May 23, 2012

ING Direct MONEY Teen Checking Account

In conjunction with summertime jobs, ING Direct has unveiled their latest MONEY Teen Checking Account. The MONEY Teen Checking Account is an interest-earning checking account and debit card that parents and teens manage together. The MONEY Account is designed to help teens save and spend their money in a responsible way which will assist them on the road to financial independence.

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February 22, 2011

Effect of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, also known as the Credit CARD Act of 2009. This credit card reform legislation focused on establishing fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit while removing complicated contracts and practices that often lead consumers to pay more than they reasonably expected. In essence the main elements of this law were the following: Ban Unfair Rate Increases, Prevent Unfair Fee Traps, Plain Sight /Plain Language Disclosures, Accountability, and Protection for Students and Young People. Some of the specific requirements in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 include the following: card companies must notify consumers 45 days before they make any big changes to the terms of their cards, including rate increases or penalty fee changes; and credit card companies must disclose how long it will take consumers to pay off their balances if they only make the minimum payment each month. In addition, it banned most rate increases during the first 12 months after a card is issued to a consumer, confined any increases to new purchases, and required the card companies to apply any payments above the minimum to balances carrying the highest interest rate. Initially there was speculation that this new law may restrict access to consumer credit and raise costs. Fortunately for the consumer, this new law is initially being proved successful in accomplishing its stated goals.

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February 18, 2011

Ally Bank Announces CD Rate Increase

Ally Bank announced an increase in their High Yield Certificate of Deposit (CD) rates, effective February 18, 2011. CD terms include 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 3 year, 4 year, and 5 year terms. If you fund your account within 10 days of opening your account you will receive their 10 Day Best Rate Guarantee which means that you will earn the highest rate they offer. At Ally Bank there is no minimum to open an account and no monthly fees. Ally Bank was named the Best Savings Account by MONEY Magazine, ©Time Inc. May 2010 and also named one of the best No fees, No strings checking accounts by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, December, 2010. To view Ally Bank's current rates, visit Certificates of Deposit. Ally Bank's history began in 1919 when it was known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) and was a provider of financing to automotive customers. In 2010 the company was renamed Ally Financial Inc. Ally Financial Inc. is a FDIC-insured institution (NYSE:GJM).

February 14, 2011

IRS Begins Processing Returns Delayed from AMT Legislation

In December 2010 the IRS announced that due to the recently enacted Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) legislation there would be tax processing delays for taxpayers who itemize deductions, specifically those claiming the higher education tuition and fees deduction and the educator expenses deduction. Effective February 14, 2011 the IRS will begin accepting tax returns that were affected by this filing delay. The IRS stated that the delay was necessary to accommodate the December 17, 2010 enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 while not disrupting other operations tied to the filing season. The tax processing delay affected taxpayers using any of these five IRS forms: Form 8863, Education Credits; Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits; Form 1040A's Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A Filers; Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit; and Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit. To make sure you have the most up-to-date tax software, visit the TaxCenter. Here you can compare the top tax providers in either download or desktop format.

July 26, 2010

Ally Bank Announces Rate Increase

Ally Bank announced a rate increase on their 12 month High Yield Certificate of Deposit effective 7/26/10. Ally Bank, originally part of the GMAC family of companies, is a subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc. Ally Financial Inc. is a FDIC-insured institution (NYSE:GJM). Click here to search and apply for online high-yielding, FDIC insured Certificates of Deposit, Savings & Money Market Accounts.

July 9, 2009

The Cash for Clunkers Program (CARS)

In late June President Obama signed into law the "Car Allowance Rebate System" or (CARS) or as it's also known: "Cash for Clunkers." This is a program that encourages people to trade in their cars for more efficient models. It also helps to stimulate the economy (similar to the first time home buyer tax credit) at a time when car sales are lagging. The program runs from July 1st through November 1st 2009. Cars traded in during that time could be eligible for a credit of either $3500 or $4500 depending on the car and the increase in mileage the new vehicle provides.

