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The New Year brings new opportunities to seek restitution for wrongs committed in previous months and even years. Take a look at this monthâs list of class-action settlements to see if any of these offers will let you add some cha-ching to your pocket as you ring in 2021.
UnityPoint Health: Data Breach
Anyone who was affected by UnityPoint Health data breaches in 2017 and 2018 may be eligible for up to $7,000 plus a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
Also known as Iowa Health System, the lawsuit claims UnityPoint was hit by a data breach that began in November 2017. The multi-hospital delivery and health care system purportedly found the ongoing breach in February 2018, but failed to notify affected persons until April or even July of 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that more than 1 million names, addresses, phone numbers, billing information and health information were exposed, costing patients and consumers time and money to cancel credit cards and fight identity theft and fraud.
UnityPoint denied wrongdoing, but agreed to a $2.8 million settlement. UnityPoint Health said it contacted all affected consumers whose personal information was exposed during the 2017 and 2018 data breaches.
File your valid claim by March 2, 2021 to receive a year of free credit monitoring and up to $1,000 in âordinaryâ expenses, including a maximum of three hours of time valued at $15 per hour and documented out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to the data breaches, such as postage fees and internet charges. You also may claim up to $6,000 in âextraordinaryâ expenses related to identity theft or fraud caused by the data breaches, including false tax returns and interest on loans you had to take out because of canceling your credit card accounts.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare: Data Breach
You could be eligible for expense reimbursement, cash payments and free credit monitoring services as the result of a $4.2 million class-action settlement.
In October 2019, Kalispell Regional Healthcare notified patients that hackers were able to access employee email accounts and used those accounts to access the personal data of patients.
In response, a lawsuit alleged Kalispell didnât do enough to protect against hackers. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to settle for $4.2 million.
Cyber thieves reportedly gained access to the following patient data:
- Â Â Names and addresses
- Â Â Medical record numbers
- Â Â Dates of birth
- Â Â Telephone numbers
- Â Â Email addresses
- Â Â Medical history and treatment information
- Â Â Dates of service
- Â Â Treating physicians
- Â Â Medical bill account numbers
- Â Â Health insurance information
- Â Â Social Security numbers
If you were notified by Kalispell Regional Healthcare that your personal information might have been compromised, you could be eligible for reimbursement of up to $15,000 in expenses related to the breach. You also may be eligible for up to five hours of time at the rate of $15 per hour.
In addition to reimbursement, you can choose between five years of Experian credit monitoring services valued at nearly $720 and an alternative cash payment of up to $100. Exact cash payment amounts will vary but will not exceed $100.
Claim forms are due by Feb. 25, 2021.
BMW: Failing Coolant Pump
If you owned or leased specific 2007 through 2019 models of BMW vehicles, you could claim up to $1,000 in reimbursements.
A class-action suit alleged the affected vehicles were equipped with electric coolant pumps that once they failed, caused engines to overheat, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. The lawsuit further alleged BMW knew of the problem but did not fix it or reimburse owners and lessees for resulting repairs.
Car owners and lessees may receive a maximum of $1,000 in out-of-pocket repair costs for parts and labor required to replace one failed electric engine coolant pump and a thermostat, if such replacement was needed within the first seven years or first 84,000 miles the vehicle was in service. In addition, BMWâs New Passenger Vehicle Limited Warranty may be extended to seven years or 84,000 miles.
BMW also will replace an electric coolant pump that fails for one year after the settlement becomes effective, no matter how old the vehicle is or how many miles it has on it.
We have the complete list of models covered and all the details you need to make a claim by the Feb. 18, 2021 deadline.
10/17/19 @ 9:00 PM
12/31/20 @ 1:55 PM
12/29/18 @ 8:07 PM
12/21/20 @ 4:02 PM
Sports Research: Deceptive Supplement Labeling
If you bought Sports Research Corporationâs Premium MCT Oil products or Turmeric Curcumin C3 Complex products, you could be eligible for a portion of a settlement over allegations of deceptive labeling practices.
The premium-priced products that were labeled âpacked with beneficial fatsâ and capable of fostering ânaturalâ energy purportedly were falsely advertised. The MCT Oil merchandise contained 14 grams of saturated fat that did not allow it to be considered âhealthyâ as part of a diet. In addition, the ânaturalâ energy supposedly induced by the use of raw coconut materials allegedly underwent processing.
The MCT Oil products were also promoted as containing antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, while the Turmeric Curcumin C3 products were marketed as anti-inflammatory products that provided antioxidant benefits.
If you bought Sports Researchâs MCT Oil products or Turmeric Curcumin C3 products between Jan. 9, 2016 and Jan. 9, 2020, you could be eligible for either a $7 voucher to be used toward the purchase of any Sports Research product or $3 cash.
File your valid claim by Feb. 23, 2021 to receive your healthy dose of restitution.
Chime Digital Bank Service Disruption
Were you unable to access your Chime deposit account between Oct. 16-19, 2019 because of a service disruption? If so, you could be eligible for a portion of a $1.5 million class-action settlement.
The intermittent outage lasted for several days, according to the lawsuit, which resulted in late bill payments and disrupted purchases. The suit also says Chime failed to warn users of the outage and only communicated via Twitter.
Chime did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to the class action settlement.
Compensation is divided into two tiers. Tier one allows consumers who suffered a loss due to the service disruption to receive a cash payment up to $25 with no proof of such loss. Tier two provides payments up to $750 for those who can provide documentation.
We have all the details and how to file your claim by the Feb. 15, 2021 deadline.
BMW: Defective Timing Chain
Former owners and lessees of certain 2012 to 2015 models of BMW vehicles could be eligible for reimbursement for allegedly defective timing chain components.
A lawsuit that alleged certain BMWs equipped with N20 and N26 engines were prone to experiencing damage and needing costly repairs because of defective timing chains.
BMW owners and lessees may qualify for either a reimbursement program or a prospective repair program.
The reimbursement program provides between 40% and 100% reimbursement for vehicle repairs depending on the mileage at the time of service. No cap exists for repair reimbursement if the repairs were completed at a BMW center. However, repairs done at an independent service center are capped at $3,000 for timing chain modules and oil pump drive chain modules and at $7,500 for engines.
A separate program provides reimbursement for future repairs. Some of these claims will be covered under vehiclesâ existing warranties while others will be reimbursed for between 40% and 75% of the total repair costs. Vehicles must be taken to a BMW center.
Expenses are only eligible for reimbursement if the damage was caused by failure of the timing chain or oil pump drive chain modules. Vehicles that have over 100,000 miles or have been in service for over eight years are not eligible.
Check out the details, the list of covered vehicles, and the claim form that must be submitted by the estimated deadline of March 18, 2021.
Navy Federal Credit Union: Unfair NSF Fees
Navy Federal Credit Union has agreed to a $16 million settlement over allegations it charged unfair non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees to its customers.
