How to Use Bank of America Mortgage Rates in Your Favor

How to Use Bank of America Mortgage Rates in Your Favor
Deciding on a mortgage is a major financial decision. A difference of just a few percentage points might sound small, but it would result in many thousands of dollars of payments over the course of a mortgage, so it pays to shop around. You should think carefully before signing up for a mortgage from Bank of America or any other bank.

First, let’s talk about the basics of mortgage rates. There are several determinants to these rates. First of all, all banks base their rates on basic economic conditions. The economy and the Federal Reserve provide the basic context for all of banking, so it makes sense that those things also factor into mortgage rates. When the Federal Reserve keeps its rates low, mortgages are also low. This typically happens in economic downturns. The bottom line is that these things are out of your control — they affect all banks in the same way, so shopping around won’t let you avoid them.

But there are other factors that you can control. Each bank customizes mortgage rates to their customers. Depending on the amount of money you want to borrow, your credit history, the location of the house, and a few other factors, banks make slight adjustments to the rate on your loan. Remember, every little bit helps when it comes to a mortgage, because that rate applies to a large principal that you pay off over many years. Banks take all these personal factors into account because they are trying to charge a higher rate to people who are more likely to default on the loan. They need to cover their risks. If they charge more to people who are higher risks and less to people who are less likely to default, the bank can make more money.

In addition, banks need to cover their costs so they can make a profit. Some banks are more efficient than others, and it works in different ways. For example, large banks have better technology and data, but small banks have a personal connection to the customer. That’s why you need to be careful and shop around. Different banks have different costs, and they also weight your personal factors in different ways. If you go to several different banks and they offer you different weights, that’s a good opportunity to save a lot of money. There’s a lot that goes into deciding on a rate — some of it comes from the economy, some from the bank, and some from you.

Be careful, though. Make sure you are comparing mortgages of the same maturity, or length. Longer mortgages have lower rates, but you still wind up paying more in the end. If you compare a fifteen year mortgage to a twenty year mortgage, the longer one will have a lower rate. However, that doesn’t make it a cheaper mortgage. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples: get a quote from different banks for a mortgage of the same length.

If you keep these ideas in mind, you will have no trouble locating the best mortgage rate. Bank of America is one of the biggest mortgage providers in the country because of its sheer size, but that does not mean that it is always the best choice. You should be careful to investigate many different banks and see if they can beat Bank of America. It doesn’t always happen, but it also doesn’t take that much time to test it out. Considering the big savings that you can pick up by getting a lower rate, it is well worth the time. It can’t hurt to spend a few extra days looking around.

Hidden Matrix Card Info and Tips for New Cardholders

Hidden Matrix Card Info and Tips for New Cardholders
The Matrix credit card is designed to be easy to apply for and has very limited requirements for applicants to meet in order to qualify. Because of this, many people use it to rebuild a lower credit rating or to have access to a credit card when they are struggling with their finances. It offers many benefits and great features, but you should also be aware of some of the fine print wording and details related to this account so that you maximize the benefits it offers and downplay the impact of the negative aspects of this credit card.

The Details of the Matrix Credit Card
The Matrix credit card is available through the Continental Finance Company, and there is no annual fee to have the account open. There are both secured and unsecured versions of this card available, and both have an initial credit limit of $300. A security deposit is required upon application to open the secured credit card. The annual APR is 29.99 percent is assessed on both new purchases and cash advances. There are also numerous other fees that cardholders should be aware of before signing up. The card is available for use under the Discover network, so it is accepted anywhere Discover cards are accepted.

A Closer Look at the Matrix Card Fees
Because the Matrix credit card is generally designed to be used by those who have a lower credit rating, the affordability of using the card should be noted. First, there is a $75 annual fee, which is rather sizable considering the initial credit limit for all accounts is only $300. There is a cash advance fee of five percent for each transaction or a minimum of $5. In addition, if you use the card outside of the United States, a three percent foreign transaction fee will apply. You will be assessed a $30 fee for every additional $100 your credit limit increases, and there is a one-time $30 fee assessed when you add a new user to the account. If you opt for paper billing statements, you will be assessed $4.95 per month. The automatic default setting is for paper billing, so you have to make an effort to opt out of paper billing to avoid this fee. There is also a $25 late payment free each month your payment is late, and this will increase to $35 if you miss a payment six times. A final fee to be aware of is the $35 returned payment fee.