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February 11, 2009

Market Slides after Geithner's Plan is Announced

Stock markets around the world were down sharply after incoming Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced his plan to revive the ailing credit markets on Tuesday. The negative reaction by the markets is widely blamed on the lack of specifics in Geithners plan. Geithner himself called the plan a framework and stressed the need to continue working out the details in order to make sure everything is done right.

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January 6, 2009

New Cartel Announces the End of Cheap Gas

We are familiar with OPEC and the effects they have had on the price of oil over the years. The OPEC nations meet on a regular basis to decide how much oil they will allow the rest of the world to have from their stores. They set quotas and limits on production in an attempt, they say, to keep the price steady at a level that is good for both consumers and the producers. We've seen how that works. Fortunately, many of the producers balk at reducing output and have a tendency to cheat, producing more than their allocation. Now, we are witnessing the formation of a new cartel, this time of producers of natural gas.

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September 24, 2008

What is the Smartest Money Doing?

Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in America. His investment expertise has put billions in his own pockets and made many millionaires out of those who invested in his primary investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A). Buffett's track record of successful gains while avoiding big losses is among the best in the world. So what is Warren Buffett buying now? He's buying investment banks. That's right, in the middle of what may be the worst banking crisis in the last 75 years, the man who is arguably the greatest living stock-picker is putting his money in investment banking. According to Bloomberg, he is purchasing $5 billion in perpetually preferred stock in Goldman-Sachs (NYSE: GS). This preferred stock has a guaranteed 10% annual dividend. That means Warren Buffett will make a half billion dollars every year that he holds this investment if the value of the shares don't change at all. Of course, Goldman-Sachs maintains the option to buy the shares back from Buffett at any time - so long as they add a 10% kicker on top of the current value.

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September 18, 2008

Some Perspective on the Current Financial Crisis

The current housing and banking crises are both unique and severe. Billions of dollars of wealth have disappeared over the last year, in some cases in just a matter of days. Companies that have been household names have gone bankrupt with others on the verge of failing as this article is being written. Make no mistake; these are scary times with both professionals and the public wondering if their money is safe. Is this the end of the U.S. financial system?

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September 8, 2008

Paulson Says Treasury Adopting Fannie and Freddie

Well, despite statements by Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) execs as recently as the last quarterly statement that they did not foresee a federal takeover, it has happened. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced on Sunday that the federal government will place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) into a temporary conservatorship. Immediate actions under the conservatorship include the elimination of dividends for both owners of both common and preferred shares, immediate cessation of all lobbying and political activities, and a re-evaluation of charitable activities. These moves are designed to preserve as much of the companies' capital as possible while the Treasury and the FHFA recapitalize the nation's largest mortgage brokers through the periodic purchase of senior preferred shares. Current shareholders will also lose all rights to govern the management of the company.

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August 29, 2008

FDIC's Quarterly Banking Report - More Trouble Ahead

The FDIC on Tuesday issued a report showing that the number of financial institutions on its so-called problem list rose to 117 from 90 which were reported at the end of the first quarter. That's an increase of 30% in three months, and things look to get worse before they get better. The number of banks on the list is the most visible thing to consumers, but the amount of assets held by those problem institutions is more troubling still. The total assets of institutions on the problem list tripled. That means some pretty big players are in the additions. While the FDIC doesn't give out the names of troubled banks on its list for fear of hurting them even more, we do know that Indymac Bank which failed in July was on the list. That bank alone had assets of $32 billion, so by deduction that's almost certainly the largest single bank on the list.

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July 31, 2008

WaMu Online Savings Goes Up to 3.75% APY

Washington Mutual, sponsor of the WaMu Online Savings Account, raised their interest rate today to 3.75% APY. This new rate makes WaMu the highest of the 15 different online accounts that tracks.