Navy Federal customers who were charged two or three NSF fees on one transaction between Jan. 28, 2014 and Oct. 27, 2020 may be eligible for cash payments or account credits.
Multiple fees purportedly were incurred when a merchant presented a transaction for payment several times after an initial rejection. With each attempt, Navy Federal allegedly tried to process the payments again, which resulted in an additional NSF fee. This practice of charging the additional NSF fees violated Navy Federalâs own terms of its agreements, according to the suit.
Exact awards will depend upon the number of NSF fees charged and the number of customers who agree to participate in the settlement.
No claim form is required because cash payments or account credits automatically will be distributed, but you have until Feb. 24, 2021 to object to the settlement or to ask to be excluded from it.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
A 2015 study found that older adults lose more than $36 billion every year to financial scams. Unfortunately, con artists see the elderly population as an easy and vulnerable target.
The American Securities Administrators Associationâs President, Mike Rothman, explains that scammers take this approach because the current elderly population is one of the wealthiest weâve seen with such hefty retirement savings. Where the money goes, the con artists follow.
With so many scams targeting older adults, itâs essential to make yourself and your loved ones aware of the different types of cons. Here is a list of common financial scams that specifically target the elderly and how you can prevent them:
The Grandparent Scam
The grandparent scam is common because it appeals to older adultsâ emotions. Scammers get the phone number of a senior and they call pretending to be a grandchild. Making their lie seem more believable, the con artist will playfully ask the older adult to guess what grandchild is calling. Of course, the first reaction will most likely be for the senior to name a grandchild and then the scammer can easily play along, acting like they guessed right. Now the grandparent thinks they are talking to their grandchild.
The scam artist will then begin to confide in the grandparent, saying they are in a tough financial position and they need the grandparentâs help. Asking them to send money to a Western Union or MoneyGram, they plead for the grandparent not to tell anyone. If the grandparent complies and sends the money, the scammer will likely contact the senior again and ask for more money.
Avoid this scam:
- Never send money to anyone unless you have 100 percent proof that it is who you think it is. Scammers can find out quite a bit of information from social media and other methods, so donât think that just because they know a couple pieces of information about you and your family that it is legit.
- Verify that it is actually your grandchild on the phone by texting or calling the grandchildâs real phone number and verifying if it is him or her.
- Call the parent of the supposed grandchild and find out if the grandchild really is in trouble.
- Talk to your family members now and compile a list of questions only you and your family know the answers to. If a family emergency really does happen, you can ask the questions and know if it is your family member based on the answers.
âClaim Your Prize Now!â Sweepstakes Scam
The sweepstakes scam is when con artists contact the elderly either by phone or email and tell them they have won something, whether that be a sum of money or another type of prize. To claim the prize, scammers tell them they have to pay a fee. Once the senior agrees, scammers send a fake check in the mail. Before the check doesnât clear and seniors can realize it is a scam, they have already paid the âfee.â
Avoid this scam:
- Do not give out any financial information over the phone or email.
- Practice Internet safety by protecting your passwords, shopping on encrypted websites, and avoiding phony emails.
- Be skeptical of any message that says you have randomly won a prize and you must do something before you can claim it. Unless you specifically enter a contest, you most likely arenât going to randomly win a monetary prize.
Because of the Affordable Care Act that allows seniors over the age of 65 to qualify for Medicare, scam artists donât have to do much research about seniorsâ healthcare providers. This makes it simple for scammers to call, email, or even visit seniorsâ homes personally and claim to be a Medicare representative.
There are a variety of ways these con artists use this Medicare scam to target the elderly. One way is telling seniors they need a new Medicare card and to do so, they need to tell the âMedicare representativeâ what their Social Security number is. An additional way is they can tell seniors there is a fee they need to pay to continue their benefits.
Avoid this scam:
- Do not give out any information to someone you have not verified is from Medicare. Real Medicare employees should have your information on file so if you are skeptical, ask the person some questions to verify it is legitimate.
The âWoodchuckâ Scam
A common scam to target seniors who live alone is the âwoodchuckâ scam. Scam artists will claim to be contractors and will complete house projects if seniors agree to let them.
The scammers will gain seniorsâ trust and eventually come up with a variety of fake repairs that need to be done, such as a roof repair. This often results in seniors giving the fake contractors thousands of dollars.
Â Avoid this scam:
- Make sure the person doing your home repairs is a professional. Find out what company they work for and call and verify they are indeed a legitimate contractor.
Con artists are using senior homeownership to their benefit. The mortgage scam is when scammers offer a property assessment to seniors, telling them they can determine the value of their home. This scam has become increasing popular as housing confidence is hitting record highs and people are putting a large chunk of their income towards saving for new homes.
The scam artists make the process look legitimate by finding the homeâs information on the Internet and sending seniors an official letter detailing all of the found information. The scammers do this because it is an easy way to con seniors into paying a fee for the requested information.
Â Avoid this scam:
- Ensure the property assessment is legitimate by asking what company they work for and following up with the real company to verify.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Older adults are often too embarrassed to tell authorities or a family member they have been scammed. Talk to the seniors in your life and let them know they can confide in you and let you know if they have been scammed. You can also have them read through this article and make themselves aware of the scams that could potentially target them in the future.
Check Your Credit Regularly
Check your credit regularly so you are aware of any suspicious activity with your accounts. You can check your credit for free on Credit.com and receive a free credit score updated every 14 days along with a credit report card, which is a summary of what is on your credit reports.
Get It Now
The post Financial Scams That Target the Elderly and How to Prevent Them appeared first on Credit.com.
Looking for entry level work from home jobs?
Are you wondering, “How can I work from home with no experience?”
I know it may seem like every job out there today requires several years of experience. This makes it very difficult to find a job, especially if you are brand new to the field and trying to get your start.
It can be difficult to find a way to make money from home when you are brand new, but it’s not impossible to find entry level work from home jobs.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you want to start working from home, then I have a great list of no experience work from home jobs for you to look into.
Now, just because these jobs, businesses, and ways to make extra money don’t require experience, it does not mean that they will be easy! Remember, good things don’t come easy.
You may have to learn a new skill, take a course, and so on.
Also, please remember that entry level means you are starting from the bottom and working up. That means it may take a while to establish yourself. Still, there is room to grow in many of these jobs.
What you’ll find in this list of entry level work from home jobs are new careers and businesses you can start without having a college degree or years of experience.
There are many ideas on this list that involve starting a freelance career by using existing skills, like if you have a good eye for spotting grammar and punctuation errors, then you may be interested in proofreading.
There are other ideas on this list that will require you to learn some new skills – all ones you can easily pick up online.
The most important part is that all of these jobs are 100% work from home ideas. Yes, these are all jobs you can work from the comfort of your own home, while you travel, etc.
Finding a work from home job can be a great way to make money.
After all, it’s what I do, and I love it!
