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Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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The has set the bar for standardized cash back rewards on all purchases at a rate of 1.5%. Cardholders can earn on an unlimited amount, and there are no revolving spending categories or extra steps needed to redeem rewards. In addition, the cash rewards accrued don’t expire as long as the account is open.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card cash-back card is an ideal option for credit card users with good to excellent credit looking for flat-rate rewards on everyday purchases like gas, dining and other living expenses.

Card APR Annual Fee Intro Bonus Credit Needed Key features
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 0% intro on purchases For 15 Months, then ongoing 15.74% – 25.74% (Variable) APR $0 $150 after spending $500 within three months of account activation Good to Excellent Cash back

What we like about it

The offers an uncapped 1.5% cash-back reward on all purchases. There’s no limit to what you can earn and no quarterly spending category bonuses to monitor — a real benefit to the less detail-oriented among us. Cardholders aren’t charged an annual fee, and there are no foreign transaction fees, so users won’t be hit with extra charges while on international trips.

To sweeten the deal, new card members receive a $150 cash bonus as long as they spend $500 on purchases within three months of the account activation. The low spending requirement to receive that sign-on cash bonus means that cardholders won’t feel as pressured to overspend in order to earn the reward. Other cards may offer higher sign-on cash bonuses which can tempt credit card users to spend more money than they otherwise would in pursuit of that cash bonus. And at that point, the cash bonus may not make much of a difference in terms of profit margin.

The 0% APR period of 15 months, then an ongoing 15.74% – 25.74% (Variable) APR is another bonus that card users can easily take advantage of — especially if a big purchase is looming in the near future. Of course, you should only go this route if you know you can pay off the purchase within that intro period.

The high rewards rate of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and no minimum redemption allows cardholders a gimmick-free way to earn cash back on every single purchase without having to parse through complex reward structures.

Things to consider

While the certainly offers plenty of benefits for no-fuss cash back, there are other cards that may provide better terms — depending on what you’re specifically looking for in your credit card.

This cash-back card offers no bonus rewards categories, so for users who want to optimize how much they can earn in different spending areas, this isn’t the way to go. But if you want a blanket rate that applies to everything you buy, that 1.5% cash back is a high enough rate that can pay off in the long run if you use it as your primary card throughout the year.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card cash-back details

The 1.5% cash-back reward is applicable to all of your everyday purchases. Rewards don’t expire as long as the account is active. You can redeem your cash back in the form of statement credit, to cover a recent purchase or in the form a gift card.

You can redeem your rewards for any amount that you choose, at any time you want. This flexibility is great for those who don’t want to wait to reach a minimum redemption amount.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card fees

Overall, the low-fee structure of this credit card makes it a standout choice compared to other cards that may offer better or more robust rewards but stick cardholders with a hefty annual fee and other caveats that water down the benefits.

If you’re interested in this card in order to complete a balance transfer, you’ll have to pay a 3% balance transfer fee. While that fee isn’t terrible compared to market rates, it will hurt your wallet if you’re trying to transfer a larger balance.

How does it compare to other cash-back cards?

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a higher cash-back rate at 2% on all purchases with no cap and no annual fee. However, the drawbacks include a lack of a cash sign-on bonus and no 0% introductory APR on purchases (although there is a 0% APR balance transfer offer). So, if you want a higher cash-back rate and you’re okay with losing out on a sign-on bonus, that may be the right choice.

The is another good cash back card that comes with a $0 annual fee and 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover will match the cash back you earn at the end of the first year.

While comparing these cash-back cards, it’s important to consider your financial habits and your own preferences. If you want a flat-rate cash-back card with a low fee structure, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card might be the right choice. But if you want to invest more time monitoring spending category cash-back bonuses, the card will allow you to optimize your rewards. And the Citi Double Cash Back boasts a higher 2% cash-back rate on all purchases but no sign-on bonus. So, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of what makes the most sense based on your spending habits.

The bottom line

Simple credit card users will appreciate the ’s straightforward cash-back rewards and 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases, with no cap. But for those looking to optimize their credit card rewards to put toward travel points and larger cash-back percentages in rotating spending categories, other cards may be a better choice. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is best for consumers looking for a no-brainer cash-back solution who are fee-averse.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser’s page for terms & conditions.

