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If you’re in the market for a rewards credit card, you may be wondering which is the best for you.
a woman on a beach holding a credit card Make It a Point to Maximize Rewards
If you’re in the market for a rewards credit card, you may be wondering which is the best for you. Before you apply, be sure to consider:
  1. Rewards you’ll actually use. For example, one card may provide generous airline miles – great, unless you prefer road trips or staying close to home. Even if you enjoy travel, airline-branded credit cards generally provide points that are good only for purchasing tickets on that particular airline. If you want to go someplace they don’t fly, you’re out of luck. If you’re an avid shopper, you might prefer a card that lets you redeem points for merchandise. Or, maybe you’d just like to get cash back on your purchases and stash that money in a savings account.
  2. The annual percentage rate (APR). Many cards come with interest rates of 25% or higher. If you tend to carry a balance, these cards likely will cost you more in interest than you would earn in rewards. Tip: Work on improving your credit score to qualify for the best rate.
  3. The annual fee. Some cards charge an annual fee ranging from $25 to hundreds of dollars. Consider a card with a $69 annual fee that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you spent $5,000 during the year, you could expect $75 in rewards – but after your annual fee, you’d net only $6.
  4. The balance transfer fee. According to Bankrate.com, a typical balance transfer fee is 3%.* That means if you transfer a $5,000 balance to a new card, it will cost you $150. Look for a card with a no transfer fee if you intend to transfer a balance.
  5. Whether you can earn bonus points. Certain cards provide additional points or discounts if you shop at specific service providers or merchants.
  6. Whether you can pool points. Some issuers provide rewards points on debit cards as well as credit cards and let you pool the points to get to a desired reward level faster.

Leverage your card for faster rewards

Once you choose the right card, these strategies can help you pile up points even faster:
  1. Use your credit card for everyday spending. Consider charging that daily latte, dinner out or other purchases to your credit card. Just be careful to keep track of spending so you stay within your budget.
  2. Use automatic billing. You generally can have monthly bills, such as cellphone and utilities, automatically charged to your credit card. Again, be sure you budget for these expenses.
  3. Strive to pay off your outstanding balance each month. If you avoid paying interest charges, those points you earn are really money in your pocket!

Compare the benefits of Visa® Rewards Plus


Once you research other cards, you’ll find that Advancial offers a wide range of perks. With Advancial’s Visa Rewards Plus credit card, you’ll:
  • Earn 1 point (1%) for each dollar spent
  • Earn 1.5% rewards if you spend $2,500 or make 25+ purchases during a billing cycle
  • Enjoy 0% APR for the first 12 months after opening the card (plus, there’s no balance transfer fee)
  • After that you’ll benefit from a low rate of 8.90% to 14.90% based on creditworthiness (that’s right, Advancial’s highest interest rate is lower than most institutions’ lowest rate)
  • Earn bonus points when you use your Advancial debit or Visa Rewards Plus card for in-store or online purchases at popular local and national merchants through Ampre and Ampre Online
  • Automatically combine debit and credit card points for more rewards and easy redemption
Perhaps best of all, you can redeem your points for cash back, merchandise, travel, gift cards, green products and charitable donations – the choice is yours!

Visit Advancial to learn more about our credit cards, including Visa Rewards Plus, Secured Savings Visa® or Dinero Visa for teens and young adults, or to apply online.


* Source: Bankrate.com.
 
 
A checking account that makes you pay to access your own money is no friend to your finances. Truth is, plenty of banks charge fees that can chip away at your account balance. Not so at Advancial.
a woman smiling Advancial Checking 101: Smart Ways to Manage Your Money

A checking account that makes you pay to access your own money is no friend to your finances. Truth is, plenty of banks charge fees that can chip away at your account balance. Not so at Advancial. Our checking accounts are designed to benefit your bottom line, not a bank’s shareholders.

Check out the Advancial difference

According to Bankrate.com, the average monthly service fee for non-interest-bearing checking is $5.57 – you’d need an average daily balance of more than $600 to avoid the fee. Interest-bearing accounts charge a whopping $14.35 a month on average (and you’d need to maintain an average daily balance of more than $6,000 to avoid the fee – yikes!). Overdraft fees average $33.23, and the average surcharge to use an out-of-network ATM is $3.02.*

A bank customer with an interest-bearing account who is unable to maintain the average daily balance could end up spending more than $172 a year in service fees. And that’s before adding in overdraft and foreign ATM fees.