And, there are so many different options depending on what you are looking for. You may be able to find entry level work from home jobs that are part time, full time, that work while you are traveling, and so on.
Plus, many of the entry level jobs from home on my list allow you to have a more flexible schedule, where you may be able to choose the days you work, your hours, and more.
So, if you are looking to start making extra money or if you want a new career path that lets you earn money from home, this list is especially for you.
Before you’re scared off by any of these ideas, please remember that you don’t need to be an expert in any of them right now. As with any new job, you learn as you go and can find training as well.
Related content on entry level work from home jobs:
- 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More
- 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed
- 15 Outdoor Jobs For People Who Love Being Outside
- 15 Home Business Ideas & The Free Courses You Need To Get Started
Below are 20 entry level work from home jobs.
1. Create a blog to earn an income.
If you’re looking to work from home, I recommend that you think about starting a blog.
You don’t need previous experience, and most bloggers are brand new to blogging anyways!
I was brand new when I started my blog many years ago, and I learned everything I know along the way.
I read lots of online articles written by other bloggers who were once in the same spot I was, and I have also taken several great courses to help me improve my blog over the years.
I created Making Sense of Cents in 2011, and since then, I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blog.
Blogging allows me to travel full-time, have a flexible schedule, and I earn a great income doing it.
My blog was created on a whim as a way to track my own personal finance progress. When I first started my blog, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!
One of the reasons that blogging is one of the best entry level work from home jobs is because blogging is quite affordable to start.
You can easily learn how to start a blog with my free How To Start a Blog Course.
Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn:
- Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog
- Day 2: How to determine what to blog about
- Day 3: How to create your blog (in this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress – my tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog)
- Day 4: How to make money blogging
- Day 5: My tips for making passive income from blogging
- Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers
- Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful
2. Sell items through Amazon.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can sell items on Amazon while working from home.
Even if you have no experience, you can earn money selling all kinds of items on Amazon, from books, work out equipment, electronics, and more.
Amazon has many people who sell items and earn money from home. Most have no experience selling things online or have ever worked at Amazon.
Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, is a friend of mine, and she and her family started selling things on Amazon FBA a few years ago without any experience – they made over $100,000 profit in their first year! And, they were working less than 20 hours a week total.
Jessica now has a FREE 7 day course that will teach you everything you need to know in order to start selling on Amazon. I recommend signing up for it now!
I interviewed Jessica in How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA, and we talk about:
- How Jessica started selling on Amazon FBA
- What exactly Amazon FBA is
- How to choose what to buy and sell
- How much a person can expect to earn
- The positives of selling on Amazon, and more
3. Teach English online.
This one will probably surprise you, but there are entry level work from home jobs where you teach English to kids in other countries. You don’t need to have been a teacher or speak a language other than English.
The requirements are that you have experience working with kids. That can include mentoring, tutoring, coaching, babysitting, or being a parent.
That’s a pretty easy requirement, though!
You can typically earn around $14 to $22 per hour by teaching English online.
Learning how to teach English online has become extremely popular, making it one of the best online jobs from home for many good reasons – it’s flexible, there’s a high need for teachers, and it pays pretty well.
My top three picks are ones my readers have recommended and ones I have researched:
- Education First
Learn more at Make Extra Money By Learning How To Teach English Online.
4. Tutor from home.
To go along with the above, you can also work from home as an online tutor.
Course Hero is a website that has entry level work from home jobs where you help high school and college students with course-specific questions.
Course Hero was founded in 2007 and is an online learning website where students can find tutors and search by their specific school to find study guides, videos, practice problems, class notes, and step-by-step explanations.
Using the website, students connect with Course Hero tutors on a wide range of subjects and classes, which makes this a great option for people with different educational backgrounds and experience.
What might surprise you to learn is that you don’t need to have experience as a tutor, professor, or teacher in order to become a Course Hero tutor.
However, you will need to share information that proves you have expertise in the subjects you would like to help students with, such as degrees or previous work history.
Tutors earn an average of $3 for each question they answer on Course Hero. Earning between $12-$20 per hour, Course Hero tutors earn an average of $300 a week.
Here’s how this online tutoring job work:
- You apply here to become a Course Hero tutor
- When you are available to answer questions, you do so on the Course Hero website
- You get paid
Learn more at How To Make $300+ Weekly As An Online Tutor With Course Hero.
5. Become a virtual assistant.
Several years ago, I was a virtual assistant.
I had no previous experience, and I simply learned skills as I worked.
Virtual assisting is a field that is growing a lot, and there are lots of entry level work from home jobs as a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistant (VA) tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business, but doesn’t need to be done by them.
My friend Kayla is a full-time blogger, virtual assistant, and project manager who earns over $10,000 per month while working from home. She is also the founder of $10K VA, a course where she teaches exactly how you can make a consistent $10,000 per month as a virtual assistant!
Kayla used to work a full-time job as a credit analyst, earning about $2,000 per month. She was struggling to make ends meet while paying off debt, so she started a side hustle as a virtual assistant.
I interviewed her at How Kayla Earns $10K/Month From Home as a Virtual Assistant, and we talk about:
- The amount of money a beginner virtual assistant can expect to earn
- How to find your first virtual assistant job
- The steps to become a virtual assistant without previous experience
- Her best tips for being a virtual assistant
6. Evaluate Google’s search engine results.
A Search Engine Evaluator (also known as a Google Rater) is where you rate websites based on their quality and usefulness.
You are rating websites to help Google improve their search engine results.
This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that almost anyone can do – you don’t need to be a technical person in order to make money as a search engine evaluator.
Another great positive is that you can work in the language of your country, as Google operates in nearly every country around the world.
Learn more at How To Become a Search Engine Evaluator.
7. Manage Facebook advertising for small businesses.
Did you know that you can make a living from Facebook? With Facebook advertising, you can help businesses expand their reach.
And, yes, this is a skill that you can learn!
Last year, business owners spent over $88,000,000 per day on Facebook ads. This is expected to continue to grow, and it is one of the largest advertising spaces that exists.
My blogging friend Bobby Hoyt knows a lot about this topic. Bobby is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He learned how to run Facebook ads on his own to earn extra money. Bobby now runs the personal finance blog Millennial Money Man full-time, as well as a digital marketing agency for local businesses that he started in 2015.
I interviewed Bobby about entry level work from home jobs running Facebook ads, and in our interview, you will learn:
- How he started earning income through running Facebook ads
- Why small businesses want Facebook ads
- How a person can find their first Facebook ads client
- How much you can make doing this type of work – the average is around $1,000 extra a month per client
Also, Bobby has a free webinar on this topic too. His webinar (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.
8. Get paid to share your opinion.
This isn’t exactly a job, but it is a way to make extra money.
And, you don’t need any previous experience.
Yes, you can get paid to share your opinion!