If You Apply for the Matrix Card
The fees associated with the Matrix credit card are rather high in comparison to some of the other credit card offers available, but many who apply for this type of credit card will not qualify for an account with better terms and lower fees. With this in mind, if you do opt to apply for the Matrix credit card, you should take time to fully understand all of the fees, avoid going over the limit and make an effort to pay the balance off in full each month. Payments should also be made well ahead of the due date in order to avoid other fees being charged to the account. You may also consider reviewing your credit rating periodically. This credit card is not a type of account that many will want to use indefinitely. Instead, it can be used as a credit-building tool. After you have improved your credit rating by making an effort to pay your bills on time, you can then apply for an account with more attractive terms.

If you are not aware of all of the fees associated with the Matrix credit card, they can easily add up. This can create a financial burden for some, and all cardholders may want to take steps to avoid having unnecessary fees charged to their account. By understanding what these fees are, you can take the necessary steps to avoid paying many of the fees for this card.

Understanding the Wells Fargo Currency Exchange

Understanding the Wells Fargo Currency Exchange
Wells Fargo is one of the five largest and most important banks located in the United States today. Not surprisingly, they offer foreign currency exchange services to their clients, as well as foreign currency wires and even the more exotic and unusual foreign bank drafts for payments overseas. What may come as a surprise to many is that Wells Fargo not only provides these services of more than one hundred foreign currencies to clients and non-clients alike, but they also make it so convenient to buy and sell said currencies that you will think you are dealing with a foreign exchange desk or a major international bank such as Britain’s HSBC or Barclays Bank, or Germany’s Deutsche Bank and not with a domestic U.S. bank at all.

What Foreign Currency Exchange Service Does Wells Fargo Offer?
Wells Fargo is justifiably renowned for its the foreign currency exchange that it provides both account holders and non-account holders alike. This domestic U.S. banking behemoth provides foreign currency for more than 100 countries of the world. Seventy of those they have available for you to order on their online sites: or

Wells Fargo offers more than just numerous currencies through their website. They provide the major seven global currencies in a number of their branches as well. This makes it easy to walk in and purchase British Pounds, Euros, Swiss Francs, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollars, and Australian Dollars with U.S. dollars.

Pros to Wells Fargo Currency Exchange
Wells Fargo goes out of its way to make themselves the major player in American-based retail customer foreign exchange. They do this with:

• Many currencies to choose from on the online order site
• Daily updated competitive exchange rates
• No foreign currency service fee for bank customers
• Experienced foreign exchange specialists in some branches
• Ability to order by phone, online, or in person at branch

It is important to keep in mind that most of the major and minor U.S.-based banks do not make foreign currency exchange and solutions so easy for their customers. Bank of America and Citibank may allow their customers to order foreign exchange online, but they rarely, if at all, keep it in supply in branches, and they do not promote or offer the service much to non-account holders. This makes Wells Fargo a standout example of customer service in this much needed, but under-serviced, niche within the United States.

Cons to Wells Fargo Currency Exchange
Let’s face the facts; no bank is perfect. Wells Fargo goes above and beyond in the foreign exchange service department, particularly for a domestically-based bank, but they have some downsides to this valuable service that they provide. With Wells Fargo foreign exchange:

• The bank charges customers conversion fees for all foreign currency purchases
• They do not guarantee to buy back all of the currencies that they sell
• Most retail locations sell foreign currency but do not have it on hand
• Foreign bank drafts and foreign currency wires have different rates and fees from the foreign currency cash and traveler’s checks exchange

Conclusion – How to Transact the Foreign Currency Exchange with Wells Fargo
This service provided by Wells Fargo is available via their Commercial Electronic Office® Business Portal as well as their Wells Fargo Business Online®. Business bank customers are able to call 1-866-819-8972 and enroll in their online Foreign Exchange Service. Retail customers may dial 1-800-626-9430 Monday to Friday, 7am – 6pm, and Saturday, 8am – 2pm. In person customers may utilize the bank’s International Teller Site locator to find one of their foreign currency exchange desk branches conveniently based in one of the retail bank locations of Wells Fargo nationally. Those who are customers are able to pay using their checking account at Wells Fargo. Those interested parties who are not bank customers may pay for their foreign currency with either MasterCard or Visa credit cards.