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June 19, 2008

WTDirect Increases Savings Rate to 3.26%

As of June 19th WTDirect's Savings Account rate is officially increasing to 3.26% APY. This marks their first rate increase in 9 months. Recently we have noticed a number of the larger online banks beginning to raise rates as they fight for investor deposits. Although the economy is slowing it is not dead yet and the online savings accounts represent one of the best ways to earn a competitive yield with minimal risk. Wilmington Trust Corporation (NYSE: WL) is a financial services holding company that provides a variety of banking and financial services. It provides Wealth Advisory Services for high net worth clients in 22 countries, and Corporate Client Services for institutional clients in 81 countries. Its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Wilmington Trust Company, which was founded in 1903, is one of the largest personal trust providers in the United States and the leading retail and commercial bank in Delaware.

May 23, 2007

Bank of America Offering NASCAR Checking Accounts

Hoping to build on its newfound expertise in credit cards and on NASCAR fans' loyalty, Bank of America Corp. has begun offering a NASCAR checking account to try to drive more retail business to its automated teller machines and branches. This follows on the heels of the NASCAR RacePointsSM Visa® Credit Card issued by FIA Cards Services, N.A. which we discussed in a previous blog entry. It appears that "sports affinity" marketing and the financial services industry have discovered one another.

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March 4, 2007

FirstAgain Provides Loans to Borrowers with Excellent Credit

A new lender started business recently with an innovative loan product. If you have watched any business news on the TV the last few days, in addition to the big Stock Market swings, you have heard a lot about problems in the sub-prime lending market. Sub-prime loans are loans to borrowers who do not have the best credit credentials. Some big name lenders have gone out of business recently or had to take sizeable writedowns because of delinquent loans. No big surprises there as these are "high-risk" loans anyway.

So who and what is this new, innovative lender and product? How about a lender who only makes loans to people with excellent credit? That's right, I said excellent credit. What a concept. It's about time someone realized that even people with good credit need a loan occasionally and that they deserve preferential rates and terms for having exercised fiscal responsibility.

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November 23, 2006 Launches State Specific Mortgage Center is pleased to announce the launch of their Mortgage Center. Unlike numerous other sites where the user is expected to fill out a form in order to receive a competitive mortgage quote, the new Mortgage Center offers State Specific mortgage quotes from both local and national lenders. Users are able to see updated quotes that show rates, APY, points and closing costs. If interested, users can then click through directly to the specific lender to fill out an application or request more information online. The new Center supports purchases, refinancings, and home equity loans. Types of loans available include conventional fixed loans, jumbo loans, adjustable rate mortgages, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit. All companies listed are actual mortgage companies, not loan aggregators, and any listing showing rates older than 7 days are dropped so users can be comfortable they are seeing timely, relevant information.

September 16, 2006

Quickbooks Teams Up With Google

Intuit, the maker of the popular Quickbooks accounting software, and Google, the Search giant, announced this week their intent to imbed Google's search and advertising products into the new 2007 Quickbooks software.

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September 14, 2006 Launches Payday Loan Database is pleased to announce the launch of our new Payday Loans Database. Up until now, if a borrower wanted to find a payday loan company they would go to one of the major search engines like Google or Yahoo, type in payday loan, and then be presented with thousands of entries and ads to choose from. The user would then need to "drill down" to each entry and possibly need to read numerous pages to find relevant information like fees and conditions. We have tried to simplify the process by presenting to the searcher a matrix of the top national payday loan providers with data on fees, terms, and both short and long descriptions. Potential borrowers can then apply online directly with the company that appears the most attractive for their particular needs.

September 10, 2006

The 2007 Entertainment Book is Now Available is pleased to announce that the 2007 Entertainment Book is now available. Any purchases made before September 30, 2006 will qualify for Free Shipping. One of our mandates at is to help our users Save Money, and the Entertainment Book has long been one of our favorite ways to do just that.