The post Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review appeared first on The Simple Dollar.



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MEFA Student Loans Review: Non-Profit Lender With Low Rates And Fees

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MEFA Student LoansMEFA Student Loans

When you need a private student loan for school, finding a student loan provider who can meet your needs and has reasonable loan terms is critical.

Private student loan providers are not all created equal. So researching providers is a must when it comes to finding a good deal. Looking for lenders that are non-profit organizations can be a good starting point as they may be willing to offer more attractive rates and/or terms.

MEFA is one such non-profit provider. For undergraduate and graduate students who are United States citizens and attend an eligible college, MEFA student loans could be a strong option. We’ll explain the loan features and when a private student loan from MEFA could make sense.

See how MEFA compares to other private lenders in minutes on Credible!


MEFA logoMEFA logoMEFA logo

Quick Summary

  • Undergraduate and graduate student loans
  • Reasonable rates and terms
  • No formal forbearance policy

MEFA Student Loans Details

Product Name

MEFA Student Loans

Min Loan Amount

$1,500

Max Loan Amount

Cost of Attendance

APR

3.75%-5.75%

Rate Type

Fixed

Loan Terms

10 or 15 Years

Promotions

None

Who Is MEFA?

MEFA is the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority. They are a non-profit organization based in Boston, MA. MEFA provides student loans for undergraduate and graduate students alike. MEFA was created in 1982 by the Massachusetts state legislature at the request of colleges and universities across the state.

What Do They Offer?

MEFA offers private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students. They also provide student loan refinancing. While MEFA is a Massachusetts-based organization, they lend to families in all 50 states.

A MEFA loan only covers one school year. Students must apply each year that they will be in school. For example, if you want a loan to cover four years of school, you’ll need to apply four times for four loans.

Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid. Minimum loan amounts are $2,000 for private schools and $1,500 for public schools. Cosigners are generally required for undergraduate loans.

Qualifications

Students must be enrolled at least half time in an accredited degree-granting undergraduate or graduate program and maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined by the school. The school must be a non-profit but can be public or private. Loan applications are subject to MEFA credit approval standards.

To find out your actual loan rates, you’ll have to go through the full application process, which does require a hard credit check. If you are using a cosigner, they will also require a credit check and the final loan amount can depend on the cosigner’s finances. Upon approval, any loan rate that you might receive will fall within the ranges stated below for undergraduate and graduate loans.

Undergraduate Loans

There are several types of student loans for undergraduates to choose from. Fixed rates vary from 3.75% to 5.75% APR. Note: rates subject to change.

  • Immediate Repayment (10-year term): Payments begin immediately (28th day of the month following the final disbursement). 3.75% – 5.30% APR
  • Immediate Repayment (15-year term): Payments begin the same as above. 3.95% – 5.35% APR.
  • Interest-Only Repayment (15-year term): Interest-only payments begin immediately. Payments that include principal begin after the undergraduate anticipated in-school period. 4.25% – 5.40% APR.
  • Deferred Repayment (15-year term): Payments are deferred until six months after the student graduates or no longer meet academic qualifications. Deferments are available for a maximum of 60 months. 4.38% – 5.50% APR. 
  • Student Deferred Repayment with Co-Borrower Release (15-year term): Same terms as “Deferred Repayment.” However, the co-borrower can be released after 48 consecutive on-time payments. 4.62% – 5.75% APR.

Graduate Loans

There are two types of graduate student loans available from MEFA. Both have fixed rates. The same loan minimum and maximum amounts apply for graduate as undergraduate loans.

  • Interest-Only Repayment (15-year term): Payments begin the 28th day following the final loan disbursement. The principal will be added to loan payments once the in-school period ends. 4.25% – 5.40% APR.
  • Deferred Repayment (15-year term): Payments are deferred until six months after the student graduates or no longer meet academic qualifications. Unlike undergraduate loans, deferments on graduate loans max out at 36 months. 4.45% – 5.50% APR.

Are There Any Fees?

MEFA student loans (for both undergrads and graduates) come with no application or origination fees. They also don’t charge fees for late payments or returned checks. Finally, there are no prepayment penalties on MEFA student loans.