Why Airline Credit Cards Save You Money

Why Airline Credit Cards Save You Money
If you are looking for a more affordable way to travel, you may be actively researching some of the many airline credit card options. Some of your friends, family members and co-workers may attest to their own personal experiences saving hundreds of dollars or more on their travel plans through their use of different credit card accounts, but you may be wondering if airline credit cards are really all that they seemingly promise they will be and how much money they can actually save you.

The Rewards Points and Miles
Each airline credit card account is unique, but most have a rewards program that enables you to earn points that can be redeemed for different products, services or even cash. Some rewards programs offer very specific rewards, such as only giving you miles with a specific airline. Some will give you bonus rewards and miles when you purchase your tickets or make other travel plans with your credit card. In order to make full use of the rewards program available on your airline credit card, you should be fully aware of all of the terms and limitations of the program. You should also pay attention for special offers available to earn bonus points and take advantage of all opportunities to earn points.

The Discounts With Different Travel-Related Companies
While some airline credit cards only provide you with the perk of a reward program, others may also give you access to discounts with different travel-related companies. This may include hotels, restaurants, resorts, tour companies, car rental companies and other affiliated businesses in the travel industry. These discounts will save you money when you travel, but you may want to explore all of the options available before making your travel plans. In some cases, you will be able to take advantage of lower rates with another unrelated company or business, or there may be other coupons or promotions available that are most cost-effective for you than using the discounts through your airline credit card company.

Free Upgrades Available
Another way some airline credit card companies can save you money is through free upgrades. For example, if you purchase your airlines tickets through your credit card, you may be able to enjoy a free upgrade to first-class or have access to the VIP lounge when you travel. If you book a hotel reservation with your airline credit card at an affiliated or participating hotel, you may enjoy a free room upgrade or benefit from a free night stay at the hotel.

Before You Apply for a New Credit Card
If you are thinking about applying for a new airline credit card, it is important to thoroughly compare the options. As with all credit cards, look for the account that will be most affordable for you to use based on how you use credit cards. The APR, annual fee and other related costs all should be taken into account. In addition, look for a credit card with rewards, discounts and special offers or upgrades that you are more likely to use. For example, if you plan to use your airline miles to travel to see your adult kids and grandkids, you may look for an account linked to an airline that has a direct flight from your primary airport to an airport close to where your kids live. Pay attention to related hotels, car rental companies and other businesses that are affiliated with the account as well, and choose a credit card that has discounts and incentives that you are more likely to use.

An airline credit card can save you a lot of money on your travel plans, but each account is different. More than that, how individuals use different accounts will vary. Because of this, it is important that you carefully review all of the airline credit card accounts and apply for the one that you think is a best-fit for your needs and plans.

Roth IRA Withdrawal Rules You Need to Know

Roth IRA Withdrawal Rules You Need to Know
A Roth individual retirement account is a vehicle for retirement. Unlike many other types of retirement accounts that allow you to defer taxes on your contributions, all contributions to Roths are after taxes. This provides some advantages when it comes to rules for withdrawals. Here are the most important rules you need to know.

Early withdrawals
One of the biggest advantages to Roth IRAs when it comes to withdrawals is that you can withdraw the money you have put in without penalty at any time. When you put your money in a traditional IRA or in a 401k, you usually can’t remove any of it until age 59 1/2 or you will face a penalty of an additional 10 percent in taxes on top of whatever income taxes you owe that you haven’t paid. There are some exceptions to this rule. With a Roth, however, because you have already paid taxes on your contributions, the money is yours, so you face no penalties for withdrawing it. That rule only applies to the money you have put in. If you take out any investment earnings, then you face the same 10 percent penalty. For example, if you have contributed $30,000 to a Roth and it has grown to $45,000, you can take $30,000 out at any time tax- and penalty-free. If you take out $35,000, however, you would face a 10 percent penalty on the additional $5,000, unless it qualified for an exemption.

