Author Archives: Daniel Packer

8 Signs It’s Time to Switch Banks

When your bank is no longer serving your needs or you’re unsatisfied with the service you’re receiving, it may be time to switch to a new bank. Any of these situations could mean it’s time to switch banks and leave your old banking relationship behind.

They’re charging too many fees. It’s starts slowly. Your bank sends you a letter telling you they’re going to start charging a fee for a service, perhaps a monthly account fee if your balance is below a certain amount. A few months later, there’s another fee. Banks make billions of dollars from overdraft fees and loan interest, if yours can’t give you a free checking account, it’s time to switch banks.

They set you up for overdrafts. Banks generate billions of dollars in revenue from overdraft fees, so it’s in their best interests to process your transactions in a way that will maximize the overdraft fees they charge you. If your bank has a predatory overdraft policy – charging several multiple overdraft fees per day, charging extended overdraft fees when your account remains negative – shop other bank’s policies and switch to a bank that won’t penalize you as heavily if you overdraft your account.

There are no in-network ATMs near you. ATM withdrawals can get expensive, especially if you’re hit with fees from the ATM operator and your bank. If you find yourself constantly using out-of-network ATMs, it may be time to switch to a bank with more convenient ATMs. Perhaps the bank whose ATMs you’re using is a better choice than the bank you currently use.

You’re receiving poor customer service. There are too many banks to put up with rude or unresponsive customer service representatives. Constant customer service issues is a sign that it’s time to switch to a friendlier bank.

Your current bank isn’t insured. One of the best reasons to put your money in a bank is so it’s protected in case of a bank failure, but if your bank isn’t insured, you risk losing everything. You might also consider opening an account at another bank if you’ve already exceeded your current bank’s coverage amount – currently $250,000 per depositor per account (certain types of accounts). Check the FDIC’s website to confirm that your bank is insured. Or, for credit unions, check the National Credit Union Association’s website.

You’re relocating and your bank doesn’t have branches in the new location. If you’re moving to a new state where your bank doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar branches, switching to a bank that’s located in that area might be a better option. Even if you can handle the majority of your transactions electronically, you won’t have the ability to physically visit a bank branch should you ever need to.

You can get better interest rates elsewhere. Savings account interest rates aren’t very high at any bank, but some banks have more competitive rates than others, particularly online banks. Consider switching to a new bank to earn more interest on your savings deposit.

Your bank doesn’t have the option for online bill pay or other online features. It’s 2016. If your bank doesn’t offer the ability to pay your bills online, it’s time to switch. And if you can’t even check your bank balance online, you should have switched banks years ago.

You may dread the process of switching banks, but your banking experience is worth the effort.

5 Creative Ways to Make Money

Feeling the pinch a little when it comes to your finances? Is your cash flow stagnant? Whether you need a quick cash injection to tide you over until payday or you need some extra help on a permanent basis, this article will offer you five creative ways to make some money.

Play Poker

Believe it or not, there are actually people who play poker for a living. The catch here is that you need to be relatively good at playing cards – this is not a sport suited for beginners. The good news is that, with enough practice, you can become good enough to play poker for a living or make it to the World Series of Poker.

Poker is for you if:

  • You can persevere. You should become better over time but you will need to do a lot of work to get up to professional playing levels. This means reading everything that you can about the game and learning how to read people well enough to be able to beat them.
  • You are flexible. Poker is one game that is constantly changing because the players themselves change. Strategy that worked well in today’s game may not cut it in tomorrow’s. Being flexible allows you to adjust your strategy as required.
  • You are level-headed. You need to be able to ride out the doldrums when losing and also be able to curb the excitement when winning so that you neither quit to early or too late.

Look at Your Insurance

If you have whole life cover or universal life cover, call the insurance company and see whether or not your policy has a cash value – most policies accumulate a cash value over time. Whilst not ideal, if you need money in a hurry, or if you will not be able to continue paying the premiums anyway, you do not have a lot to lose here. (Just remember that the older you are, the harder and more expensive it will be to get a new policy.

Alternatively, you can consider a viatical – essentially all that happens in this case is that you sell your policy to the buyer so that they can collect the pay out when you die. Generally speaking, you will be paid out an amount of around 30% – 80% of the cover value of your policy.

They will pay out a cash lump sum and the take over the paying of the premiums of the policy. They are basically betting that they will make more when the policy pays out than they have paid in terms of the lump sum to you and the premium payments.

Buy and Sell Coins

Here I am not talking about trading in actual rare coins because that does require a fair amount of expertise but rather by looking for coins that have errors or that are from a certain date. Take the half dollar coins minted before 1965, for example. These have a 90% silver content and so could earn you a tidy profit.

What some people do is to order coins in large quantities from their banks. They then go through all these coins looking for coins that are the right age, that have errors on them or that are collectible in some manner. At worst, you have just wasted your time, at best, you could find a collectible coin that could sell well.

Check Out Fiverr

Fiverr is a site that allows you to offer services and charge for them. You can pretty much decide what you want to do. These can range from services that are absolutely wacky to services that are mundane. You could, if you like, offer to sing a birthday message to someone while dressed up as a monkey or you could offer to do some copywriting.

The starting price for services is $5 but you can always offer upsells. Say, for example, you will design a business card for $5, you could upsell a banner for a website or business logo as well.

Become an Online Juror

Jury duty is not necessarily fun but it does open up an opportunity for you. There are companies out there that will pay you to act as a mock juror in a mock trial. This helps them to prepare for cases upfront as they can test different strategies and see what the outcome is before actually going to court.

All you have to do now is to see which of these options suits you best – good luck!

Selfies and Health Insurance

Technology is a wonderful thing and in the case of medical advances, its role is nothing short of vital. A new form of technology, however, could well cause some controversy for those people who want private health insurance and may spark a rather ‘Luddite‘ debate on the possibility that companies have taken things a little bit too far.

Private health insurers in the future may well ask customers to send in a selfie for them to examine, before accepting the risk. The reasoning for this is based on the scientific field called facial analysis which gives medical insurers the tools to scrutinize the picture of a potential client to gain crucial clues about their state of health.

This is starting to gain traction in the US, with many large insurance companies buying the specialist computer software programs that can tell if somebody smokes, has recently been ill, or has not got a standard life expectancy. It is grounded on the interesting principle that the faster somebody ages, then the shorter their life expectancy.

While the NHS is by far the biggest provider of healthcare in the UK, the number of people opting to go for private medical insurance is increasing and there are now 3.94 million people in the UK with private health insurance. Technology has already started to impact private health insurance plans such as this one, and there are concerns that facial analysis will start to be implemented in the UK too.

Using facial analysis for insurance purposes is a divisive subject, with critics claiming that sending in a selfie is no more than an invasion of privacy that may, in the long term, have the effect of hiking up premiums.

Currently, when customers apply for insurance, they are expected to fill in detailed health questions though the insurer rarely checks whether the answers given are correct and only occasionally asks permission to review medical records. This new system could mean that anybody applying for health insurance must send in a facial photo to confirm their health against the level claimed by the customer.

So, for example, the creases around the lips will reveal if the person in the photograph is a smoker. Having cheeks that are hollow could mean some form of addiction to drugs, and a large bulbous nose is the classic sign of a drinker.

When asked about this new development, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers stated the current processes in place were well established and reliable and did not feel that the facial analysis technology would provide better information on a person’s insurance risk. Though whether this will change in the future is yet to be seen.

Scientists who have developed the system say that it is able to predict if a person will die young; critics predict that this is all leading to higher premiums. Just like the Luddites had a mistrust of new machinery, there is mistrust of science, and just maybe some fear that it is a step too far.

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