In contrast, Advancial’s Ultimate Checking account offers:

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum balance**
  • No overdraft transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $0 fee on non-Advancial ATM transactions***
  • Free online and mobile banking
  • Free checks

And that’s not all …

Our Ultimate Checking account also provides benefits you won’t see in most other checking accounts, including:

  • Dividends. Earn dividends on your Ultimate Checking balance.**
  • Debit card rewards. Earn 1 point for each $5 spent on your card. Redeem for travel, cash back or choose from a long list of gift cards and merchandise.
  • Save UpSM program. When you enroll in this program, Advancial rounds up all debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers that amount to your savings account. It’s an easy, automatic way to build your savings or emergency fund. That change adds up!
  • CO-OP Shared Branch Access. Enjoy access to 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and more than 5,000 locations nationwide through the CO-OP Shared Branching Network.
Teens? Expats? We’re here for you, too

We want our younger members as well as new arrivals to the U.S. to benefit from Advancial’s checking programs:

Dinero Checking is designed for teens age 13 to 18. It offers many of the same features as Ultimate Checking – no minimum balance, free ATMs, no monthly fee, debit card rewards and the Save Up program. Dinero Checking helps teens learn about managing money, while allowing their parents to keep track of their spending (an adult is required to be co-owner of the account).

Inbound USA Checking is designed for recent expats. When you move to the U.S. for work or studies, it may be difficult to open a bank account. Inbound USA Checking makes it simple, with free checking and ATM access as well as no foreign transaction fees. Major banks in the U.S. may also offer expat banking accounts, but monthly fees usually start at $10 a month.

Start making the most of your money today with your Advancial membership. All it takes is a $5 deposit in an Advancial savings account and you’ll be on your way to taking advantage of everything we have to offer. To learn more about eligibility or to apply for membership, visit any Advancial location or go online.

* Source: Bankrate’s 2018 checking account and ATM fee study, bankrate.com.

Getting out of debt may sometimes feel like digging out an entire beach with a child’s toy shovel. But ditching your debt is not impossible.

a couple sitting on the floor looking at bills Ditch the Debt


Getting out of debt may sometimes feel like digging out an entire beach with a child’s toy shovel. But ditching your debt is not impossible. First, it’s important to remember that not all debt is bad. Some debt helps you live a more fulfilling life. For example, student loans may allow you to get the training or degree you need to land a good job. Mortgage loans can allow you to own your own home – few people can purchase a home with cash on hand. Even an auto loan may be considered good debt if it means you can buy a safe and reliable vehicle for transportation.


 

So, what’s bad debt?

Personal loans, credit cards and store cards are not in themselves bad. But having too much debt is bad if you are having difficulty making payments. You may be in over your head if you answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Do you carry balances from month to month on more than one credit card or store card?
  • Do you pay only the minimum due each month?
  • Do you sometimes exceed your credit limit?
  • Have you had more than one late payment penalty in the past year?
  • Have you ever taken out a payday loan to cover bills?

 

Two strategies for paying off debt

How you work towards paying off debt depends largely on what motivates you. For example, if you want to pay the least amount of interest, pay off the highest-interest-rate debt first:

  1. Pay as much as you possibly can each month on the highest-rate debt, while paying the minimum on other debts.
  2. Once that bill is paid off, direct the money you would have paid to the next-highest-rate debt, while continuing to pay the minimum on remaining balances.
  3. Repeat until debt is gone.

If you are more likely to be motivated by seeing entire balances disappear more quickly, try the snowball method:

  1. Pay as much as you possibly can each month on the bill with the lowest balance. Pay the minimum on other debts.
  2. Once you pay off the smallest bill, start paying as much as you can on the next lowest bill. Continue paying the minimum on other debts.
  3. Repeat until debts are paid.

Of course, neither of these strategies will work unless you stop adding more debt to your load. Commit to getting spending under control. Stay away from the mall, opt to pack a lunch and make specialty coffee a nice reward, not a daily habit.
 

Other debt-reduction strategies

Perhaps you’ve accumulated a wallet full of high-rate store cards because of the promotions they offer. Those offers look attractive, but the average interest rate on a store card is a whopping 25.64%.1
In the long run, what you save on promotions is likely far less than what you are shelling out in interest.

Consider doing a balance transfer to a lower-rate credit card. A balance transfer may result in a more affordable monthly payment and fewer bills to keep track of. Plus, you may save hundreds of dollars in interest payments.

If you qualify, the Advancial Visa® Rewards Plus offers:

  • No balance transfer fees
  • No annual fee
  • 0% interest for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases
  • After that, your interest rate will be 8.90% - 14.90% based on creditworthiness – even the highest rate is way less than the average store card!