Companies use surveys all the time to learn what their current and potential customers think of their products, services, and company. With the surveys you take, companies get valuable opinions on how to improve their products, and that’s what they are paying you for.
Below are the survey companies I recommend:
- American Consumer Opinion
- Survey Junkie
- Opinion Outpost
- Pinecone Research
- Prize Rebel
- Product Report Card
- Survey Club
9. Create an online store of your own.
This is one of the entry level work from home jobs that many people are surprised to hear about. But yes, you can start your own online store, and you don’t need to have tons of experience or a lot of money to do so. Many people start with absolutely no background.
I had the opportunity to interview Jenn Leach of E-commerce and Prosper, who explains exactly how to start an online store.
Jenn is a corporate mom turned e-commerce store owner and blogger.
She started her online business a little over three years ago, and since then, she has developed and grown three successful online e-commerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month.
She is super successful despite only spending around 5-10 hours per week on her e-commerce business.
You can read our interview at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
10. Start a bookkeeping business.
I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that bookkeeping is an area with entry level work from home jobs, but it definitely is.
A bookkeeper is someone who tracks the finances of a business, handles billing and payments, making spreadsheets, etc., but that doesn’t mean you need to be an accountant or have any related experience.
Ben, from Bookkeeper Launch, helps people get started as bookkeepers even when they don’t have any experience. Ben is a CPA who founded his business after realizing that many businesses needed better bookkeepers.
In our interview, we talk about:
- What a bookkeeper is
- The typical clients a bookkeeper has
- How much new bookkeepers earn
- How to become a bookkeeper
- The positives and negatives of bookkeeping
You can read all of his answers and more in our interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
Also, you can sign up here for a free series that will teach you more about running your own virtual bookkeeping business.
11. Find stuff to resell.
This is one another one of the entry level work from home jobs that anyone can start. That’s because we all have lots of stuff in our house that we can probably sell online.
Have you ever found something that you thought you may be able to resell and actually make some money?
Melissa’s family earned $133,000 in one year through buy and sell flipping, and they were working only 10-20 hours per week.
Yes, just 10-20 hours a week!
Some of the best flipped items that they’ve sold include:
- An item that they bought for $10 and flipped for $200 just 6 minutes later
- A security tower they bought for $6,200 and flipped for $25,000 just one month later
- A prosthetic leg that they bought for $30 at a flea market and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day
You can learn more at How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
12. Write online as a freelancer.
I know so many people who have found entry level freelance writing jobs. You don’t need a background in writing or a degree in English or creative writing.
A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, advertising companies, books, and more. They don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing.
My friend Holly from EarnMoreWriting.com (as well as the popular personal finance blog Club Thrifty) is a very successful freelance writer and has earned over $200,000 writing online!
Her freelance writing course includes nine video modules, several printable worksheets, and awesome add-ons, too. Here are some of the things you can expect to learn if you take her freelance writing course:
- Discover the #1 most important thing you can do to get paid writing jobs
- Learn how to find entry level work from home jobs as a writer and move up over time
- Learn how price affects the amount of work you get
- Learn which types of jobs help Holly earn the most pay, and where you can find them
- Find out which online platforms work best for finding paid work, and how to use them
- Learn how to structure your work day to earn six figures or more
Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.
13. Transcribe audio or video into text.
Transcription is the art of turning any audio or video content into a text document.
There are many businesses looking for transcriptionists too – since general transcriptionists convert audio and video to text for virtually any industry, there really isn’t a typical client. Some examples include marketers, authors, filmmakers, academics, speakers, and conferences of all types.
Beginning transcriptionists earn around $15 an hour to start.
There are many transcriptionist jobs that don’t require experience, and most transcriptionists learn more and improve their skills as they work.
You can learn more about becoming a transcriptionist in the interview Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist. The interview explains:
- What a transcriptionist is
- How you can get started as a transcriptionist
- What kind of money you can expect to make
- The type of training you need, and more
14. Find proofreading jobs online.
Finding entry level proofreading jobs online is very possible.
All you need to work as a proofreader is a laptop or tablet, an internet connection, and a good eye for pointing out mistakes.
Proofreaders look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.
In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader.
You’ll learn more about this in my interview with Caitlin that I link to below, but proofreaders take content that other people have written and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb. You might be proofreading blog posts, print articles, academic articles, website copy, ad copy, books, student papers, emails, and more.
This job is for a very specific type of person who LOVES to correct grammar or makes a note of spelling mistakes on a restaurant menu… it takes a certain “eagle eye” ability to be good at proofreading!
I interviewed Caitlin on what it takes to become a proofreader, and in our interview we go over questions such as:
- What a proofreader does
- How much proofreaders earn
- How quickly a person can start making money as a proofreader
- The steps needed to become a proofreader
You can find out about entry level work from home jobs and more at How To Become A Proofreader And Work From Anywhere.
Caitlin has put together a FREE 76-minute workshop, where she answers all of the most common questions about becoming a proofreader, and she even shows you how to use the most popular tools used by proofreaders around the world. You can sign up for free here.
15. Learn how to become a scopist.
Scoping is when you are editing legal documents for court reporters. This is different from proofreading for court reporters.
I interviewed an expert on the topic – Linda from Internet Scoping School. She has been scoping for over 35 years and has taught scoping online for around 20 years.
She also has a free course that will introduce you to scoping so that you can decide if it’s one of the entry level work from home jobs you want to pursue. You can find the free course by clicking here.
Scopists who are working with an average court reporter tend to make around $30,000 to $45,000 per year working pretty much full-time.
You can learn more at How To Become A Scopist.
16. Assist with podcasts.
Currently, there’s a huge demand for podcast virtual assistants.
There are over 800,000 podcasts out there, and that number just continues to grow. Podcasts are still a pretty new area, and that opens the door for lots of new entry level work from home jobs helping with all of these new podcasts.
While the podcast host can record themselves, other tasks like editing and publication take time, so many podcasters outsource their work to freelancers or virtual assistants. Also, some podcasters may not know how to do those things, or they may choose to focus their time on other areas.
Some of the different services you could do as a podcast virtual assistant include:
- Audio editing
- Marketing and promotion
- Show note creation
Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.
Also, you can sign up here for free information on learning more about how to become a podcast VA. In this free resource, you’ll learn more about what exactly a podcast virtual assistant is, the services you can offer, and starting rates.
17. Work as a freelancer.
Freelancers are people who work for others by doing part-time jobs. A business may hire you on for one-time gigs or you may get a long-term job with a company as a freelancer.
In addition to some of the freelance jobs I’ve already mentioned (writing, proofreading, transcribing, and bookkeeping) there are even more entry level work from home jobs out there for people who are able to leverage existing skills, like:
- Graphic design
- Web design and development
- Video editing
- Sound design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
This is one of the best work from home jobs because you can use a skill you already have and start finding work on job platforms like UpWork and Fiverr.
18. Find a work from home job in customer service.
Many large companies outsource their customer service departments to people who are working from home.