How Do I Open An Account?

To apply for a MEFA loan, visit https://www.mefa.org. Keep in mind that MEFA doesn’t offer pre-qualified rate quotes. If you submit a loan application, a hard credit inquiry will be placed on your credit report.

Is My Money Safe?

Since MEFA doesn’t take deposits, there isn’t any money to lose. If you’re approved for a MEFA student loan, the funds will be disbursed directly to your college or university.

Is It Worth It?

For students who need to take out private student loans to help pay for school, MEFA student loans could be worth it. They have competitive rates and terms and do offer some in-school deferment options.

However, one major downside to MEFA is that they don’t have any formal hardship forbearance policy. And since they use traditional loan underwriting methods, it’s likely that you’ll need a cosigner to get approved for a MEFA undergraduate student loan (and only one of their loans offers cosigner release).

Before you apply for any MEFA student loans, be sure to compare them with other private lenders on Credible. And if you’re looking to take out a private student loan without a cosigner, check out our guide.

MEFA Student Loans Features

Min Loan Amount

  • Public school: $1,500
  • Private school: $2,000

Max Loan Amount

Cost of attendance

APR

3.75%-5.75%

Auto-Pay Discount

None

Rate Type

Fixed

Loan Terms

10 or 15 years

Origination Fees

None

Prepayment Penalty?

No

In-School Payments

  • Immediate payments
  • Interest-only payments
  • Full deferment

Co-signers Allowed?

Yes, but only on one undergraduate plan

Grace Period

6 Months

Eligible Schools

Accredited non-profit degree-granting undergraduate or graduate program (public or private)

Servicer

American Education Services

Customer Service Phone Number

1-800-266-0243

Customer Service Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8pm

Customer Service Email

mefaloans@mefa.org

Address For Sending Payments

American Education Services
P.O. Box 65093
Baltimore, MD 21264-5093

Promotions

None

The post MEFA Student Loans Review: Non-Profit Lender With Low Rates And Fees appeared first on The College Investor.



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Introducing Coverage Critic: Time to Kill the $80 Mobile Phone Bill Forever

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A Quick Foreword: Although the world is still in Pandemic mode, we are shifting gears back to personal finance mode here at MMM. Partly because we could all use a distraction right now, and even more important because forced time off like this is the ideal time to re-invest in optimizing parts of your life such as your fitness, food and finances.

Canadian Readers – we have also collected some recommendations for you at a new Canadian Mobile Phone recommendations page.

Every now and then, I learn to my horror that some people are still paying preposterous amounts for mobile phone service, so I write another article about it.

If we are lucky, a solid number of people make the switch and enjoy increased prosperity, but everyone who didn’t happen to read that article goes on paying and paying, and I see it in the case studies that people email me when looking for advice. Lines like this in their budget:

  • mobile phone service (2 people): $160

“NO!!!!”
is all I can say, when I see such unnecessary expenditure. These days, a great nationwide phone service plan costs between and $10-40 per month, depending on how many frills you need.

Why is this a big deal? Just because of this simple fact:

  • Cutting $100 per month from your budget becomes a $17,000 boost to your wealth every ten years.

And today’s $10-40 phone plans are just great. Anything more than that is just a plain old ripoff, end of story. Just as any phone more expensive than $200* (yes, that includes all new iPhones), is probably a waste of money too.

So today, we are going to take the next step: assigning a permanent inner-circle Mustachian expert to monitor the ever-improving cell phone market, and dispense the latest advice as appropriate. And I happen to know just the guy:

Christian Smith, along with colleagues at GiveWell in San Francisco, circa 2016

My first contact with Chris was in 2016 when he was working with GiveWell, a super-efficient charitable organization that often tops the list for people looking to maximize the impact of their giving.

But much to my surprise, he showed up in my own HQ coworking space in 2018, and I noticed he was a bit of a mobile phone research addict. He had started an intriguing website called Coverage Critic, and started methodically reviewing every phone plan (and even many handsets) he could get his hands on, and I liked the thorough and open way in which he did it.