Regular withdrawals
Once you hit age 59 1/2, you can start withdrawing money from an IRA for any reason without penalty. The big advantage of a Roth is that, because you have already paid taxes on the contributions, all withdrawals once you reach age 59 1/2 are tax free. That can be a huge advantage depending on what your tax bracket is. For example, say you put $5,000 a year for 25 years, but due to paying 20 percent in taxes up front, you only put $4,000 a year into the Roth. You would have $100,000 tax free at retirement not counting growth. The same $5,000 tax deferred in a traditional IRA would be worth $125,000. If you then had to pay that same 20 percent in taxes to withdraw that, it would be $25,000, leaving you with the same $100,000. Where you win with a Roth is if your tax bracket is higher at retirement than it was for most of your lifetime.

Required minimum distributions
Another advantage when it comes to withdrawing from a Roth IRA is the lack of a requirement to make required minimum distributions. With a traditional IRA, the government requires you to take out a certain amount of money at age 70 1/2, regardless of whether you want or need the money. If you don’t, you can face tax penalties of as much as 50 percent. This is largely to prevent wealthy people from stashing money in tax-deferred investment vehicles and then allowing the money to pass to heirs tax-free. With a Roth IRA, however, you have already paid taxes on the money, so the IRS doesn’t care what you do with it. You can leave the money in the account for as long as you want, and when you die, the IRA can pass to your heirs.

There are definite advantages to investing in a Roth IRA when it comes to withdrawals. It is easier to withdraw the money early, and you don’t ever have to withdraw it if you don’t want to.

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget
The wedding day is the single most important event of a couple’s life, and naturally, no one wants to skimp on the budget. However, with some savvy financial planning, it is possible to save serious cash without sacrificing any glitz or extravagance. By using this guide, a dream ceremony can be unlocked with very few unnecessary expenses. Here are some tricks for astute planners to save up without scaling down your big moment:

Ditch the DJ and Wedding Band
Performers can cost you tons of dollars, and they are often less reliable than an MP3 player or jukebox. While the ambiance may feel a little lacking, the free music can be selected to perfectly match the couple’s preferences. Without any singers present, your guests may feel less self-conscious, so a big dance party can ensue.

Avoid Bridal Salons!
There is nothing wrong with picking out a beautiful gown off the rack or even secondhand. No one will know the difference, and you will instantly squirrel away thousands! Similarly, consider replacing the veil with a floral hairpiece.

Accept Planning Assistance as a Gift
If the wedding still seems too expensive, then simply ask your guests to pitch in instead of bringing presents. Their financial help will be invaluable, especially if you two aren’t materialistic. Now is the perfect time to convert that registry into a donation bin!

Take Advantage of Home Ceremonies
Most venues charge exorbitant fees for weddings, but most houses are equipped with the basics that you’ll need. As such, you can do you wallet a favor by walking down the aisle in a family member’s residential abode.

Make the Reception a Club Outing
To skip costly meals and catering expenses, just hit the bars for a more casual hang-out session. If the budget is extra tight, then just inform the patrons that their tabs cannot covered by the house. Please let your guests know ahead of time, then eschew the traditional dinner party entirely.

Don’t Expect to Buy and Return the Tux
Whenever a purchased tuxedo is returned, the vendor most likely will deduct a rental fee from your refund. This practice has become practically unavoidable, so just acquiesce and pay for the loan up front.

Say No to a Full Open Bar
By personally stocking the liquor cabinets, you can determine exactly how much is spent on booze at the wedding party. If alcohol does run out, someone will likely volunteer to run and grab more for everyone.

Limit That Guest List
Each attendee may look like just another wedding gift on paper, but every person requires unique accommodations. To limit the amount of social and economic strains, only invite the most essential people.

Watch Out for Pricey Flowers
If you pick the wrong botanical accessories, you can expect some extraordinary debt. Unbeknownst to most planners, you have to ask for flowers that are in season locally; otherwise, they will assess major fines for the import of rarer petals.

Avoid Mark-Ups by Pretending It’s a Different Kind of Celebration
A lot of vendors incorporate the shady practice of charging brides and grooms far more than their other customers. While there are a lot of reasons for this price-gouging tactic, it is something to try and avoid. This is easy to do when you provide a false impression of the event in question. Just fake a platonic friendship while skipping words like “wedding” and “fiance.”

