Archive for November, 2010


10,000 Bonus Miles and First Year Free with Capital One Venture Card

Capitol One Venture CardAre you someone that has excellent credit and are looking for a rewards credit card?

The Capital One Venture Card is offering 10,000 free bonus miles.  To get these bonus miles you simply have to spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.  On top of the free miles they are going to pay your first years fee for you, a $59 value.

Money Magazine had this to say about the Venture card

“Best Rewards Card if you aim to rack up airline miles.”

With the Venture Card from Capital One you will also get double miles on every purchase, and you can redeem your miles for any travel expense and book your travel any way you choose.

A huge benefit is that you can fly on any airline, any time, with no blackout dates.  The 10,000 bonus miles will put you well on your way to a free round trip flight.  During your travels you will have no foreign transaction fees.

The Financial Details:

  • Purchase APR: 13.9% variable APR
  • Transfer Rate and Fee: 13.9% variable APR with No Transfer Fee
  • Annual Fee: $59 (waived for the first year)

This credit card is for people with good credit.  If you have poor credit check out our tips on repairing credit, or credit cards you can qualify for with poor credit.

To see more details and fine print about the Venture card see here.


3 Month High for Average Mortgage Rates – Nov 28th

The national average mortgage rates have increased to a 3 month high.

The 30 year fixed rate average has not been above 4.40% since August 19th, and the 15 year hasn’t seen this high of rates since mid September.

Here is a look at where the rates are as of this past Friday.

November 24, 2010 30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM 1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.40 % 3.77 % 3.45 % 3.23 %
Fees & Points 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.6

Last week the 30 Year Rate was at 4.39% but the week before that it was at its lowest point ever, 4.17%.

Should you lock in that rate?

Rates are bound to eventually go up.  With the holidays in full swing and the new year on the horizon it is uncertain if rates will continue to remain so low.

These rates are so incredibly low it would be foolish not to get a loan locked into a fixed rate if you can, whether for a refinance or a purchase.

There are some great options for people out there too.  There are loans for people with poor credit, and refinance options for people that are upside down in their mortgage.

Need to calculate your mortgage? Try our Mortgage Calculator.


Best CD Rates For Week Of November 29, 2010

There isn’t much to report for this week as we come out of a long holiday weekend. We expect rates to continue their downward slide and could see a shake up in the rates we track sometime this week. It might be wise to lock in some of these CD rates if you are sitting their wondering if rates will increase or decrease. Your best bet in this economy is to lock in short term rates before they fall even further.

Melrose Credit Union still holds most of the top CD rates we track. We expect Melrose to lower their rates across the board this week, that’s if they keep with their cycle of cutting rates every 3 months. Their 3 month mark since the last rate cut is this week.

Here are the best CD rates currently available nationally

*TermBankNovember 29Last Week
3 Month CDSanibel Captiva0.95% APY0.95% APY
6 Month CDBank of Internet1.15% APY1.15% APY
12 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.51% APY1.51% APY
24 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.76% APY1.76% APY
36 Month CDMelrose Credit Union2.27% APY2.27% APY
60 Month CDMelrose Credit Union3.03% APY3.03% APY

These banks and credit unions qualify for our listing because they offer their CDs to anyone nationwide. As with any investment, certificates of deposits can change at a moment’s notice, be sure to check our updated CD rates table for the most up to date information.

Melrose Credit Union is not your normal credit union as they allow anyone, anywhere to join. Most credit unions have strict requirements, but Melrose’s only requirement is a $1 fee and to hold $25 in a savings account.

We encourage you to visit Bankaholic’s post about their visit to Melrose’s New York office and why they can pay such high rates, while other major banks and financial institutions continue cutting their rates.


Alask USA Credit Union Review and Rates

Alaska USA Credit UnionAlaska USA Federal Credit Union primarily serves Alaska, the Puget Sound area of Washington State, and California’s High Desert.

Currently Alaska USA is the largest provider of consumer financial services in Alaska. Member is groing in Washington and California. Alaska USA Credit Union provides business services, including checking, commercial loans, and insurance.

See a BankAims List of Credit Unions and Info about each.

Here are some facts about Alaska USA CU from their website.

  • Founded in 1948
  • Over 390,000 members in all 50 states and around the world
  • Over $4 billion in assets
  • 59 branches in Alaska, California, and Washington
  • Most branches open seven days a week
  • Financial Centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Soldotna, and Wasilla
  • Offers consumer and commercial deposit and loan services, as well as mortgage and real estate loans, insurance, investments and investment management, and title and escrow closing services
  • Credit union accounts federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is one of the largest Credit Unions in the Nation.

Alaska USA CU Deposit Rates.

Rates and terms vary depending on minimum deposit amount.  With a $500 deposit rates are as follows. (Please note the date of this article for rate accuracy.)

Alaska USA CU Loan Rates

  • 30 year fix – 4.5% with a 4.631% APR
  • 15 year fix – 3.750% with a 3.975% APR

To see more information or get rate info see here.


No Credit Check Refinance – Is it possible?

When you apply for a mortgage one of the very first things you will need to do is give your social security number so your broker or bank can pull your credit.