Imagine how fast debt could melt away if you are managing one monthly payment at a much lower interest rate.


Save on financial products

Another debt-reduction strategy is simply to lower your monthly costs. For example, are you paying a monthly fee for a checking account? Getting hit with foreign ATM fees just to get to your money? Advancial members have access to our Ultimate Checking account , which features no monthly service fee, no minimum balance requirements, unlimited free ATMs worldwide, free mobile banking - you name it, we’ve got it. .

Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worthwhile. Advancial is here to help you make the most of your money with free products, low rates and superior service the big banks just can’t match.


1Source: Creditcards.com, https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/retail-store-credit-card-survey.php

article preview image Seven Money Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Myth #1: Debit is always better than credit. 

The real deal: Credit cards may actually be the payment method of choice on occasion. First, many credit cards offer rewards in the form of travel miles, cash back and other bonuses. Second, building and maintaining a strong credit history is crucial for your financial wellness; the best way to achieve this is by using your credit cards and paying your bills on time. Finally, lots of credit cards offer purchase protection, which makes them the smarter payment method for big-ticket items. 

 

Myth #2: Buy a home at all costs. 

The real deal: For many people, including those who are not yet ready to put down roots or who anticipate a career change that necessitates moving across state lines, renting a home or apartment might be the better choice. It can also be a financially expedient option if you live in a super-expensive area. 

 

Myth #3: Investing is for rich people. 

The real deal: Anyone with a small pile of funds can get a foothold in the stock market. A smart investment strategy puts you on the track to financial independence. 

 

Myth #4: My partner manages our finances, so I don’t need to think about money. 

The real deal: While it is fine for one partner to actively manage the family’s money, it is crucial for both partners to be aware of the state of the family finances. They both should also be capable of managing household expenses and investments if something were to happen to their partner. 

 

Myth #5: Credit cards will get me through any financial crisis. 

The real deal: Depending on credit cards to get you through a financial emergency is the perfect way to dig into a deep pit of debt. Thanks to interest, you’ll be paying back a lot more than you spend. Credit cards should not be relied upon for a real financial emergency, such as a job loss, divorce or illness. It’s best to build an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses so that you’re completely covered in case the unexpected happens. 

 

Myth #6: I’m so young; I don’t need to think about retirement. 

The real deal: The younger you are when you start building your retirement fund, the less you’ll be required to put away each month, and the more you’ll save by the time you’re ready to retire. Gift yourself with a comfortable retirement by maxing out your 401K contributions and/or opening an IRA or another retirement fund. Start today and let compound interest work its magic! 
 

Myth #7: I have enough money in my account for my expenses, so I don’t need to budget.  

The real deal: Budgeting is for everyone, regardless of their financial standing. A budget will force you to make responsible money choices, and ensure that you’re fully aware of the state of your finances at all times. 

Who wouldn’t love some extra pocket money? Here are six ideas for easy side hustles. Maybe one or more of them is right for you.  
article preview image Six Side Hustles Anyone Can Do

Who wouldn’t love some extra pocket money? Here are six ideas for easy side hustles. Maybe one or more of them is right for you.  

1.) Play with dogs

When you offer your services as a dog-walker or pet-sitter you can charge as much as $25 an hour, depending on the going rate in your area. Hang flyers to advertise your services, post on the Nextdoor app or sign up with a dog-walking app like Rover or Wag. These Uber-like services match pet owners with sitters or walkers for a small fee.

2.) Social media guru

Offer your services to local and remote businesses as their social media brander. Depending on your skill set, you can write the company blog posts, manage their social media presence or focus on graphic design. 

3.) Yard work

Do you enjoy landscaping or gardening? Are you an expert lawn mower? Get paid for tending to people’s yards. You can charge by the hour or per job. Check out some other local yard workers to get an idea of fair asking prices.

4.) Take online surveys for pay

Make the time you spend online count by taking surveys on sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. Most of these sites will pay you as soon as you complete a survey. It’s an easy way to pad your wallet with extra cash.

5.) Work for a rideshare service

These services allow you to set your own schedule and decide how many hours you want to devote to driving passengers. If you don’t like the idea of strangers riding in your car, consider a similar service but for food ordering and delivery. With this side hustle, you get paid to pick up fast-food meals and deliver them to customers, with the same flexible terms.  

6.)  Tutor

Are you a geometry whiz or a science buff? Offer your services as an individual tutor for school-aged children and you’ll have a meaningful way of earning some extra money.

Use this list to find the side hustle that works for you and start boosting your income!

 

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