Don’t Blow the Remainder on a Honeymoon
After all these savings have accumulated, it is important for the bride and groom to exercise self-control during their subsequent getaway. While it may seem romantic to lounge in excess, this will merely counteract all of your planning efforts. A simple destination should also be chosen. Stow the money away before you go play!

Best Credit Cards for Shopping on Amazon

Best Credit Cards for Shopping on Amazon
If you do most of your shopping on Amazon, it would make sense to find a rewards card that will help you make the most of your purchases. Read on for the best rewards cards for Amazon shoppers.

Amazon Rewards Visa
The Amazon Rewards Visa card is ideal for your Amazon purchases and the things you buy on a regular basis. You’ll get three points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases, which translates to 3% cash back. You’ll get two points for every dollar spent on gas, at restaurants, on office supplies and at drugstores. For all other purchases, you’ll get one point per dollar.

You can use your rewards for Amazon purchases as well as other types of purchases. You can also redeem your points for a check or a travel gift card. There’s no annual fee and you can get a $40 gift card or account credit as a signup bonus.

The drawback to this card is that you’ll have to have 2,500 points accrued before you’re able to get the $25 gift certificate. However, you can use the points that you’ve earned to shop directly on Amazon.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card gets you 6% back when you shop at a grocery store, plus 3% back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% back on all of your other purchases. Some Amazon purchases are considered department store purchases, so you’ll be able to reap the 3% cash back on those purchases. You can also purchase gift cards to your favorite stores at the grocery store to get the 6% cash back.

If you shop a lot at the grocery store and department stores, this is an ideal rewards card for you. Thanks to American Express’ credit management website, you can redeem your rewards at any point without having to wait until a certain time in the billing cycle. There’s also a welcome bonus of $100 when you charge over $500 within your first 60 days.

Unlike some other rewards cards, though, there is an annual fee of $75. If you aim to get the 6% cash back as often as possible, you’ll need to spend more than $1,250 total to offset the cost of the annual fee. Or, you’ll need to spend $2,500 annual at department stores to make the 3% fee offset the annual fee. If you spend that much on grocery or department store purchases, the fee won’t matter; if you don’t, you may be better suited to a different card.

Citi Forward Visa
If you love entertainment and gourmet food, the Citi Forward Visa is for you. Some even consider this the best rewards card for Amazon shoppers, saying it’s even better than the Visa card from Amazon itself. You’ll get five points for every $1 you spend on entertainment purchases, including movies, books, musics and restaurants. You’ll also get one point for every dollar spent on all of your other purchases.

Since Citi Forward thinks of Amazon as a bookstore, you’ll get the five entertainment rewards points for anything you purchase at, even if it’s not actually entertainment related. However, note that those points may not be applied to purchases from the Amazon marketplace.

If you’re a Citibank customer with bank accounts, you can earn points even faster. There’s also a 6,000 point bonus if you make $250 in purchases during your first three months. If you opt for paper-less statements, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.

The drawback to this card is that you earn points through the Citibank ThankYou Rewards program instead of directly earning the 1% of 5% cash back. You’ll need a certain number of points before you can trade them in for cash back. There are other cards out there that have less confusing redemption options.

How Do Title Loans Work?

How Do Title Loans Work?
Many people who want to access cash in an emergency want to know how car title loans work. Car title loans allow vehicle owners to access short-term, high interest rate loans using cars or trucks as collateral. Interest rates on car title loans are higher than traditional loans. People with less than perfect credit in search of fast cash are attracted to car title loans. Failure to pay a car title loan as agreed and on time can result in damage to the borrower’s credit score, vehicle repossession, or additional fees.

How Car Title Loans Work
Car title lenders ask the car owner and prospective borrower to fill out the loan application. The amount of the loan and interest rate quoted are typically based on the vehicle’s value. The lender typically offers at least 25 percent of the vehicle’s fair market value. A car worth $8,000 could qualify the owner for a $2,000 car title loan. The interest rate quoted in the car title loan is usually based at least in part on the borrower’s employment status. The average car title loan rate is approximately 25 percent.