Customer service representatives may be responsible for a number of things, such as:
- Working at an online call center
- Working as a chat agent
- Offering technical support
- Virtual assistant tasks
- Working as a travel agent
This is becoming one of the best entry level work from home jobs because the number of large companies who need online customer service reps is growing. Companies like Apple, American Express, UHAUL, and more offer basic training for new hires.
19. Secret shop.
Funny enough, many people think that you have to “know someone” or have previous experience in order to become a mystery shopper.
But, that’s not the truth at all.
You don’t need any previous experience in order to become a secret shopper.
This won’t be a full-time job, but it can give you some extra money each month. And, yes, there are some mystery shops that can be done by phone and online.
I remember when I first heard of being a secret shopper. I was working at a retail store and we regularly had mystery shoppers come in to grade how we were doing. We never knew who the mystery shopper was, but we would get to read their report afterwards.
I thought it was so interesting that people were getting paid to shop!
Not long after hearing about it, I decided to try mystery shopping to make extra money to help pay off my student loan debt.
I regularly earned around $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping, and I earned free items/services as well, such as $100 to spend at restaurants (which I had to grade while I was there), makeup, and more.
If this sounds interesting to you, you can join Bestmark by clicking here. This is my favorite mystery shopping company, and the only one I used back when I was mystery shopping, so I know it’s legitimate.
Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.
20. Become a voice over actor.
A voice over actor is the person you hear but rarely see on YouTube videos, radio ads, explainer videos, corporate narration, documentaries, e-learning courses, audiobooks, TV commercials, video games, movies, and cartoons.
This job doesn’t require previous experience or special skills – you just need to have the right kind of voice that companies are looking for.
In 2014, Carrie replaced her salaried day job to become a full-time voice over actor. People are constantly asking her how she got her start and how they can too.
So, she created a six-week online class, and it sold out. Several of her students booked voice acting jobs before the class was even over!
I was excited to learn more about this work from home job, so I interviewed Carrie to learn:
- How she got into this interesting career field
- Who the common clients are
- How much money a beginner voice over actor can expect to make
- The positives of this job
- How to find your first job
- The costs, and more
You can read my interview with her at How To Become A Voice Over Actor And Work From Anywhere.
How can I make money from home with no experience?
As you can see, there are many different options for you if you are looking for an online job or work from home business with no experience.
I hope you are able to find what works best for you and your situation.
What entry level work from home jobs would you add to the list above?
The post 20 Of The Best Entry Level Work From Home Jobs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
If your coronavirus checks are long gone, you could have more stimulus money coming your way, even if Congress doesnât do another thing. And if you didnât qualify for a check based on your past tax return, you could get stimulus money if you file a tax return for 2020 that shows youâre eligible.
Hereâs why: Both the first stimulus check and the second stimulus check are an advance on a temporary 2020 tax credit. But because of the urgency of the situation, the IRS was directed to get us that money ASAP, using information from our 2018 or 2019 returns.
That means if your tax situation changed through the course of the year, you could get stimulus money if your 2020 return shows that youâre eligible.
8 Reasons You Could Get Stimulus Money With Your 2020 Refund
If one or more of these scenarios apply, you might get more coronavirus money in 2021 by submitting a tax return. And relax: You wonât owe more at tax time or get a smaller refund as the result of receiving a check.
1. Youâre No Longer Claimed as a Dependent
Attention, Class of 2020: If your parents or someone else claimed you as a dependent in 2019 but they donât in 2020, you could get an $1,800 credit â $1,200 from the first check and $600 from the second one â provided that you file a tax return.
Generally, you can be claimed as a dependent if youâre under 19, or youâre under 24 and a student, if your parents provide at least half of your support.
2. You Had a Child in 2020
The parents of any bundle of joy who arrives in 2020 will be eligible for an $1,100 child coronavirus credit: $500 from the first round and $600 from the second. Theyâll have to wait until they file their 2020 tax return, since the IRS doesnât have record of these new additions yet.
3. Your Child Was Born in 2019, but You Took Advantage of the Tax Extension
If you had a child in 2019 but got a late start on filing your 2019 return due to the coronavirus tax extension or you filed on paper, the IRS probably processed your first payment using your 2018 return. Youâll get the extra $500 child credit next year when your 2020 return is accepted. But provided that your 2019 return has been accepted, you may receive $600 for your child from the latest round with your second stimulus check.
4. You Get Social Security or SSI Benefits and Have a Dependent Child
The IRS automatically processed coronavirus checks for people who arenât required to file a tax return and receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, SSDI, SSI or VA benefits.
But in many of these situations, the IRS only received the information needed to send the recipient the $1,200. They didnât get information about dependent children who qualified for $500 coronavirus child credits unless the recipient provided it using the non-filer tool on the IRS website within a pretty narrow timeframe.
If you got a $1,200 payment for yourself but didnât receive the extra payments for dependent children under 17, youâll need to file a 2020 tax return to get the extra $500, even if you donât normally need to file. The same applies if you donât get the $600 credit with your payment in the latest round.
5. Your Income Dropped in 2020
A lot of people will no doubt have a lot less income to report in 2020 than they did in 2018 or 2019. If you didnât qualify for the first check because your previous income was above the $99,000 threshold for singles or $198,000 for married couples, you could qualify based on your 2020 income. The second check has a lower phaseout because itâs smaller, so you wonât receive one if youâre single with an income above $87,000 or married with an income above $174,000.
Likewise, if your payment was reduced because your income was above $75,000 if youâre single or $150,000 if youâre married, youâd get the difference when you file your 2020 return.
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6. You and Your Childâs Other Parent Take Turns Claiming Them for Taxes
The Washington Postâs Michelle Singletary reported on this odd quirk of stimulus payments: It appears that in situations where divorced, separated and never-married parents take turns claiming their dependent children on taxes, each parent could wind up with a $500 payment.
Whoever claimed the child for 2019 probably received both the $500 and $600 payments with their stimulus check. But since the payments are technically a credit for 2020 taxes, there could be a loophole that allows the other parent to get the credit for the same child when they file next year.
7. You Increased Your Retirement Contributions in 2020
Suppose youâre a single filer who earned $80,000 in 2019 and your income stays the same in 2020. You would have gotten a $950 coronavirus check in the first round, because payments are reduced by 5 cents for every $1 of income over $75,000 if youâre single. In the second round, youâd get $350.
But if you reduced your 2020 taxable income to $75,000 by contributing an extra $5,000 to your 401(k) or traditional IRA (sorry, a Roth IRA wonât work), youâd get the additional $250 coronavirus payment from both rounds, so $500 total.
8. Youâre Married to Someone Without a Social Security Number
If you have a Social Security number but youâre married and file a joint tax return with someone who doesnât have one, neither of you initially qualified for a stimulus check under the CARES Act. But the latest relief bill changes the rules so that anyone in the household with a Social Security number will qualify for the second payment â and it also makes the change retroactive to the first round.
