are allotted one free credit report every year – however, because of the pandemic you can now request your report weekly at no cost to you until April 2021. We all know there’s a lot on all of our plates, but this can be incorporated in your weekly routine to make sure information stays accurate. During your review if there’s anything that’s false, submit a dispute and be sure to have any supporting documentation that can serve as evidence to support your claim.

Even though we don’t like to admit it, life can present a lot of challenges that we may not be fully prepared for in our ever-changing adulthood journey. This pandemic has shined a light on the areas in our lives that can use some more time, intention and attention. Instead of beating ourselves up about the lack of preparedness, let’s be sure to make adjustments now so no matter what happens with the economy or the state of this country it does not have such a huge, negative impact to our financial goals. Let’s face it – even in the midst of tragedy, this year equipped us with a different level of endurance and resilience. It reminded us what really matters and where our energy should really be dedicated to. Start where you are and do what you can. Refrain from comparing your personal money story to someone else’s. We all have unique situations and obligations that influence our saving and spending plans. Dust yourself off, grant yourself grace and begin a new chapter in your financial journey.

 

The post How to Financially Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com