MoneyRates.com Archives

Credit card vs debit card: Which Is Better?

Erik Martin

For disciplined consumers, plastic can be fantastic. A debit card and credit card allow you to make purchases safer and easier without having to carry cash. That begs the question: When should you use a debit card vs credit card?

Pay off debt or save: What's More Important?

Geoff Williams

Should you save money or pay off debt? For total financial health, you want to carry little debt and have savings for emergencies and retirement. But few of us get off to a perfect start. If you're looking at a pile of debt and no savings, which problem should you tackle first? The answer depends on several factors.

Debt Statutes of Limitations for Every State

Gina Pogol

Every state has a statute of limitation under which debts become uncollectible. When a specified amount of time passes, the creditor must suspend collection efforts. The map below shows how many years it takes for a debt to become uncollectible in your state.

Note that some debts like government-backed student loans do not fall under these statutes.

Pay for Delete Letter for Collection Agency Accounts

Gina Pogol

The only way to improve your credit score when paying a collection (for most credit scoring models) is to convince the agency to delete your account in exchange for payment. Credit experts call this "pay for delete." You can use this sample letter to create your own note to collection agencies.

How to Graduate College Debt-Free (Or Nearly So)

Peter Andrew

The class of 2018 graduated with an average college debt of $29,200 each, according to The Institute for College Access and Success. And things are getting worse. Because the previous year's figure had been $28,650. So is it possible to leave debt-free? Certainly. And even if you can't quite manage that happy state, you should be able to keep your loans well below average. So read on to discover how you can dramatically reduce your educational costs.

College Debt Survey: Students Don't Know What They're Getting Into

Richard Barrington

Do you have a handle on how much student loan debt you will owe by the time you finish college? See how many students are on track for an unpleasant surprise about college debt, and what to do about it.

America's Best Rates on Savings, Money Markets and CDs - 4th Quarter 2019

Richard Barrington

Looking to fight back against falling bank rates? See how you could actually raise your interest rates while most rates are falling.

Tax Preparation Fees: What It Costs to Get Your Taxes Done

Gina Pogol

This guide covers tax-preparation options including tax-software reviews, tax-preparation costs and tips for saving on tax-preparation costs.

How to Prepare for a Recession

Richard Barrington

Concerned about a recession? This recession-prep checklist has eight steps you can take to be more prepared and less worried.

Best Rates for Savings; Deposits in the U.S. - 3rd Quarter, 2019

Richard Barrington

Concerned about falling interest rates? A new survey shows bank rates on the decline, but see how you could improve your rate, even in a falling-rate environment.

When is Tax on a CD Due?

Richard Barrington

Are you prepared for the tax consequences of your CD? You may have to pay taxes on your CD interest before you even receive that interest. Here's how you can be ready to pay the taxes on your CD interest when it comes due.

Should I Move My CDs into an IRA?

Richard Barrington

Thinking of setting up an IRA? Learn how to choose between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA and how to invest for long-term retirement savings.

How Much Retirement Savings Should an 83-Year-Old Have?

Richard Barrington

How do you know you have enough money for the remainder of your retirement? A comparison of net expenses with retirement savings and other resources can help you find the answer.

How Long can I Keep Money in a Traditional IRA?

Richard Barrington

How long can you keep money in a traditional IRA? While you are required to start taking out some of your remaining balance each year beginning at age 70.5, you are never required to take out all of your remaining balance.

Can I Contribute RMDs to a Roth IRA?

Richard Barrington

Looking to limit your taxes once you start taking retirement plan RMDs? The strategy of contributing some of that money to a Roth IRA has significant limits, but it does also have some benefit.

6 financial moves to prevent sleepless nights

Richard Barrington

Financial worries are a common source of nighttime anxiety, but these problems are best addressed in the light of day.

9 questions to ask before taking on debt

Richard Barrington

Getting into debt can be too easy at times, but asking some challenging questions can help you avoid taking on debt that isn't worthwhile.

Pros and cons of debt consolidation

Richard Barrington

Debt consolidation can be either a useful tool or a costly mistake. It helps to understand your goals and how to best pursue them.

Using zero percent credit cards to pay off student loans

Richard Barrington

Transferring student loan balances to zero percent credit cards is not as straightforward as it may look; see what you should know before trying this strategy.

How to responsibly handle easier access to credit cards

Richard Barrington

Easing credit standards mean consumers have to take responsibility for not overusing access to credit.

When Opening Multiple Money Market Accounts is a Smart Move

Richard Barrington

Could you benefit from splitting your money into different bank accounts? See examples of when having multiple money market accounts could work to your benefit.

2019 Outlook - 6 factors affecting savings & money market rates

Richard Barrington

Do you have money in a savings or money market account? These six trends could impact your money in 2019, but here's how you can protect your assets and profit during this changing environment.