What if your credit is terrible and you don’t want your credit to be pulled?

In all honesty it is very unlikely that you find a lender willing to fund a mortgage without your credit being check, although there are a few exceptions to this rule.  Your credit score is not the only, nor the most important factor in determining if you qualify.

Lenders and banks understand that some people with a stronger financial portfolio may have poor credit.  (stronger in the sense that you are able to comfortably afford your mortgage payment.)

It comes down to risk for lenders.  If you can show that even though your credit is poor you have the means to make your mortgage payment every month you may be able to qualify for a refinance.

If you have missed a mortgage payment in the previous year or two it is unlikely you will qualify because this dramatically weakens your position.  You want to show good payment history, strong monthly income and it is very important that you have money in reserves.  Which simply means money in savings, a liquid retirement account or something similar.

If you can show the lender you can comfortably make the payments and are a low risk borrower you may be able to refinance with less than stellar credit.

Here is a break down of the important factors when qualifying for a mortgage.

  • DTI (Debt to Income) – If your DTI remains under 30% it shows you earn enough money to comfortably make your mortgage payment.  The lower the better.
  • LTV (Loan to Value) – The lower the Loan to Value on your home the stronger it is.  If you only owe 70 or 75% of your houses value you become lower risk.
  • Income – Income is a main factor in determining your DTI.
  • Assets – If you can show 6 months of assets, this will really strengthen your file tremendously.  Assets, particularly liquid assets, help show that even if you lose your job or run into financial difficulties you can still make your mortgage payment for a number of months.
  • Payment History – A clean mortgage payment history (meaning you have no 30 day late payments) shows you are a trustworthy borrower.

In conclusion if you can show strength in the other areas of your mortgage than the credit score factor may be minimized or eliminated.

Some people never even build credit and literally have no credit, but can still purchase a house.  This is because these other factors are strong.  Plus in this case if we are looking to refinance the fact you already own the home helps tremendously.


Best CD Rates For Week Of November 22, 2010

Tis the season to give thanks and in the realm of investing, there isn’t too much to give thanks for. Over the past year we have seen CD rates continue their downward fall, with a few bright spots like iGObanking, when they where offering the highest 2 year CD, which even beat the highest 3 year CDs. Even now as banks continue to cut rates, Melrose Credit Union continues to provide outstanding products. This small, single office in Queens New York is offering the best nationally available return on the 12-month, 24-month, 36-month and 60-month certificates of deposit.

The other two banks, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank from Florida and Bank of Internet based out of San Diego California offer the best 3 month and 6-month terms.

All of the major banks, such as Chase, Band of America, Wells Fargo, stopped offering competitive rates ever since the financial crisis started in 2008.

*TermBankNovember 22Last Week
3 Month CDSanibel Captiva0.95% APY0.95% APY
6 Month CDBank of Internet1.15% APY1.15% APY
12 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.51% APY1.51% APY
24 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.76% APY2.00% APY
36 Month CDMelrose Credit Union2.27% APY2.27% APY
60 Month CDMelrose Credit Union3.03% APY3.03% APY

CD rates can change at a moment’s notice so be sure to check our CD rates page for the most up to date information.

We list these banks and credit unions because they offer their rates to anyone nationwide.

Unlike most credit unions, Melrose is open to savers regardless of where they live and work. Anyone can open an account with Melrose for only a $1 joining fee and a minimum of $25 kept in a savings account.


Top 2 Year CD Rates Drop Below 2%

It didn’t take long for iGObanking to realize how well they were paying on their 2 year CD. Just last month they were paying almost half a point higher than the next leading 2 year CD, then dropped their rates to 2.00%, still beating out the competition. Now iGObanking has dropped their 24 month rate to 1.00% APY, lower than the highest leading 6-month and 12-month rates, which are 1.15% and 1.51%.

This might be a sign of things to come as rates continue their slide down the charts. No other bank or financial institution is close to paying 2% on any 24 month CD. Keep in mind that the national average of a 2 year CD is sitting right around 0.77% APY.

Here are the next best 2 Year certificates of deposit:

  • Melrose Credit Union at 1.76% APY with a minimum deposit of $5,000 and is located in Queens, NY.
  • Presidential Bank at 1.75% APY with a minimum deposit of $1,000 and is located in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.
  • Bank of Internet at 1.72% APY with a minimum deposit of $1,000 and is an online bank from San Diego, CA.
  • Discover Bank at 1.65% APY with a minimum deposit of $2,500 and is the online bank owned by the credit card company.

All of these banks and credit union allows anyone to join or buy their CDs. Melrose Credit union allows anyone to join for only $1. They impose no restrictions and are located out of Queens, New York.

Be sure to compare all of the best CD rates from our certificates of deposit database.


Qualify for an HSBC Credit Card With Poor Credit

If you are poor credit and have tried to qualify for a credit card you know that it can be a difficult process.  Poor credit can earn you many denials from credit card companies.

If you have poor credit you need to come to grips with the fact that you are not going to get good credit cards until you rebuild your credit score.

Orchard Bank (HSBC) offers a credit card which is easy to qualify and made specifically for people that are trying to take their credit score from,

“This Score Sucks!” to “Wow, that good.”

