4 Annoying – and Possibly Expensive – Downsides to Auto-Pay

4 Downsides to Auto-PayAuto-pay is one of the best things to happen to people who have a hard time remembering to pay their bills. The ability to have your biller automatically charge you on or before the due date saves you from worrying about late fees or having services disconnected.

Even with the peace of mind that comes along with knowing your bills will be paid on time, auto-pay has some downsides that you should consider.

Incorrect Billing Amounts Are Paid Automatically

One of the biggest drawbacks to auto-pay is the risk of having the company withdraw too much from your account. How many times have you had to contact customer service to adjust an error on your bill? In cases, where you haven’t already made payment, customer service can adjust the amount due and you can pay the lower, correct amount.

However, when you’re signed for auto-pay, payments might be made before you get a chance to have the error corrected. While the company will adjust your bill, they likely won’t refund the overpaid amount. Instead, your account will be credited and you’ll have to go without the funds in your checking account.

You Can Lose Track of Your Bills

Sometimes putting your bills on auto-pay makes them “out of sight, out of mind,” but completely forgetting about your bills is a lousy way to manage your finances. There’s more to managing your bills than simply making sure they’re paid on time. For this reason, I have set up most of my bills to auto-pay, with the exception of my cable and Internet bill, which seems to always be changing.

You can easily lose the pulse on your money because you’ve become complacent with your bills being automatically paid. Price increases may go unnoticed, for example. And if your biller increases the minimum payment, but your payment is set for a specific and lower amount, you can get hit with late fees for underpayment even though you technically paid on time.

You Give Up Control Over Your Payments

Say your employer accidentally underpaid you or a technical glitch caused a delay in your direct deposit. If you’re manually paying your bills, you can delay payments until your deposit issues are corrected. However, on auto-pay, the bills will be processed automatically and can cause overdrafts and expensive fees.

Cancellation Can Be a Pain

It only takes a few steps and a few minutes to sign up for auto-pay but depending on the company you’re dealing with, you may have to jump through hoops to cancel your scheduled payments.

For example, you may have to let the company know you want to cancel a few days before the scheduled payment. Some companies require you to cancel in writing – which means you have to type and send a letter and then wait for the company to receive the letter and process your request. Find out ahead of time what it takes to cancel your auto-pay so your cancellation can take effect before the next payment.

Making Auto-Pay Work

Setting your auto-payments to a dedicated credit card – one with a large enough credit limit – can help alleviate some of the issues that happen with auto-pay. At least if a company overcharges you, it comes out of your credit limit, not out of your checking account. If you choose to use your checking account for auto-pay, keeping a buffer in your account can prevent overdrafts.

Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to monitor your billing and checking account statements each month to confirm your transactions and billing amounts are as they should be.

What are the Basic Steps Towards a Career as a Stockbroker

A stockbroker is someone who manages other people’s money. He or she does this by suggesting investments and also selling or monitoring the same on behalf of the individuals. This field is very competitive and is best for people who can work under stress and pressure. If you can handle the environment, then you are bound to make a kill every time just handling other people’s money.

Educational Requirements:

To become a stockbroker, you will require a Bachelor’s degree in finance. It can also be a degree in accounting, business or anything that has a financial background to it. You also ought to have effective communication skills. If you have worked in sales, you will find stock broking easy to handle.

Licensure Requirements:

Besides the college degree, you have to pass certain exams. The exams will depend on what you want to handle. The most common include series 6 license known as Limited Investment Securities license. The exam will allow you to sell variable annuities, mutual funds and unit trusts among other investment choices. The series 7 license will give you the title stockbroker. It will allow you to sell securities including bonds, stocks and income investments that are fixed among others. It is considered to be the biggest exam in stock broking taking 6 hours to complete. And then, there is the series 63 license also referred to as Uniform Securities Agent license.