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September 2, 2006

Washington Mutual Offers WaMu Free Checking TM Account

Washington Mutual, also known as WaMu, has joined in the competition for your online savings account dollars with the introduction of their WaMu Free Checking. Starting off with a 5% Introductory APY for investors that open both a Savings Account and a Checking Account, the account also offers a number of bells and whistles potential investors should find attractive.

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August 26, 2006 Blog Joins Technorati is pleased to announce that we have added our Blog to the Technorati community of bloggers. Currently tracking over 52 million blogs, Technorati is the recognized authority on what's going on in the world of weblogs. The Blog can be found under tags such as money, investments, economics, and personal finance. Check out our Technorati profile when you have the chance here: Technorati Profile

August 17, 2006 Adds UK Credit Cards

We are very excited to announce the addition of United Kingdom (UK) Credit Cards to our Credit Card Center. The addition of UK credit cards complements our existing United States and Canadian credit card listings and now brings our total card listings to over 150 credit cards. The addition of this new category is also in line with our corporate strategy to position as a global personal finance portal.

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July 28, 2006

Emigrant Bank Raises Interest Rate to 5.15% APY

Emigrant Bank, sponsor of the popular EmigrantDirect American Dream Savings Account, continues to be a leader in Online Banking when they raised their interest rate this morning to 5.15% APY. This increase has admittedly caught us by surprise as Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, signaled at their last meeting that interest rate increases were likely on hold for a while. The Fed said there were signs that the economy was slowing and that although controlling inflation is important, the Fed wanted to balance that against risking pushing the economy into a recession with an overall restrictive fiscal policy. Emigrant apparently wasn't listening and has instead decided that attracting depositors with attractive interest rates is more important. We suggest investors take advantage of these high rates while they can. Guaranteed, they will not last forever.

July 4, 2006

Emigrant Bank Goes to 5.00% APY

Emigrant Bank, sponsor of the popular EmigrantDirect American Dream Savings Account, increased their interest rate to 5.00% APY this morning. Happy July 4th! Three of the nations top Banks are now at 5% or greater on their savings accounts. Emigrant today followed the earlier lead of Citibank and Everbank which went to the 5% range immediately after Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, last raised rates. At the risk of being wrong, we think this is it for a while. The Fed implied that any rate changes going forward will be based on the health of the economy, not inflation concerns. As the economy is showing some weakness in Real Estate and the consumer is dealing with high energy prices, we feel the Fed will hold off on any more rate increases for a while. If we end up being wrong, we would appreciate someone sending us a new crystal ball.

June 26, 2006

CitiBank e-Savings Account Goes to 5.00% APY

Just when we thought it couldn't get any better Citibank today raised the interest rate on their e-Savings Account to 5.00%. Last week we reported that Emigrant went to 4.80%, but now Citibank has retaken the throne. Regional Bank stocks took a beating last week as many reported a significant outflow of deposits. Since Citibank launched their e-Savings account a couple of months ago they have had a net inflow in excess of $3 billion in deposits. That money had to come from somewhere and we suspect the smaller banks is where it came from. Any investor can now open up numerous online accounts and electronically move their money to those paying the highest rates. Once again the Internet is leveling the playing field to the benefit of the consumer. You can search and sort the rates from the major Online Banks by visiting the Banking Center. Stay tuned as this new banking battle heats up.

June 22, 2006

Emigrant Increases Savings Rate to 4.80% APY

Emigrant Bank, sponsor of the popular EmigrantDirect American Dream Savings Account, increased their interest rate to 4.80% APY this morning. This makes their rate one of the most competitive in the country. Rates have consistently been rising for months now, but even we are a bit surprised by this increase. Emigrant seems to be wanting to replace Ben Bernanke, the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve, by raising rates even before the Feds next meeting. This implies that competition is stiff among the online banks. We still expect the Fed to stop raising rates soon as the fine line between protecting against inflation and shifting the economy into a recession is probably being approached. Investors should take advantage of these high, insured rates while they can.