Requesting a car title loan may not include a credit check, but some verify the borrower’s employment. The lender may request an auto appraisal and, if so, charges the borrower. Generally, the car title lender requires that the vehicle is owned free and clear by the borrower. The lender typically rejects the loan if another lien is found on the vehicle. Most title lenders allow the borrower to drive the vehicle, but the title remains on file with the lender until the loan funds and interest are repaid.

In some instances, the lender holds the title on the loan. If the borrower requests a longer loan term, the lender may actually transfer the title to the business name. Expenses to transfer the title will be charged to the borrower’s balance.

Car Loan Specifics
Borrowers should ask the car title lender about costs, fees, and all applicable loan terms before agreeing to hand over the car or truck title. The Truth in Lending Act demands that lenders provide specific information, such as finance charge, origination fees, annual percentage rate (APR), title charge, and other potential fees before the consumer signs the loan paperwork.

Most car title loans have short-term maturities or due dates. Some lenders agree to roll over the original loan if the borrower cannot pay off the original loan in the agreed upon time. The borrower is then required to pay more interest charges and fees. If the borrower does not repay the loan as agreed and doesn’t restructure the loan if more time is needed to repay, he or she could forfeit ownership of the vehicle. If the borrower needs the vehicle to get to and from work, a car title loan can mean an even worse financial position.

Lender Requirements
The car title lender is likely to ask the borrower for government-issued photo identification, proof of insurance, and keys. They may require the installation of a GPS monitor to know the car’s location at any point in time if repossession becomes necessary. Some lenders require the install of a device that prevents the borrower from driving the car if he or she fails to repay the loan.

The Center for Responsible Lending reports that title loan companies with a repossession clause in the contract may repossess the vehicle without the need to obtain a court order if loan default happens. Some states force lenders that sell forfeited cars to pay the borrower the difference between loan balance and sales price. Title lenders may also provide the borrower with the option of returning the repossessed vehicle if the outstanding balance, interest and penalties are paid within a certain period. This option is usually quite costly and includes various repo-related charges.

Borrowers with short-term cash needs should understand the costs and risks associated with car title lenders. If at all possible, borrowers should find a less costly way to access short-term cash. Friends and family, an employer with whom the borrower has a good relationship, or a traditional overdraft account on bank checking can provide short-term funds at a lower cost.

However, many borrowers successfully borrow and repay short-term car title loans. In a true emergency, these loans can save the day.

How Does Old Navy Bill Pay Work?

How Does Old Navy Bill Pay Work?
Old Navy is one of the most popular retailers in the country, and it offers affordable, stylish clothing and accessories for men, women, children and babies. There are numerous retail stores located in malls, retail strip centers and even outlet malls and stand-alone retail locations throughout the country, and some shoppers also take advantage of the convenience of shopping with Old Navy online to stock up on great styles for the whole family. Old Navy offers its valued customers an Old Navy Visa card that you can use to earn rewards and to take advantage of other benefits when you shop, but you may be wondering how the bill pay process for this type of account works.

What You Need to Know About the Old Navy Visa Card
The benefits associated with using the Old Navy Visa card will begin as soon as you make your first purchase, and they can continue for the entire time you are an account holder. There is a special offer currently in place that gives new account holders up to 15 percent off of their entire first Old Navy purchase made with the card. With each purchase, account holders can earn points that can be redeemed for great gifts and benefits. The rewards are earned with Old Navy purchases as well as with purchases made at other stores, such as Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta. Rewards can also be earned on other purchases. Account holders also enjoy other fabulous benefits, such as access to special offers and savings only available to those with an Old Navy Visa credit card as well as pre-sale access that allows you to shop ahead of the rush. There are different levels in the rewards program, and those that reach the elite rewards program with their account will earn bonus points with all purchases, free shipping with a promotional code, free alterations on Banana Republic purchases and more. After you make your purchases, you will need to pay your bill.

How to Pay Your Bill
When you have an Old Navy Visa card, you can make regular payments to maintain good status with your account and to improve your credit rating over time. There are several convenient ways for you to pay your bill. First, you can mail in your payment to the mailing address. This is found online at, and it also is found in your monthly bill. You can also log into your account online to pay your bill, and this is a preferred option for many because it is fast and convenient. You simply log into your account, input the payment information and finalize the payment for it to be processed. A third option available is to call the toll-free customer service number. Payments can be made through the toll-free number at any time of day or night.