This was ideal for me, because frankly I don’t have time to keep pace with ongoing changes in the marketplace. I may be an expert on construction and energy consumption, but I defer to my friend Ben when I have questions about fixing cars, Brandon when I need advice on credit cards, HQ member Dr. D for insider perspectives on the life of a doctor and the medical industry, and now Chris can take on the mobile phone world.

So we decided to team up: Chris will maintain his own list of the best cheap mobile phone plans on a new Coverage Critic page here on MMM. He gets the benefit of more people enjoying his work, and I get the benefit of more useful information on my site. And if it goes well, it will generate savings for you and eventual referral income for us (more on that at the bottom of this article).

So to complete this introduction, I will hand the keyboard over to the man himself.

Meet The Coverage Critic

Chris, engaged in some recent Coverage Criticicism at MMM-HQ

I started my professional life working on cost-effectiveness models for the charity evaluator GiveWell. (The organization is awesome; see MMM’s earlier post.) When I was ready for a career change, I figured I’d like to combine my analytical nature with my knack for cutting through bullshit. That quickly led me to the cell phone industry.

So about a year ago, I created a site called Coverage Critic in the hopes of meeting a need that was being overlooked: detailed mobile phone service reviews, without the common problem of bias due to undisclosed financial arrangements between the phone company and the reviewer.

What’s the Problem with the Cell Phone Industry?

Somehow, every mobile phone network in the U.S. claims to offer the best service. And each network can back up its claims by referencing third-party evaluations. 

How is that possible? Bad financial incentives.

Each network wants to claim it is great. Network operators are willing to pay to license reviewers’ “awards”. Consequently, money-hungry reviewers give awards to undeserving, mediocre networks.

On top of this, many phone companies have whipped up combinations of confusing plans, convoluted prices, and misleading claims. Just a few examples:

  • Coverage maps continue to be wildly inaccurate.
  • Many carriers offer “unlimited” plans that have limits.
  • All of the major U.S. network operators are overhyping next-generation, 5G technologies. AT&T has even started tricking its subscribers by renaming some of its 4G service “5GE.”

However, with enough research and shoveling, I believe it becomes clear which phone companies and plans offer the best bang for the buck.  So going forward, MMM and I will be collaborating to share recommended phone plans right here on his website, and adding an automated plan finder tool soon afterwards. I think you’ll find that there are a lot of great, budget-friendly options on the market.

A Few Quick Examples:

Mint Mobile: unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 8GB of data for as low as $20 per month (runs over T-Mobile’s network).

T-Mobile Connect: unlimited minutes and texts with 2GB of data for $15 per month.

Xfinity Mobile: 5 lines with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 10GB of shared data over Verizon’s network for about $12 per line each month (heads up: only Xfinity Internet customers are eligible, and the bring-your-own-device program is somewhat restrictive).

Cricket Wireless: 4 lines in a combined family plan with unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited data for as low as $100 per month (runs on AT&T’s network).

Ting: Limited use family plans for under $15 per line each month.

[MMM note – even as a frequent traveler, serious techie and a “professional blogger”, I rarely use more than 1GB each month on my own Google Fi plan ($20 base cost plus data, then $15 for each additional family member). So some of these are indeed generous plans]

Okay, What About Phones?

With the above carriers, you may be able to bring your existing phone. But if you need a new one, there are some damn good, low-cost options these days. The Moto G7 Play is only $130 and offers outstanding performance despite the low price point. I use it as my personal phone and love it.

If you really want something fancy, consider the Google Pixel 3a or the recently released, second-generation iPhone SE. Both of these are amazing phones and about half as expensive as an iPhone 11.

——————————————-

Mobile Phone Service 101

If you’re looking to save on cell phone service, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the industry. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to skip over a lot of nuances in the rest of this post. If you’re a nerd like me and want more technical details, check out my longer, drier article that goes into more depth.

The Wireless Market

There are only four nationwide networks in the U.S. (soon to be three thanks to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint). They vary in the extent of their coverage:

  • Verizon (most coverage)
  • AT&T (2nd best coverage)
  • T-Mobile (3rd best coverage)
  • Sprint (worst coverage)

Not everyone needs the most coverage. All four nationwide networks typically offer solid coverage in densely populated areas. Coverage should be a bigger concern for people who regularly find themselves deep in the mountains or cornfields.