May 31, 2006

ING Increases Savings Rate to 4.25% APY

INGDirect, the sponsor of the popular Orange Savings Account, raised their interest rate this morning to 4.25% APY. This follows Emigrant which raised just last week. One of the reasons given yesterday for the Stock Market's large decline was that investors were concerned that the Federal Reserve would continue to raise interest rates based on a strong economy. We are starting to become a little skeptical that rates are going to continue to rise, particularly with oil prices continuing to go up and obvious softness in the Real Estate market. Therefore, this is a good time for Online Bank investors to get a competitive yield with no risk to principal. See our Banking Center for a listing of all our Online Savings Account and CD providers.

May 26, 2006

Emigrant Increases Interest Rate to 4.65%

Emigrant Bank, sponsor of the popular EmigrantDirect American Dream Savings AccountTM raised their interest rate today to 4.65%.

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May 6, 2006

Countrywide Bank Raises Interest Rate to 4.15% APY

Countrywide Bank has raised the interest rate on their Online Banking product to 4.15% APY. This follows INGDirect which also went to 4.15% APY a week ago. In addition to Online Savings, Countrywide also offers competitive Certificate of Deposit rates. If you are not taking advantage of the high interest rates available from the online banks you are really missing out. Most of the online rates are double what conventional banks are offering. In addition, the accounts "link" to your existing bank accounts making it easy to transfer funds between the two and they are also FDIC insured. You can see our complete selection in the Banking Center.

May 1, 2006

ING Raises Interest Rate to 4.15%

ING Direct, the sponsor of the popular Orange Savings Account raised their interest rate yesterday to 4.15% APY. This is good news for investors looking for safety and a competitive yield on their savings. All year interest rates have been inching up as the economy continues to perform well. ING is consistently one of the leaders with their rates. Online accounts like the Orange Savings are meant to complement an investors existing bank account rather than replace it. Investors "attach" their Orange Savings Account to one or more other traditional accounts and can then "sweep" extra funds from their low interest accounts into the higher-yielding ING account. Be sure to check out our Banking Center where you can compare rates on over 16 of the more popular National online bank accounts.

April 17, 2006

Quicken & UnitedHealth to Develop Health Care Software

Intuit, the maker of the popular Quicken Personal Finance Software and UnitedHealth Group announced last week their intent to develop a series of Quicken-branded software products to help consumers more effectively manage their health care use. Although not scheduled for release until 2007, Intuit and UnitedHealth are already encouraging other health firms to join the initiative. The software is to be designed to allow consumers to view and organize payments and medical records from both their doctors and hospital. thinks this idea is way overdue and wish it was available yesterday as opposed to 2007. We will keep you informed as to the actual product launch.

April 4, 2006

EverBank FreeNet Checking Goes to 5.51% APY

One of the best "teaser rates" we are seeing in the Internet Banking space is the EverBank FreeNet Checking Account.They are currently offering 5.51% APY for the first three months for new customers. The account also comes with free online banking, free check writing, and a free Visa® CheckCard. At the end of the three month period EverBank guarantees you'll continue to earn a yield that ranks in the top 5% of competitive accounts as tracked in the Bank Rate Monitor National Index™ of leading banks and thrifts. With a minimum of only $1,500 to open an account, FDIC insurance, no monthly fees , and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, this is probably worth a look.

February 17, 2006

Countrywide Bank Raises Money Market Rates

Countrywide Bank raised their Money Market Interest Rate today to 4.25% APY for balances of $50,000 or more and to 4.01% APY for smaller balances.

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January 27, 2006

Emigrant Goes Up to 4.25%

Emigrant Bank, sponsor of the popular EmigrantDirect Savings Account raised their interest rate today to 4.25%.

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January 19, 2006

INGDirect Raises Interest Rate to 4.75%

INGDirect, the sponsors of the popular Orange Savings Account raised their interest rate on new deposits to 4.75% today. The battle for online Savings Account deposits continues to heat up, with the two main contestants being...

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