Other Convenient Online Features
There are other convenient online features that you can enjoy in addition to an online bill payment feature. When you log into your account online, you can initially activate your card. You can also check your balance online or add an authorized user. In addition, you can use your online account to sign up for paperless statements as well as to view and redeem points for merchandise and special offers. The online features give you the ability to take your experience with Old Navy to the next level by making it convenient and easy to have access all account information and features you need anywhere where you have an Internet connection.

If you are like many people, you may love to shop at Old Navy regularly for yourself as well as for your whole family. The Old Navy Visa card is the perfect credit card account for those who shop at Old Navy on a regular basis as well as for those who shop at related stores, such as Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta. If you are thinking about opening a new account or if you have recently opened an account and need more information, take time to learn more about the online features and online bill payment option available.

Home Health Care: An In-Home Caregiver Can Help

Home Health Care: An In-Home Caregiver Can Help
Many family caregivers arrive at a moment when they need help at home. There are signs such as acknowledging a loved one has a need for constant supervision or needs a hand with everyday activities.

And while it is important to have breathing space, caregivers can feel uneasy about passing along their duties. Home health care encompasses an array of health care services that can be set up in your home.

What does home health care include?
Home health care services as services that allow adults who are getting their strength back following a hospital stay or who call for further support to continue their lifestyle at home. Such services may include short-term nursing, therapies, or assisted home health care. Depending on how mobile the patient is, the caregiver may also provide transportation to doctor appointments, errands and shopping, allowing the patient some freedom to do the tasks he or she used to perform unassisted.

Choosing a home health caregiver
Before considering hiring a caregiver, you should take credentials and licensing into account. You may also want to consider background checks, references, whether to have a contract as well as finances and taxes. Friends, neighbors, coworkers or other caregivers could be asked for referrals and another alternative may be to place a public notice at the library, hospital or place of worship. Using a senior care agency or home care agency to help can also offer some advantages.

To move forward, write a job description that you can share with applicants. This might include tasks that will be required, the hours and days of the job as well as personal references. The job description and tasks might be carried out through an initial interview by telephone. For example, asking questions about work experience, hours of availability, driving experience and any kind of special training, with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

How much to pay your home health caregiver
Deciding how much you are prepared to pay the applicant is also something that should be prepared in advance. You may want to check with the Internal Revenue Service for appropriate tax forms and information.

The Administration on Aging (AoA) is a US Department of Health and Human Services agency that encourages the health interests and comforts of older individuals by making services and programs available that assist them to live independently in their homes. The AoA has provided home services, such as transportation, adult day care and caregiver support to millions for more than 30 years.

According to the Huffington Post, more than 65 million people, or just about 30 percent of adults, currently make care available to a chronically ill or aging family member or companion. The Huffington Post also found regardless of the rising necessity for such services, $21,000 per year was the median annual wage for the country’s caregivers.

You may feel some guilt about choosing a non-family member to take care of your elderly or ill loved one, but doing so can free you up to take care of the rest of the family — and may even afford your loved one more privacy, mobility, and dignity.

How HSBC Online Savings Can Save You Time and Money

How HSBC Online Savings Can Save You Time and Money
If you are looking to open up a savings account and save money, you have many different options available to you. Looking at current interest rates and learning the benefits to what different banks and lending institutions offer can help you select the one that is better suited to your need. If you are considering HSBC Online Savings, here are some of the benefits you should know about.

No Minimum Balance Requirements
While most banks would require a minimum balance to open any account with them, HSBC does not require a minimum balance requirement. This gives you the opportunity to start saving money while maintaining a healthy budget for the month. Making sure you pay yourself in the beginning by saving will help you to become more responsible later on.
Because there are no balance requirement, this is a great option for children looking to start their first savings account, those who want a savings account but don’t have a large deposit to do so, or even as a second, personal savings account for one part of a married couple.

Everything Can Be Done Online
When you choose HSBC, you have the luxury of conducting all of your financial needs online. Transferring funds between accounts, bill pay and looking over your finances can be done with the click of a mouse or your computer. This is the age where technology makes life easier for most. While HSBC had a variety of banking options, opening a new account online can make your life easier and save you time.