That means if youâre in a mixed-status household, you could get a $1,200 credit for yourself, plus $500 for each dependent child 16 and younger who has a Social Security number.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to DearPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
In the age of paperless transactions, identify theft is something that virtually all of us are susceptible to. If your identity is stolen, the consequences can be severe, and in some cases, can take years to recover from. One way to be proactive against fraud and defend yourself from identity theft, is to freeze your credit report with each of the three major credit bureausâExperian, TransUnion, and Equifax.Â
Placing a credit freeze on your credit report will stop identity thieves from being able to open new accounts, lines of credit, or make any large purchases in your name, regardless of whether or not they have your Social Security number or any other sensitive information.Â
What a credit freeze means
A credit freeze is a process that shuts off access to your credit reports at your request. Without your verified consent, your delicate information cannot be acquired. This means that if someone were to attempt to apply for credit in your name, your report would come up as âfrozen,â and therefore the creditor would not be able to see the information needed for the application to be approved.
You can unfreeze your credit at any time by using a PIN or a password.Â
Reasons to freeze your credit
It might be a good idea to freeze your credit if youâre experiencing any of the following situations:
- Your data has been compromised in a data breach: It happens. If youâve been a victim of a data breach and personal information related to your identity has been leaked or made vulnerable to cyber criminals, a credit freeze can offer you some extra protection.Â
- You have reason to think youâve been a victim of identity theft: Perhaps youâve checked your credit recently and noticed open accounts that you donât recognize. Maybe youâve been getting phone calls from collections agencies requesting payments from accounts you know you didnât open. While a credit freeze wonât be able to stop them from using accounts a thief has already opened, it can stop them from opening any more.Â
- You want to protect your child from identity theft: According to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, parents and legally guardians of children 16 years old and younger have the right to open a credit account for their child with the sole purpose of putting a freeze on it to protect them from identity theft.Â
How to freeze your creditÂ
The process of freezing your credit is simple but does require a few steps. You will need to get in touch with each of the three major credit bureaus one by one and request a credit freeze:
- Experian: Contact by phone at 800-349-9960 or go to their website.
- Equifax: Contact by phone at 888-397-3742 or go to their website.
- TransUnion: Contact by phone at 888-909-8872 or go to their website.Â Â
The credit bureaus will ask you for your Social Security number, your date of birth and other information to verify your identity.
Once you freeze your credit, your file will be unattainable even if a thief has sensitive information such as your social security number or date of birth. If you need to use your credit file, you can unfreeze your credit report at any time.Â
How to unfreeze your credit
Once youâve frozen your credit file, it will be remain blocked until you decide that you would like to unfreeze it. You will need to unfreeze your credit report in order to open a new line of credit or make a major purchase.Â
Unfreezing your credit file is simple. All you will need to do is go online to each credit bureau website and use the personal identification number (PIN) that you used to place the freeze on the account. If you donât want to complete this task online, you can also unfreeze your credit file over the phone or through postal mail.Â
When the unfreezing process is done online or by phone, it is completed within minutes of submitting the request. However, if you send your request via mail, it will take much longer.Â
Keep in mind that you donât necessarily need to unfreeze your credit through all three of the major credit bureaus if you donât want to. For instance, letâs say you plan to apply for credit somewhere. You can ask the creditor which credit bureau it will go through to pull up your report, and only unfreeze that one credit bureau.Â
You may also have the option to unfreeze for a specific amount of time. Once the time is up, your credit file will automatically freeze again.Â
Credit freeze pros and cons
There are a few reasons why you might want to freeze your credit in this day and age, but just like with anything else, there are pros and cons to credit freezing. Here is a general breakdown of the benefits and downfalls of putting a freeze on your credit report:
- It prevents thieves from opening new lines of credit: With a credit freeze placed on your account, no one will be able to open a new line of credit or any other type of account requiring a credit check using your personal data. Anyone trying to commit fraud will be stopped in their tracks as soon as lenders notice that the report is frozen.Â
- It wonât affect your credit score: Freezing your credit report will not damage your credit score. Additionally, if youâve been a victim of identity theft, freezing your credit report could actually protect your credit score from being damaged due to fraud.Â
- Itâs free: It used to be the case that some credit freezes would cost a fee, but that is no longer the way it works.Â
- It requires some effort: Putting a credit freeze on your credit report takes some effort. You will need to get in touch with all three credit bureaus.Â
- You will need to remember your PINs: A PIN is required to lift or freeze your credit report. If you lose it, you will need to jump through extra hoops to create a new one.
It canât stop thieves from accessing your existing accounts: Credit freezes can only stop fraudsters from opening new accounts using your information. If youâve already been a victim of identity theft, a credit freeze canât block thieves from committing fraud with your current accounts. This means that thieves can still make a purchase using a credit card they stole from you.
Freezing Your Credit is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.
In a recession itâs common for many people to rely on credit cards and loans to balance their finances. Itâs the ultimate catch-22 since, during a recession, these financial products can be even harder to qualify for.
This holds true, according to historical data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It found that during the 2007 recession, loan growth at traditional banks decreased and remained deflated over the next four years.Â
Credit can be a powerful tool to help you make ends meet and keep moving forward financially. Hereâs what you can do if youâre struggling to access credit during a weak economy.
How Does a Financial Downturn Affect Lending?
Giving someone a loan or approving them for a credit card carries a certain amount of risk for a lender. After all, thereâs a chance you could stop making payments and the lender could lose all the funds you borrowed, especially with unsecured loans.
For lenders, this concept is called, âdelinquencyâ. Theyâre constantly trying to get their delinquency rate lower; in a booming economy, the delinquency rate at commercial banks is usually under 2%.
Lending becomes riskier in a weak economy. There are all sorts of reasons a person might stop paying their loan or credit card bills. You might lose your job, or unexpected medical bills might demand more of your budget. Because lenders know the chances of anyone becoming delinquent are much higher in a weak economy, they tend to restrict their lending criteria so theyâre only serving the lowest-risk borrowers. That can leave people with poor credit in a tough financial position.
Before approving you for a loan, lenders typically look at criteria such as:
- Income stability
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Credit score
- Co-signers, if applicable
- Down payment size (for loans, like a mortgage)
Does this mean youâre completely out of luck if you have bad credit? Not necessarily, but you might need to take the time to understand all of your alternatives.
5 Ways to Help Get Your Credit Application Approved
Although every lender has different approval criteria, these strategies speak to typical commonalities across most lenders.
1. Pay Off Debt
Paying off some of your debt might feel bold, but it can be helpful when it comes to an application for credit. Repaying your debt reduces your debt-to-income ratio, typically an important metric lenders look at for loans such as a mortgage. Also, paying off debt could help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a measure of how much available credit youâre currently using right now. If youâre using most of the credit thatâs available to you, that could indicate you donât have enough cash on hand.