Work Environment:

As a stockbroker, you will be working in brokerage firms. They can differ in what they offer. You can, therefore, decide to go into full-service firms, bank brokers or discount brokerages depending on what your individual preferences are. Fortunately, major cities will have brokerages. You also require being prepared to work during hours that markets remain open depending on where you are and what you are handling.

The Earnings:

Your earnings as a stockbroker will largely depend on the economic status, your dedication, and persistence in making every minute count as you work. Some stock brokers make hundreds of dollars every year. It might not be as easy during your first years working. As you gain more experience, however, hard work will pay dividends.

Personal Attitude and Strengths:

Selling securities can be a tedious thing to try. You must be a person who knows how to convince clients to buy. Including those that are ever so afraid of taking risks. It is a job that works best for people who enjoy the art of persuasion and those with interpersonal skills that are excellent. Without these traits, you will find it very hard to make it in the stock brokerage field.

You might find that the stock broker education requirements differ from place to place. You can start by finding out what are the requirements within your locality or country. That way, you will know exactly from which point to start to make your way into the career path that you have chosen.

As a stockbroker, you would advise your clients according to your expertise and tell them how they can gain the most out of each stock they purchase. It is your analytical skills and your knowledge of the stock market that would decide if they made the right investment or not. Your credentials are banked on the accuracy of the forecasts that you make. It would be in the best interest of your customer if your focus is not on the commission you earn from each of his transactions, but how much he gains regardless of how much you might lose. Your career will significantly rely on the integrity you maintain, and the trust you gain from your customers since their decisions depends on the information and the advice you give.

Alternatives When You Can’t Get a Bank Loan

If you’ve been recently refused or turned away from a much needed bank loan, you’re probably stuck wondering, “what now?” However, your financial future is not completely bleak- there are still options available to you. Let’s go over some of the alternatives you still have left.

First, find out why you’ve been turned down.

You can find out what consumer reporting agency the loan company used to research you, and then request a copy of your credit file directly from that agency. Check your file for any mistakes in your credit history and be sure to resolve them right away. The agency will then have 28 days to fix the mistake on your report, if there is one.
You can also ask the loan agency the reason for denying you a loan, but they may not be able to give you a detailed response. It doesn’t hurt, however, to just try getting an answer from them.

Think before applying for another loan.

Until any mistakes in your credit report are fixed and/or you resolve the initial problem you had with receiving a bank loan, do not apply for any again. All loan applications can and will show up on your credit history, and multiple denials in a short period of time will affect it negatively. Only apply for another loan if you are fully confident in your scoring chances.

If you need money now, try consulting a financial advisor.

An advisor can help you analyze your debt and problem areas in your cash flow as well as assist in planning a budget. They will help tremendously if you’re looking for ways to pay your monthly expenses without going deeper in debt or affecting your credit score negatively.

If you’d like to try a different type of loan, look for an opportunity to take out a car title loan.

Car title loans utilize your vehicle title and give you money in exchange for it (for a temporary amount of time). These loans don’t pay attention to credit scores, though they do tend to come with higher interest rates and want to make sure you are currently employed.

Or you can try selling to a pawnbroker.

Pawn shops will accept your personal items of value, such as jewelry or electronics, and loan you money while they hold them in the store. You then have a limited amount of time to pay back the loan (with interest) to retrieve the item, or you can just let the shop take the item to sell.

You can also sell gold for cash.

There are a number of good places willing to buy your gold for good money, so long as you have it in a good amount, and it’s a safe way to get some extra cash.

But always be aware of scams.

Personal loan scams are, unfortunately, in high company. A few signs that you’re encountering a scam include businesses that are unregistered lenders, lenders that require you to pay “insurance” or “fees”, and loan websites whose URLs lack an “s” (for secure site) in the “https”, among a few others.

After being denied for a bank loan, the future can seem dark and dreadfully full of debt. However, these few alternatives for some extra cash can definitely help you out of a financial hole.

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