While there are only four nationwide networks, there are dozens of carriers offering cell phone service to consumers – offering vastly different pricing and customer service experiences.

Expensive services running over a given network will tend to offer better customer service, more roaming coverage, and better priority during periods of congestion than low-cost carriers using the same network. That said, many people won’t even notice a difference between low-cost and high-cost carriers using the same network.

For most people, the easiest way to figure out whether a low-cost carrier will provide a good experience is to just try one. You can typically sign up for these services without a long-term commitment. If you have a good initial experience with a budget-friendly carrier, you can stick with it and save substantially month after month.

With a good carrier, a budget-friendly phone, and a bit of effort to limit data use, most people can have a great cellular experience while saving a bunch of money.

MMM’s Conclusion

From now on, you can check in on the Coverage Critic’s recommendations at mrmoneymustache.com/coveragecritic, and he will also be issuing occasional clever or wry commentary on Twitter at @Coverage_Critic.

Thanks for joining the team, Chris!

*okay, special exception if you use it for work in video or photography. I paid $299 a year ago for my stupendously fancy Google Pixel 3a phone.. but only because I run this blog and the extra spending is justified by the better camera.

The Full Disclosure: whenever possible, we have signed this blog up for referral programs with any recommended companies that offer them, so we may receive a commission if you sign up for a plan using our research. We aim to avoid letting income (or lack thereof) affect our recommendations, but we still want to be upfront about everything so you can judge for yourself. Specific details about these referral programs is shared on the CC transparency page. MMM explains more about how he handles affiliate arrangements here.



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Three tips to managing your money post-COVID world

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This article was created by StackCommerce. While Postmedia may collect a commission on sales through the links on this page, we are not being paid by the brands mentioned.

Managing your finances has always been a crucial aspect of your personal life, but with a global pandemic underway, uncertainty is surrounding more than just your savings account. Checking out and not keeping a close eye on your financial well-being is not an option. Instead, taking stock of how you manage your money may bring you greater peace of mind in this troubling time.

Uncertainty surrounds everything from your paycheck to federal interest rates but focusing on these three goals for managing your money may help you find some additional security in a post-COVID world.

Find a high savings rate

Saving money becomes even harder during a crisis, but one of the smartest things you can do now is open a high-yield savings account. Explore different online banks and see what they can offer as far as the annual percentage yield.

The national average rate is 0.06 per cent but a few online savings accounts are even offering more than 1.0 per cent annual percentage yield. That kind of rate will actually

boost your savings

or your emergency fund over time, giving you a better cushion in future times of uncertainty.

Create an emergency budget

While you watch your high-yield savings account grow, take the opportunity to set up your emergency budget. The best way to avoid a financial emergency is to make sure you have a cushion to get you through hard times. Whether it’s an unemployment cheque, a paycheque, or even worker’s compensation or paid sick leave, a good rule of thumb is to stash away a small percentage of it for a rainy day.

And it doesn’t get any rain more than during a global pandemic.

Paying close attention to your budget and using a personal finance tracker like

iFinancer Income & Expense Tracker

is a great way to make sure you know where your money is going. It’ll help you avoid dipping into your savings account unless you need to, and allow your emergency budget to carry you through to more stable times.

Maintain your credit

While many banks and lenders have temporarily adjusted their lending policies in response to COVID-19, these changes can impact your credit and even end up hurting you in the long run. Keep an eye on any habits that affect your credit like payment history, new credit accounts, and amounts owed.

Are you using your credit card more or thinking about applying for a personal loan to get you through some financial hardships? Try to reduce your spending in order to put less on your credit card and pay attention to loan modifications during these uncertain times.

Tracking your expenses to avoid overspending is easy with

iFinancer

. With this tool, you can get notifications to alert you of possibly overspending and it includes various tools to help you save more money, thus maintaining a healthy credit score.

COVID-19 has caused a lot of stress on society in the past few months. Your financial wellness in the future doesn’t have to be part of it.

iFinancer Income & Expense Tracker can help you plan for a more viable financial future. Normally $30, you can get it for

36 per cent off at just $19 USD now

.



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