Not sure what debt-to-income ratio to aim for? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests keeping yours no higher than 43%.
2. Find a Cosigner
For those with poor credit, a trusted cosigner can make the difference between getting approved for credit or starting back at square one.
When someone cosigns for your loan theyâll need to provide information on their income, employment and credit score â as if they were applying for the loan on their own. Ideally, their credit score and income should be higher than yours. This gives your lender enough confidence to write the loan knowing that, if you canât make your payments, your cosigner is liable for the bill.
Since your cosigner is legally responsible for your debt, their credit is negatively impacted if you stop making payments. For this reason, many people are wary of cosigning.
In a recession, it might be difficult to find someone with enough financial stability to cosign for you. If you go this route, have a candid conversation with your prospective cosigner in advance about expectations in the worst-case scenario.
3. Raise Your Credit Score
If your credit score just isnât high enough to qualify for conventional credit you could take some time to focus on improving it. Raising your credit score might sound daunting, but itâs definitely possible.Â
Here are some strategies you can pursue:
- Report your rent payments. Rent payments arenât typically included as part of the equation when calculating your credit score, but they can be. Some companies, like Rental Kharma, will report your timely rent payments to credit reporting agencies. Showing a history of positive payment can help improve your credit score.Â
- Make sure your credit report is updated. Itâs not uncommon for your credit report to have mistakes in it that can artificially deflate your credit score. Request a free copy of your credit report every year, which you can do online through Experian Free Credit Report. If you find inaccuracies, disputing them could help improve your credit score.Â
- Bring all of your payments current. If youâve fallen behind on any payments, bringing everything current is an important part of improving your credit score. If your lender or credit card company is reporting late payments a long history of this can damage your credit score. When possible speak to your creditor to work out a solution, before you anticipate being late on a payment.
- Use a credit repair agency. If tackling your credit score is overwhelming you could opt to work with a reputable credit repair agency to help you get back on track. Be sure to compare credit repair agencies before moving forward with one. Companies that offer a free consultation and have a strong track record are ideal to work with.
Raising your credit isnât an immediate solution â itâs not going to help you get a loan or qualify for a credit card tomorrow. However, making these changes now can start to add up over time.
4. Find an Online Lender or Credit Union
Although traditional banks can be strict with their lending policies, some smaller lenders or credit unions offer some flexibility. For example, credit unions are authorized to provide Payday Loan Alternatives (PALs). These are small-dollar, short-term loans available to borrowers whoâve been a member of qualifying credit unions for at least a month.
Some online lenders might also have more relaxed criteria for writing loans in a weak economy. However, you should remember that if you have bad credit youâre likely considered a riskier applicant, which means a higher interest rate. Before signing for a line of credit, compare several lenders on the basis of your quoted APR â which includes any fees like an origination fee, your loanâs term, and any additional fees, such as late fees.
5. Increase Your Down Payment
If youâre trying to apply for a mortgage or auto loan, increasing your down payment could help if youâre having a tough time getting approved.
When you increase your down payment, you essentially decrease the size of your loan, and lower the lenderâs risk. If you donât have enough cash on hand to increase your down payment, this might mean opting for a less expensive car or home so that the lump sum down payment that you have covers a greater proportion of the purchase cost.
Loans vs. Credit Cards: Differences in Credit Approval
Not all types of credit are created equal. Personal loans are considered installment credit and are repaid in fixed payments over a set period of time. Credit cards are considered revolving credit, you can keep borrowing to your approved limit as long as you make your minimum payments.
When it comes to credit approvals, one benefit loans have over credit cards is that you might be able to get a secured loan. A secured loan means the lender has some piece of collateral they can recover from you should you stop making payments.
The collateral could be your home, car or other valuable asset, like jewelry or equipment. Having that security might give the lender more flexibility in some situations because they know that, in the worst case scenario, they could sell the collateral item to recover their loss.
The Bottom Line
Borrowing during a financial downturn can be difficult and it might not always be the answer to your situation. Adding to your debt load in a weak economy is a risk. For example, you could unexpectedly lose your job and not be able to pay your bills. Having an added monthly debt payment in your budget can add another challenge to your financial situation.
However, if you can afford to borrow funds during an economic recession, reduced interest rates in these situations can lessen the overall cost of borrowing.
These tips can help tidy your finances so youâre a more attractive borrower to lenders. Thereâs no guarantee your application will be accepted, but improving your finances now gives you a greater borrowing advantage in the future.
The post How to Get Approved for Credit in a Financial Downturn appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
3 Reasons To Use Cash (and 3 Reasons To Choose Credit)
Credit and debit cards have become so ubiquitous, you’d be forgiven for thinking physical cash is just a couple years away from being declared obsolete and worthless by the government.
Well, as it turns out, the death of dead presidents is greatly exaggerated, asÂ over $1.25 trillionÂ still circulates around the United States alone.
Way too many people use cash for it to ever go away completely, regardless of how much plastic gets wiped every day.
So why in the world would anydiv still pay with Georges and Bens? Here are a few good reasons why:
Less Chance of Identity Theft
Few things are scarier than hearing that the store you regularly swipe your card at just had a security breach, and that some anonymous criminal may have your identity at their disposal.
Paying cash eliminates that issue — chunks of metal and pieces of paper stacked in a register tells fraudsters absolutely nothing, while the information sent to vulnerable computers via your bank card can reveal everything.
Easier to Watch and Control Your Spending
Actually seeing the cash you owe, as opposed to simply staring at a generic card with no monetary value of its own, can remind you to spend less overall, since all of a sudden the money is real, and real valuable at that.
Financial guru Ramit Sethi, for example, lost his credit card, and spent nothing but cash until a replacement came. He reportedÂ spending 18% lessÂ when forced to watch his green wad dwindle in real-time.
Some Places Still Don’t Take Plastic (or Require a Minimum Purchase Amount)
Amazingly, overÂ half of all small businessesÂ won’t take cards, likely because they can’t afford the fees.
It’s always good to keep at least some cash on you in case you need to make a purchase from one of these places.
Even if they accept cards, some of these businesses might only do so if you spend X amount, in order to override the fee.
If you entered the store to spend more than the minimum amount, then swipe away. But if you only want a loaf of bread, and they want you to spend $10 before they’ll accept your card, just pay for your bread with bread.
That all being said though, there are several cases where plastic owns cash. Here are a few of those:
Increasing amounts of items can now only be purchased online and with a credit card, or at the very least are extremely difficult to cover with cash.
Plane tickets, while still technically available at a travel agent’s physical office, are usually much, much cheaper online, where you can’t obviously use cash. The same thing goes for e-books, MP3s, subscriptions to streaming sites, and the like.
The more you shop online, the more reliant you will become on cards in your everyday life.