Batter up! 9 'players' for your investment line-up

Richard Barrington

Want a portfolio that will perform from its opening day? Then consider incorporating these key elements.

Home-field advantage: 7 reasons to favor US stocks

Richard Barrington

International investing can be a good thing, but there are also valid reasons for maintaining a heavier weighting toward U.S.-based stocks.

7 straightforward rules for asset allocation

Richard Barrington

Asset allocation is a tricky decision and one you can't avoid, so it's wise to be well-informed on the topic.

What is the Minimum Amount of Interest Required to Report?

Richard Barrington

Unsure whether you need to report small amounts of interest earned on bank accounts? Chances are you do have to report, even if the bank did not send you a Form 1099-INT. See guidelines for reporting and what you can do about earning more interest next year.

How to Earn More Interest on Your Savings 2020

William Cowie

In the current climate of rock-bottom interest rates, is there a way for you to find a higher return on your savings? You may be pleasantly surprised by some of these options.

Best Money Saving Tips: This Is Your Year to Save No Matter What

Erik Martin

It's a new year. And that means it's a fresh start -- a chance to abandon old habits and adopt positive new ones. One habit that can take you a long way in 2020 and beyond is consistently saving money when you can. There are many money savings tips out there: But which ones can best teach you how to save money?

Can You Pay Bills Directly from a Savings Account?

William Cowie

Savings accounts tend to pay higher interest than checking accounts. Would it, therefore, make sense to put all your money in a savings account and use it to pay bills and make purchases? No, and here's why not.

Which Banks Have the Most Convenient ATMs?

Richard Barrington

Are you a frequent ATM user? See some simple tips to help you stop wasting money on ATM fees.

Brokered CDs: How They Work

Richard Barrington

Want a better deal on your CDs? Brokered CDs are a potential way you could get better CD terms, as long as you understand the potential risks along with the potential benefits.

Old Line Bank No-Penalty CD Review

Rebecca Lake

Old Line Bank offers savings products, including no-penalty CDs. Learn how these CDs work if you're considering opening an account.

Marcus No-Penalty CD Review: Is It Right for You?

Rebecca Lake

Marcus offers CDs for savers with no penalty for early withdrawal. Learn how the no-penalty CD from Marcus works to decide whether to open an account.

Best IRA CD Rates

Richard Barrington

Looking for a CD for your IRA? Certificates of deposit can play different roles in your IRA. Learn how to use CDs and how to find the best IRA CD rates.

No Penalty CD: How does it work

Richard Barrington

Would you like the yield of a CD without the commitment? Find out how no-penalty CDs can give you the yield benefit of owning a CD without having to lock your money up for the full term of the CD.

7 Big Financial Changes that Call for Adjusting Your Mortgage

Richard Barrington

Refinancing is not just about capturing falling interest rates. It can also be a way of optimizing your mortgage loan to fit a change in circumstances.

9 must-know things about your mortgage loan

Richard Barrington

The benefit or burden of any mortgage is largely dependent on these 9 details.

Buying a home: 7 tips for making your biggest investment decision

Richard Barrington

Lack of experience is an inherent problem for first-time home buyers, but some sound investment thinking can help you overcome that problem.

Amid historically low rates, is real estate a good investment?

Richard Barrington

Recent declines in mortgage rates may generate enthusiasm for real estate investments, but there are reasons to be skeptical of this.

When it makes sense to bet the house

Richard Barrington

Shifting your debt burden into a mortgage can save you money, but it can also put your home at risk. Learn when this approach makes sense.

Best Banks for Those Who Can't Get a Bank Account

Erik J Martin

Using cash for all your transactions isn't practical or safe. That's why it's best to get a bank account with a debit card. Problem is, some people can't qualify for an account at many banks. And many can't afford the various fees charged. So what's the best bank account for you? Probably an entry-level online or mobile bank account.

How Immigrants Can Open a Bank Account Without a Social Security Card

Rebecca Lake

Opening a bank account as a newcomer to the U.S. takes some planning. Learn how immigrants can open a bank account without a social security card.

Checking vs. Savings Accounts: What's the Difference?

What's the difference between checking and savings accounts? Find out how each impacts the accessibility, security and earning power of your bank account, and how to find the right fit for your needs.

The Cost of Sloppy Banking Habits

Richard Barrington

Are sloppy banking habits draining money from your bank accounts? A new MoneyRates study calculates that sloppy banking habits can cost a bank customer $830.64 per year. Find out how you can keep this money for yourself rather than handing it over to your bank.

Better ways to find the best checking account

Richard Barrington

Changes in banking habits have made location less of an issue since the 1990s, while rising fees have made cost more significant. Isn't it time to change what you look for in a checking account?

Facing the enemy: 5 ways to prepare for tax season

Richard Barrington

They started arriving in your mailbox last month. No, not early Valentine's cards, but the little reminders of the grim task ahead: tax preparation.