This card is also featured in our top starter credit cards.

It can seem like building your credit can take forever, but trust me it can fix up real fast.

Quick Personal Story:

I remember a few years back I had a Washington Mutual (now Chase) credit card with about a $1,200 balance.  Well I paid that card off, but when the banker gave me the total payoff she didn’t include the $11.02 interest that had accrued for half the month I hadn’t paid for yet.

Assuming the card was completely paid off I went on my merry way.  Well about 6 months later I discovered my (half the bankers fault) folly, and along with that folly came a 30 day late, 60 day late, 90 day late and two 120 day late payments on my credit.

My credit dropped from the 700 range to the low/mid 600’s.  I went to the bank to see if they could help me out.  They were pleasant and seemingly helpful, but could not remove the late payments.  To my surprise after being extremely diligent with my credit, my score was back up in the 700 range in about 4 or 5 months.

So all that to say… You can rebuild your credit quickly.

Here are a few of the details from the HSBC offer:

  • An excellent credit card for help rebuilding credit scores; reports to 3 major credit bureaus monthly!
  • Acceptance at millions of locations worldwide, including website purchases and reservations
  • Your account information is updated and at your fingertips 24/7 so you can manage it your way
  • Email and text messages are available to remind you of your upcoming payment due date
  • On-call customer service representatives to assist you with questions or concerns
  • To get more info or apply click here.


Deposit Checks with Your iPhone or Android Camera

Earlier this year Chase Bank updated their mobile app to include some pretty cool features.

As of now the application is only available on the iPhone, but look for it to be released on the Android market in early December.

There are two new features that make this app a must have for Chase customers.

[See the iPod Checking Account Promotions}

1. Deposit Checks with Your Camera.

Instead of driving to the bank to deposit your check now all you need to do is take a picture of the front and back of the check press send and your funds will be deposited. The app makes an attempt to recognize the routing number and account information on the check from the picture.  If the information is unreadable to the camera you can manually input the numbers.  The funds will remain as pending until Chase processes the transaction.

If you want to use this feature you will have to enroll in Chase Quick Deposit which is a free service, just like the app itself is free.

2. Send money quickly and securely.

If you sign up for the free Chase QuickPay service, which is similar to Paypal, you will be able to send funds with your phone to other people with as little information as just an email address.  Neither the sender nor the receiver of the funds will be charged and the recipient  does not need to be a Chase customer.

More info regarding the Android Release

Reportedly the Android version of the app is completed and is supposed to be released onto the Android market next month. The guys at Phandroid apparently caught wind of an internal email that went out to most Chase employees stating…

Nov 15 2010

“GET READY FOR NEW ANDROID APP!

A new Chase Mobile application will be available for users in early December! This new application will allow Android users to access accounts, pay bills, transfer funds, send wires, make mobile Quick Deposits and locate Chase Branches or ATMs. However, customers will not be able to make QuickPay payments with the new application at this time.”

Looks like Android will be minus the QuickPay option at this point, but none the less this great banking app will be released to just about everyone now.


How to Absolutely ROCK Black Friday

OH the glory and wonder of Black Friday!

When people are willing to wake up at the crack of ungodliness, camp in 0 degree whether, trample a neighbor to death all in the name of stuff. (Not to mention its on a holiday weekend when you can sleep in, whats up with that? I said, whats up with that?)

But for those of you who just cannot get enough of Black Friday and all its magnificence I have compiled two killer lists on how to Rock Black Friday and how to ABSOLUTELY rock Black Friday.

How to Rock Black Friday List:

  1. Plan Ahead - Do not just shoot from the hip and head out Friday Morning. You need a Plan. If you fail to have a plan then you plan to have a fail. (That statement really doesn’t make sense. :))
  2. Research - Determine what you want and look into the stores that have what you want. Plan on visiting those stores first… first and early (and by early I mean just don’t even sleep the night before).
  3. Get some sleep – I know, I know… It sounds contradicting to the end of #2 but its not.  Store up as much sleep as you can in preparation because the best deals are found EARLY and the best Black Friday-ers do not sleep at all… (see no contradiction).
  4. Set a budget - You can get trapped in all the wondrous deals real fast. Soon you will have spent more money than you have on tons of extra stuff you don’t need. Set a budget and spend no more than that.
  5. Post BF attack plan – Most deals are the send in for a rebate type deals, so FB (Facebook) your BFF’s (Black Friday Friends) to a PBFP (Post Black Friday Party), get all those rebates filled out then have a parade down to the post office and send them away.

Mission Accomplished.

Now How to ABSOLUTELY Rock Black Friday:

  1. On Friday morning.  Sleep until lunch.  Wake up and have a huge left over turkey sandwich.  Head back to your bedroom, take a nap and wake up just in time to watch football or the Mythbusters Thanksgiving weekend marathon.

Now we are talking.

This article is part of the Go Banking RatesHolidays and Money” writing project, an on-going project that encourages creative writing in the PF blog community, centralized around a single broad-reaching subject.

If you enjoyed my article, VOTE for it here as Readers’ Choice Favorite!

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