ATM Fees Can Pile Up
Unless your bank’s ATM is everywhere, then you may often find yourself forced to withdraw your cash from the competition’s ATMs, which will cost you anywhere from $2-4 per pop.
This adds up to a ridiculously high amount, as it’s estimated that the use of cash costs Americans overÂ $200 billion per year.
While not all of that amount is ATM-related, a large chunk of it is, and could easily be saved with the use of cards.
Smart Card Use Can Help You Build Your Credit Score
Finally, while cash is great, it does absolutely nothing to improve how companies and lenders look at you. Responsible credit card use, on the other hand, not only helps you purchase what you want and need, but helps build up your credit score.
There’s a good chance that not having using a card could negatively affect your credit score orÂ nullify it altogether, since you’re not giving the credit agencies any information about your financial habits.
So get a card or two, use it when necessary, use cash every other time, and you should achieve a pleasant balance between the two that can only bode well for your fortune going forward.
Whether you use cash or plastic, Mint.com can help you budget every penny of your finances.Â Click hereÂ to find out how!
The post 3 Reasons to Use Cash and 3 Reasons to Choose Credit appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Heading off to college is exciting. Really exciting. You finally have freedom! You’re out on your own for the very first time, managing your studies, managing your social life and… managing your finances.
Despite being a big part of your newfound independence, personal finance is a subject you probably won’t find on your course schedule. If you didn’t take a personal finance class in high school and never had money lessons from your parents, you may not know how to manage a checking account as a college student.
“College students have very different needs for their checking account than their parents or other adults,” says Tommy Martin, CEO of Clear Path Financial Planning and a finance blogger at TommyMartin.com. If you live in a different city during the school year than you do during winter and summer breaks, for example, you may be after a bank for which location doesn’t matter.
Ok, so how do I manage my checking account in college, you ask? First, don’t get overwhelmed. Learning how to manage money while in college and getting a handle on checking account basics is simpler than you might think (oh, and the skills will serve you for years to come). Second, you can kick off your checking account education with these tips for managing a checking account in college:
1. Compare checking accounts before signing up
While your college life may center around your school campus, you should consider venturing off-campus to pick the right checking account for your lifestyle.
“Students typically sign up with a bank that’s on campus or close to campus,” says Sahil Vakil, a financial planner and president of MYRA Wealth in New Jersey. However, the nearest bank might not be the one that best fits your needs, he adds.
Instead of picking a bank based solely on proximity, consider all of your options, including banks with off-campus locations and online-only banks.
Martin agrees, saying that learning how to manage money while in college means considering all of your banking options rather than “automatically enrolling or choosing the official school bank just because it has the school logo on it.” There are other ways to show your school pride, after all.
2. Learn about checking account fees and rewards
Vakil and Martin both say a tip for managing a checking account in college is to consider an account’s fees before signing up. Costly fees can eat into your savings and spending money, which can be a blow for students who are not working full-time. When you are choosing a checking account in college, consider fees for:
- Monthly maintenance (essentially keeping your account open)
- Minimum balance (not maintaining one)
- ATM usage
- New checks
- Wire transfers
- Online bill pay
- Replacement debit cards
Martin says a checking account with no minimum balance requirement or minimum number of transactions could be a good fit for students. “It allows them to focus on their education” instead of worrying about incurring penalties, he says. “Even a $5 fee on a checking account with $60 in it can be devastating.”
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Costly fees can eat into your savings and spending money, which can be a blow for students who are not working full-time.
Martin also suggests finding an account that has a large network of no-fee ATMs located across the country to better manage your checking account as a college student. “Especially if you’re going to a school in a different state, the local bank from home might wind up costing you a lot in terms of ATM fees,” he says. If your parents plan to wire you money, find an account that doesn’t charge incoming wire fees, Martin adds.
While fees should be a focus when you are learning how to manage money while in college, don’t forget about incentives. You may be able to find a checking account that actually helps you grow your balance by paying interest or offering a cash back rewards program.
“If you have to pay for books or supplies, at least you can get some cash back and use it for a free dinner,” Martin says. Discover Cashback Debit, for example, offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.1
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3. Track your checking account balance
Luckily, you don’t need to take Banking 101 to figure out your funds, and tech makes tracking your balance and account activity easier than ever. Most banks let you log in to your account online (don’t get distracted in class!), and with a bank’s mobile app you can transfer money to friends, pay bills, deposit checks and check your balanceâall while you’re on the go.
Knowing your balance at all times is a tip for managing a checking account in college because it can help you avoid overdrafts and insufficient funds fees. It can also help you forecast your income and expenses to ensure you’ll have enough money to cover future costs. Surpriseâthat’s budgeting!
There’s no one-size-fits-all budgeting program or system, though. You can go old-school and track your budget on a printed-out budget sheet, or you can go tech-savvy with a budgeting and spending app. “What’s best for you is the one you’re actually going to use,” Martin says.
If you learn how to manage money while in college and make a practice of maintaining your budget, the habit will follow you after graduation.
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âCollege students have very different needs for their checking account than their parents or other adults.â
4. Secure your account
One of Vakil’s tips for managing a checking account in college is to make sure your account stays secure. Create a unique account name and password that you use only for your checking account, and never share your credentials.
Vakil says you can also enable two-factor authentication if your bank offers it and you’re looking for another way to improve the management of your checking account as a college student. “This additional layer of protection safeguards your sensitive financial data and strengthens the security of your account by requiring two methods of verifying your identity.”
For example, if you log in to your account from a new device, you may be sent a text message with a code that you’ll need to enter to access your account.
5. Keep an eye out for debit card holds
No matter where you bank, a merchant may place a hold on funds in your checking account when you use your debit card. Generally, a hold is placed for travel-related purchasesâsuch as at rental car companies, hotels and gas stationsâand used by merchants to protect against fraud and errors.
“Holds on a debit card can make it tricky for you to manage your finances,” Vakil says. For example, “when you rent a car, the car rental company might put a $500 hold on your account. If the balance in your account was $550, now you can only use another $50.”
Being aware of holds can be particularly important if you are managing a checking account as a college student and tend to have a low account balance.
If a merchant will be placing a hold, it will generally post a sign to notify customers. The hold will typically be removed after the funds are transferred to the merchant from your financial institution, typically within three to four days.
Knowing when a hold will be placed, the amount of the hold and how much money you have in your checking account can help you manage your checking account as a college student by avoiding overdrafts and missed bill payments due to insufficient funds.
6. Don’t let one mistake throw you off track
If you can learn how to manage a checking account as a college student, and more generally, how to manage money while in college, you can lay the groundwork for a solid financial future. Checking account mistakes may occasionally happen (oops, I didn’t budget enough for that spring break trip), but don’t let them discourage you to the point of apathy. Instead, try to continually expand your knowledge and practice healthy financial habits.
1Â ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as VenmoÂ® and PayPal, who also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Venmo and PayPal are registered trademarks of PayPal, Inc.
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