Banking 
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Bank CD Rates

How much money do you have sitting in a savings account? $500? $1,000?

Do you have plans for that money? If not, it should be in a certificate of deposit at your bank. If your bank doesn’t offer good CD rates, then you should open a CD with an online bank and take advantage of their better interest rates. If you don’t think you have enough money, you’re wrong. You can open a CD at an online bank with a single dollar.

One dollar.

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 Credit 
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Lowest Foreign Transaction Fee

In a couple months, my wife and I will be taking an extended vacation to Europe. It’ll be a fantastic trip, one we’ve been looking forward to for months, and with the dollar strengthening and the economy across the world weak, we figured we could take advantage of lower prices to get some traveling done.

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 Banking 
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Highest Short-Term CD (Certificate of Deposit) Rates

(Updated 11/6) I’ve been keeping a list of the best CD rates for certificates of deposit in the 12-month to 18-month maturity range, figuring that’s typically the sweet spot for CD rates. If the CD maturity is too short, banks won’t give you a good rate because it’s such a short period of time. If the CD maturity is too long, the customer is taking on a lot more inflation risk than the bank is probably paying out for. However, short term certificates of deposit still have their place:

  • You’re setting up a CD ladder and you need CDs to fill up those short period slots.
  • You have funds in an account that currently isn’t earning the highest yield for savings, transferring the funds will take time and cut down on your interest earned… so you might as well throw it into a short term CD to get a better rate.
  • You simply don’t want to rate chase and open up a new account with each new online bank that offers a high rate, so you might as well hit up a short term rate with the bank you’re worth just to get a little extra.


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 Banking 
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Best CD (Certificate of Deposit) Rates

If you’re looking for the best CD rates, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of the nationally available best CD rates, updated every single day. I looked at the best rates available for CDs of less than 18 months and listed the ones with the highest rate. Typically the longer the term, the higher the rate, but for many online banks the best rates were for periods of shorter than 18 months. For simplicity’s sake, I put the cutoff at 18 months (some banks offer higher rates for longer terms). If you want shorter term CD rates, I have also compiled a list of highest short-term CD rates (less than 12 month maturities).

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 Personal Finance 
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Best 0% APR Credit Cards

Gone are the days when you couldn’t walk to your mail box without a credit card offering 0% on balance transfers or 0% on purchases hitting you in the face (or one touting they had the best cash back credit card). With the recent credit crisis and all the bank failures, credit card issuers are holding onto their cards tighter and tighter. Despite the climate, there are still many 0% APR credit cards out there with attractive offers as long as you can find them and as long as you qualify. The credit requirements are higher than they once were but they are still reasonable as long as you have good credit. If you’re unsure about your credit, you can use one of the free credit score estimate tools to get a better idea of where you stand.

So, what makes a great 0% APR credit card and what justifies its inclusion on my lists?

  • Brand name: I prefer working with brand name banks and issuers that I’ve heard of before. All of the cards I list are issued by banks that are publicly traded and well known in the banking community, if not the general population. For publicly traded companies, their reputation is crucial and that’s important to me. I need to know the company I work with will care about what I say about it. In addition to reputation, a larger brand name issuer often means I can get someone on the phone at anytime during the day. I don’t want to be calling some community bank and getting a voicemail box because it’s 5:01 PM. I have nothing against community banks, but I need to know I can get someone, even if they’re at a call center, when I have a problem at night.
  • No annual fee: I never list a card that has an annual fee unless there is a very good reason for it. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should pay an annual fee to use a credit card, unless it offers a frequent flyer miles program, because the companies make so much money on the transaction fees it collects when you use the card.l
  • 0% balance transfer for 12 months: Twelve month balance transfers are getting rarer and rarer but I think you have to get at least a year on your 0% APR transfer for it to be worth your while. Every time you apply for a new card, your credit score takes a hit. If you use 6 month offers, you double the number of applications you have to fill out just to get the same amount of credit.
  • 0% on purchases for 12 months: Again, similar logic to the 0% balance transfer, though my love for 0% on purchases is fleeting. The only exception is the card that I profile as the best 0% on purchases card, it’s not for 12 months but it has a unique offer I’ve never seen before.

Below, I’ll list the card that I believe offers the best credit cards in their class for 0% APR balance transfers or 0% APR on purchases along with some “runners up,” with comparable offers.

Best 0% Balance Transfers Credit Card

Citi Platinum Select Card – 0% APR for purchases for 21 months and balance transfers for 21 months*. One nice thing about Citi cards is that they will send you a check directly, though the interest rates after the transfer expires aren’t as good; so it depends on your financial plan.

One word of warning about balance transfers, you must request a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Don’t fill out one of the checks they send you, that’s a cash advance. Cash advances do not have a 0% APR rate, they have the standard purchase rate plus the 3% cash advance fee (minimum of $5). Do not go to an ATM and withdraw money, that is also a cash advance. Call the credit card company and specifically request a balance transfer.

Best 0% Purchases Credit Card

Citi® Platinum Select® MasterCard®The best 0% on purchases credit card right now is the Citi Platinum Select Card because it offers both a 0% on purchases for 21 months and a 0% on balance transfers for 21 months, based on your credit history. There is no annual fee and it has all the features you’ve come to expect from a Citi card including online account access, 0% liability on unauthorized charges, travel accident insurance, and car rental insurance.

Runner-Up 0% APR on Purchases Cards

Not sure if you want a 0% balance transfer or a 0% on purchases offer? Get the Citi Platinum Select Card because it offers both!


 Credit 
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Notifying Credit Cards of International Travel

My wife and I will be going to England to visit good friends of ours and so after researching the best international credit card, we settled on a Capital One card.

Now came the somewhat mind-numbing task of notifying our cards of international travel so that we wouldn’t get declined. The process for each was pretty straight forward but I’ve listed instructions for all the cards I called up. I imagine they all do pretty much the same thing but it’s always good to get concrete information.

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 Credit 
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comments

0% Credit Cards: No Interest Purchases & Balance Transfers Offers

Smiling Girl, Happy with 0% Credit Cards0% credit cards are all the rage these days and this list will help you identify the best deals out there. Consumer spending is down, fears of a recession are up, and retailers are scrambling to entice regular people like you and me to enter their stores and buy more stuff. One group of companies you’ll also find lining up to offer you special offers is the credit card industry.

Credit card companies don’t necessarily want you to go into debt to them, though that doesn’t hurt their bottom line. They want you to keep on spending because they earn money on processing transactions. If you review the annual statements of any credit card issuer, most of the income they derive from credit cards comes in the form of data processing and service fees. So, in order to keep spending up as long as possible, more and more are offering great offers such as 0% APY for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.

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 Credit 
56
comments

Best International Credit Card

This Thanksgiving, my wife and I will be heading to London, England, to visit good friends of ours who are working there. Given the recent economic unrest, it seems pretty foolish for us to try to play any games involving exchanging money so we’ll try to convert as little as possible directly, instead we’ll resort to using credit cards as much as possible so we orphan (leave in pounds sterling) as little cash as necessary.

When it comes to using credit cards abroad though, it’s gotten a little more complicated than your classic “foreign transaction fees.” It turns out that in addition to the issuers and banks charging you a fee, some merchants will add a “Dynamic Currency Conversion” fee on top of everything else. That can be as high as five percent!

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