Banking

A Deeper Look at Check-Cashing Services: Do They Really Provide an ‘Alternative Banking’ Opportunity?

A couple of weeks ago, Business Insider published an amazing article by Alex Morrell on check cashing that I think is well worth everyone’s time to read: An Ivy League professor who spent four months working in a South Bronx check-cashing store says we’re getting it all wrong. The article focuses on the research of University […]

What Is ChexSystems?
Banking

What Is ChexSystems?

You may know Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – the trifecta of credit bureaus that impact everything from credit card applications to car loans. But far fewer people are familiar with ChexSystems, yet another consumer credit reporting agency that also impacts one’s financial affairs. You may be tired of opening a bank account because of ChexSystems, […]

Banking

How My ATM Card Directly Cost Me $30.28 In One Month – And How I Avoid Such Mistakes Today

While doing some calculations for my income taxes, I stumbled across the statement from my checking account for February 2006, just before my financial meltdown. Amused, I spent some time really looking at the staement when I noticed that there were several ATM fees on the bill and a few sales tax dings on those […]

Banking

The Credit Check Situation

For the last week, there have been numerous reports of individuals who have opened Electric Orange checking accounts and after sixty days have had a credit check run on them. Here’s a typical example of such a report at Consumerism Commentary. In some cases, apparently, after this credit check, the Electric Orange account is closed. […]

Banking

Personal Finance 101: Money Market Accounts Versus Normal Savings Accounts

Kathleen writes in with a good question: A lot of personal finance books I read suggest putting your savings – especially stuff like emergency funds – in money market accounts. I’ve looked into them but I can’t figure out what the difference is between a money market account and a savings account. Why is a […]

Banking

Creating a CD Ladder for Your Emergency Fund or Other Savings to Earn a Better, Safe Return

As I’ve mentioned before, my family has a pretty good sized cash emergency fund, somewhere around nine months’ worth of living expenses. Having that amount of cash available is a very nice security blanket for all of us, and in our savings account, it was earning roughly a 3% annual return. Safety, personal security, and […]

Banking

Credit Union vs. Bank: Understanding What Works for You

From the street, credit unions look just like banks: rows of teller windows, convenient drive-thru lanes, and attractive lobbies. But hidden within those walls are some key differences that clearly separate credit unions from banks. Credit unions used to be a mystery to consumers who didn’t use them, but that seems to be changing. Ever […]

Banking

How to Use Technology to Start Saving More

The numbers on who is saving money in America — or more commonly, who isn’t — may shock you. According to a survey by Bankrate, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The survey unfortunately reports that 50% of Americans have less than a 3-month cushion in their savings account and 27% have no savings account […]