Your Funds are FDIC Insured
Making sure you conduct your finances with an institution that makes sure the customers’ funds are FDIC insured is a must. This allows your funds to be insured through the federal government in case there is an issue with the financial institution, such as it closing its doors. Should the bank go under, get robbed or a disaster occurs, the federal government will insure your funds up to a certain amount as long as the bank is FDIC insured.

You Have Access to Your Funds 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year
While some institutions may have certain restrictions on when you can access your funds, and how much you can access at a given time, HSBC allows you access to your funds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This comes in handy should you be traveling. This is also convenient around the holidays when most consumers are needing to ensure they have access to their money and the ability to move money between accounts in case they need to. This is a huge perk with online banking institutions.

You Can Set Up an Account Online
The last major benefit to an HSBC online savings account is that you can set up the account from the convenience of your home. Setting up an account in a bank can be a long and tedious process. You have to give all of your personal information, such as your name and address, to a clerk, who then inputs it in the computer. Being able to do this yourself cuts out the middleman. Being able to take your time and do it from the comfort of your own home can make the process a bit easier and less stressful.

If you are looking to open up a new savings account, there are many perks to opening up one with HSBC online savings account. Learning about these benefits can help you select the financial institution that offers benefits that are best suited to your financial needs. This helps ensure you will be happy with the institution you have chosen.

What is QE2 or Quantitative Easing 2?

What is QE2 or Quantitative Easing 2?
Quantitative Easing 2, or QE2 as it is referred to by some, was the effort by the United States Federal Reserve to increase the support for domestic economic activity in the US economy. The Federal Reserve started this effort in August of 2010 by taking the payments that it received on agency debt and agency owned mortgage-backed securities obtained during Quantitative Easing 1 and applying those payments toward investment in longer term Treasury securities. This helped to remove Treasury securities from private hands and put more cash into the economy.

The Federal Reserve bought more than $600 billion in long-term Treasury Bonds and reinvested almost another $300 billion from mortgage-backed securities into other Treasury securities. In total, well over $900 billion was spent in the Federal Reserve’s QE2 efforts. The theory behind this effort was that the yields would be driven down on Treasury securities and bonds while people would begin to spend more on consumption and investment activities in the domestic economy of the United States. Through the increased domestic economic activity, the Federal Reserve hoped to reverse the crushing recession that had started in late 2008.

One major drawback to QE2 was that the Federal Reserve ran a huge risk of causing severe inflation in the economy. In essence, by pushing more money into the economy through the efforts of Quantitative Easing 2, the Federal Reserve devalued the dollars that were already in circulation and ran the risk of causing prices of certain goods and services to rise faster than they would have if QE2 had not happened.

This risk of higher inflation has been seen throughout history any time a central bank has used quantitative easing measures to stimulate an economy. One of the most famous cases of severe inflation caused by quantitative easing was the hyperinflation that Germany experienced during the 1930s under the Wiemar Republic. Because Germany’s central bank did not effectively manage the inflation caused by its quantitative easing efforts, Germany experienced inflation that reached a rate of well over 1000%.

While some have said that because of this past example and the present high risk for inflation the Federal Reserve should not have implemented quantitative easing like it did during QE2, the policy has shown some overall effectiveness. The International Monetary Fund has said that because of quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world who followed similar policies greatly reduced the systemic risks in the developed economies of the world. The International Monetary Fund has said specifically that because the Federal Reserve implemented QE2 market confidence returned to the US economy sometime in late 2010. Several high ranking economists and Federal Reserve officials have concurred with the International Monetary Fund’s assessment and have specifically linked Quantitative Easing 2 to the rise that were seen in US stocks during late 2010 and throughout 2011. Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein specifically has credited QE2 with “a significant role in supporting economic activity.”

The impact on the economy by Quantitative Easing 2 has been positive in some respects, especially since the US saw its exchange rates drop in comparison to other countries. This drop in exchange rates has led to a significant growth in the export of goods and services from the United States to other countries. However, it has harmed importers by causing prices to increase due to the devaluation of the US Dollar that was caused by QE2. In short, the domestic and export economies seem to have benefited from QE2 while there has been a net decline in imports into the United States. Overall though, QE2 appears to have been a good move by the US Federal Reserve.

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